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    The Malaya campaign was the first stage of the Japanese move south to secure valuable natural resources. The plan involved landings in southern Thailand and northern Malaya, then approaching the British stronghold of Singapore overland through the Malaya peninsula. General Yamashita's 14th Army succeeded in completing the campaign ahead of schedule in only ten weeks, capturing valuable supplies and over 130,000 Allied prisoners of war. Japanese losses amounted to approximately 3,500 men killed in action.

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Campaign name

Malaya campaign

Campaign dates

8 December 1941 15 February 1942

Campaign codename

E Operation

Campaign overview

Frame 1Dec 1941 – Feb 1942
Gen Yamashita’s 25th Army was responsible for occupying Malaya and removing the British from their base in Singapore.
Frame 28 Dec 1941
The 5th Division lands at Patani and Singora, in southern Thailand, and the Takumi Detachment at Kota Bharu, in northern Malaya.
Frame 38 Dec 1941
The Uno Detachment lands at various points in Southern Thailand to secure the rear of the 5th Division in Malaya.
Frame 48 Dec 1941
Elements of the Imperial Guards Division move with the 15th Army into Thailand before turning south to join the 25th Army in Malaya.
Frame 510 Dec 1941
Bombers and torpedo planes from the 21st and 22nd Air Flotillas sink the British ships Prince of Wales and Repulse off the coast of Malaya.
Frame 6End of Jan 1942
Japanese forces push back the British, Indian, and Australian troops defending Malaya onto the island of Singapore.
Frame 78 Feb 1942
Japanese forces cross the Johore Strait and attack Singapore Island. The campaign is completed in ten weeks with Percival’s surrender on 15 February.


Campaign strength


25th Army
Gen Yamashita Tomoyuki (Chief of Staff: Suzuki Sôsaku)
    5th Division
    Lt Gen Matsui Takurô (Chief of Staff: Col Kawagoe Shigesada)
      11th Infantry Regiment
      21st Infantry Regiment
      41st Infantry Regiment
      42nd Infantry Regiment
      5th Reconnaissance Regiment
      5th Field Artillery Regiment
      5th Engineer Regiment
      5th Supply and Transport Regiment

    18th Division
    Lt Gen Mutaguchi Ren’ya (Chief of Staff: Takeda Kazuhiro)
      124th Infantry Regiment (Kawaguchi Detachment)
      55th Infantry Regiment (Koba Detachment)
      56th Infantry Regiment (Takumi Detachment)
      18th Mountain Artillery Regiment
      12th Engineer Regiment
      12th Supply and Transport Regiment

    Imperial Guards Division (originally with 15th Army)
    Lt Gen Nishimura Takuma (Chief of Staff: Imai Kamejirô)
      3rd Imperial Guards Regiment (3rd Battalion only)
      4th Imperial Guards Regiment
      5th Imperial Guards Regiment
      Imperial Guards Reconnaissance Regiment
      Imperial Guards Field Artillery Regiment
      Imperial Guards Engineer Regiment
      Imperial Guards Supply and Transport Regiment

    Other units
      1st, 2nd, 6th, 14th Tank Regiments
      4th, 15th, 23rd Independent Engineer Regiments
      3rd Independent Mountain Artillery Regiment
      3rd, 18th Field Heavy Artillery Regiments
    3rd Air Group (Lt Gen Sugawara Michiô)


Malaya Force
Vice Adm Ozawa Jisaburô
    Southern Expeditionary Fleet
    Escort Fleet (7th Squadron, 3rd Torpedo Squadron)
    22nd Air Flotilla (Rear Adm Matsunaga Sadaichi)
    12th Air Flotilla (Rear Adm Imamura Osamu)
    9th Base Force (Rear Adm Hiraoka Kumeichi)
    4th, 5th Submarine Squadrons (Rear Adm Yoshitomi Setsuzô)
    Minelaying Unit
    Hainan Base Force
    Camranh Bay Base Force

Campaign casualties

Army: 3,500 killed, 6,100 wounded

Printer version

Hong Kong, Pacific
Celebes, Ambon, Timor
New Britain
Sumatra, Java

Reference links
Show details for Dispositions–DeathsDispositions–Deaths
Show details for CampaignsCampaigns

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