The Battle of Hong Kong took place in 1941 from 8 December until 25 December. The two parts of the battle are also referred to as the Defence of Hong Kong and the Fall of Hong Kong. The battle was one of the first ones to occur during the Pacific War in the times of the Second World War.

The beginnings of the battle broke out around the same time as the attack on Pearl Harbor. The forces of the Empire of Japan had an attack on the colony of the British Crown, based in Hong Kong. The attack violated the international law because the Empire of Japan had not declared war before making its move to attack the British Empire. The garrison of Hong Kong comprised a majority of Indian units, Indian units, as well as British units. There was also Chinese soldiers and other from within and outside Hong Kong.

The strength of the Empire of Japan was far superior to that of Hong Kong colony of the British Empire. Hong Kong went into battle with 14,564 troops, one destroyer, and one gunboat. On the attacking side, the Empire of Japan had almost 30,000 troops, 47 planes, four torpedo boats, three gunboats and three destroyers, and one cruiser. The odds were not in favor of Hong Kong.

It was a long and arduous battle. There are dozens of locations which had an important role during the Battle of Hong Kong. The first attack happened a handful of hours after the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor. On 8 December 1941, The Empire of Japan invaded the Kai Tak Airport with one of their own aircraft. It damaged and destroyed several of the aircraft of the Royal Air Force of the British Empire. The Japanese aircraft also leveled the nearby camp Sham Shui Po which was nearly but not completely empty yet. Two Canadian soldiers were killed, becoming the first casualties in the month-long war for Hong Kong.

The day after on 9 December, the ground forces of the Empire of Japan moved in but met the resistance of the mainland brigade. The fell back to the Gin Drinker’s Line where the defenders hoped to hold off the enemy for a few more days. The Japanese, however, captured one of the high-ground areas, Shing Mun Redoubt. That area was a critical strategic position in the flank of the defenders. The day after, the defenders were strengthened by the D Company.

The Canadian units engaged for the first time on 11 December. By exchanging gunfire with the attackers, this unit became the first Canadian unit to participate in combat during the Second World War. The Japanese fought until 13 December and then demanded the surrender of Hong Kong. The latter denied. The demand as repeated a few days later and received the refusal of Hong Kong once again. The defenders were alone against the invading Japanese.

At nightfall on 18 December, the enemy dispatched four assaults on the Hong Kong island across a 3-kilometer front and faced defenders with machine guns. With their forces fanning out, the Japanese continued to invade and slowly overtook several camps, valleys, and high grounds. The Royal Rifles tried to force the Japanese to retreat.

Despite the defensive line of the 19 December, the colony of Hong Kong was facing stronger and bigger forces. By the 22 December, the Japanese had depleted the defenders and took over the Sugar Loaf Hill, but it was recaptured soon after that. The defenders gave a final push against the attacking Japanese. On Christmas Day, the white flag started waving. General Maltby had advised the Governor of the British Colony that resistance was futile.


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