Who was the worst Brit general of WW II

The big Allied defeat that is often overlooked but which in fact was the greatest catastrophe (it being after all the ultimate objective that the Japanese were aiming to seize) was the absolute collapse of the Dutch in their East Indies.
The KNIL was 85,000 strong in 1941; covering the myriad potential landing sites on the 3,000km+ long Indonesian archipelago against a Japanese force with a far superior naval and air capability, and the initiative in terms of where they would concentrate that force to strike. The Dutch military hadn't fought a conventional adversary on any scale since Waterloo 126 years previously, so while they may have had intimate knowledge of the terrain, they had no experience against the enemy they faced, having effectively spent the last 40 or so years as a colonial police force. Given that many of the KNIL were European, and the Netherlands had been quickly overrun more than a year previously, I doubt their morale was particularly high, even at the start of the NEI campaign, when they'd also witnessed the rolling up of the Commonwealth forces in Malaya and the fall of the invisible fortress of Singapore, which the Dutch had provided some air support to, and therefore had first-hand knowledge of what was coming at them.
 
I would argue a lot of the root cause of the defeat in 1941/42 was the boots on the ground had been fed the colonial meme 24/7 that the ’little yellow men’ couldn’t fight And when it was found he could, panic too often set in without competent and decisive leadership.
While many of the rank and file were of good enough calibre, far too many of the Officers were dilitants and 2nd rate for whome life in the Far East was seen as a long Rafflesque jolly in the sun.

par example... the RN, USN and Dutch navies last stand in the Java Sea. They had planned to live to fight another day and were putting up a good showing, but when finding the Army had panicked and blown up all their fuel oil supplies, had no option to to go out and die bravely in a last stand.

Singapore ? There could have been and should have been an orderly evacuation of dependents, but instead, the HQ staff fell apart and left everyone to their own devices and the rest, including the collapsing defences, is history. The Japanese were as surprised as anyone they pulled off Singapore, many Japanese troops in the final assaults were very short of food and ammunition.
Please provide sources references and actually facts when posting otherwise don't post.
 
The KNIL was 85,000 strong in 1941; covering the myriad potential landing sites on the 3,000km+ long Indonesian archipelago against a Japanese force with a far superior naval and air capability, and the initiative in terms of where they would concentrate that force to strike. The Dutch military hadn't fought a conventional adversary on any scale since Waterloo 126 years previously, so while they may have had intimate knowledge of the terrain, they had no experience against the enemy they faced, having effectively spent the last 40 or so years as a colonial police force. Given that many of the KNIL were European, and the Netherlands had been quickly overrun more than a year previously, I doubt their morale was particularly high, even at the start of the NEI campaign, when they'd also witnessed the rolling up of the Commonwealth forces in Malaya and the fall of the invisible fortress of Singapore, which the Dutch had provided some air support to, and therefore had first-hand knowledge of what was coming at them.
the Dutch really weren’t terribly popular in Indonesia.
isn’t widely know that the Japanese were well received by the local independence movement and rather more than a few Japanese allied themselves with the Independence movement after Aug 45 and would fight on in a rather nasty and bitter war that lost the Dutch what little support it had previously had.
 
the Dutch really weren’t terribly popular in Indonesia.
isn’t widely know that the Japanese were well received by the local independence movement and rather more than a few Japanese allied themselves with the Independence movement after Aug 45 and would fight on in a rather nasty and bitter war that lost the Dutch what little support it had previously had.
I've no doubt there was an element of 'Asian for the Asians; throw out the white devil colonial oppressors', but as to how much that affected the performance of the KNIL in 1942, I suspect not a lot.
 
Last edited:
the Dutch really weren’t terribly popular in Indonesia.
isn’t widely know that the Japanese were well received by the local independence movement and more than a few Japanese allied themselves with the Independence movement after Aug 45 and would fight on in a rather nasty and bitter war that lost the Dutch what little support it had previously had.
Same in Indochina; Jap officers and men as well a Jap weaponry found in Vietminh ranks well after the war
 
I've no doubt there was an element of 'Asian for the Asians; throw out the white devil colonial oppressors', but as to how much that affected the performance of the KNIL in 1942, I suspect not a lot?
suffered the same issue as the British, Colonial snobbery, nothing like as bad as the French mind.
there you had a perfect storm.
the locals hated their French overlords, And the French overlords were far too welcoming of a Japanese occupation as long as nothing harmed their way of life. The Vichy Government was not Frances finest hour.
 
your records stuck....
is your ability to do any critical thinking broken?
Nope my thinking is lucid, however you are now on ignore as you seem to be incapable of providing accurate posts that are sourced quoted and verified. Btw the reason post war jungle warfare was successful was down to the men who fought ww2.

Argylls chindits ghurkas west africans Indians and the locals who found out the hard way the Japs weren't liberators.
 
Nope my thinking is lucid, however you are now on ignore as you seem to be incapable of providing accurate posts that are sourced quoted and verified. Btw the reason post war jungle warfare was successful was down to the men who fought ww2.

Argylls chindits ghurkas west africans Indians and the locals who found out the hard way the Japs weren't liberators.
and how did you manage to derive that strange conclusion from what I posted?
 
It’s notable that the only place a colonial power came back after Aug 1945 with a modicum of popularity was the Malay States. But They had been run at arms length through local rulers who had legitamacy and not been ripped off and the locals treated as absolute serfs By imperial overlords lording it.

but everywhere else, everyone was an unpopular overlord and fighting low and not so low level political and popular insurgencies. We, the British, were properly unpopular in Burma in the 30’s.
 
The KNIL was 85,000 strong in 1941; covering the myriad potential landing sites on the 3,000km+ long Indonesian archipelago against a Japanese force with a far superior naval and air capability, and the initiative in terms of where they would concentrate that force to strike. The Dutch military hadn't fought a conventional adversary on any scale since Waterloo 126 years previously, so while they may have had intimate knowledge of the terrain, they had no experience against the enemy they faced, having effectively spent the last 40 or so years as a colonial police force. Given that many of the KNIL were European, and the Netherlands had been quickly overrun more than a year previously, I doubt their morale was particularly high, even at the start of the NEI campaign, when they'd also witnessed the rolling up of the Commonwealth forces in Malaya and the fall of the invisible fortress of Singapore, which the Dutch had provided some air support to, and therefore had first-hand knowledge of what was coming at them.
Yes I am aware of all that, and those are fine post-hoc analyses of what went wrong, but they do not excuse the failure.

The Dutch in the East Indies had plenty of time to prepare for what was coming, it's no excuse to say that things in the motherland were difficult. The KNIL had access to all the vast resources in their huge archipelago, they were actually better resourced than the army back in Europe when it came to manpower, fuel, food and basic equipment.

They could have organised things far better and could have made plans for fighting retreats into Java and Sumatra. They didn't, they sat on their thumbs hoping the Brits and Yanks would sort the problem out, when the Japs arrived they made one hopeless and badly coordinated naval sortie in which they were absolutely destroyed by superior Japanese tactics (this was the Dutch remember, they were supposed to be pretty good sailors) and when the Japanese landed, not at some obscure out of the way nook or inlet but fifty miles down the main road from the capital, they simply threw the towel in.

The fact that they were just as useless at defending their SE Asian colonies as the British and Americans hardly makes their total and abject defeat any less humiliating.
 
... (this was the Dutch remember, they were supposed to be pretty good sailors) ...
Being good at something in the 17th C is no guarantee of performance in the 20th C!
 

Latest Threads

Top