So, it was Buffalo vs Oscar and Zero, and before long the Japs had total command of the air and its air force easily sank the battleship Prince of Wales and the cruiser Repulse on Dec 10, 1941.
Here's what one website said about the Buffalo:
The Sorry Saga of the Brewster Buffalo
And here's what Wikipedia has to say about the Buffalo's record of combat service in this air war:
The nagging question, with the benefit of hindsight is: What if the RAF had better fighters, and in sufficient numbers with combat-exposed pilots as well (the Battle of Britain had been well over by then)? Who knows, there might have been no Japanese Interregnum, no Syonan-to.
The other interesting bit I came across was that the USAF, later in the war, began bombing raids over Singapore and even my little island in the sun, Pulau Bukom!
I had joined a Facebook group, On a little street in Singapore, and this photo and caption that Jerome Lim posted intrigued me:
B29s attacking the Naval Base. The primary target the King George VI graving dock can quite clearly be seen. Also can identify the roundabout at the dockyard entrance gate, Canberra Road, Admiralty Road West, Bermuda Road etc (photo source: Zafrani Arifin)
It led to some questions from me:
|"B-29 in flight" by http://www.pr.afrl.af.mil/prepare/b-29.jpg. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons - https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:B-29_in_flight.jpg#/media/File:B-29_in_flight.jpg|
James Tann supplied these answers:
The B-29 flew out of Calcutta and headed straight for Saipan after the bombings. They did not have fighter escorts and relied on their own turret machine guns.
Due to the extreme long range from Calcutta to Singapore, each B-29 could only carry 2x1000lbs bomb each. However, the lack of munitions were made up by its accuracy using their new secret weapon - the Norton Bombsight.
This is a great picture man! priceless
The 1st raid by 53 B-29s was in Nov 1944 and was very successful due to their unexpected arrival which caught the Japanese by surprise. The KGVI graving dock was hit and damaged along with other facilities. After the raid, local civilians working at the docks were indiscriminately rounded up and in retaliation were shot as spies suspected of giving information to the enemy for the raid.
Subsequent raids were carried out in Jan & Feb 1945 after which Lord Louis Mountbatten stopped the bombing of the Naval Base as he was already planning for the re-occupation of Singapore and would need to used the Naval Base for this purpose.
A further 7 raids were carried out by B-29s but these focused on the Keppel Harbour and oil refineries (at Bukom).
ChanPeew Wan added this:
History has it that the Brits themselves tried to blow up the KGVI graving dock to deprive the Japs from using the facility. They managed to knock off part of the pump house.
Part of the pump house was replaced by the Japs and when the war was over, the Brits never replaced the Jap parts.....KGVI drydock served to its present day....
I learnt so much from their sharing.
Finally, I found online this very informative piece by one Goh K. Loon:
The Forgotten Air War of Malaya