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Sunday, September 15, 2013

Japanese Attack Philippines, Malaya, Thailand, Guam and Wake Island

Japanese Invasion of Thailand

December 8, 1941- Philippines
Lieutenant General Walter Short and Admiral Husband Ekimel, Army and Navy Officers, were relieved of their command in Pearl Harbor and demoted. Their punishment was for "being surprised" by the Japanese attack.The invasion of the Philippines was ten hours after the attack on Pearl Harbor in Hawaii. Half of the bombers at Clark Field were destroyed; they were integral aircraft of General Douglas MacArthur's Far East Air Force. Consequently, the Japanese were able to invade by land without being stopped. General Douglas MacArthur was informed about Pearl Harbor nine hours before the attack but failed to take action.

The Japanese had assembled 500 hundred fighter planes and bombers at airbases on their territory of Formosa (Taiwan). General MacArthur retreated to Bataan peninsula under the War Plan Orange, since reinforcements were thousands of miles away. Underquipped and unprepared American soldiers died of malaria, dysentery and hunger. MacArthur was not removed from his command nor did he receive a reduction in rank as the Army and Navy Commanders at Pearl Harbor did.

December 7/8, 1941- Wake Island
Wake Island is to the north of Japanese occupied Marshall Islands and also to the north of Guam. As tensions mounted with Japan, the US Navy began to fortify the island. An airfield was constructed and twelve F4F Wildcats planes had been sent to the island via the U.S.S. Enterprise. Radar detection was left behind at Pearl Harbor and protective shelter for the aircraft had yet to be built. On Dec. 7/8, 1941, (Wake Island is on the other side of the International Date Line) the Japanese destroyed eight of the twelve Wildcats and destroyed the airfield. Twenty three men were killed and eleven wounded. After the attack, Wake Island became a tenacious battleground.

Known as the "Bicycle Blitz".

Midnight December 7/8, 1941-Malaya
 Malaya, was also located on the other side of the International Date Line (See map below). Japanese forces invaded Malaya via three transport ships carrying 5,200 Imperial Japanese troops. Veterans of Chinese campaigns, it was said that these men were well trained. They were accompanied with light cruisers, destroyers, minesweepers and subchasers and entered Malaya through multiple positions. The defending forces were the British, Australian and Indian units, with both sides suffering heavy casualties. The Japanese famously entered the country by bicycles and were able to penetrate the thick jungles. Air Marshall Sir Robert Brooke L. Popham, like General MacArthur, sensed an impending Japanese military action and had even contemplated a preemptive strike. British ships H.M.S. Prince of Wales and H.M.S. Repulse were sunk. Popham was granted permission to surrender.

The International Date line adds or subtracts a day depending on which direction a traveler is headed.
 It was created in 1884.  Since WWII, there has been changes in this imaginary line.

Beach invasion

December 8, 1941-Thailand
Japanese troops invaded Thailand from its bases in French Indochina. Fighting between the forces did not last long and Thailand surrendered, giving the Japanese free access to its transportation, military bases and communication. This would assure easy passage into Burma and Malaya.Thailand had the distinction of being an independent country, free from colonial rule. It had maintained decent relations with Britain and the US in hopes that Britain would protect them from Japanese aggression. However, the leader of Thailand, Prime Minister Philbun, had a previous "agreement" with the Japanese as well. The agreement was to allow unchallenged entry into Thailand.  Pressure by the Japanese caused Thailand to later declare war on Britain and the United States.

December 8, 1941- Guam

Guam, the lone American base in the otherwise Japanese controlled Marianas, was part of Japan's "Outline Plan for Execution of the Empire's national Policy" The Plan's intention was to expand the outer perimeter so wide that Japan would not be threatened by aerial attacks against the home islands, meanwhile include sources of raw materials to feed her growing Imperialistic goals.    

 Prior to the attack, on October 17, 1941, the U.S. began evacuating non essential personnel from Guam, Mariana Islands. On December 8, Japanese aircraft from Saipan attacked Guam, bombing various buildings and sinking the minesweeper U.S.S. Penguin. One person was killed and 60 wounded. Navy Captain George J. McMillin, who was also Governor of Guam, was forced to surrender. McMillin was subsequently imprisoned in Manchuria, China.


As Japan raced across Asia, they left a well calculated, huge swath of mayhem and destruction. The attacks left the Allies stunned. Although much attention was given to Pearl Harbor, when the Japanese attacked the Philippines, Malaya, Thailand, Guam and Wake Island, these nations were shocked with the swiftness and casualties. Truthfully, military correspondence recovered later discussed impending Japanese invasions. All of the above countries were soon occupied by the Japanese. Further atrocities were committed on POWS, and civilians. What other locations would be next as the Japanese raced through Asia?

Sources ww.historytoday,com,,,,

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