Yesterday I wrote, “...and the other [photograph] of the [SARC Mk III] overturned in the ditch on the Bakri road, its presence not
explained in either Australian or British histories mentioning that battle in detail. Thus more and more I’m thinking the vehicle was a captured one, in the hands of an IJA recon (recce) unit. Whadiya think?” Also, I provided the URL for Andrew Warland’s new and revised site, which again is
Initially concerned with simply posting his new website, but subsequently troubled that the SARC Mk III in question is pointed in the direction opposite
to the Japanese advance, this morning I went back to Warland to read his textual portion about the action northwest of Bakri crossroads. Under Saturday, 17 January 1942
, there are these passages:
“Early in the morning of 17 January, Lt. Col. Robertson [C.O. of 2/29th Battalion, 27th Brigade] and O Group left to report to Divisional Headquarters at Labis, southeast of Segamat on the main trunk road to Yong Peng, to be briefed by [Maj. Gen.] Bennett....He gave Robertson a composite troop from the 13th and 16th Batteries of the 4th Anti-Tank Regiment that had seen action at Gemas, and a troop of armoured cars.” From info given elsewhere in Warland’s text, those cars may
have been from 2nd Loyals, but right now that origin is sheer supposition.
“Just after dark, at 1800 hours, both sides started probing each other’s positions. An armoured car went forward to reconnoitre the road and exchanged shots with a Japanese machine gun post about two miles ahead. An hour later, a Japanese patrol advanced down the road and was fired upon by C Company in the left forward position. Neither side suffered any casualties in this initial encounter.”
Already, I wish to rethink seriously my statement about the overturned SARC being one previously captured by the IJA. Read on...
Under Sunday, 18 January 1942, 0600-0945 hours
, in vertical array are nine still photographs taken by Hedley Metcalfe of the antitank action at Bakri. Warland writes:
“At 2130 hours, ration trucks for each 2/29th Company came forward. In the dark of the evening, the despatch rider and the truck for C Company passed straight through the Battalion’s positions and were stopped by Japanese machine guns. The truck ran off the road and the Company Quartermaster Sergeant (CQMS) and one other man were killed. The despatch rider (Signaller Wiles), a cook, and the wounded driver managed to escape the abandoned truck.”
The sixth photograph down is the one showing the overturned armored car, and its caption reads, “The photographer and [moving picture] film maker now moved further along the road in the area around (or just north of) where C Company (left) and B Company (right) were located, and close to Clarrie Thornton’s anti-tank gun position on the left. In this photograph (AWM 011300), the damaged vehicles on the left include a Marmon-Herrington All Wheel Drive truck that may have been the truck bringing rations, as well as additional vehicles.” In the previous sentence, ‘Marmon-Herrington All Wheel Drive truck’ is a linker that when clicked on, brings one to a site on a Ford light military truck that has been converted to 4-wheel drive by a Marmon-Herrington kit. That website has nothing on the frequently termed Marmon-Herrington armored car.
The seventh photo down provides a closer view of the almost totally burned out soft vehicles, at least one of which appears to be a Ford truck ubiquitous to the armies fighting in the Far East. The caption reads, “The photographer has now moved closer to the burning tank to include a second tank in the background in this photograph (AWM 011306)....Destroyed vehicles can be seen on the left, with what appear to be the tyre marks of a vehicle that has headed off the road.” It’s difficult to tell from those tire marks if the truck at right angle to the road was hit and then veered left off the road, or if the driver, realizing his mistake, was attempting to turn around when hit. The remnants of the two trucks stand adjacent, but at a right angle to each other.
In all of that there is no attempt to ‘splain the overturned SARC Mk III that was apparently knocked out heading northwest, i.e., toward the Japanese. Methinks it be safe to predict both of us would like to know that part of the story. Also, it’s quite clear that more Mark III armored cars were allocated than simply those to 3rd Indian Cavalry and 2nd Argylls, and thus the statement that most
of the Marmon-Herrington armored cars remained in storage, easy pickings for the Japanese to capture, needs to be examined anew.