The Principles of War - Lessons from Military History on Strategy, Tactics and Leadership.

14 - Lt McCure, Moral Courage and the Battle of Bakri

June 26, 2018

A lot of this story has come from an audio interview of LT Russell 'Bill' McCure.  It is an amazing record of the preparation, conduct and aftermath of his participation in the Malaya Campaign.

LT McCure started out in the 53rd Ack Ack Search Light Bty and he wanted to join the 2nd AIF.  The only way was for him to obtain a commission.  He undertook that and was assigned to the 58th Infantry Battalion.  The CMF was parading 2 nights a week.

LT McCure showed multiple examples of Moral Courage.  This made it difficult for him to do his job, but he understand what was required of him, in spite of the direct orders from his CO.

We look at the Battle of Bakri, especially the initial contacts with the Gotanda Tank Detachment.  The Japanese attacked without infantry support and because of the actions of LT McCure they pay the price.  Too often in the Malaya campaign, the Japanese weren't held to account for paying off some of the Principles of War.  The lack of cooperation of the infantry created the losses at Bakri for the Japanese tanks. 

How did the 2nd/29th's CO, LT COL Robertson's training let him down when it came to combined arms training?

The withdrawal from Bakri was hellish.  The Japanese had manoeuvred around the 2nd/29th and cut them off.  LT COL Anderson in command of the 2nd/19th pushes forward to bring out the 2nd/29th, but Bill is stuck behind enemy lines.

He stays in Malaya for the rest of the war.  He spends time attacking Japanese troop, supplies and trains.  He ends up with a group of Malay Communists until the end of the war.

Bill's story is a great example of Moral Courage and and story that too few people have heard, especially considering that he was active in Malaya for the rest of the war.

 

 

 

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