The Malacian Army.
Until the end of the 19th
Century the Malacian Army was a small volunteer infantry force equipped with breech-loading Martini-Henry rifles of ∙577" calibre, with artillery and engineering support. The artillery consisted almost solely of horse-drawn 12pdr guns.
In the opening years of the 20th
Century the government agreed to the army's request to adopt a bolt-action magazine rifle. After a series of competetive trials the Mauser Kar98 was chosen, but because of the growing European tensions the German government declined to sell the rifles to Malacia. This was partly because of their wish to keep supplies of arms for their own army but also because they saw Malacia as a British ally; the Malacian army thus adopted the Short, Magazine, Lee-Enfield Rifle.
After the First World War the Malacian army purchased surplus British SMLE rifles, Lewis guns and 18pdr field guns. They also obtained a few MkIV tanks, some Whippets and gun carriers, along with a small amount of heavy artillery.
During the late 1920s the army carried out trials with the Vickers Independent tank
but did not order any. A few Vickers Medium Mk II** Tropical
tanks were, however, bought at around this time.
Very little equipment was procured in the early stages of the Second World War, but some Covenanter
tanks were shipped to Malacia in 1941 in accordance with the Declaration of Kew, as training vehicles. A few Crusader III
tanks were supplied for familiarisation purposes shortly before the Torch landings, this enabled Malacian troops to go into action in Tunisia shortly after being united with tanks shipped directly from Britain. After the end of hostilities in North Africa they were re-equipped with Churchills and Valentines and so did not take part in the invasion of Sicily but followed British troops into Italy. As equipment -such as the Crusader tanks- became obsolete and were replace they were returned to Malacia, and this continued throughout the war.
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Last updated: 21st
Copyright SR Jenkins, February 2012.