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Enemy Commanders: Britain's Greatest FoesEnemy Commanders: Britain's Greatest Foes


Mary Mendoza
8 March 2012, 4.42am

Of course it was Yamashita.

Of course it was Yamashita. He handed Britain its largest ever loss of men = 130k by taking Singapore.

Pete Gosling
11 March 2012, 9.36pm

Over 200 patients and doctors

Over 200 patients and doctors were bayoneted to death In the Alexandra hospital by this man's soldiers. There is nothing great about a commander that allows such cruelty. Out of respect for the victims and their surviving relatives, please choose somebody else.

Joel Thompson
18 March 2012, 6.29am

I am torn between Yamashita

I am torn between Yamashita and Napoleon. Napoleon posed a far greater threat to Britain directly than any of the other commanders mentioned and he was brilliant as a commander. Yamashita however managed to inflict more damage upon Britain than any other commander in the long term. The single greatest surrender in the history of the British Army at Singapore marked the end of Empire in the East.

18 March 2012, 5.45pm

big leader

big leader

Ian Eddleston
19 March 2012, 5.10pm

He destroyed British

He destroyed British credibility in the Far East, which ultimatley led to the loss of our Empire after WWII.

Frank T C
20 March 2012, 12.59am

A tyrant with no respect for

A tyrant with no respect for enemy soldiers . Remember Lord Louis Mountbatten decreed , that no Japeneese were to attend his funeral .That tells it all !!!!!

20 March 2012, 7.52pm

Yeah he was a commander of a

Yeah he was a commander of a brutish army but i am not so blind as to think the record of our Armed forces is all sunshine and honour.

War is brutal thats a fact. I dont think pretending otherwise is useful. So while I condemn his troops actions I wont stand here and pretend the BA didnt do many things as bad. We did run the first concentration camps and we did repeat that exercise after WW2 so glass houses etc.

26 March 2012, 11.03pm

To Ron, yes the British did

To Ron, yes the British did run concentration camps not "Nazi concentration / death camps". The Brits used them in The Boer War, where by families of the rebels were imprisoned to prevent them from providing aid to the Boer rebels. If you check, you may find that the Spanish were the first to use them!

James Monaghan
17 August 2012, 3.37pm

I don’t think The Big Fella

I don’t think The Big Fella will mind coming 2nd to George Washington as one of Britain’s greatest enemies. There is also a case for Tomoyuki Yamashita who with only 14,000 men running out of supplies took Singapore with a fresh garrison of 130,000 led by the British commander Lieutenant-General Arthur Percival – a former intelligence officer in Ireland and accused of running what the Irish called the 'Essex Battalion Torture Squad'. Gen Montgomery was also in Ireland as a Brigade Major and he wrote to Percival “Personally, my whole attention was given to defeating the rebels but it never bothered me a bit how many houses were burnt”. Gen Tomoyuki Yamashita certainly burn’t Percivals ass – I believe he is the one famously in the news clip marching out of Singapore carrying a white flag which he petulantly throws away – many of the poor boys in his 130,000 command never came home.

William B
24 August 2012, 6.46am

@Pete Gosling: Actually,

@Pete Gosling: Actually, Yamashita responded to that very incident with executions of his soldiers and an in-person apology to some of the survivors. That was not typical in the IJA, as you know. He was too lenient with Colonel Tsuji, though, who organized executions of anti-Japanese Singaporeans (as well as leaving a trail of atrocities all over the Pacific.)

Who Cares
28 November 2012, 3.05pm

All you needed is to develop

All you needed is to develop the intelligence services at that time. Japan had fishermen telling them everything, photographers who were taking pictures of the roads, railroads and the military equipments!
Britians were focusing and using the new war equipment and all the trained soldiers in Europe and north africa while the japanese had high - technology weapons and air forces!!

4 February 2014, 1.43pm

Yamashita opposed the

Yamashita opposed the invasion of China, and he felt that maintaining good relations with Great Britain and America was of utmost importance. Due to his unpopular political opinion, he was given a relatively low ranking post. He condemned his lieutenant responsible for the Alexandra Hospital Massacre to an executions and apologized personally to surviving victims. He also referred to the residents in Singapore as 'citizens of the Empire of Japan' in a controversial faux pas. (Residents of conquered areas were not conferred rights as citizens.) This resulted in another displacement within the military for him. Finally, before he was executed, he thanked his defence attorneys and praised Americans' mindset. I think he is a villain worth respecting because it seemed that the invasion and the consequent brutality was forced upon him. Also, he seemed benevolent and respectful. Finally, what i most respect about him is how he carried himself with dignity to his death. Not many could do so.

Lance Olsen
15 March 2014, 6.49am

I refer to "other envious

I refer to "other envious Japanese generals got him posted to China, by then a minor theatre of the war." -- China was never "a minor theatre of the war."

Japan's inability to achieve its objective in China -- a Chinese surrender on terms dictated by Japan -- forced Japan to extend that war into the Pacific in a desperate and futile bid to gain the upper hand and break the stalemate in China.

In fact, China was central to Japan's war effort at all times from 1931 to 1945. This is made clear in "Taierzhuang 1938 – Stalingrad 1942" (ISBN 9780983843597)

jim kiffin
6 July 2014, 12.06pm

do not blame yamashita for

do not blame yamashita for what happened in Singapore. he was only following orders from his commanders to take Singapore. the man to blame is general Percival. that coward gave up Singapore without firing a shot even though he had over 100,000 men against a force of only 30,000. if they had fought they would have defeated yamashita & saved the lives of 70,000 civilians & also the lives of about 20,000 prisoners of war who died building the Burma death railway. Percival went against Churchill's orders & was not even court marshalled for his cowardice & disobeying orders.

Paul Sayles
8 June 2016, 1.44pm

I suspect that had there been

I suspect that had there been another American General against whom Yamashita had to fight in The Philippines, he might have been censured but not executed. He was given the task of tying down the American forces and he did a fine job in carrying out his orders. His treatment at the hands of General MacArthur could be seen as "victors justice".

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