Wednesday, September 01, 2021

The Battle of Hong Kong

On the very same morning that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor 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 a little over two weeks. However on Christmas Day 1941 the colony finally surrendered to the Japanese.

The Battle of Hong Kong 1941 is a new interactive map which recounts the spatial 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. It includes a timeline which contains 51 different time-steps. This timeline allows you to follow the progress of the battle over eighteen days, showing the changing positions of platoon/squad/individual artillery pieces over the course of the Japanese attack.

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 leats 10,000 Hong Kong civilians were executed. Resistance groups of Cantonese and Han Chinese continued fighting until the end of the Japanaese occupation. On August 15th, 1945, Japan officially surrendered and on the 30th August the British army returned to Hong Kong. The Japanese occupation had lasted for three years and eight months.

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