Before the Japanese invasion of Malaya, the Japanese…
The southern region of Malaysia is one of the best tourist spots in the country. It comprises of the states of Malacca and Johor. The region’s climate is a tropical rainforest influence with monsoon rains from October and February. Temperatures are between 25.5 and 28 degrees with high humidity.
The region has a rich history. Malacca was first colonised by the Portuguese, then the Dutch and was finally ceded to Britain in 1826. The remnants of ruined buildings and fortresses are part of the tourist attractions in Malacca together with the cuisine the capital, Malacca city is a UNESCO world heritage site.
Between 1959 and 1970 Malacca was the home of the 28th Commonwealth Brigade, which was based at Terendak. Now a Malaysian Army base, Terendak is the site of a Commonwealth War Graves Cemetery containing 329 post war casualties including some Australian and New Zealand casualties repatriated from Vietnam
Johor is the southernmost state of the Peninsular. This is the state that links Malaysia to its neighbour Singapore to which a causeway and a bridge connect it. Johor is a major fruit and rubber producing area. Like Malacca it has a heritage dating way back to the 17th century.
Following the Japanese invasion of Malaya in December 1942 and their rapid advance southward, plans had been made for a withdrawal to the southern most State, Johor, and for its defence. It was decided that the 3rd Indian Corps less the 9th Indian Division should be responsible for operations in southern Johor, south of a line Endua-Kluang-Batu-Pahat, absorbing the 22nd Australian Brigade Group, while Major-General Gordon Bennett with the remainder of the Australian formations, the 9th Indian Division and the 45th Indian Brigade Group were responsible for Johor to the north of that line. This withdrawal into Johor meant the abandonment of the States of Selangor and Negri Sembilan, the colony of Malacca and Kuala Lumpur.
The Indian and Australian defenders had some success, particularly at Gemas, in delaying the Japanese advance. They were continually out flanked by a series of Japanese amphibious landings forcing them to conduct a series of fighting withdrawals.
These withdrawals made it clear that a retreat to the island of Singapore was inevitable; it was too risky to attempt to hold a line in southern Johor, with only a single line of retreat across the causeway, which linked the island to the mainland. It was, therefore, decided that the whole force still on the mainland should be withdrawn across the causeway on the night 30th/3lst January. This was conducted successfully with little Japanese interference.
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