French forces in Indochina launch an offensive against Thailand after numerous border provocations, but are unable to make much headway on land.
The Japanese intervene in the conflict between Vichy France and Thailand, imposing an armistice on the French, which they are powerless to refuse.
Parts of the Australian 8th Division arrive in Singapore.
A peace treaty is signed between Vichy France and Thailand, which cedes back portions of Indochina that had been lost by Thailand 40 years earlier.
Large Royal Air Force reinforcements arrive in Singapore.
Wavell becomes C-in-C, India. The European Axis partners recognise the Japanese backed government of China.
China breaks off diplomatic relations with Germany and Italy.
The Japanese extend their occupation across the whole of Indochina, as agreed with Vichy France.
40,000 Japanese troops land in Indo-China.
Chiang Kai-shek urges the western democracies to take urgent action against Japan.
Japan rejects the USA's demand for their withdrawal of forces from China.
State of Emergency is declared in Malaya and Hong Kong is put on ‘stand by’.
An RAF Hudson aircraft spots Japanese transports sailing west off Cape Cambodia towards Malaya. The British, having feared a surprise Japanese attack for a number of months now, had developed a plan codenamed 'Matador', to advance forces into southern Thailand should the Japanese attack, in order to deny the Japanese use of the airfields and ports at Patani and Singora. However, the implications of violating Thai neutrality and more importantly the possible US reactions, dissuaded the British from launching 'Matador'.
The Japanese attack Thailand, Malaya, Shanghai, Hong Kong and Singapore.
Japanese aircraft bomb Singapore, which as yet has not blacked out. The raid inflicts about 200 casualties, mostly civilians. Japanese troops land at Singora and Patani on the Kra peninsula in southern Thailand, which surrenders the same day. Japanese make landings at Kota Bharu on the north eastern coast of Malaya, although troops of the 8th Indian Brigade put up strong resistance against these Japanese landings. However, rumours that the Japanese had broken through the defenders, caused the RAF to evacuate Kota Bharu airfield and forced the 8th Indian Brigade to withdraw to the south after dark. Japanese troops launch an offensive against the new territories, a part of the British colony of Hong Kong. The Japanese overrun the US garrisons in Shanghai and Tientsin.
Bangkok is occupied by Japanese troops as they to push through Thailand towards the Burmese border. The Japanese also continue to land troops along the Kra Isthmus in southern Thailand and at Kota Bharu in north eastern Malaya. China declares war on Germany and Italy.
British forces that had pushed into southern Thailand begin to fall back along with those from northern Malaya after the Japanese capture Kota Bharu airfield.
The British garrison in Hong Kong begin to withdraw from the mainland to Hong Kong Island itself. As a result of command and control problems, rumours and many desertions, the 11th Indian Division withdraws from Jitra towards Alor Star in northern Malaya, even though the Japanese troops facing them were inferior in numbers. The US garrison in Peking is forced to surrender to the Japanese.
The British Governor of Hong Kong rejects a Japanese demand for his garrisons surrender. British troops in the southern tip of Burma begin to withdraw north towards Rangoon.
Thailand formally allies herself with Japan.
Japanese troops move into southern Burmese territory on the Kra Isthmus and seize Victoria Point, which had been vacated by the British two days earlier. Japanese artillery and aircraft pound Hong Kong in an attempt to soften it up.
Japanese troops land on Penang Island off the eastern coast of of Malaya.
Japanese troops make gains in northern Malaya and are now only 10 miles from Penang, as British and Commonwealth forces begin to fall back to the river Perak.
Japanese troops force landings on Hong Kong island.
British troops evacuate Penang in Malaya.
The Japanese launch their first bomber attack on Rangoon. They suffer heavy losses to RAF fighters, but press home their attack, inflicting substantial damage to docks at Rangoon.
Hong Kong surrenders after a 7 day siege, with more than 2,000 killed or missing and 2,300 wounded. The RAF and American Volunteer Group shoot down 51 Japanese aircraft over Rangoon for loss of just 12 of their own number.
Japanese troops cross the river Perak. The Japanese commander General Yamashita, senses that British resistance is weakening in Malaya and is determined to push home his advantage and not allow the British any time to reorganise themselves. This he does by forcing the British troops back down the coast roads until he reaches a defensive position and then outflanks it through the jungle.
General Wavell takes over command of the British forces defending Burma and India.
The Congress Party in India supports the British war effort, while Gandhi resigns his leadership in protest.