The Battle of Hong Kong 8 to 25 Dec 41 (80 years ago). Day by Day

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
I am sharing extracts from CBF's Study Period held in 1964 by way of a day by day account of the battle of Hong Kong:

8 Dec 1941

Major Gray, commanding ‘C’ Coy, 2/4 Punjab Regiment, had received orders that he was to maintain Ops on the frontier, to cover demolitions mainly in the Fanling area and to retire down in the Fanling/Taipo road fighting delay actions if necessary.
Since his sub unit was the only one, other than patrols, forward of the main defensive line is troops were not to attend at any stage to hold a fixed position.

The Japanese announce the war to their own nationals at 0445 hrs Hong Kong time on 8 December. By 0730 hrs, two bridges had been blown at Lo Wu and at several roads demolitions completed in the Fanling area. (2045hrs and 2330hrs GMT 7 Dec 41 respectively)

Upon receiving a report that 2 Japanese bns had crossed the eastern part of the border into Laffan’s plain, Major Gray ordered an immediate withdrawal to Tai Po.

At 0800 hrs, (0001 hrs GMT), a five minute Japanese attack destroyed our six (RAF) planes and badly damaged the Kai Tak airstrip.

By about lunchtime on the 8th, the main body of the covering troops of ’C’ Coy had taken up defensive positions in Tai Po market place while the left flank was in the hills west of Tai Po.

At 1500 hrs those in the marketplace so what a Japanese bn advancing from the NE down a lonely hillside track. The enemy made no attempt at concealment while controlled fire from ‘C’ Company drove them back in some confusion.
Meanwhile, on the western side of the mainland, three Japanese bns, those in fact of the 230th regiment, had advanced from the border and taken Yuan Long. By1600 hrs Tai Mo Shan was occupied and our main defence line was thereby overlooked.

But the covering troops in Tai Po were being given no time for a breather. At 1800hrs an enemy detachment moving through the hills west of Tai Po was checked and at 1930hrs an enemy platoon was ambushed by ‘C’ Coy’s Bren carriers.

Throughout the evening, making the most of the bright moonlight, the Japanese moved in small columns along the narrow tracks. Their training in nightwork was now beginning to pay off. We were surprised – an entry in the Fortress HQ War Diary at 0215 hrs stated “The lesson of today is that the enemy can operate strongly on a moonlight night”

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Goatman

ADC
Book Reviewer
Might want to edit the Thread title.

Interesting stuff.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
80 years ago in Hong Kong:

9 Dec 41

Shortly after midnight of the 8/9th, 150 Japanese troops landed in the North West tip of Tide Cove about 3 miles SE of Tai Po and in the rear of covering troops of ‘C’ Coy, who are now forced to withdraw to the Fo Tan about 2 miles S of Tai Po.
At dawn on the 9th, under increasing pressure the Company withdrew still further to Monastery Ridge just in front of the main defence line. This feature can be seen on the first
map in your folder.

On the same morning – the 9th – General Maltby ordered the reserve company all arrangements to fill the 1500 yds gap on the rise of the Royal Scots position at Shing Mun.
‘C’ Coy remained on Monastery Ridge all day on the 9th that’s denying its use as a recce position to the enemy. The speed of the advance was maintained, nonetheless for the Rajputs on the right of the line were kept on the alert as Japanese troops, in increasing numbers, crossed Tide Cove and the move towards Buffalo Hill.

At dusk on the 9th, ‘C’ Coy was finally withdrawn, having completed 16 major demolitions and having inflicted about 100 casualties on the enemy. But their withdrawal had been quicker than expected. The Japanese were proving fit, skilful and well informed.

As yet, however, there have been no major clash on any part of the line.
During the next 36 hrs the Royal Scots or the brunt of the fighting and activity centred around their position in the Sing Mun Redoubt and later on Golden Hill.

The company positioned are marks on map 2. Immediately south of Tsuen Wan was ‘C’ Company. Astride the Castle Peak rd and the belief that the name Wo Li Hop on the map was B Company. In reserve across the words Holden Hill was D Company. A Company wassouth and SW of the reservoir and contained within its area the redoubt itself. Two platoons of this company occupied the boys defensive localities to the NW and 8 Platoon manned the redoubt. But this platoon also had to patrol E and NE of the redoubt And the Brigade Commander “relying on patrols to be sent out at intervals three times during the hours of darkness with each patrol consisting of one officer and nine men”. This left 12 men on the machine gun and three men to man the telephones and to patrol ¾ mile of wire’.

But the gap to the E of the redoubt was filled by the reserve coy or the Rajputs early on the morning all the 9th though the Rajput Coy lay well back on the Tai Po Rd.

The night of the 9/10th was dirty, wet and misty and, returning from the dam at about 10 p.m. the redoubt patrol heard nothing but the sound of its own boots. Waiting for thisvpatrol to return to the redoubt Colonel Doi of 228th regiment infiltrated 150 men of his 3rd Bn through the gap to the east are eluding any Rajput patrols that may have been in the area. This force climbed up to the E side of Smuggler’s Ridge and came down on the redoubt from above.

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BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
80 years ago in Hong Kong:

10 Dec 21

Attack on the Shing Mun Redoubt

The Rajput Coy reported enemy movement in the Shing Mun river area at about 11p.m. (2300hrs 9 Dec 41 - 1500hrs GMT) and almost immediately a sentry of the Scots forward pill-box challenged a party of men approaching the wire from the north. The pill-boxes, Coy HQ and the arty OP were all quickly alerted but no sooner had the CO been informed land of the occupants realised that the Japanese were swarming around the post which collapsed by 4 a.m. on the 10th taking the Coy HQ with it. The Rajputs reported further enemy concentrations crossing the river and these quickly joined and augmented the force already in the redoubt. The pill boxes, attacked from front and rear, when no match for the Japanese who dropped grenades Down the convenient ventilation shafts. One box held out until 7 a.m. when one of our own shells from a series of counter bombardments caved in the concrete.

To stem of the enemy advance artillery barrages were put down on the 10th and the Reserve Company of the Grenadiers called over from the Island. They reported into the Mainland Bde HQ by 4 a.m. on the 10th. At the same time Brigadier Wallis ordered the Scots to counter-attack at first light to recover the redoubt and promised support of the Rajputs Company and an artillery barrage. The Scots CO was reluctant to fall in with this plan as his reserve Coy was half its normal strength through sickness, the enemy were in trenched in difficult country and the two remaining the platoons of A Coy were still holding the line south-west of the dam. Brigadier Wallis did not override this for “it seemed useless to force a Battalion Commander to execute a plan in which he had no confidence”.
By midday A and D Coys and the Coy of the Rajputs fully occupied in repelling attacks as Japanese patrols sought to exploit their success.

General Maltby (GOC) was now doubtful if Gin Drinker’s Line could be held, for no defensive positions behind the main line has been constructed, B and C Coys Royal Scots were 1 mile in front with exposed right flank and the Punjab Centre Bn were under heavy shell-fire from more than normal Div Artillery. Their pill-boxes at Wong Uk were shelled in turn and though well-camouflaged, well well-known to the enemy. They were flimsy deathtraps whose roofs were blown off under direct fire. Moreover intense shelling of Stonecutters damage the gun supporting this centre Bn.

The decision to withdraw from the mainland

The GOC wished to evacuate the mainland immediately after just over 48 hrs of attack but the Commodore who had to arrange for demolitions in Kowloon and the transport of naval stores, protested at this notice and asked for 24 hours. This General Maltby accepted.

To consolidate the line, the Punjab’s took up positions covering the junction of the Golden Hill and Tai Po roads, South of Smugglers Ridge. The Scots, who’s right flank was badly exposed where brought back after dark to the Golden Hill Line which stretched from Golden Hill south-west to the Castle Peak Road and the sea. General Maltby speaks of the “strong Golden Hill Line” but as its only defence was a few shallow widely-dispersed, ill provided with wire, weapon pits, its “strength” lay in the fortitude of its defenders.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
80 years ago in Hong Kong:

11 Dec 41

Though was little activity on the ninth of 10/11th, the morning all the 11th at7 a.m. saw screaming waves of Japanese launched under cover on a heavy mortar barrage against B and C Companies of the Royal Scots west of and on Golden Hill. Both Companies withdrew in some disorder with severe casualties and with both Company Commanders killed, onto their reserve Coy half a mile N of Lai Chi Kok. On Map No 2, only one Company position is shown N of Lai Chi Kok. This is because it is not known whether B and C Companies took up Company defensive positions, or whether they were so battered that they were absorbed into the reserve Company area. General Maltby in his despatches claimed that the withdrawal of B and C Companies ‘exposed at the junction of the Castle Peak and Tai poo roads’ and thus ‘seriously endangered’ the troops along the Tai Po Road. An Armoured Car platoon and a carrier platoon both of HKVDC were rushed forward along the Castle Peak road and that the company of the Winnipeg Grenadiers were quickly moved up behind the Royal Scots. The position was temporarily stabilised. The Japanese, after their attack on B and C Companies, swung NE to attack D Company on Golden Hill where they were repulsed as they came over the crest with very heavy casualties. For the remainder of the day, the enemy made no further attempts to push forward in the Lai Chi Kok area where are they thought there was a greater concentration of troops than three battered companies of the Royal Scots. They did, however, continue to harry D company on the Hill.

But the Royal Scots were vilified for their hasty withdrawal from the redoubt and Golden Hill. They were call the ‘Fleet of Foot’. It may be that the word of a fellow Scot may not be the most dispassionate but it was Compton Mackenzie who wrote “The danger of highlighting a minor failure is that it blinds the eyes of the public and prevents their recognising the major responsibility of those in the UK whose myopia, mental laziness and moral cowardice presented Hong Kong, Singapore and it Rangoon to the Japanese before a platoon of Royal Scots was bound out at the Shing Mun redoubt”.
On midday of the 11th December General Maltby (GOC) decided on withdrawal to the
Island.

The withdrawal plan was:

a. Royal Scots, one company Winnipeg Grenadiers brought over to stabilise the line after the Golden Hill battle and the bulk of the artillery to embark at Sham Shui Po.

b. The Rajputs, less one company, with one howitzer troop HKSRA where to hold the Mau Lu Tong line across Devil’s Peak peninsula.

c. The Punjabis were to move through the Rajputs and embark at the tip of
Devil’s Peak peninsula.

The withdrawal to Devil’s Peak had never been practised in exercises. There were a few roads and few mules for transport of equipment and ammunition. The long march of the Punjabis was made under severe difficulties since the bn had no mules and had to leave behind food and blankets to carry more essential ammunition.

The Kowloon denial plan was now, put into operation. Oil supplies were partially demolished, and dockyards demolished. All allied merchant ships were sunk. The coastal batteries on Stonecutter’s Island were blown up.

During the afternoon and evening of 11th, the Royal Scots and the Canadians, with the heavy guns and equipment left from Sham Shui Po and Jordan Road.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
80 years ago in Hong Kong:

12 Dec 41.


At midnight of 11/12th, the Punjabis who had been covering the left flank withdrawal, began their own.

Bn HQ and ‘C’ and ‘D’ Companies reached Shatin Pass without difficulty in the pitch darkness and then took the wrong track. The Rajput Bn HQ, waiting for the Punjabis at Custom Pass, had received orders to withdraw to the Mau Lo Tong line as soon as possible. The Punjabis should have arrived at 0200 hrs. At 0330 hrs there was still no sign of them and It was beginning to mount for small arms fire could be heard from Tate’s Cairn, which had been occupied by the Japanese moving in from Buffalo Hill. It was 0400 hrs when the exhausted Punjabis finally arrived at Hai Wan. They had come down by Jat Incline and Anderson Road – a dangerous and difficult route.

Meanwhile personnel of HQ Coy or the Punjabis had become separated from the main body and it come down into Kowloon City. Although hampered by fifth columnist snipers, they supervise the withdrawal or several ferry load of refugees until finally, at dawn on the12th, they boarded the ferries themselves as the first of the advancing Japanese appeared.

The position at daybreak on the 12th December – no troops were left on the mainland other than in the Devil’s Peak peninsula. ‘A’ and ‘B’ Coys of the Rajputs were holding the forward position on the Mau Lo Tong line and ‘D’ Coy was in reserve. Bn HQ was at Hai Wan An the Punjabis were resting on the jetty.

During the day howitzers fired on enemy troops at Customs Pass and at Kai Tak. At 1800 hrs an enemy bn advancing down the slopes of Cheung Kwan – called on present day maps Chiu Lan Chu – completely unsupported by either motor artillery fire, was driven back and enemy losses were high.

At 2100 hrs, still on 12th, ’C’ and ‘D’ Coys of the Rajputs were moved back to the Hai Wan Area to cover the evacuation of the Punjabis, the howitzer troops and their own ‘A’ and ‘B’ Coys.

At this stage General Maltby was considering the possibility of leaving these two Companies - ’C’ and ‘D’ Coys of the Rajputs – on the mainland to hold the Devil’s Peak area. This would have given him more time to prepare the island defences and to avoid the consequences of hasty retreat. On the other hand prolonged resistance at the tip of the peninsula was not feasible and the Rajput were wanted intact for the defence of the Island.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
80 years ago in Hong Kong:

13 Dec 41


At 0400 hrs only 13th December, the Punjabis, the howitzer troop and ‘A’ Coy, the Rajputs, were safely away and the decision was made. The evacuation will be completed without delay, although it was realised that the last troops would have to embark in broad daylight. This they did at 0730 hrs.

The evacuation was carried out by the Royal Navy using the destroyer HMS Thracian and 4 MTBs, all of whom, at the risk of both enemy artillery and small arms fire and of grounding, came very close in to assist to the maximum the almost exhausted troops.

Unfortunately, 120 mules had to be left behind because the mule lighters had either sunk or been but sunk or their crews had deserted. Ironically, although all the guns were brought off, many of them later fell into a enemy hands for lack of mule transport.

Throughout this final phase, there was a distinct lack of enemy interference. There were no artillery or air attacks on either embarkation points at Devil’s Peak or landing points of Aberdeen. Perhaps, expecting stiffer and more prolonged resistance, the enemy were preparing for an all out assault on the Devil’s Peak position. They were certainly surprised at the speed at the withdrawal, the success of which must be weighed against the fact that General Maltby had expected Gindrinker’s Line to hold for at least seven days.

It had taken the enemy five days from dawn on the 8th to dawn on me 13th to clear the entire mainland of all defending troops.
 
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BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
80 Years ago in Hong Kong:

14 Dec 41

The Island was divided into two Brigade areas – East and West - the dividing line running roughly north and south through the centre of the Island. Brigadier Wallis commanded East Brigade and Brigadier Lawson West Brigade.

Map No 1 shows that the two Indian bns on the north shore where defending nearly eleven miles of waterfront. The two Canadian bns were spread around the south shores of the Island with the 1st Bn Middlesex Regiment manning pill boxes along the Victoria waterfront and from Sai Wan southward.

This disposition of troops amounted to the posting of sentries around the Island. Consequently wherever the Japanese were to attack they would automatically have a superior concentration of force and greatly outnumber defenders.

Looking at Map No 1 and 3 the situation is that the 5/7 Rajputs hold the NE shore that in reserve are the 2nd Bn Royal Scots in Wanchai Gap, NW of Mount Cameron 1 Coy Winnipeg Grenadiers in Wong Nei Chong Gap, a scratch company – Z Company of the 1st Bn Middlesex Regiment – on a Leyton Hill 096664, 3 Coys HKVDC in the Peak area and 2 Coys HKVDC at Stanley.

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Very interesting thread and thank you for taking the trouble to post.
Was the decision not to attempt a counter attack on the redoubt on 10th controversial?
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Very interesting thread and thank you for taking the trouble to post.
Was the decision not to attempt a counter attack on the redoubt on 10th controversial?
I’m not aware of that being controversial beyond whats mentioned later which is very unfair.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
80 Years Ago in Hong Kong

15 to 17 Dec 41


The withdrawal took place on the 13th. The Japanese assault landing started on the 18th. Their preparation for the attack had in fact began before forces have been withdrawn from the mainland. Hong Kong island had been under repeated bombing raids by the Japanese since the hostilities has begun. On the 12th their artillery, from the Kowloon Tong area, began shelling the island. Mortars were also in action against the North Shore which was now their primary target. From the 12th the bombardment intensified and was interrupted only by two peace offers by the Japanese on the 13th and 15th.

This bombardment caused extensive damage:

a. Belcher’s Point which was used as ammunition store was completely knocked out and all other emplacements were damaged, some reporting as many as 30 or 40 direct hits.

b. Vital Ops, particularly all those in the Sai Wan area, were destroyed.

c. Line communications were severely disrupted.

d. Artillery ammunition could not be moved from the Magazines in the Shousan Hill area.

e. In the Rajput area 75% of the beach lights had been knocked out by the time of the final landing.

f. Visibility in the Power Station area, which was to be a major Japanese landing point, was severely limited by smoke from nearby burning oil tanks and paint factory.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Hong Kong 80 Years ago:

18 Dec 41


On evening of the attack Brigadier Wallis commanding East Bde when referring to the North Shore describe a situation as ‘Not very bright”.

At 2200 hrs on the 18th the Japanese attacked simultaneously Lyemun, Quarry Bay and North Point coming across in specially constructed flat bottomed boats. General Maltby was of the impression that only four were being use, two at Lyemun and two at North Point. However six Bns were used. II and III Bns of the 229th at Lyemun: I and II Bns of the 228th at Quarry Bay and the II and III Bns of the 230th at North Point.

The whole weight of the attack fell on Rajputs who suffered severely losing most of their officers, British and Indian. On landing the advanced troops of the Japanese avoided local points holding out and infiltrated inland leaving centres of resistance to be subdued later. Examples of this were the defence of the Power Station by the ‘Hughsiliers’ and the HKVDC battery at Pak Sha Wan. These to points in eventually fell on the 19th and 22nd respectively.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Hong Kong 80 years ago:

19 Dec 41


By the first light on the 19th – (that is, in some 8 to 9 hours of first landing) the Japanese had their right flank, the 290th on Jardines Lookout, their centre the 228th on Mt Butler and their left flank of the 229th on Sai Wan and Mt Parker commanding Sai Wan Gap.

Once the enemy had established himself ashore, persistent counter attack was the only policy if the Japanese were not to win the inland merely by landing on it.

Brigadier Wallis ordered the reserve Coy of the Royal Rifles of Canada to counter attack Sai Wan Hill. They were driven off. At the same time both Brigadier Wallis and Brigadier Lawson, independently, tried to send troops to hold Mt Butler. Both found a Japanese in possession and fail to remove them. Realising the importance of Jardine’s Lookout, which overshadowed his Bde HQ in Wong Nei Chong Gap, Brig Lawson order a Coy of the WG to attack Jardine’s Lookout with Mt Butler with as its final objective. Although this Coy attainder crest of Mt Butler they were eventually thrown off by superior numbers. It was in this action that CSM Osborne was awarded the VC posthumously.

Already at this time, first light on the 19th, our forces work to all intents and purposes divided. The left flank was an extended line from Causeway Bay to Wong Nei Chong Gap with the East Bde HQ at Taitam Gap and Wong Nei Chong Gap.

Throughout this first day on the Island, the 19th the fighting concentrated around Wong Nei Chong Gap with the Japanese overlooking the area from Jardine’s Lookout.

The 230th moved south west from Jardine’s lookout towards Mt Nicholson attacking the Brigade HQ on the road. The 228th moved from Mt Butler through Stanley Gap and attacked the captured Police Station at Wong Nei Chong Gap after a fierce fighting. It was in this action that the Japanese suffered some of the heaviest casualties in the fighting on the island. The defending force was also badly cut up. Number three Coy of the HKVDC, defending pillboxes in the area, fought with great courage and determination suffering over 80% casualties before being over run.

General Maltby ordered two counter attacks. At 0730 hrs on the 19th one Coy all the Royal Scots was sent in vehicles to secure the Gap from the south. At 0945 hrs they were ambushed in the area about 200 yards to the south of the Police Station and withdrew with heavy losses. A Royal Naval party from Aberdeen suffered the same fate.

Not aware that Brigadier Lawson has been killed at about 1000 hrs and the West Bde’s HQ wiped out, General Maltby decided at 1330 hrs on a major counter attack.

The plan was for two Coys of the Punjabis to move eastwards from the Leighton Hill Area to relieve scattered remanence of the Rajputs still holding out in Tai hang village and for the Royal Scots and the 1 Winnipeg Grenadiers to make a general advance to secure the line Wong Nei Chong Gap/Middle Spur. However Brig Lawson’s death meant there was no one to co-ordinate the two counter attacks and both were quickly in trouble. The Winnipeg Grenadiers and that the Royal Scots approximately six Coys strong, were held up by the Police Station in Wong Nei Chong Gap and the Punjabis, after confused fighting in Tai hang Village, withdrew after sustaining heavy casualties, to Victoria Barracks.

Attacks on the Police Station maintained throughout the night of the 19/20th but they were uncoordinated and unsuccessful for no Bde Commander had been nominated as General Maltby was still not aware of Lawson’s death.

In all the fighting around Wong Nei Chong Gap the East Bde Took no part. In fact Brig Wallis asked for, I was given, permission to withdraw and regroup in the Stanley Mound/Stone Hill area. General Maltby reluctantly agreed all you had wanted Brigadier Wallis to move west to the line Taitam/Wong Nei Chong Gap. However he allowed Brigadier Wallis to persuade him. By withdrawing to the south, the enemy were allowed to penetrate unopposed between the two Bdes, thereby splitting the defence in two, with all the disastrous consequences which that entailed. This splitting move was carried out by the 29th removed through the Taitam area, towards Violet Hill, occupying the main features in the area.

East Bde, which comprised the Royal Rifles of Canada, 2 Coys of Middlesex taken from there now useless pillboxes, 2 Coys of the HKVDC and a small parties of support arms and services, withdrew south in order to counter attack. This attack and did not materialise until the morning of the 20th.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
... At 0945 hrs they were ambushed in the area about 200 yards to the south of the Police Station and withdrew with heavy losses. A Royal Naval party from Aberdeen suffered the same fate...
I attended a 48X Battlefield Study in 1990. At one point we were in the HK Cricket Club IVO Wong New Chung Gap. One of the speakers was a RN veteran who was part of that naval party. They were in a lorry that was shot up and they were all taken prisoner. The Japanese lined them up facing a nullah (open drain) and bayoneted them in the back. The bayonet went into this chaps belt buckle and he diveded into the nullah. The Japs then bayoneted the bodies but he was 'lucky' that somebody had landed on top of him.

You can imagine that there was hushed silence as he told us this except for a lady who who sobbing. That was his wife. He had never told her about this before. He had never told anyone, but decided to tell us on the spur of the moment.

Of course the current generation of Japanese are not responsible for any of this but apologists for the Japanese like to use all sorts of excuses. The code of bushido and the fact that they thought that surrender was dishonourable. They were reacting to centuries of European colonial oppression and so on.

Bullshit. No where in Bushido does it allow them to murder and torture prisoners or rape and murder ofcivilians, which they did all over the territories they conquered. Japan was never subject to colonial oppression but wanted to impose their own deeply unpleasant version of colonial oppression on others.

The excuse you can give for the soldiers at the bottom of the pile is, like the Soviets, that they themselves where treated pretty badly by their CoC. It reinforces the point about why we must always obey the laws of armed conflict however inconvenient they may sometimes feel. It reinforces the point that there cn be no statute of limitations on war crimes.
 

BuggerAll

LE
Kit Reviewer
Book Reviewer
Just caught this thread thanks for posting
Thanks. I had wanted to organise a BFS to Hong Kong or even a study day in the UK but... Covid. This and FaceBook is about the best can do.
 
Thanks. I had wanted to organise a BFS to Hong Kong or even a study day in the UK but... Covid. This and FaceBook is about the best can do.

Nothing stopping you, get the information collated sort out two plans of walk. Then go over it with google earth which has that helpful 3d birds eye view as recommended by James holland when he researched the arakan campaign
 
I am sharing extracts from CBF's Study Period held in 1964 by way of a day by day account of the battle of Hong Kong:

8 Dec 1941

Major Gray, commanding ‘C’ Coy, 2/4 Punjab Regiment, had received orders that he was to maintain Ops on the frontier, to cover demolitions mainly in the Fanling area and to retire down in the Fanling/Taipo road fighting delay actions if necessary.
Since his sub unit was the only one, other than patrols, forward of the main defensive line is troops were not to attend at any stage to hold a fixed position.

The Japanese announce the war to their own nationals at 0445 hrs Hong Kong time on 8 December. By 0730 hrs, two bridges had been blown at Lo Wu and at several roads demolitions completed in the Fanling area. (2045hrs and 2330hrs GMT 7 Dec 41 respectively)

Upon receiving a report that 2 Japanese bns had crossed the eastern part of the border into Laffan’s plain, Major Gray ordered an immediate withdrawal to Tai Po.

At 0800 hrs, (0001 hrs GMT), a five minute Japanese attack destroyed our six (RAF) planes and badly damaged the Kai Tak airstrip.

By about lunchtime on the 8th, the main body of the covering troops of ’C’ Coy had taken up defensive positions in Tai Po market place while the left flank was in the hills west of Tai Po.

At 1500 hrs those in the marketplace so what a Japanese bn advancing from the NE down a lonely hillside track. The enemy made no attempt at concealment while controlled fire from ‘C’ Company drove them back in some confusion.
Meanwhile, on the western side of the mainland, three Japanese bns, those in fact of the 230th regiment, had advanced from the border and taken Yuan Long. By1600 hrs Tai Mo Shan was occupied and our main defence line was thereby overlooked.

But the covering troops in Tai Po were being given no time for a breather. At 1800hrs an enemy detachment moving through the hills west of Tai Po was checked and at 1930hrs an enemy platoon was ambushed by ‘C’ Coy’s Bren carriers.

Throughout the evening, making the most of the bright moonlight, the Japanese moved in small columns along the narrow tracks. Their training in nightwork was now beginning to pay off. We were surprised – an entry in the Fortress HQ War Diary at 0215 hrs stated “The lesson of today is that the enemy can operate strongly on a moonlight night”

View attachment 621052
 
My great uncle, Harry Hunter, Royal Scots was killed in Hong Kong. I believe he was killed in action around Wong Nai Chung Gap. He was in the machine gun platoon. Him and his number two mowed down hundreds of Nips. Apparently, one of the Nip Generals lost a son or son in law who was killed by the gunners which resulted in some of the worst atrocities the Nips committed in Hong Kong. At least Harry zapped plenty of Tojos before he bought it. The battlefield tour was very good. I did it in 1997, before the handover to the Peoples Liberation Army, when I was serving in the Black Watch. We are the people, who's like us, nobody, cause there all dead.
Big Shawzer ex Savages 1BW
 

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