2nd Malaya Infantry Brigade

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2nd Malaya Infantry Brigade
Active 1940-1942
Country British Malaya
Allegiance British Crown
Branch Army
Type Infantry
Size Brigade
Part of Malaya Command
Garrison/HQ Singapore
Engagements Malayan Campaign
Battle of Singapore
Disbanded 1942
Commanders
Last commanding officer Brig F. H. Fraser

The 2nd Malaya Infantry Brigade was a regular infantry brigade formed in 1940 with its headquarters in Singapore following the wartime expansion and reinforcement of Malaya Command.[1] The Brigade participated in the Malayan Campaign and the Battle of Singapore against the Japanese until the surrender of the garrison in February 1942.

History[edit]

Background[edit]

With the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939, earlier plans for the expansion and reinforcement of British forces in the Far East were accelerated. Initial expansion was slow and patchy due to the reluctance of the War Office in London to transfer forces from Great Britain for fear of a German invasion of Britain.[2]

The Fall of France in June 1940 saw the Japanese adopt a more aggressive stance, including the occupation of parts of the Kowloon peninsula on the Chinese side of the border as well as the seizure of Longzhou in southern Guangxi next to the border of French Indochina brought the threat nearer and resulted in the withdrawal of British forces stationed in Beijing and Tianjin by August 1940 to Singapore to reinforce the Malaya Infantry Brigade garrisoned there.[3]

The reinforcements resulted in the Malaya Infantry Brigade being divided to form the 1st and 2nd Malaya Infantry Brigade on 8 September 1940. The brigade was assigned for the defence of the Changi area of Singapore, the south-east coast of the island and the Pengerang area in Johor.[3]

Malayan Campaign[edit]

Through most of the Malayan Campaign, the brigade was assigned to passive defence roles in the southern part of Malaya and Singapore. Units of the brigade were, however, involved in the defence of Mersing.[2] The 2nd Battalion of the 17th Dogra Regiment (2/17th Dogras) stationed in Kota Tinggi played a crucial support role to the Australian 22nd Brigade including the successful ambush against Japanese forces in Jemaluang.[4]

The 2nd Battalion of the Gordon Highlanders was also temporarily assigned to reinforce the Australian 27th Brigade defending the main trunk road from Ayer Hitam to Johor Bahru.[5]

Battle of Singapore[edit]

All organised Allied forces in Malaya had retreated to Singapore on 31 January 1942. The Brigade was deployed as part of the defence of the Southern Area of Singapore under the command of Maj Gen Frank Keith Simmons together with the 1st Malaya Infantry Brigade, the Straits Settlements Volunteer Force Brigade and the 12th Indian Infantry Brigade.[6]

The deployment of the brigade in the eastern perimeter of Southern Area meant that it saw somewhat limited action during the defence of Singapore but a number of units did get involve in anxious skirmishes near the Paya Lebar airstrip.[2] Some units like the 2/17th Dogras which was stationed in Pulau Tekong were completely bypassed in the fighting until the general surrender of the garrison in Singapore on 15 February 1942.[7]

Formations[edit]

September 1940[edit]

The following units were assigned to the brigade at its formation in September 1940.[8]

December 1940[edit]

December 1941[edit]

The following units were under the command of the Brigade during the outbreak of hostilities in Malaya on 8 December 1941.[11]

February 1942[edit]

The final order of battle of the Brigade prior to its surrender and dissolution.[8][11]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "2 Malaya Infantry Brigade - Unit History". Orders of Battle. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  2. ^ a b c d Warren, Alan (2007). Britain's Greatest Defeat: Singapore 1942. London: Continuum International Publishing Group. 
  3. ^ a b "The Loyal Battalion - 2nd Battalion: In Fortress Reserve at Singapore, 1939-1942". COFEPOW. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  4. ^ Percival, A. E. (1946-04-25). "Operations of Malaya Command, From 8th December 1941 to 15th February 1942 (Part 2 - Section XXXVIII: — The Johore Operations, 14th-26th January, 1942.)". The London Gazette. His Majesty's Stationery Office. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  5. ^ "The 2nd Gordon Highlanders in the Malayan Campaign and Captivity 1941-5". COFEPOW. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  6. ^ Percival, A. E. (1946-04-25). "Operations of Malaya Command, From 8th December 1941 to 15th February 1942 (Part 3 - The Battle of Singapore)". The London Gazette. His Majesty's Stationery Office. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 
  7. ^ "The Dogra Bridge of Pulau Tekong". Dogra-Bridge. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  8. ^ a b "Malaya Command 1030" (PDF). British Military History. 2009-12-23. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  9. ^ Percival, A. E. (1946-04-25). "Operations of Malaya Command, From 8th December 1941 to 15th February 1942 (Part 3 - Section VI. – The Defence Plan)". The London Gazette. His Majesty's Stationery Office. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  10. ^ "2 Malaya Infantry Brigade - Subordinate Units". Orders of Battle. Retrieved 2012-03-16. 
  11. ^ a b "British and Dominion Armed Forces - Singapore Fortress 8 December 1942". World War II Armed Forces – Orders of Battle and Organizations. Retrieved 2012-03-04. 

External links[edit]