Battle of Bukit Timah

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Battle of Bukit Timah
Part of the Battle of Singapore, Pacific War
Japanese Bukit Timah.jpg
Japanese soldiers in Bukit Timah
Date1012 February 1942
Location Bukit Batok, Bukit Panjang and Bukit Timah, Singapore
Result Japanese victory

Flag of the United Kingdom.svg  British Empire

Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg  Japan
Commanders and leaders
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Ian Stewart
Flag of the United Kingdom.svg Angus MacDonald
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg Masanobu Tsuji
Units involved
British Raj Red Ensign.svg 15th Indian Brigade
British Raj Red Ensign.svg 12th Indian Brigade
Flag of Australia.svg 22nd Brigade
Flag of Australia.svg 27th Brigade
Flag of the British Straits Settlements (1925-1942).svg Dalforce
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg 5th Division
Merchant flag of Japan (1870).svg 18th Division

The Battle of Bukit Timah (1012 February 1942), was part of the final stage of the Empire of Japan's invasion of Singapore during World War II.

Empire of Japan Empire in the Asia-Pacific region between 1868–1947

The Empire of Japan was the historical nation-state and great power that existed from the Meiji Restoration in 1868 to the enactment of the 1947 constitution of modern Japan.

Battle of Singapore World War II battle

The Battle of Singapore, also known as the Fall of Singapore, was fought in the South-East Asian theatre of World War II when the Empire of Japan invaded the British stronghold of Singapore—nicknamed the "Gibraltar of the East". Singapore was the major British military base in South-East Asia and was the key to British imperial interwar defence planning for South-East Asia and the South-West Pacific. The fighting in Singapore lasted from 8 to 15 February 1942, after the two months during which Japanese forces had advanced down the Malayan Peninsula.

Singapore Republic in Southeast Asia

Singapore, officially the Republic of Singapore, is an island city-state in Southeast Asia. It lies one degree north of the equator, at the southern tip of the Malay Peninsula, with Indonesia's Riau Islands to the south and Peninsular Malaysia to the north. Singapore's territory consists of one main island along with 62 other islets. Since independence, extensive land reclamation has increased its total size by 23%. The country is known for its transition from a developing to a developed one in a single generation under the leadership of its founder Lee Kuan Yew.



On 8 February 1942, the Japanese landed a large force on the western side of Singapore Island. Throughout the following days, further troops were landed and heavy fighting followed as they pushed the mainly Australian defenders from the 22nd Brigade back from their positions on the coast. On 10 February further landings were made against the northern positions occupied by the 27th Brigade between the River Kranji and the Causeway, and steadily the British and Commonwealth lines were pushed back south-east towards the centre of the island. [1]

22nd Brigade (Australia) former infantry brigade of the Australian Army

The 22nd Brigade was a brigade-sized infantry unit of the Australian Army. It was briefly raised in 1912 as a Militia formation providing training as part of the compulsory training scheme. Later, during World War II, the brigade was raised as part of the all volunteer Second Australian Imperial Force in April 1940. Assigned to the 8th Division, in early 1941 the brigade was deployed to British Malaya where it formed part of the defensive garrison that was established there by the British, eventually establishing its headquarters in the Mersing–Endau area.

The 27th Brigade was a brigade-sized infantry unit of the Australian Army. The brigade was the last Second Australian Imperial Force infantry brigade raised for service during World War II. Initially assigned to the 9th Division, the brigade was transferred to the 8th Division shortly after it was raised. Training was undertaken around Bathurst, New South Wales throughout early 1941, before the brigade was sent to British Malaya in August 1941 to reinforce the 22nd Brigade, which had been dispatched earlier in the year. Following the Japanese invasion of Malaya, the brigade went into action in January 1942, taking part in the fighting along the western side of the Malay Peninsula. Its main action during this period came around Muar before the withdrawal to Singapore. In February, the brigade took part in the short lived Battle of Singapore. When the garrison surrendered on 15 February, the majority of the brigade's personnel were taken prisoner. They subsequently spent the remainder of the war in captivity before being released in August 1945.

As the Japanese began advancing towards the strategically important Bukit Timah which offered vital supplies including water, British, Indian, and Australian troops from a variety of units fought actions along the Bukit Timah Road in an effort to blunt the advance. As the Japanese 5th Division, with armoured support, advanced down the Choa Chu Kang Road, British troops and Chinese volunteers from the irregular Dalforce engaged in desperate hand-to-hand fighting, but being poorly equipped, they were forced back and by midnight the Japanese had occupied Bukit Timah. [2]

Bukit Timah Road street

Bukit Timah Road is a major road in Singapore extending from the city centre to Woodlands Road on the way to Johor Bahru in Malaysia. The road has a length of 25km, which makes it one of the longest roads in Singapore, and the road takes its name from the hill. En route, it passes through the areas of Little India, Newton Road, Farrer Road, Singapore Botanic Gardens and Bukit Timah.

Dalforce, or the Singapore Overseas Chinese Anti-Japanese Volunteer Army was an irregular forces/guerrilla unit within the British Straits Settlements Volunteer Force during World War II. Its members were recruited among the ethnic Chinese people of Singapore. It was created on 25 December 1941 by Lieutenant Colonel John Dalley of the Federated Malay States Police Force. The unit was known to the British colonial administration as Dalforce, after its chief instructor and commanding officer, John Dalley, whereas the Chinese in Singapore only knew it as the Singapore Overseas Chinese Anti-Japanese Volunteer Army. This formation took part in the Battle of Singapore and some members conducted a guerrilla campaign against Japanese forces during the Japanese occupation.

On 11 February, two British brigades attempted a counter-attack, but this was turned back; the following day, the Japanese Imperial Guards, outflanked the British positions from the north, and forced them to withdraw. Dalforce was engaged in further fighting, which resulted in heavy Japanese casualties; in revenge the Japanese killed a large number of Chinese civilians nearby after the fighting. [2]

Imperial Guard (Japan)

The Japanese Imperial Guard is the name of two separate organizations dedicated to the protection of the Emperor of Japan and the Imperial Family, palaces and other imperial properties. The first was a quasi-independent branch of the Imperial Japanese Army which was dissolved at the end of World War II. The second is the Imperial Guard Headquarters, a civilian Imperial Guard formed as part of the National Police Agency of Japan.

Japanese troops assaulting Bukit Timah hill, under Allied fire. Japanesetroops.jpg
Japanese troops assaulting Bukit Timah hill, under Allied fire.

See also

History of Singapore Aspect of Southeast Asian history

The written history of Singapore may date back to the third century. Evidence suggests that a significant trading settlement existed in Singapore during the 14th century. In the late 14th century, Singapore was under the rule of Parameswara until he was expelled by the Majapahit or the Siamese. It then came under the Malacca Sultanate and then the Johor Sultanate. In 1819, Sir Thomas Stamford Raffles negotiated a treaty whereby Johor allowed the British to locate a trading port on the island, leading to the establishment of the British colony of Singapore in 1819.

The Japanese Imperial Army landed the 25th Army under the command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita on the east coasts of Malaya and Thailand on the night of 7 December 1941.

Malaya Command

The Malaya Command was a formation of the British Army formed in the 1920s for the coordination of the defences of British Malaya, which comprised the Straits Settlements, the Federated Malay States and the Unfederated Malay States. It consisted mainly of small garrison forces in Kuala Lumpur, Penang, Taiping, Seremban and Singapore.

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  1. Coulthard-Clark 1998, pp. 202203.
  2. 1 2 "Battle of Bukit Timah". 1942: Battlefield Singapore. Archived from the original on 19 March 2009. Retrieved 7 September 2014.
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