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Authors: Brian Farrell, Garth Pratten

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When Imperial Japan unleashed the Pacific War in December 1941, Australian forces went into action, as part of a larger British Empire force, to defend Malaya and Singapore.

Australia’s principal contribution to defending Malaya and Singapore was the 8th Division. Originally raised for service in the Mediterranean, the division was committed piecemeal to Malaya and its performance was bedevilled by poor command decisions in the face of an enemy better prepared on all counts for the campaign at hand. The 8th Division, however, also reflected some strengths of the AIF at large: stubbornness in positional defence, effective and flexible small unit tactics and leadership, and skill and determination in close quarter combat.

Singapore was lost more in spite than because of Australian efforts, but its loss underlined Australia’s strategic dependence on ‘great and powerful friends’ during the Second World War. This book is part of the Australian Army History Unit’s Campaigns Series; comprehensive, well-researched and easy-to-read books on Australia’s military campaigns.

Brian Farrell

Brian Farrell

Brian P. Farrell is Deputy Head of the Department of History at the National University of Singapore, where he has been teaching military history since 1993. Farrell’s research interest is the military history of the British Empire. He has published more extensively on the defence and fall of Singapore than any other scholar, his main […]

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Garth Pratten

Garth Pratten

Dr Garth Pratten is a senior lecturer in military operations in the Strategic and Defence Studies Centre at the Australian National University. An historian by training, he has had a varied career having worked for the Australian Army's Training Command and the Australian War Memorial, and taught at Deakin University and in the War Studies […]

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