Why Did Hong Kong Fall so Easily? Report for King George V
On the 25th of December 1941, Sir Mark Aitchison Young, the governor of Hong Kong surrendered to the Japanese Imperial Army. This fall was because of the underestimation of the Japanese, inadequate amount of training and experience of the men and bad estimation of when and where the Japanese would come from. This fall was simply horrendous and cannot be committed by us again. First of all, I think that the Minister of Defence must appoint a new person to replace General Christopher M.
Maltby to prevent any other further defendable invasions of Hong Kong. He was appointed to form the army which would defend Hong Kong; however, according to the “Veterans Affairs Canada” he only formed a 6,600 men army consisting: 900 Royal Scots, 900 Middlesex Regiments, 1000 Winnipeg Grenadiers, 1000 Royal Rifles of Canada and surprisingly 1000 Hong Kong volunteer Corps. I think that the formation of the army is without doubt would be no match against the 50,000 Japanese Imperial Army.
This leads to the second reason why Hong Kong fell: the inexperienced group of men chosen to fight. According to a reenactment of this tragedy, “Savage Christmas” – The Valour and the Horror, the Canadians only arrived in Hong Kong a few weeks before the invasion. In such a short period of time, how are they supposed to get used to even the geography of Hong Kong, let alone not even knowing Hong Kong Island? Furthermore, virtually all the soldiers sent to Hong Kong had very little or even no experience to battle.
According to the Veterans Affairs Canada (which is a very accurate source as it is written by war veterans who fought in this war), most of the well-trained and experienced officers were sent to Europe, however, the men sent to Hong Kong were mostly either sick from Malaria or had little experience. Only 900 properly trained Middlesex Regiments were fit to for battle. The remaining Rajputs, Punjabis, Royal Rifles of Canada and Hong Kong Volunteer Corps were also very inexperienced and young. How do you expect 900 men to defeat the 50,000 men Japanese Imperial Army?
Last but not least, the estimated time and direction the Japanese would come from was one of the most distinctive and crucial reasons why Hong Kong fell so easily. This is also related to where our men were stationed and what type of weaponry they used. At first, they guessed that the Japanese would make a similar attack as Pearl Harbor by attacking from sea, however once they found out that the Japanese had crossed the Chinese Border, it was already too late to relocate forces to the north.
According to a Royal Scots Regiment, his team was stationed at the Shing Mun Redoubt, an important part of Gindrinkers line. They knew that the Japanese had crossed the border, but made many stereotypes of the Japanese by giving comments like the Japanese being unable to see at night because of their small eyes. I believe that this was the reason they thought that it would take at least a week for the Japanese to advance to the Gindrinkers line.
This incident is totally unacceptable and simply is a symbol of defeat of the British. We must learn from this mistake, as the all the mistakes above were connected in one way. We underestimated out enemy. This was the bottleneck of the loss. We must be more vigilant, as we have many fights to win such as the axis powers. We also have other colonies to defend such as Singapore. There is not much time before the Japanese advance to Singapore which is why we must act fast.