The Battle of Sarimbun Beach was the first stage of the Japanese assault on Singapore in February 1942, during World War II. Sarimbun, in the west of Singapore Island, was the area in which Japanese troops, under the overall direction of Lieutenant General Tomoyuki Yamashita, first attacked Allied forces. The commander of Allied forces in Singapore, Lt Gen. Arthur Percival, did not expect the Japanese to make their main attack in the west, and failed to reinforce the Australian 22nd Brigade, which took the brunt of the assault. The main Japanese objective to the immediate rear of Sarimbun was Tengah Airfield.
In the lead up to the invasion, Percival gave Major-General Gordon Bennett's two brigades, from the Australian 8th Division, responsibility for the north-western sector of the island, which including the prime invasion points. The terrain was primarily mangrove swamp and tropical forest, broken up by rivers and creeks. Brigadier Harold Taylor's 22nd Infantry Brigade, augmented by most of the Australian 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion, was assigned a 10 mile (16 kilometre) wide sector centred on Sarimbun Beach. The Jind Infantry Battalion of the Indian States Forces, which was guarding Tengah, and a company from Dalforce, a guerilla militia recruited from Chinese Singaporeans. The 27th Infantry Brigade was assigned an adjoining 4,000 yard (3,650 metre) wide zone to the north, adjoining the causeway. The Austraian 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion was distributed among the infantry units.
At 8.30pm on February 8, Australian machine gunners opened fire on vessels carrying a first wave of 4,000 troops from the 5th and 18th Divisions towards Singapore island. The Japanese assaulted Sarimbun Beach, which was held by the 22nd Brigade.
Fierce fighting raged all day but eventually the increasing Japanese numbers — as well as their superiority in artillery, planes and military intelligence — began to take their toll. The Japanese exploited gaps in the thinly-spread All...