Singapore_attackedIn the late evening of the 8th February at 2330 hours the Japanese landing craft pushed away from Johore heading for the North-west shore of Singapore.

The Australian troops had been heavily bombed during that night and in the early hours of the 9th February the shore defences reported seeing craft approaching, within the hour the eight mile stretch of coast between Tanjong Buloh and Tanjong Marai was under attack.

The plan had been to switch on searchlights so the defending troops could pick off the landing craft but the heavy bombing had knocked out the lines of communication so nothing was turned on and they found they had to fire blind. The infantry had to send up distress rockets before the gunners got the message to open fire but they were too late as the Japanese had already landed.

The Australians did well destroying the first assault and inflicting heavy casualties on the second wave, but the Japanese were able to pinpoint the Australians from their fire and land away from these positions.
Once ashore the Japanese outflanked the defensive positions and came upon the Australians from the rear where hand to hand fighting started. Many positions were overwhelmed by numbers and then the Japanese could land without opposition. Gradually the Japanese gained the upper hand and the Japanese headed south towards Ama Keng, the stranded Australian troops had to find their way back towards Singapore City.

When the Japanese reached Ama Keng the Australians held well and even counterattacked but again the Japanese outflanked them and  the Australians had to retreat to the Jorong Road, within six hours the Japanese had control over much of the Western Area.

By noon Yamashita had landed all the infantry of the 5th and 18th Divisions and called for Nishimura’s Imperial Guards to land, but Nishimura had been rebuffed by his superior when he had beheaded all 200 wounded left behind by the Australians and Indians at the Muar River in Malaya, and was being awkward he hung back.

Yamashita wrote later:

‘I ordered the Imperial Guards to cross the Strait. Then their commander asked for further orders from me. I received a message from him that his troops were hesitating to cross because of oil flames on the surface of the water. It looked to me as if he was still upset about not being able to lead the attack. I ordered him to do his duty.’

Nishimura then sent a young staff officer to argue his case, but Yamashita was now very annoyed and sent him away with:

‘Go back to your divisional commander. Tell him the Imperial Guard Division can do what it likes in this battle.’

tanks__landedThis gave Nishimura the understanding from Yamashita that the Japanese could win the battle without the Imperial Guard, this did the trick and Nishimura advanced, but in his present frame of mind further atrocities were bound to follow.

Bennett had now stabilised the defences but the Japanese were now landing their tanks, this would prove to much for the  Australians, but at the moment they held onto the Johore Line, a ridge running from the Kranji River to the Jorong River, it was a natural defensive position which should last out for days.


Next Page

Bukit Timah



[Malaya] [Cause] [Japs Prepare] [British Prepare] [Malaya Attack] [Singapore] [Siege Begins] [Yamashitas Bluff] [Attacked] [Bukit Timah] [Final Assault] [Surrender] [Chronology]

Part of





Britain at War


Honorary Life Member



East Anglia Network Picture

Best Viewed with:

Designed by Ron Taylor

Copyright © Britain at War 1997