If the British had a stronger garrison and Bill Slim in command in South Asia could they have repelled the japanese in early 1942?

I was always wondering this because as you know the best troops and resources had been commited to North Africa and Europe while Asia was defended by very obsolete air craft like the brewster buffalo etc and a lot of poorly trained and inexperienced soldiers? What would the outcome have been? Could the British have beaten the japanese back with better equipment and armoured divisions etc?
 

Chlodio

Forum Staff
Aug 2016
5,097
Dispargum
Yes, if the British had their best troops and best commander at Malaya/Singapore they would have defeated the Japanese. But if the British had their best troops and commander there, the Japanese probably would not have attacked. The Japanese attacked because they knew, as you say, that the best British troops/equipment/commanders were in North Africa and Europe.
 

MG1962a

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Mar 2019
2,526
Kansas
I was always wondering this because as you know the best troops and resources had been commited to North Africa and Europe while Asia was defended by very obsolete air craft like the brewster buffalo etc and a lot of poorly trained and inexperienced soldiers? What would the outcome have been? Could the British have beaten the japanese back with better equipment and armoured divisions etc?
The allies went a lot closer to holding Singapore than they thought. After the war it was discovered the Japanese only had about 48 hours of offensive operations in them when the surrender came through.

I think another major issue was not so much the forces but the leader (Percival) I he got fixated on what he thought the Japanese were going to do, and could not b convinced otherwise.

And finally the horrific civilian losses were mounting :(
 

sparky

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Jan 2017
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Sydney
the British troops in Malaysia weren't bad , they certainly were badly led
I doubt if Slim could have made a difference , the whole British headquarter was inefficient
but since Yamashita was at the end of his resources and won when Percival threw the towel , it well might have

As for the civilian losses , that was bad and sad but not a military consideration
 

redcoat

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Nov 2010
7,969
Stockport Cheshire UK
Could the British have beaten the japanese back with better equipment and armoured divisions etc?
Some tanks worthy of the name might had made a difference. While the British had around 30 light tanks armed only with MG’s the Japanese had over 200 tanks which they used with great effect to break though the British and Commonwealth positions
 

redcoat

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Nov 2010
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Stockport Cheshire UK
The allies went a lot closer to holding Singapore than they thought. After the war it was discovered the Japanese only had about 48 hours of offensive operations in them when the surrender came through.
That’s an irrelevance, as even if the Japanese had been forced to halt offensive operations, the garrison would still have been forced to surrender eventually
 
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MG1962a

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Mar 2019
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Kansas
That’s an irrelevance, as even if the Japanese had been forced to halt offensive operations, the garrison would still have been forced to surrender eventually
I am not sure how long it would have taken. There were significant numbers of Australian available to be rotated in. The Japanese success to that point was because of speed. Once the allies had a chance to catch their breath and build prepared defensive positions, the Japanese would not anywhere near enough troops to complete the invasion.
 

sparky

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Jan 2017
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Sydney
The Australian troops reported an absolute shamble with the distinct smell of panic and defeat heavy in the air ,
it was a rush to the boats to get out of what was seen as a trap
the Aussie under-performed badly , some ran for it ,a token of the whole rot in the leadership
it wasn't just Percival though he must be the first to take the blame , the defense had been mishandled badly ,
this contrast to the positive leadership and very exact information on the Japanese side ,
they could feel they were winning and had a lot of elan

Ever since the Japanese landed in Thailand territory , as was expected
the Indian troops could scarcely work out what was going on
except that time and again they were turned or steam rolled over
there was a severe case of spy mania , based on one incident , suspicion led to paranoia

the sinking of the repulse and prince of wales added to the gloom