Sketch by Jack Chalker

No One Will Believe You

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With The Indians



The Battle of Jitra

11th/13th December 1941


At the Battle of Jitra, Percival’s soldiers were soundly beaten and were in full retreat from this battle. The Japanese attack was based on speed, ferocity and surprise. To speed their advance on Singapore, the Japanese used bicycles as one means of transport, and followed the railway west from Singora. Wounded Allied soldiers were killed where they lay. Those who were not injured but had surrendered were also murdered – some captured troops were doused with petrol and burned to death which the Japanese later suggested was done to honour the dead. Locals who had helped the Allies were tortured before being murdered. The brutality of the Japanese soldiers shocked everyone.


The Battle of Kampar

30th December–2nd January 1941-42


From the beginning of General Tomoyuki Yamashita's 25th Army invasion of Malaya, the 3rd Indian Corps, defending the north of Malaya, was forced southwards into a series of costly retreats. The outcome of these retreats, ordered by British Malayan Command, again resulted in a badly mauled and decimated British/Indian infantry. The huge losses suffered by the 11th Indian Division in the battles at Jitra, Kroh, Alor Star and Gurun meant that the remnants of the British and Indian battalions had mostly been amalgamated. After the loss of the northern Malayan Kedah province, the 12th Indian Infantry Brigade (a Malaya Command reserve force and well trained in jungle warfare) reinforced the 11th Division and commenced a very successful fighting withdrawal to the Kampar position, inflicting heavy casualties on the Japanese spearhead units. The 12th Brigade's job was to buy time for the re-organisation of the 11th Division and the preparation of defences at Kampar. Unfortunately, by January 2, 1942, the Indian 11th Infantry Division was out flanked by seaborne landings south of the Kampar position at Kuala Selangor. Outnumbered and with Japanese forces attempting to cut the division off from the road to Singapore, they withdrew to prepared positions at Trolak, five miles north of the Slim River.


The Battle of Slim River

 6th/8th January 1942


The MAC may still have been part of the remnants of the 11th Indian division, and of all the campaigns (apart from the disaster at the Ledge) Alf might have been associated with, it was this particular battle where the 36th IFA that the MAC had been supporting up to this point was almost totally wiped out. The 2/3rd MAC had been withdrawn to Tanjang Malim (south of the Slim river) on the 29th of December and maintained the endless work of transporting the wounded, and the casualty rates were frighteningly high up to this point.

At 3.30 am on 7th of January 1942, in heavy rain, a Japanese force started a mortar and artillery bombardment on the first of the Indian positions and tanks began maneuvering through the defensive road obstacles. The infantry immediately followed which easily broke through the defences scattering the allies into the jungle and by 4 am the Japanese were headed toward the next British units. If the British artillery (who were not contacted due to the communication lines being cut) had been called in at this point in the battle, the Japanese column could have been easily stopped due to their stacked up and vulnerable position, surrounded by thick jungle on the narrow road. This golden opportunity for the British was lost and the Japanese infantry were able to push through. By 6.30 am, tanks were approaching the next battalion, which had only a little warning of the rapidly approaching Japanese by the arrival of a few panic-stricken Indian Sepoys from the Hyderabads to erect a roadblock. The tanks broke through and were into the rear area of the 11th Indian Division, heading for the two nearby bridges. The Japanese broke through the artillery, medical, and other support units in front of a road bridge. Even two British artillery colonels were surprised and killed while driving on the road in this lightning attack. Upon reaching the road bridge at 8.30 a.m. the Japanese attack had managed to scatter the entire 11th Indian Division, leaving most of its survivors attempting to escape across the Slim River. The cruel reality about the early Japanese attacks were that the North Malayan sector consisted of a thinly held multinational military force controlled by the British who were racially bigoted and failed to take the Japanese threat seriously, and take advantage of the potential of the Asian populations in participating in irregular warfare and possibly averting a complete rout.

From the 8th-9th of January, some of the MAC was involved in major work evacuating wounded from Seremban (South of Kuala Lumpur) to CCS in areas including Kluang, Jahore and Singapore in response to this disaster. They were also involved in the total withdrawal of all medical services located in Tampin to Singapore on the 10th of January. Due to the almost complete collapse of the Indian forces in the fighting withdrawal from the 8th of December, what isn’t clear is whether the MAC remained with the Indian forces, or was incorporated into the AIF after the introduction of Australian units to action around the 10th of January, as described in the next part of this story. What is clear is that the 2/3rd MAC was in almost constant action transporting wounded from any number of field stations and CCS from the beginning, and for the remainder of the Malayan and Singapore campaign.





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[No One Will Believe] [Introduction] [Alfs Enlistment Record] [Overview 2/3rd MAC] [With The Indians] [2/3rd MAC under AIF] [2/3rd MAC in Singapore] [The Aftermath] [Alf in 'K' Force] [Toward The End] [Alfs Demob Record] [Alf's Photo Album] [Thai-Burma Trip 2019] [References]


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