Thoughts on the military and military activities of a diverse nature. Free-ranging and eclectic.

Monday, September 20, 2004

Intelligence Failure III.

This is coolbert:

Regarding the ineptness of British Intelligence prior and during the Malayan campaign of 1941-42, some readers of this blog may ask the question, "well, how good was the Japanese intelligence effort?"

The terms, open and notorious, blatant and obvious apply to the Japanese intelligence effort in Malaya prior to the outbreak of war.

All during the decade preceding the outbreak of war, the Japanese had a large scale and widespread espionage effort in Malaya.

And as you may have guessed, in contrast to poor British intelligence, Japanese espionage was fruitful and successful.

This effort WAS duly noted by British counter-intelligence [CI], as inept as British CI in the peninsula was, but no effort was made by the colonial administration to curb infractions by Japanese intelligence. The Malayan colonial administration felt that by tolerating the espionage, the Japanese WOULD NOT BE PROVOKED!?

The Japanese did have very good intelligence sources within the British military itself. This was primarily the notorious traitor Captain Heenan. A traitor who was in a key position and sold to the Japanese all and everything of a secret nature that he could get his hands on. [Just prior to the British surrender, Captain Heenan was executed by a bullet to the back of the head and his body pitched into Singapore Harbor by a British MP].

In the year prior to their invasion of Malaya, the Japanese were able to read secret message traffic to/from Singapore.

British cryptographics had been compromised by capture, capture that was not detected. [the German surface raider Atlantis had captured a British merchant ship in the Indian Ocean that had cryptographics bound for Singapore onboard]. These cryptographics were given to the Japanese and from that point on, many secret messages to/from Singapore were read by the Japanese radio intercept service. A bonanza of intelligence that cannot be underestimated!!

"In November 1940 the Automedon was intercepted on the last leg of her journey off the Nicobar Islands . . . by the disguised Germans surface raider Atlantis . . . The delighted Germans found that they were now in possession of weighted British diplomatic courier mailbag containing the top secret personal correspondence and intelligence crown jewels for the Far East, together with all the new British maritime code-books, and the British did not know . . . early in 1941 the Japanese had copies of the highest level policy and in addition could read almost all of British secret maritime radio traffic. . . . after Singapore surrendered in 1942, Kapitan Rogge of the Atlantis was presented with a samurai sword by the Emperor of Japan's own hands; a Japanese honor almost impossible for any Westerner to comprehend, and the real mark of Japanese appreciation"

In the months prior to the outbreak of war in the Pacific, the Japanese sent numerous reconnaissance aircraft flights to make a photo recon of the length and breadth of Malaya.

These flights WERE duly observed and noted by the RAF Malaya, but no action was taken, again, at the behest of the Colonial administration. It was felt that interfering with these hostile recon flights MIGHT PROVOKE THE JAPANESE!!!

The chief of staff of operations of the Japanese army slated to invade Malaya even personally made a recon flight [as a passenger/observer] at low altitude over the landing beaches designated for the invasion force.

This was the famous/infamous [??] Colonel Tsuji, of which mention has been made in previous blog entries. Such a flight, with the a nearby Japanese army's operations chief of staff on board, should have been, if detected, a sure sign that something very big and ominous was going to happen. Was this detected and the proper inferences made? Probably not!

[Prior to the invasion of the Soviet Union by the Germans in 1941, the Germans made numerous reconnaissance overflights of Soviet territory. These flights too came to the attention of the Soviet. The response of Stalin was also to do nothing to intercept or stop the flights. The thought at the time was also "We do not want TO PROVOKE THE GERMANS!!" Sounds familiar, doesn't it??].

[Personal reconnaissance of the potential battlefield by a top commander or planner is almost always properly inferred as being a sign of something big to come. Tsuji at Malaya, the Soviet commanders prior to Czechoslovakia, Washington at Brandywine. A significant event and precursor.]



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