On 8 December 1941, the Imperial Japanese Army (IJA) made landfall in northern Malaya. Just 69 days later, Singapore was in Japanese hands.
The Allied army quickly faced a series of defeats. At sea, the main warships HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse were sunk within two days of the initial attack. On land, the Allied forces steadily lost ground and were pushed southwards.
By the end of January, all Allied troops had retreated to Singapore, and the Battle for Singapore was short and swift. The IJA launched their attack on Singapore’s northwest coast at Kranji, and seized key locations on the island. Faced with dwindling resources, Lieutenant General Arthur E. Percival and his advisors surrendered just one week later, on 15 February 1942.
British Prime Minister Winston Churchill would later call the fall of Singapore the “worst disaster and the largest capitulation in British history”.