On Pearl Harbor day, Japan began it's first assault on Hong Kong. The bombings went on for two consecutive weeks causing numerous deaths and damage. Hong Kong refused to surrender. As a last attempt to conquer the city, the Japanese landed for a secret mission. They were to cut the city's water supply.
With the water shut off, there would be no water for the British troops inside the city. On Christmas Day, 1941 after 17 days, the British troops inside the city surrendered. About 10,947 troops surrendered. Hong Kong had fallen to Japan.
On Singapore, the British constructed the world's most powerful naval base. The high-headed British thought the island was unconquerable. But behind every great army, there are it's weaknesses. The British depended on the Malay mainland where it got it's water. The British could also not count on the civilians on Singapore. The British were also not capable of jungle fighting because their troops had not been trained for that.
Japan sent 200,000 troops through the Malay Peninsula, which they would conquer because of the rubber and tin supplies. First the Japan bombed Kota Bharuo on Malay Peninsula on Pearl Harbor day. This allowed the Japanese to enter into the Peninsula. General Tomoyuki Yamashita's 25th Army secured the beach.
The British troops entered the Malay Peninsula via a causeway bridge and prepared to fight the Japanese head on. Here, they experienced their first tastes of jungle fighting. Meanwhile the Japanese were knifing through the thick forests where they moved through swamps, rice fields, and jungles. They used portable boats as a way to get across the many streams and rivers. The British were severely out-fought and out-smarted.
the British retreated. They crossed the bridge back into Singapore and blew it up waiting for a rescue, reinforcements, or some relief. There weren't any hiding places or underground caves. There was no chance of escaping either. Reinforcements came, but they just shared the loss.
Bitter fighting from Japan was waged on the island. Ground and air attacks were numerous. On February 14, 1942, the Japanese captured the reservoirs which supplied the British with water. On February 15, 1942, Lieutenant General Sir Arthur Ernest Percival surrendered. Between 55,000 and 60,000 troops were captured. Singapore had fallen.
Japan next had their eyes on Burma, which was controlled by the British. The 800-mile Burma Road was a back door into China. The day Malaya was taken over, Japan attacked Burma. The attack on Burma would take longer, because the country is bigger. It was the size of Texas.
The country had three seperate mountain ranges and had huge jungles. The British were not prepared for jungle fighting, which was a key disadvantage for them.
At the Isthmus of Kra, Japanese snuck through the Burmese border. Finally, on January 15, 1942, Japanese troops penetrated through the thick jungles. Two weeks later they captured Moulmein. The Japanese slipped across the Gulf of Martaban to take the city of Rangoon from the south and west. The Salween River was crossed to form a semi-circle around the city, which posed it for a great attack. British troops blew up all items that would be valuable to the Japanese, and evacuated on March 6, 1942.
The British ran from the Japanese all the way to the borders of India and China. The British were no match for the Japanese. Reinforcements came under Lieutenant General Joseph W. Stilwell. He came to take over the 5th and 6th Chinese armies. He was confronted with a huge problem; he and his troops needed to run for their lives. Starting in May, a huge retreat was underwent. The troops ran through jungle, rain, snakes, and over mountains. Many died, but many others made it safely to Assam.
Burma was now in Japanese control, and the Burma Road was sealed off. With the Burma Road closed, Chiang Kai-shek(China's Leader), was without valuable supplies. The Allies attempted an airlift over the Himilayas. This attempt, however, was unsuccessful as very few supplies got to the man and his troops.
Their only hope was the "Flying Tigers", which was a scappy American Volunteer Group under American Officer Claire L. Chennault. These planes held the Burma Road for 65 days while supplies was rushed into China. From December, 1941 to July of 1942, the Tigers destroyed 297 planes, and killed 1,500 Japanese. They also delayed Japanese plans for the takeover of China. Overall, Burma had fallen to the Japanese. The Japanese were now in a position to take over China.