Operation Roger

This was a British unrealised plan to take Phuket island off the west coast of Japanese-occupied Thailand (spring 1945).

The plan was formulated within the overall scheme by Admiral the Lord Louis Mountbatten’s South-East Asia Command for the recapture of Malaya. The command felt that the correct strategic approach was that which had been adopted by the Japanese in ‘E’ (i) during 1941, namely a landing in the Kra isthmus of Thailand followed by an advance to the south in the direction of Singapore. To this end the South-East Asia Command proposed that Phuket should be taken as an initial move to provide the British assault forces for ‘Zipper’ with an advanced air and naval base.

Detailed planning for the undertaking fell to Lieutenant General Sir Oliver Leese’s Allied Land Forces, South-East Asia, which decided that ‘Roger’ could be undertaken on 1 June 1945 by two divisions supported by a single commando brigade, thereby facilitating the implementation of ‘Zipper’ in the area of Port Swettenham and Port Dickson in October 1945 for an advance to Singapore by the period December 1945/March 1946.

The operation was to be supervised by Lieutenant General H. L. Davies’s (from 12 March Lieutenant General O. L. Roberts’s) Indian XXXIV Corps with Major General D. C. Hawthorn’s Indian 23rd Division, Major General H. C. Stockwell’s 81st (West Africa) Division and Brigadier C. R. Hardy’s British 3rd Commando Brigade.

The forces allocated for ‘Roger’ were also earmarked for ‘Modified Dracula ’, however, and the plan was further complicated and delayed by lack of shipping, but ‘Roger’ was finally rendered superfluous by the collapse of the Japanese in August 1945.