Thursday, December 21, 2023

The Battle of Hong Kong

On the same morning that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor (Sunday, December 7, 19411) they also attacked the British Crown colony of Hong Kong. The Hong Kong garrison (consisting of British, Indian and Canadian units, the Auxiliary Defence Units and Hong Kong Volunteer Defence Corps) managed to hold out for over two weeks. However on Christmas Day 1941 the colony finally surrendered to the Japanese.

Project’44 has created a number of maps which document the Battle of Hong Kong, with an emphasis on the involvement of the Canadian troops defense of the British colony. The Fall of Hong Kong includes a story map which provides a detailed chronology of the fall of Hong Kong to the Japanese.

As you scroll through Project '44's story map you can follow the progress of the battle on an interactive map of Hong Kong. The map sidebar provides a narrated history of the battle, illustrated with photos and videos from the Battle of Hong Kong, while the interactive map automatically pans and zooms to highlight the locations mentioned in the narrated tour.


The Battle of Hong Kong 1941 is another interactive map which recounts the spatial and chronological history of the Japanese capture of Hong Kong in the Second World War. The map is the work of the History Department at the Hong Kong Baptist University. The map itself provides both a spatial and temporal account of the Battle of Hong Kong. The map's timeline contains 51 different time-steps. This timeline allows you to follow the progress of the battle during the eighteen days it took the Japanese to take Hong Kong, showing the changing positions of platoon/squad/individual artillery pieces over the whole course of the Japanese invasion.

The map also includes a 'Faces of War' layer. This map layer provides a number of short biographies on some of the key participants in the Battle of Hong Kong. As a result of the battle over a thousand Allied lives were lost and over a thousand were reported missing. It is believed that casualties on the Japanese side were at least as high. 

After the Battle the Japanese remained in Hong Kong for three and half years. During that occupation it is estimated that at least 10,000 Hong Kong civilians were executed. Resistance groups of Cantonese and Han Chinese continued fighting until the end of the Japanese occupation. On August 15th, 1945, Japan officially surrendered and on the 30th August the British army returned to Hong Kong. 

The Japanese occupation of Hong Kong lasted for three years and eight months.

1. The invasion of Hong Kong actually began on the 8th of December, however this is due to the effect of the International Dateline, it was in reality on the same actual solar day as the 7th December attack on Pearl Harbor.

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