French forces in Indochina
launch an offensive against Thailand after numerous border
provocations, but are unable to make much headway on land.
The Japanese intervene in the conflict
between Vichy France and Thailand, imposing an armistice on
the French, which they are powerless to refuse.
Parts of the Australian
8th Division arrive in Singapore.
A peace treaty is signed between Vichy
France and Thailand, which cedes back portions of Indochina
that had been lost by Thailand 40 years earlier.
Large Royal Air Force
reinforcements arrive in Singapore.
Wavell becomes C-in-C,
India. The European Axis partners recognise the Japanese backed
government of China.
China breaks off diplomatic relations
with Germany and Italy.
The Japanese extend their
occupation across the whole of Indochina, as agreed with Vichy
40,000 Japanese troops
land in Indo-China.
Chiang Kai-shek urges
the western democracies to take urgent action against Japan.
Japan rejects the USA's demand for
their withdrawal of forces from China.
State of Emergency is
declared in Malaya and Hong Kong is put on ‘stand by’.
An RAF Hudson aircraft spots Japanese
transports sailing west off Cape Cambodia towards Malaya. The
British, having feared a surprise Japanese attack for a number
of months now, had developed a plan codenamed 'Matador', to
advance forces into southern Thailand should the Japanese attack,
in order to deny the Japanese use of the airfields and ports
at Patani and Singora. However, the implications of violating
Thai neutrality and more importantly the possible US reactions,
dissuaded the British from launching 'Matador'.
The Japanese attack Thailand, Malaya,
Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Japanese aircraft bomb Singapore,
which as yet has not blacked out. The raid inflicts about 200
casualties, mostly civilians. Japanese troops land at Singora
and Patani on the Kra peninsula in southern Thailand, which
surrenders the same day. Japanese make landings at Kota Bharu
on the north eastern coast of Malaya, although troops of the
8th Indian Brigade put up strong resistance against these Japanese
landings. However, rumours that the Japanese had broken through
the defenders, caused the RAF to evacuate Kota Bharu airfield
and forced the 8th Indian Brigade to withdraw to the south
after dark. Japanese troops launch an offensive against the
new territories, a part of the British colony of Hong Kong.
The Japanese overrun the US garrisons in Shanghai and Tientsin.
Bangkok is occupied by Japanese troops
as they to push through Thailand towards the Burmese border.
The Japanese also continue to land troops along the Kra Isthmus
in southern Thailand and at Kota Bharu in north eastern Malaya.
China declares war on Germany and Italy.
British forces that had pushed into
southern Thailand begin to fall back along with those from
northern Malaya after the Japanese capture Kota Bharu airfield.
The British garrison in Hong Kong
begin to withdraw from the mainland to Hong Kong Island itself.
As a result of command and control problems, rumours and many
desertions, the 11th Indian Division withdraws from Jitra towards
Alor Star in northern Malaya, even though the Japanese troops
facing them were inferior in numbers. The US garrison in Peking
is forced to surrender to the Japanese.
The British Governor of Hong Kong
rejects a Japanese demand for his garrisons surrender. British
troops in the southern tip of Burma begin to withdraw north
Thailand formally allies herself with
Japanese troops move into southern
Burmese territory on the Kra Isthmus and seize Victoria Point,
which had been vacated by the British two days earlier. Japanese
artillery and aircraft pound Hong Kong in an attempt to soften
Japanese troops land on Penang Island
off the eastern coast of of Malaya.
Japanese troops make gains in northern
Malaya and are now only 10 miles from Penang, as British and
Commonwealth forces begin to fall back to the river Perak.
Japanese troops force landings on
Hong Kong island.
British troops evacuate Penang in
The Japanese launch their first bomber
attack on Rangoon. They suffer heavy losses to RAF fighters,
but press home their attack, inflicting substantial damage
to docks at Rangoon.
Hong Kong surrenders after a 7 day
siege, with more than 2,000 killed or missing and 2,300 wounded.
The RAF and American Volunteer Group shoot down 51 Japanese
aircraft over Rangoon for loss of just 12 of their own number.
Japanese troops cross the river Perak.
The Japanese commander General Yamashita, senses that British
resistance is weakening in Malaya and is determined to push
home his advantage and not allow the British any time to reorganise
themselves. This he does by forcing the British troops back
down the coast roads until he reaches a defensive position
and then outflanks it through the jungle.
General Wavell takes over
command of the British forces defending Burma and India.
The Congress Party in India supports
the British war effort, while Gandhi resigns his leadership