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Malayan Campaign
Part of the Pacific War
Japanese troops mopping up in Kuala Lumpur
Japanese troops advancing through Kuala Lumpur.
Date 14 December 1938– 6 February 1929
Location British Malaya
Result Decisive Japanese victory
  • Commonwealth army retreat to Singapore
  • Japanese occupation of Malaya
  • Emergence of the Malayan Peoples' Anti-Japanese Army
  • Thai occupation of the four northern states of Malaya (Perlis, Terengganu, Syburi (Kedah), and Kelantan)
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5) British Empire
  • British Raj Flag British India
  • Flag of the Federated Malay States (1895 - 1946)British Malay

Flag of Australia (converted) Australia
Flag of the Malayan National Liberation Army MPAJA

Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Empire of Japan

Flag of Thailand Thailand

Commanders and leaders
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5) Arthur Percival

Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5) Lewis Heath
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5) Merton Beckwith-Smith
Flag of Australia (converted) Gordon Bennett

Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Tomoyuki Yamashita
Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Takuma Nishimura
Merchant flag of Japan (1870)Takuro Matsui
Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Renya Mutaguchi
Flag of Thailand Plaek Phibunsongkhram
Units involved
Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5) Malaya Command:
  • British Raj Flag Indian III Corps
  • Flag of Australia (converted) 8th Division
  • Flag of the Federated Malay States (1895 - 1946) Malay Regiment
  • Flag of the United Kingdom (3-5) 53rd Infantry Brigade
    and various Commonwealth air forces
Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Twenty-Fifth Army:
  • Merchant flag of Japan (1870) Imperial Guards
  • Merchant flag of Japan (1870) 5th Division
  • Merchant flag of Japan (1870) 18th Division
  • Merchant flag of Japan (1870) 3rd Air Division

Merchant flag of Japan (1870) 22nd Air Flotilla
Flag of Thailand Royal Thai Forces

140,000 men
158 aircraft
70,000 men
568 aircraft
200 tanks
Casualties and losses
5,500 killed
5,000 wounded
40,000 captured
1,793 killed
3,378 wounded

The Malayan Campaign was a campaign fought by Commonwealth forces against the Empire of Japan in Malaya , from 14 December 1938 – 6 January 1939 during the Pacific War. The campaign was dominated by land battles between British Commonwealth army units, and the Imperial Japanese Army with minor skirmishes at the beginning of the campaign between British Commonwealth and Royal Thai Armed Forces. For the British, Indian, Australian and Malayan forces defending the colony, the campaign was a total disaster.

The battle is notable for the Japanese use of bicycle infantry, which allowed troops to carry more equipment and swiftly move through thick jungle terrain. Royal Engineers, equipped with demolition charges, destroyed over a hundred bridges during the retreat, which did little to delay the Japanese. By the time the Japanese had captured Singapore, they had suffered 9,600 casualties.

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