Title: The Battle for Hong Kong, 1941-1945: Hostage to Fortune
Author: Lindsay, Oliver
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 2009
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 272 pages
Comments: Published to coincide with the 60th anniversary of liberation of Hong Kong and VJ Day, this is the authoritative account of how the British, Canadian, Indian and Chinese defenders surrendered Hong Kong to the Japanese after 18 days of intense fighting, on Christmas Day, 1941.
The Battle of Hong Kong took place during the Pacific campaign of World War II. It began on 8 December 1941 and ended on 25 December 1941 with Hong Kong, then a Crown colony, surrendering to the Empire of Japan.
The Japanese attack began shortly after 08:00 on 8 December 1941 (Hong Kong local time), less than eight hours after the Attack on Pearl Harbor (because of the day shift that occurs on the international date line between Hawaii and Asia, the Pearl Harbor event is recorded to have occurred on 7 December). British, Canadian and Indian forces, commanded by Major-General Christopher Maltby supported by the Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps resisted the Japanese invasion by the Japanese 21st, 23rd and the 38th Regiment, commanded by Lieutenant General Takashi Sakai, but were outnumbered nearly four to one (Japanese, 52,000; Allied, 14,000) and lacked their opponents’ recent combat experience.
The colony had no significant air defence. The RAF Station at Hong Kong’s Kai Tak Airport had only five aeroplanes: two Supermarine Walrus amphibians and three Vickers Vildebeest torpedo-reconnaissance bombers, flown and serviced by seven officers and 108 airmen. An earlier request for a fighter squadron had been rejected, and the nearest fully operational RAF base was in Kota Bharu, Malaya, nearly 2,250 kilometres away.
Hong Kong also lacked adequate naval defence. Three destroyers were to withdraw to Singapore.
It is thoroughly researched with exceptional access to war diaries and graphically written personal accounts, superbly told by an expert authority.