|British troops are outflanked by the
Japanese at Kampar in Malaya and begin to withdraw to the river
|Chiang Kai-shek is appointed
as Supreme allied commander in China.
|British forces continue to retreat
south through central Malaya as the Japanese force a crossing
of the river Slim. The British commander, General Arthur E.
Percival, hopes to be able to hold at Johore until at least
|The Japanese 5th Division enters Kuala
Lumpur, which is the main supply base for the Indian 3rd Corps.
By this time Japanese forward elements are coming in to contact
with the 8th Australian Division, which puts up fierce resistance,
although Japanese amphibious landings to their south force
them to retreat and ends British hopes of a protracted defence
|The Japanese begin their invasion
of Burma from Thailand, attacking up the Kra Isthmus. They
quickly capture the British airfields around Tenasserim, enabling
Japanese fighters to now escort bomber attacks against Rangoon.
|General Wavell warns Churchill that
Singapore cannot be held as little had been done to prepare
the landward facing defences. Churchill replies that Singapore
must be defended and that 'no question of surrender be entertained
until after protracted fighting among the ruins of Singapore
city'. General Wavell orders General Percival to prepare Singapore
Island for a siege. Japanese troop capture Tavoy as their advance
continues in Burma.
|The Japanese 55th Division crosses
the Thai-Burmese border from Raheng. They quickly threaten
Moulmein in Burma, using the same tactics as in Malaya of outflanking
British forces through the Jungle.
|General Joseph W. Stillwell is appointed
as Chief of Staff to Chiang Kai-shek.
|Reinforcements reach Singapore as
an Indian Brigade is landed.
|More reinforcements arrive at Singapore
to boost its defenses as the British 18th Division is landed.
|Thailand declares war on Britain and
|The Japanese capture Moulmein and
its airfield in Burma as the British forces evacuate and withdraw
across the river Salween.
|British and Commonwealth forces complete
their evacuation of Malaya and withdraw to Singapore Island
across the causeway with the Japanese only 8 miles away. Singapore
now has the equivalent of four divisions to defend it, but
morale is low and there are serious shortages of weapons. An
additional Indian Brigade is landed at Rangoon and sent to
join the 17th Indian Division.
|The British refuse to
surrender at Singapore, heavy bombardment by the Japanese continues
for 4 days.
|Lt. General Percival, the commander
at Singapore, says city will be held to the last man. The Japanese
launch a feint landing on Pulua Ubin Island to the east of
|The Japanese land on the western side
of Singapore Island, encountering only minimal resistance.
|By dawn the Japanese 5th and 18th
Divisions have firmly established themselves on the island
and begin to advance south-east towards Singapore city.
| Wavell makes his last visit to Singapore,
but by now there was nothing he could do to alter the outcome.
|Japanese troops cross the river Salween
in Burma. This caused concern for the commander on the 17th
Indian Division, Lieutenant General John Smyth, who felt that
his troops might be cut off. He urged Burma Army commander,
Lieutenant General Hutton to allow him to withdraw across the
river Sittang. However, he was ordered to hold firm on the
|Singapore surrenders to the Japanese,
a decision prompted as much as anything by the plight of the
1,000,000 civilian inhabitants of the island. 9,000 British,
Australian and Empire troops are killed and 130,000 captured,
many of which will find themselves working as slaves on the
notorious Burma-Thai Railway. The Japanese casualties amount
to around 9,000 killed or wounded.
|The Australian Prime Minister Curtin,
calls the surrender of Singapore ‘Australia’s Dunkirk’.
|Under increasing threat of being outflanked
by the advancing Japanese, the 17th Indian Division is finally
given permission to withdraw across the river Sittang.
|While the 17th Indian Division is
withdrawing across the river Sittang, the Japanese launch an
attack to capture the Bridge. Lieutenant General Smyth, orders
the bridge to be blown, even though more than half his division
has still to cross. The remnants of the 17th Indian Division,
withdraw to Pegu, where they are joined by the 7th Armoured
Brigade, which had recently arrived from the Middle East. For
prematurely blowing up the bridge on the river Sittang, Lieutenant
General Smyth is removed from command of the 17th Indian Division
by General Wavell.
|Japanese are only 50 miles north of
|General Wavell reassumes
post as C-in-C India and Burma. Burma is now cut off from the
|General Chiang Kai-shek meets General
Wavell in Burma.
|General Sir Harold Alexander arrives
at Rangoon to take over command of Burma Army from Lieutenant
General Hutton. Wavell had given Alexander orders to hold Rangoon
at all costs. Immediately, orders were issue for the 1st Burma
Division to counter-attack the Japanese from the north and
17th Indian Division which had be reinforced was to attack
east of Pegu. Both attacks failed and Alexander realised that
Rangoon could not be held. He ordered that Rangoon be evacuated
and his troops withdraw north to the Irrawaddy Valley to regroup.
|Japanese cut all roads north of Rangoon,
trapping the British at Pegu.
| Rangoon falls to the Japanese as
the British forces escape to the north. The 17th Indian Division
was now holding the Irrawaddy area and the 1st Burma Division
the upper Sittang valley. The Chinese Expeditionary Force were
farther north, with the Fifth Chinese Army defending Mandalay
and the 6th Chinese Army was at Toungoo and defending the Burmese
province of Shan.
| US General Stilwell becomes Chiang
Kai-shek’s Chief of Staff.
|The British evacuate their garrison
from the Andaman Islands, just off the Burmese coast south
|General Bill Slim is appointed as
commander of the 1st Burma Corps, which covers all British,
Indian and Burmese troops in Burma. This left General Alexander
to concentrate on co-ordination with the Chinese.
|Japanese troops, reinforced by the
18th and 56th Division which had arrived by sea at Rangoon
a few days earlier, attack the 6th Chinese Army near Toungoo
|Japanese troops capture the Andaman
|The British Government refuses to
hold an inquiry into the loss of Singapore during a Lords debate.
|In response to General Stilwell's
request for a British counter-attack to relieve the pressure
on Chinese forces around Toungoo, Alexander orders the 1st
Burma Corps to attack at Paungde and Prome in the Irrawaddy
|The 6th Chinese Army abandons Toungoo,
and fails to destroy the bridge over the river Sittang as well.
This leaves the way to the Chinese border wide open for the
Japanese Army. The abandonment of Toungoo also exposed 1st
Burma Corps left flank, whose attacks in the Prome area had
been turned back by the Japanese. It was therefore forced to
withdraw towards the Yenangyuang oilfields.
|The Japanese force the
Chinese out of Toungoo, north of Rangoon.
|British retreat from Prome, upper
| Japanese aircraft bomb Mandalay in
central Burma, killing 2,000. They met no opposition from the
RAF as all its aircraft had by now been withdrawn to India.
| Mahatma Gandhi arrested in India.
|British negotiations in India break
|Japanese troops capture Migyaungye
in Burma, which exposes the western flank of 1st Burma Corps
at put the oilfields at Yenangyuang under threat.
|The British begin to destroy the oil
wells at Yenangyuang. The 1st Burma Division with the help
of the 38th Chinese Division, manages to extricate itself from
a pocket south of Yenangyuang, before being completely surrounded.
|Churchill tells the House of Commons
of disasters in Japanese war.
|Japanese troops capture Lashio, thereby
cutting the vital 'Burma Road' supply route into China.
|The British 1st Burma Corps completes
its withdrawal over the Irrawaddy at Mandalay in Burma.
|The Japanese capture Monywa
and Mandalay. The fall of Monywa was especially serious as
this threatened to cut off the British withdrawal towards India.
This turned a reasonably well organised withdrawal, in to a
headlong retreat as British troops tried to avoid being cut
|Akyab on the Burmese coast is abandoned
by the British.
| The Japanese advance into China along
the Burma Road.
|Japanese troops capture Myitkyina
in northern Burma.
|British retreat across Chindwin completed.
|British forces retreating from Burma
reach the Indian frontier. General Stilwell crosses the border
in to Assam in India.
|The rearguards of the 1st Burma Corps
cross the border from Burma into India. Once this is complete,
the 1st Burma Corps is disbanded.
|Japan allows International Red Cross
representatives to visit British prisoners.
|General Stilwell arrives in Delhi.
|The Chinese are defeated by Japanese
forces at Kinhwa in Chekiang province south of Shanghai.
|Chinese recapture Tsingtien
in Eastern Chekiang, cutting off the Japanese at Wenchow.
|Japanese establish a puppet
government in Burma.
|Chinese claim the recapture
of the whole of Kiangsi, which was captured in last Japanese
|British forces begin their
first land counter-offensive against the Japanese in Arakan,
|The Japanese bomb Calcutta
for the first time.
|British troops cross the Burmese border
from India and head southeast towards Akyab.