Men of the 3rd and 6th Burma Rifles were about to experience their baptism of fire. The Japanese were coming. They were coming not from the south, but from the east.
British plans for the defence of Burma and Malaya were partly predicated on the ability of the Royal Air Force to maintain air superiority, and to interdict Japanese ship and troop movements. Indeed, until 1941 the RAF was primarily responsible for the defence of the British Far East, with the army relegated to guard duties at air and naval installations. In the Tenasserim district of Burma—a slender strip of land sandwiched between the Andaman Sea and Thailand—priority was given to the construction of aerodromes. The most important landing strips in the district were located at Moulmein, Tavoy, Mergui, and Victoria Point. Generally speaking, roads in the Tenasserim were bad. The only all-weather routes ran north south. Below Moulmein, only intermittent mountain tracks headed east toward Thailand. Even the road from Moulmein to the Burmese frontier post at Miyawadi was interrupted by an 80-kilometre stretch that was reportedly little better than a track. However, Major Oki, commander of the 3rd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment was a determined fellow. While the 2/143rd still held Victoria Point, Major Oki and his battalion departed Bangkok on 3 January. The target was the seaside town of Tavoy. The purpose of the tortuous trek was to cut the Tenasserim in two.
Attacker: Japanese (3rd Battalion, 112th Infantry Regiment, 55th Infantry Division)