• Friday, October 20, 2017

Interactive Battle Report - Battle of Hong Kong (Dec-8, 1941) with Chinese Commentary

Discussion in 'Military History & Tactics' started by jhungary, Oct 12, 2017.

  1. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    Hi guys, Today, we are going to do the battle report I used to do a bit differently, today's battle report will be accompanied by a video, for which will be commentated by me and I will use the Note Function on Window 10 to illustrate how today battle was fought. And I will also go thru the battle not just in word form, but also an interaction between action, and my comment on the issue whenever its appropriate. But due to my recorder limites, I can only do 35 minutes commentary and afterward, it would be cut off and for this report, I will only offer Chinese Commentary.

    Why am I doing this? Several weeks ago (actually just now) there are some member doubt my ability (or my origin) Folks like @shadows888 @sinait @phancong keep saying I am an indian or something like that (I forgot) so I decided to use Cantonese (my mother tongue) and do something on PDF, and I thought to myself, why not do a Battle Report Completely in Chinese? and that got me thinking, I should. And today battle would be a battle of Hong Kong, a place where I lived for a long period of time. I was going to do this battle in both English and Chinese, but then again, as I said, something wrong with my recorder and I can only record 35 minutes of my voice, I will need to use my wife IPhone the next time and hopefully I can fix up an English Commentary on that.

    So, let's go



    Battle of Hong Kong (1941)

    Battle of Hong Kong.png

    Today battle is Battle of Hong Kong, which happened in 1941 AD as part of World War 2 Pacific Offensive of the Imperial Japanese Army. This battle is very close to home is because People who know me would know I used to live in Hong Kong for a long time with my family, and I have indeed visited many battle site (not usually I have the luxury to survey the battle site myself) But this is before my time in the Military, so now, couple with my hindsight and my military knowledge, I am trying to dissect the battle with you and I will hope that you will enjoy it, and since the @Grey_boy_2 Challenge and @Han_Patriot, I will also cover this battle in Chinese (Cantonese to be exact)



    Historical Background.



    Hong Kong is a crown colony for the British Empire up until that point, it was located off South China Sea and next to on the coastline of China, it border mainland China and in a peninsula.

    The strategic advantage is that Hong Kong service the Royal navy as a resupply dock, where the dockyard off Tsing Yi and in Victoria Harbour would serve as a supply and repair facilities to Naval Vessel, other than that, Hong Kong is relatively unindustrialised at that point, and there are no strategic resource in and around Hong Kong, British see Hong Kong is not as great as a threat than Singapore, and by 1940, relocated most of its troop guarding Hong Kong to Singapore, along with the RAF that stationed in Kai Tak Airport.

    Battle_of_Shing_Mun_Redoubt.png

    The hostility between Japan and England started not long after the WW1 ended. With the Japanese going against most of the colonial allies, England started to see Japan as a creditable threat more or less during the 1920s, and by late 1930s, when Japan suddenly attacked Manchuria and Russia, the British started to construct defensive line and defensive position in and around Hong Kong as part of the defence of the colony.



    However, since 1930, the need to defend Hong Kong is not very popular, as it is a peninsula, it does not enjoy the same tactical advantage as Singapore (as an island), and determined that if any defence to be mounted in Hong Kong, it would be use as a delay action so other part of British Colony would have enough time to prepare.



    Strategically, the strategic value of Hong Kong is not yet developed, it has a deep harbour and that is what all the strategic value Hong Kong has. And there are no material production like rubber and tin in Malaya or oil near the Singapore. Hence the defence of Hong Kong is not really a priority number 1.



    Japan, on the other hand, have their eye set on Hong Kong for one reason and one reason only, and that is Hong Kong being British Colony, a liberation of sort would have boost Imperial Japanese Army stock around Asia as a true Colonial Tyrant liberator and hence, in the summer of 1941, when one part of Japan is making plan to bomb Pearl Harbour, another part of the table is making plan to invade Hong Kong. And coincidently, both Attack on Pearl Harbour and Invasion of Hong Kong started at the same time. *although officially Hong Kong was invaded one Dec 8, 1941, but the time zone different would make invasion of Hong Kong just a few hours later than the attack of Pearl Harbour.



    Geographical Detail



    Hong Kong is basically separated into 3 parts, New Territories, Kowloon, and Hong Kong Island. As a city, Hong Kong have a mountainous terrain where Lion Rock Mountain and a range of ridges separate the boundary between Kowloon and New Territories, and the boundary between Kowloon and Hong Kong island is separated by the Victoria harbour shores. Although in reality, the line that separate New Territories and Kowloon is a street called Boundary Street.



    So, basically, beside desert, Hong Kong have all possible terrain you can encountered in war, where the New Territories is a flat land, and then a mountain range, and then back to water line, and an Island, couple with 200 some other off shore island big and small, that made up the geography of Hong Kong.

    SixYears-7.jpg

    Strategic Consideration

    Although in the end, British turn around in the last second and decided Hong Kong worth the resource to defend after all, the goal is still the same, which is to play a delay action to buy time for other colonial defence elsewhere, the change of policy is unknown, but rumour has it China (ROC) Chang Kai Shek offer to defend Hong Kong for the British Government, while this is a natural move but the British Government would be afraid after the successful defence of Hong Kong, the Chinese troop will stay and not go away, and losing Hong Kong as a crown colony, that may be the reason why the change of Policy in the last minute.

    Anyway, for the British, the defence of Hong Kong must drag on as long as the defender can handle. As sort of a rear guard and delay action.

    For the Japanese, Hong Kong seems to be an odd choice, as Hong Kong is a trading hub with a deep harbour, however, by that time, Japan have control of several other deep harbour around the Coastline of China and the only possible reason why Hong Kong was attacked because of its approximation to the Philippines and Hong Kong being the crown jewel of British Empire.

    Thus, the Japanese invasion would want to keep the force in operational standpoint, rather than an all out war, and to attack swiftly and smartly, and capture Hong Kong without losing too much time and troop.

    Tactical Consideration

    Flatland is hard to defend, especially so when you lack a operational air force and your enemy outnumber you, which mean the star defence for Hong Kong is the Gin Drinkers’ Line which lay across the mid section of Hong Kong Island.

    The other natural defence is the Victoria Harbour, which basically separate the Hong Kong Island to the mainland, which mean the Japanese, if they got that far, would need to mount a amphibious assault, which would favour the smaller defence garrison.

    The battle plan for the British is to use 3 battalions to hold the Gin Drinkers’ Line and then 1 Battalion each on Wong Nai Chung Gap, and Lye Moon Passage. Plus two Battalions of local garrisons roam between Kowloon and Hong Kong island

    Japan on the other hand, have more troops, (in all 4 to 1) so, they will march and roll over the New Territories Flatland, and then flank the Gin Drinker’s Line from East and West, while keep pressure on the middle via Shing Mun Redoubt.

    Then marches will continue until reaches the Kowloon Coastline, and using superior air power to cover a seaborn landing into Hong Kong Island.

    Battle Begins….

    Dec 8

    Battle Begun on 0800, 8 Dec, with barrage of Artillery fired into New Territories Garrison, the garrison see no point on holding their position and try to fend off a river forking from Shenzhen into Hong Kong, and they retreated into the Gin Drinkers’ Line and leave the low land uncontested to the Japanese.

    Japanese force officially crossed into Hong Kong at 1100 Dec 8 and move into the position just north of Gin Drinker Line. Both side exchange artillery fire and the night action concluded.

    Dec 9

    Dec 9 saw the first Japanese attack on Gin Drinkers’ line, more like a reconnaissance in force. Probing along the line, and found out the line have anchor onto a weakly defended point of hill 225, where the bunker complex was held by a platoon of British troop. IJA 228 regiment launch a special attack with sapper team and took control of the high point, from there, the Japanese can see the rear of British Army is not organised. And without even knowing Hill 225 has been taken, the British Continue on its current deployment.

    Which lead to the commander of 228 regiment deciding to launch a full penetration into the line connecting Hill 225 and Shing Mun redoubt.

    Dec 10

    A general attack launched by IJA 228 Regiment, numbered in 500, attack the connection between Hill 225 and the Gin Drinker Lines in a 2 pronged attack. The redoubt has fallen, and the connection to Kim Shan and Tate’s Carin both have been taken as a result.

    Now this section of the line is completely broken, the defensive line become untenable as the IJA 228 Regiment will simply rolled the flank from that anchor point. British Commander on Gin Drinkers’ Line decided to retreat and the 5th Rajput Battalion act as a rear guard so the other 2 battalions retreat not into the city of Kowloon but all the way across the Hong Kong Island to preserve its strength.

    Dec 11- 13

    Both side spend the next 3 days moving troops into their intended position, with the British moving south toward the Hong Kong Island, Japanese move behind them in a hot pursuit, by 12th, the whole Gin Drinkers’ line is collapsed, and the last of the British

    Troop leave Kowloon for Hong Kong Island have left on Dec 13th

    Dec 14 -15

    Japanese spend the two days moving their reserve into position (which the aftermath of the Dec 10 Assault causing the reserve to lag behind the main column, by this time, the Japanese have sent the British a surrender request, which the Governor of Hong Kong Ignore.

    Meanwhile the British is reforming the remaining troop form 5 Battalion into two Brigade, West brigade, including unit from 2/14 Punjab , 2 Royal Scot and 1 Winnipeg Grenadiers. East Brigade comprise of The Royal Rifle (Canada) and 5/7 Rajput, to which splitting the island in two.

    Dec 16-17

    Dec 16 and 17 the IJA bombard Northern Hong Kong Island and preparation of the seaborne invasion.

    And the last call for surrender was sends out to the British Commander.

    Dec 18

    The IJA launch a full scale seaborne invasion, Tai-Koo Dockyard, North Point battery felt to the Japanese with minimum casualty.

    IJA establishing beachhead on the Northeast, and move south, North point Power Plant is under attack by the Japanese.

    Dec 19

    IJA element attack Wong Nai Chung Gap and rushes into the western side, destroyed the Brigade HQ of West Brigade, North Point Power Plant felt to the Japanese.

    The afternoon, British Force spend on recovering the Wong Nai Chung Gap, to no success, which mean for the next 5 days, the Island defence would be totally split into two as the Japanese have clear right in the middle. The West Brigade is not anchoring in Aberdeen and the East Brigade is graduately being push back to Stanley

    Dec 20-24

    Progress is made by Japanese Force which capture shodow water bay on the 20th, Mount Cameron on the 22, followed by Aberdeen.

    By 25th the only land still belongs to the British is the Stanley peninsula, which the governor by now realise all hope was lost, and the British Surrender the Garrison to the Japanese on the 25th December, Christmas day, 1941.

    Post Mortem

    The British High Command wanted Hong Kong to last at least 3 months, and Gin Drinkers’ Line alone should have been held on for 3 weeks, so what is the reason Hong Kong Surrendered just in 17 days?

    In short, there are three reasons.

    1.) Hong Kong, although on the surface is easy to defend, the troop needed to cover every inch, especially on the mountain range of the Gin Drinkers’ Line is not enough. The Line spread so thin where 3 battalions (less than 2000 men) are tasked to defend 18 kilometres

    In military sense, a single division are needed to defend a 5 Kilometres front, a single division have upward to 12,000 men, and the result is devastating, Shing Mun redoubt bunker complex was to be defended by a company of 120 men, instead, a platoon of 30 men was guarding the whole approach.

    Lack of man power would mean the line, although often being compare to the Maginot Line to the east, it suffer the same fate as the Maginot Line in France, where the lack of man power would force a large piece of the line undefended and the anchor point under defended. Without a smaller back up line to fall back to, although the original decision is correct as to retreat to the Gin Drinkers’ Line, the Line is too big for the defender to hold.

    2.) The defence did not took advantage of the Hong Kong urban setting. The reason not to defend Kowloon at all is a mistake, while in the New Territories, the reason to hold out with flatland over flatland does not make sense. Kowloon on the other hand is a well developed city. And to by pass Kowloon is more or less impossible even back in 1941.

    The possible reason why the British did not defend Kowloon at all is unknown, most likely because the British Government do not want the people of Hong Kong suffer? Or maybe they knew they are going to lose and lack the will to fight a bloody urban battle with the Japanese, instead decided to hold on to the country side, this, we will never know.

    But one thing is for sure, is that the defend of Kowloon (which is a choke point to troop coming from New Territories) would have significant impede the Japanese movement and either buy more time (than the 17 days) for the defence of Hong Kong, or even buy even longer time for the defence to be made in Malaya and Singapore

    3.) The lack of air power. The absent of RAF element in Hong Kong (or even Far East as a whole) is probably the more direct fuse as to why Hong Kong felt only in 17 days, The air force would have been handy to impede a Land base assault, which is what the Japanese is pulling mostly in New Territories.

    The problem is, in hind sight, RAF may be better off staying elsewhere and by then in late 1941, RAF back in Britain just won a hard battle with the Luftwaffe during the battle of Britain just a year earlier, the stock is not going to back up to that level, but still, the absent of the RAF is the reason why a small contingent of brave man fail to defend Hong Kong for more than 17 days.

    Other reason such as untrained troop and troop that send there without local knowledge also hurt the Hong Kong Defence, and probably one problem for the British is that they grossly underestimated the quality of Japanese Army, thus. Leading to believe a small contingent of 10000 men can defend an island against the Japanese, which outnumber them 4 to 1.

    Conclusion

    The Battle of Hong Kong is a tragic event that leads to 3 years and 8 months occupation of Hong Kong, when the Japanese finally surrendered in August 1945, many of the POW, Civilian have been killed by the atrocity committed by the Japanese during the occupation.

    After the Japanese surrender, Hong Kong once again returns to be as a British Colony and would stay and developed into an internationally recognized city before the Hong Kong was returned to Chinese Rule in 1997.

    Perhaps the one lingering issue with battle of Hong Kong is that the final twist of fate. That the British did not learn from the fall of Hong Kong, just 3 months later, another crown jewel of British Empire felt to the Japanese, and even with 9 times the defender defending the Singapore, the island nation felt to the Japanese only half the time the Hong Konger hold out the Japanese, in just 7 days in the February of 1942.
     
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  2. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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  3. sinait

    sinait FULL MEMBER

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    It is only important what you post.
    We appraise you on what you post, which I would say is not without merit, but often too torturously long winded.

    Your nationality is only important for us to gauge where you are coming from.
    Are you an unhappy Chinese willing to back stab and denigrate your motherland,
    or a Chinese hating Vietnamese American,
    or a patriotic American with unconditional support for the US,
    I surely did not call you an Indian, that would be insulting.
    I have not read anybody calling you an Indian, except some say your posts have similarities with Indian posts.

    We are of course curious to know.
    Being able to speak and write the language don't count.
    .
     
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  4. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    1.) This post is not about my nationality, I could have record something in Chinese a long time ago (really long time ago) if all I wanted is to do that. I uses the inspiration between me, you and these people to improve my battle report, as I explained in the video.

    2.) You are right, being able to speak the language does not actually proof anything, and I am not going to proof anything, you have your view, I have mine, what I don't get is why other people that keen on how I view things? I don't see how my view or even where I come from have any bearing to post here. Am I being less creditable if I am some group of people or more creditable when I am a certain group of people? I don't get why the hate on specific group of people by a group of people. People here over obsessed with Nationality is quite funny to me, consider this, you don't even know who you are really talking to for you to start with. So, when the only thing you know is yourself, that mean whatever this Nationality BS is basically a moot point.

    3.) Nationality mean absolutely shit (forgive my French) on an internet forum, I can open a new account, and talk nothing but praise on China, that does not mean anything. Would it be better off for you or you will feel better if I open a new account and start the praise? But then how would you even know about that? In fact, I could be doing this now and you will not have a clue about that. Which mean "Nationality" here is worthless.

    Let me let you into a small secret. For me, I don't really care about these Chinese Nonsense, and if you want me to stop doing this, all you need to do is to leave this topic, in case you haven't notice yet, I am doing this to piss someone off, and that someone has been pissing me off by keep on discussing this issue. And the more they annoy me, the more it give me a reason to piss them off back. And for the sake of discussion, this mean nothing.

    In the end, how you want it to turn out is your business.
     
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  5. sinait

    sinait FULL MEMBER

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    This is not to criticize your command of Cantonese as you may not realize it or you do not speak it often enough lately. It happens to me also as I juggle between Malay, Chinese and dialects, Filipino, English.
    But your Cantonese is off, i.e. not too good, most probably worst off than mine.
    Remind me of when I started to learn Hokkien, lingua franca in our Army, others got problem to understand what I am saying though it sounded alright to me.

    Anyway good effort for the time you put in to present this video, and in Cantonese(albeit broken) as well, though it should not be "I am doing this to piss someone off".
    No need for such animosity, they are nice people.
    .
    .
     
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  6. NoOne'sBoy

    NoOne'sBoy FULL MEMBER

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    wtf is that your voice? why dont you do in english?
     
  7. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    Yes, that is my voice, I tried to do English but my digital recorder does not allow me to get more than 35 minutes of time (I bought this stupid thing when I was doing my master a few years back), so I am going to set up everything again, i have stolen my wife's IPhone and I am going to redo it tomorrow, I have said that in the beginning of my post....
     
  8. Levina

    Levina ELITE MEMBER

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    Thanks for the tag. :)

    It was a good read and the video was a value addition to this thread. Must say you speak cantonese very fluently....but alas i could understand none of it. :lol:

    Back to the topic-Battle of HK.
    Its said the war could have been avoided had Churchill not decided to name Hong Kong as an outpost and decided against sending more troops. Though the decision was reversed later, but by then it was already too late.

    While you have gone into great details of explaining the technicalities and strategies of the war, you forgot to mention our men. :)
    Yes, Indians were a part of the war. Rajput and Punjab regiment had been representing the British troops. suffered huge losses.
    Infact Rajput were the first to face the onslaught of Imperial Japanese Army troops and were the last soldiers to depart from the mainland when Kowloon was attacked.
    Just for the records, 5/7 Rajput regiments bore heaviest casualty losses amongst all defending combatant battalions in the Battle of HK.

    IMG_2938.JPG

    In the pic: Indian gunners manning a 9.2 inch naval artillery gun at Mount Davis Battery, HK.

    Agree.

    Its unfortunate that a thread posted in military history and tactics section became a place to correct one's Cantonese accent and vocabulary.

    @grey boy 2 Your posts were inappropriate and you repeatedly tried derailing the thread.
    I have reported your posts for the same.
    @WebMaster @Horus @waz @WAJsal please look into posts #6 & #8.
     
  9. The Eagle

    The Eagle MODERATOR

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    Off-topic posts are deleted and Member(s) causing derailing, informed accordingly. In-case seeing any violation, would be better to report the same without quoting back as the same causes further trolling, move on though Mod(s) are here to take care.

    The topic is clear as said in subject.

    Regards,
     
  10. jhungary

    jhungary MILITARY PROFESSIONAL

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    Set aside this nonsense (again, I am current at this moment working on an English Commentary on this battle, having been yell at by my wife for 30 minutes because I took her IPhone 6 (I use IPhone 7 and no audio jack so I cannot plug in my microphone)

    I think 5/7 Rajput should be commended, I did actually mention the contribution on Indian troop somewhere in the article or video (Because it is in Chinese, and you probably don't understand) 5/7 Rajput have a very difficult task to cover the withdrawing of the Royal Scot and 14 Punjab retreat, the problem where I did not cover much on the Indian troop is because, well, the British actually did not do much in the battle.

    I think the battle would have been a lot different if the British decided to fight in Kowloon instead of retreating back all the way to Hong Kong Island. That's because even tho the Gin Drinker Line is not defendable because you only have 3 Battalions holding the line, Gin Drinker Lines would also give the British Troop something called "Funnel Effect" which mean the bottleneck created in this line would have only allow the Japanese to send it troop across the mountain piece meal but cannot be bundle in a whole lot, which still a lot to do (again, it's 40,000 vs 2000) but you can at least buy more time using the funnel effect to either fortified or shore up the defence elsewhere in the line.

    But the British command decided to go against this BUND line (Build Up Natural Defence) and well, effectively, the battle have lost on the 10th (or you can say 13th) because the Brits failed to defend this line and once the Japanese Troop punch thru the line and occupying Kowloon, that's basically ball game for the Brits, they lost, and the only thing to decide is how quickly they will lose the situation altogether. And as it turn out, really quickly.

    Again, don't mind these people trying to ruin this perfectly good thread, I am actually in the process of making another Interactive Battle Report, but I am not at all happy with the video quality (It's quite dark and low res) I have ask some of my friend and they tell me to get a screen capture card instead of using a camera, but well.... That cost me money and I don't know if I want to pay $100 for this.

    Also, we are missing you on my True Crime threads, me and a few detective bugs started a True Crime threads and we discuss true crime cases and we have people all over joining the discussion, I think it was one of the few untouched thread here on PDF.

    https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/true-crime-case-2-small-town-murder.520542/
    https://defence.pk/pdf/threads/true-crime-case-1-children-killer.518457/
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
  11. sinait

    sinait FULL MEMBER

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    I have to disagree with you here.
     
    Last edited: Oct 13, 2017
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  12. Levina

    Levina ELITE MEMBER

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    Will check the thread. :tup:
    ???
     
  13. The Eagle

    The Eagle MODERATOR

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    He mentioned a small reason to do it in other than English. Yet we are not discussing the content of the subject or thread but coming with what..... discussing the language and member's native relation or family tree or what..... No further off-topic posts as unnecessary posts are removed without any difference for anyone.
     
  14. sinait

    sinait FULL MEMBER

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    In that case, no point in having further discourse with this OP.
    I will ignore this OP in the future, as apparently, critics are not welcomed.
    It would be helpful if you will indicate that my post had been edited by you.
    Thanks.
    .
     
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  15. The Eagle

    The Eagle MODERATOR

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    I removed the off-topic content along-with the answer in return and sent message accordingly, so that we may continue with topic in hand. Criticism based upon the content or a subject which leads to productivity and quality discussion, is always welcome but a person/member shouldn't be the concern. The content/subject be kept in view for debate so that an argument replied with counter argument will create an atmosphere of quality discussion, hence, encouraged.

    Regards,