February 8, 1942
Today in World War II Pacific History
Day by day chronology
SUNDAY, 8 FEBRUARY 1942
SOUTHWEST PACIFIC AREA: At 7:35am nine B-17s from the 7th BG took off from Singosari Airfield armed with seven 100 lbs bombs and a bomb bay fuel tank to bomb the Japanese occupied Kendari II Airfield. A dozen fighters trailed the formation from behind and made head on attacks, shooting down B-17E 41-2492 and B-17E 41-2456 and damaging B-17E 41-2482. Forced to jettison their bomb bay fuel tanks, the remaining B-17s abort the mission.
IJA: Japanese artillery began a 15 hour bombardment firing 88,000 rounds firing across the Johore Strait against the northwest of Singapore. Despite the ferocity of the bombardment, the defending Allied forces incorrectly believed this was seen as softening up and would shift to the northeast side of the island, not as a preemptive bombardment before a Japanese amphibious landing and withhold counter fire with their own artillery.
At 8:30pm, the first wave of the Imperial Japanese Army 25th Army under the command of General Tomoyuki Yamashita 5th Division and 18th Division aboard barges and collapsible boats cross the Johore Strait and make an amphibious landing on the northwest of Singapore. The Japanese were able to land roughly 4,000 with available boats and barges and by the end of the night had landed roughly 13,000 soldiers.
Australian Army: The 22nd Brigade comprised of roughly 3,000 soldiers in three Battalions: 2/18th Battalion, 2/19th Battalion and 2/220th Battalion defends northwest Singapore. The initial Japanese landing comes ashore at the positions occupied by the 2/18th Battalion and 2/20th Battalion plus one company of the 2/19th Battalion around the Buloh River (Sungei Buloh). Heavy fighting begins until their positions are overrun and the Japanese are able to move inland. Meanwhile, a company of the 2/19th disrupts landing at the mouth of the Sungei Murai (Murai River) but the Japanese counter attack and overwhelm the Australians with their greater numbers. During the night, the 2/15 Field Regiment fires artillery at the landing beaches but is unable to stop the landing.