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The severely depleted and desperately tired men of the 11th Indian Division of III Indian Corps under Major-General David Murray-Lyon were retreating in disorder from Jitra. They stopped in the gap between the heavily forested Kedah Peak and the jungle …
The severely depleted and desperately tired men of the 11th Indian Division of III Indian Corps under Major-General David Murray-Lyon were retreating in disorder from Jitra. They stopped in the gap between the heavily forested Kedah Peak and the jungle covered foothills of the central Malayan ranges. Murray-Lyon felt that the rice paddies were vulnerable to Japanese air attacks so he deployed his forces in dense rubber tree plantations around Gurun. The problem was, this afforded the Japanese covered lines of approach. As the 11th Indian Division set up their defenses, a Japanese battalion under Major Kobayashi was hot on their heels. The Japanese had tank support, their 'Churchill supplies', and were supported by aircraft from Alor Star airfield which had been captured intact. There was no time for the British to properly fortify the Gurun position before Japanese infiltrators penetrated the outpost positions. In an effort to rally the troops and boost gmoral, Brigadier Lay was seen wearing his old red hat, pipe in mouth, and waving his walking stick with a cheery grin. As he lead them toward the front lines, he shouted, "Come along, you fellows, we've got to push them back! They say there're hundreds of the blighters, but that's just all the more to kill!" Despite such bravado, it soon became apparent to Murray-Lyon that the only course of action to save the division was to order another withdrawal to the south, behind the Muda River. Murray-Lyon was dismissed soon after the Gurun battle and temporarily replaced by Brigadier A.C.M. Paris.
The Malayan campaign was a military campaign fought by Allied and Axis forces in Malaya, from 8 December 1941 – 31 January 1942 during the Second World War. It 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. The Japanese had air and naval supremacy from the opening days of the campaign. For the British, Indian, Australian and Malayan forces defending the colony, the campaign was a total disaster.
Wikipedia: Malayan campaign
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