Part 3

Section XLVIII: — The Defence Plan.

463. As a result of the loss of the 22 Indian Infantry Brigade, (see Section XXXIX), the 9 Indian Division, which had never had more than two infantry brigades, now had only one weak infantry brigade, Its Commander also had been lost. In these circumstances it was decided that the 11 Indian Division should absorb what remained of the 9 Indian Division. In consequence it became necessary to include the 18 British Division in the 3 Indian Corps at once instead of at a later date as had been intended.

464. The Intention was to hold the Singapore Fortress area.

465. The essence of the defence was that the enemy must be prevented from landing or, if he succeeded in landing, that he must be stopped near the beaches and destroyed or driven out by counter-attack.

For this purpose the defences were organized into three areas (Northern, Southern and Western) and the Anti-Aircraft Defences. The boundaries of areas and the garrisons allotted to them were as under: —

    Northern Area: —Exclusive Changi—inclusive Paya Lebar Village—exclusive Peirce Reservoir to 76 Grid Line—thence due north to exclusive the Causeway.

      Commander.—Lt.-Gen. Sir Lewis Heath, Commander 3 Indian Corps.

      Troops.—3 Indian Corps, now consisting of 11 Indian and 18 British Divisions with Corps troops.

    Southern Area: —Inclusive Changi—exclusive Paya Lebar Village—inclusive Singapore Town and the coastal area west of it as far as inclusive the River Jurong: also Pengerang, the Islands of Tekong and Blakang Mati, Pulau Brani and Pulau Bukum.

      Commander.—Major-Gen. F Keith Simmons.

      Troops.—Fixed Defences, 1 and 2 Malaya Infantry Brigades, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force, and Fortress Troops.

    Western Area: —Inclusive Woodlands—inclusive Bukit Timah Village—inclusive Kg. S. Jurong—exclusive River Jurong.

      Commander. — Maj.-Gen. Gordon Bennett, Commander A.I.F.

      Troops.—The Australian Imperial Force and the 44 Indian Infantry Brigade, with attached troops.

    Reserve Area: —The remainder of Singapore Island.

      In Command Reserve.—12 Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Paris).

 At a later date the boundary between Northern and Southern Areas was adjusted to read "The Tampines River inclusive to Northern Area."

Commanders Northern and Western Areas were ordered to hold one infantry battalion at one hour's notice at night to move to the support of other areas as required.

Artillery was allotted and its action co-ordinated by the Acting Brigadier Royal Artillery, Headquarters Malaya Command. The inner line of the Defensive Fire Zone was approximately 200 yards in front of the Foremost Defended Localities. Owing to an anticipated shortage of 25-pounder ammunition, normal harassing fire was restricted but could be in creased on application in special circumstances.

The layout of the Anti-Aircraft Defences was re-organised by the Commander Anti-Aircraft Defences, special protection now being given to the Docks area.

467. The Pengerang area was garrisoned by the personnel of the Fixed Defences and one Indian State Forces battalion.

The Island of Tekong was garrisoned by the personnel of the Fixed Defences and the 2/17 Dogras.

The Island of Blakang Mati and Pulau Brani were garrisoned by the personnel of the Fixed Defences and a machine gun unit formed from the European personnel of the Federated Malay States Volunteers.

Pulau Bukum was garrisoned by a detachment of the Independent Company.

On Pulau Ubin Northern and Southern Areas each established observation posts with small infantry escorts. The orders to these escorts were to resist minor enterprises but to withdraw in face of an enemy landing in strength. They were also to obtain information of enemy movements.

The Commander Western Area was responsible for denying the Sembilan Islands to the enemy by fire.

468. The personnel of all combatant administrative units were organized for the defence of their respective establishments under the direction of Brigadier Moir, late Commander F.M.S.V.F.

469. A force of Chinese Irregulars which had been operating on the mainland under command of Lt.-Col. J. D. Dalley was now expanded and became known as Dalforce. Owing to lack of weapons it could only be partially armed. Detachments of this force were placed under orders of Area Commanders with the object of:

    (a) patrolling the swampy areas where landings might take place

    (b) acting as a nucleus of fighting patrols sent to operate on the mainland.

470. Orders were issued for officers' patrols to be sent across the Straits regularly into South Johore to reconnoitre the enemy's dispositions and ascertain his intentions.

471. Work was continued on the Serangoon and Jurong Switch lines (see Section XLV).

472. In view of an anticipated air-borne landing similar to those which had been so effective in Crete special stops were taken for the defence of aerodromes. In particular the Seletar and Sembawang aerodromes were strongly defended. Instructions were issued as to the form such air borne landings might take and the best methods of countering them.

473. The Rear-Admiral Malaya arranged for naval craft to patrol the sea approaches to Singapore Island. Local naval craft were also made available for in-shore patrol work as required by Area Commanders. Naval Liaison officers were attached to the headquarters of each Area.

474. The tasks allotted to the Royal Air Force Fighter Squadron were, firstly, to co-operate with the ground defences in the protection of the Singapore Fortress area against  attacks  by hostile aircraft and, secondly, to reconnoitre the main  arteries  of  communications  in  South Johore with a view to ascertaining the area of the enemy's concentrations. This squadron was now based on the Civil Airport at Kallang.

475. On the administrative side, certain changes were made. The duties of Martial Law Administrator passed  from  the  Commander, Singapore Fortress, to the G.O.C., Malaya. All Army field units were ordered to hold seven days' reserve rations in addition to the emergency ration, as a reserve in case they should find themselves cut off from the normal supply.To economise petrol and avoid traffic congestion only those vehicles actually required were to be kept in use.  All others were to be parked in the open spaces about Singapore Town.

All ships and small craft under control of the Royal Navy were now based on Singapore Harbour instead of on the Naval Base.

476. The Operational Headquarters Malaya Command remained at Sime Road with Administrative Headquarters at Fort Canning. The Headquarters Royal Navy and Royal Air Force were also at Sime Road.

477. The dispositions adopted by the Area Commanders and their subordinates were in outline as under:—

    Northern Area.

      Right.—18 British Division  (Major-Gen. Beckwith Smith) less 53 Brigade Group.

      This Division had the 54 Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Backhouse) on the right and 55 Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Massy Beresford) on the left.

      Left.— 11 Indian Division (Major-Gen. Key).

      This Division had the 6/15 Indian Infantry Brigade (Lt.-Col. Morrison) on the right, and the 28 Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Selby) on the left. The 8 Indian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Trott) was in divisional reserve. The 6/15 Brigade was after a few days relieved by the 53 British Infantry Brigade from Area reserve and went into reserve.

      Reserve—53 British Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Duke), later relieved by the 6/15 Brigade.  To re-equip the 53 Brigade a large number of weapons had to be withdrawn from the remainder of 18 Division as there were now few in reserve.

    Southern Area.

      Right.— 1 Malaya Infantry Brigade (Briga dier Williams) with attached troops.

      Centre.— The Singapore Town Area. — The Straits Settlements Volunteer Force (Col. Grimwood).

      Left. — Exclusive Singapore Civil Airport to inclusive Changi and also including Pengerang Area and Tekong Island, 2 Malaya Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Fraser).

    Western Area.

      Right — 27 Australian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Maxwell) less one battalion.

      Centre. — 22 Australian Infantry Brigade (Brigadier Taylor).

      Left. — 44 Indian Infantry Brigade (Briga dier Ballantine).

      Reserve. — One barttalion 27 Australian Infantry Brigade, plus one machine gun company and detachments from administra tive and reinforcement units.

478.  The Spirit of Attack.— -The following is an extract from an Instruction issued to all formation Commanders on the 3rd February : —

    "All ranks must be imbued with the spirit of the attack. It is no good waiting for the Japanese to attack first. The endeavour of every soldier must be to locate the enemy and, having located him, to close with him."

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