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Hong Kong Failure

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The Canadians at the Battle of Hong Kong failed due to the insufficient training of the soldiers, which impaired their fighting effectiveness. When selecting troops to deploy to Hong Kong, Major General H. D. G. Crerar chose two infantry battalions, the Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles of Canada, from a list of units deemed unsuited for deployment. “Instead, Crerar chose the Royal Rifles of Canada and the Winnipeg Grenadiers from category C, defined by Lawson as “those units which, due to either recent employment or insufficient training, are not recommended” to be deployed at the present time.”[ Pages 13-14, The Damned] Due to the recent deployment of these troops to Jamaica and Newfoundland, and their need for refresher training,…show more content…
There were multiple shortages of water due to the Japanese occupation of important reservoirs, resulting in the interruption of the island’s water supplies. “Water mains were destroyed by the bombardment. The public works department struggled bravely to effect a remedy, but the enemy destroyed the pipes again and again. Two days ago there remained but one day’s supply.”[ Page 2, Garrison of 6000 Troops, Including Many Canadians, Capitulates to the Japanese] After the water supply from the main Tai Tam reservoir was interrupted, troops were subjected to a water shortage that, amplified by their exhaustion from continuous days of battle, quickly rendered them impotent against the Japanese force. Transportation of the troops on Hong Kong was inefficient, due to the absence of the 212 vehicles designated to the Canadians as a result of an incompetency on behalf of Army Headquarters. The vehicles did not arrive in time to be loaded onto the troopship, ultimately sailing to another destination and leaving the Canadians without efficient transportation. “The whole thing was disorganized confusion,” one Winnipeg Grenadier recalled. “Nobody was prepared for it. There was no communication. We didn’t have transportation. You carried everything on your back.” The vehicles left behind in Canada were greatly missed though, as the enemy had air superiority, how long they could have lasted was uncertain.”[ HONG KONG: The Inside Story of Canada’s Role in a Doomed Garrison] Heightened by the exhaustion of the troops from consecutive days of combat, and by travelling on unfamiliar, rugged Hong Kong terrain with the weight of their resources, the absence of transportation hindered the Canadians from defending Hong Kong at full strength and delayed the transportation of important reinforcements that may have prevented strategic locations from falling into Japanese occupation.
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