您现在的位置: 纽约时报中英文网 >> 纽约时报中英文版 >> 国际 >> 正文

那场被遗忘的、注定失败的香港保卫战

更新时间:2016-12-28 9:55:40 来源:纽约时报中文网 作者:佚名

A Doomed Battle for Hong Kong, With Only Medals Left 75 Years Later
那场被遗忘的、注定失败的香港保卫战

BARRIE, Ontario — John Lawson has only a few tokens to remember his father by: military medals, a couple of dog tags and a silver ID bracelet that encircled his father’s wrist as bullets did their work in Hong Kong one terrible winter day 75 years ago this week.

安大略省巴里市——约翰·劳森(John Lawson)只有几样小东西可以用来怀念父亲:军章、两个身份识别牌和一个银色身份手环——75年前的这一周,在一个可怕的冬日,他的父亲在香港被子弹击中时,手腕上就佩戴着这个手环。

There was a little pocket diary once, too, but that was lost in a fire. Mr. Lawson remembers two of the last words that his father wrote, summing up the situation before the ordeal that led to his death: “Quite impossible.”

曾经还有个小小的口袋日记本,但是后来在火灾中被烧毁。劳森记得父亲在总结导致他死亡的可怕经历时最后写下的几个字:“非常不可能。”

Remembrances of war are worth noting not just for the lives lost but for the bad decisions that led inexorably to the waste of those lives. Mr. Lawson need not have grown up without a father, but misinformation, poor planning and simple incompetence left him with little more than a pocketful of ornaments instead of a man.

关于战争的回忆需要被记录下来,不仅因为那些逝去的生命,还是因为那些必然会导致生命被浪费的错误决定。劳森本不需要在成长的过程中缺少父亲的陪伴,可是错误情报、计划失当以及简单的失职让他失去了父亲,只剩下这一小口袋纪念品。

Brig. John K. Lawson, Mr. Lawson’s father, was the highest-ranking Canadian soldier killed in action during World War II. He was cut down by machine-gun fire in the doomed defense of Hong Kong, a largely forgotten battle that claimed the lives of nearly 3,000 soldiers, 290 of them Canadian.

劳森的父亲约翰·K·劳森准将(John K. Lawson)是“二战”战斗中牺牲的军衔最高的加拿大军官。他在注定失败的香港保卫战中被机关枪打死。这场战役已经基本被人遗忘,但它夺走了近3000名士兵的生命,其中290人来自加拿大。

The debate over what went wrong raged in the aftermath of the war but has long since grown cold. These days, the sacrifice and courage of those who died are remembered more than the senselessness of their deaths. But historians have long acknowledged that it was a mistake to send untested Canadian boys to defend an indefensible island.

战争结束后,曾就哪里出了问题发生过激烈争论,不过现在,它们早已被淡忘。如今,人们的记忆里更多的是那些战死士兵的牺牲精神和勇气,而非他们死亡的不必要性。不过,史学家们早已认定,派一些没有经过考验的加拿大男孩去守卫一个根本不可能守卫的小岛是个错误。

“This was the Canadian army’s first engagement of the second war, and it was a disaster,” Tony Banham, a historian who has written extensively about the battle, said in an email exchange.

“这是加拿大军队首次参与‘二战’,它是一场灾难,”史学家托尼·班纳姆(Tony Banham)在接受邮件采访时写道。他写了很多关于这场战役的文章。

In the spring of 1941, John K. Lawson was 54. He had survived the Great War and had fought the petty political battles of the military to reach the rank of colonel — not a crowning achievement, but a comfortable one. He had a wife, two sons, a home.

1941年春,约翰·K·劳森54岁。在经历过“一战”,以及军队系统中一些无谓的政治斗争之后,他升至上校——这不算什么伟大成就,但令人满意。他有一个妻子、两个儿子和一个家。

The European war was looming and Colonel Lawson had been put in charge of training young soldiers. Then came a request from Hong Kong for a battalion, maybe two, to reinforce the British colony’s small garrison there.

欧洲大战迫在眉睫,劳森上校负责训练年轻士兵。后来,香港请求增派一个或两个营,以加强该英国殖民地的一个小型卫戍部队的兵力。

Britain’s prime minister, Winston Churchill, was against it. “This is all wrong,” he wrote in January 1941. “If Japan goes to war with us, there is not the slightest chance of holding Hong Kong or relieving it. It is most unwise to increase the loss we shall suffer there.”

英国首相温斯顿·丘吉尔(Winston Churchill)表示反对。“这绝对是错误的,”他在1941年1月写道。“如果日本与我们开战,我们没有一丝一毫的机会可以守住或解救香港。加大我们在那里会遭受的损失是极其不明智的。”

But the move, proponents argued, would boost morale in the colony and send a warning signal to Japan. Churchill conceded.

但是,支持者认为,这会提高该殖民地的士气,向日本发出一个警告信号。丘吉尔让步了。

No one really expected the Japanese to attack a British possession. The Pacific conflict at that point was a war among Asians — a sideshow in the West where all eyes were focused on Germany.

没有人真的认为日本会进攻英国的领地。当时,太平洋的冲突被认为是亚洲国家之间的战争——在西方国家看来,那是次要事件,因为他们的注意力全部集中在德国身上。

Colonel Lawson was asked to prepare a report on the readiness of Canadian battalions available for the task: His staff members classified 10 as excellent, seven as in need of more training and nine as “not recommended for operational employment at present.”

劳森上校被要求提交一份报告,陈述可供执行这项任务的营队的准备情况:他的工作人员将10个营列为优秀,7个列为需要更多培训,9个列为“目前不建议进行军事部署”。

There seemed no point in sending battle-ready troops far from the real war in Europe. To reinforce Hong Kong, then, Canada’s chief of the general staff picked two battalions from the bottom of the list — the Winnipeg Grenadiers and the Royal Rifles — and put Colonel Lawson in charge.

把做好战斗准备的部队派往远离欧洲真正战场的地方似乎不合情理。所以,为了加强香港的防卫,加拿大总参谋长从名单底部挑了两个营——温尼伯近卫步兵营(Winnipeg Grenadiers)和皇家步枪营(Royal Rifles),并安排劳森上校担任指挥官。

Was there trepidation? His son guesses not. For his father, it was a late-career promotion to brigadier and a command. Perhaps he saw Hong Kong as one last adventure before settling into a desk job.

他恐惧过吗?他的儿子猜他没有。对他父亲来说,这是职业生涯后期向准将和指挥官的晋升。也许,他把香港视为最后一次冒险,之后将只从事案头工作。

“Any soldier likes the exhilaration and excitement of a new posting,” said Mr. Lawson, who followed his father into the military and joined the same regiment, the Royal Canadian.

“任何士兵都喜欢新职位带来的喜悦和兴奋,”劳森说。他追随父亲的足迹从军,并加入了同一支部队——皇家加拿大军团(Royal Canadian)。

Brigadier Lawson shipped out with about 2,000 troops that October.

当年10月,劳森准将带领约2000名士兵乘船出发。

Though the two imperial armies now faced each other uneasily at a railroad crossing between China and Hong Kong, confrontation seemed remote.

虽然当时两个帝国的军队在中国和香港之间的一个铁路交叉口不安地对峙着,但冲突似乎遥遥无期。

British intelligence assured the Canadians that if the Japanese did attack, it would be of little consequence, because they were small, nearsighted and unable to fight at night, according to the racist stereotype of the day.

英国情报机构向这些加拿大人保证,就算日本人真的开打,也不会有什么严重后果,因为根据当时的种族偏见,日本人都是身材矮小,近视眼,无法在夜间战斗。

The defense of Hong Kong was centered on a network of concrete trenches and bunkers that snaked across the peaks and ridges separating Kowloon Peninsula from the rest of China.

当时,香港的防御体系主要是一个混凝土战壕和地堡构成的网络,它沿着山峰和山脊蜿蜒而建,将九龙半岛与中国大陆隔开。

The line was supposed to hold the Japanese back for months, or at least weeks, if the colony were ever to be attacked. But there was little urgency to the plan: The line had never been completed and was mostly just barbed wire. In December 1941, only 30 soldiers were garrisoned at its main fortification, Shing Mun Redoubt, which had the capacity for 120.

如果该殖民地真的遭到攻击,他们想靠着这条防御线抵挡日军几个月,或者至少几个星期。但是,人们根本没有意识到计划的紧迫性:防御线从未完成,大多只是铁丝网。1941年12月,只有30名士兵驻守在主要防御工事城门碉堡里——那里能容纳120个人。

On the island, the defense plan spread troops thinly around the coast, ignoring the high ground. When he saw the strategy, Brigadier Lawson was immediately alarmed and sent a request to London for an additional battalion. The request was ignored.

该防御计划在岛上将部队沿海岸线松散排开,忽视了制高点。劳森准将看到该战略计划后,立刻感到担忧,向伦敦请求再加一个营。这个请求遭到了忽视。

“He recognized the impossibility of the situation,” said George S. MacDonell, who served in the Royal Rifles during the battle. “It was a death sentence.”

“他认识到,在这种情况下是不会有任何希望的,”那场战斗中在皇家步枪营服役的乔治·S·麦克唐奈(George S. MacDonell)说。“这简直是死刑宣判。”

On the morning of Dec. 7, the Hong Kong garrison was ordered to battle stations in response to reports of Japanese movements on the border. Even then, there was not much concern. Maj. Gen. Christopher Maltby, the British commander in Hong Kong, told London that the reports were “certainly exaggerated” and the movements most likely a ruse by the Japanese “to cover up their numerical weakness in South China.”

12月7日上午,在接到日军在边界活动的报告后,香港驻军被派往阵地。即便到那时,也没有引起很大担忧。英军驻港指挥官克里斯托弗·莫尔特比少将(Christopher Maltby)对伦敦说,那些报告“肯定夸大了事实”,相关行动极有可能是日军“掩盖他们在华南兵力空虚”的诡计。

He believed that the Japanese across the border numbered in the thousands. In fact, there were more than 50,000 Japanese soldiers moving toward Hong Kong, outnumbering the colonial garrison by nearly 10 to one.

他认为,边界另一侧的日军只有数千人。事实上,有5万多名日本士兵在向香港进军,几乎是殖民地驻军的10倍。

On Dec. 8, or Dec. 7 on the United States side of the international date line, the Japanese surprised the world with near simultaneous attacks on Hawaii, Singapore, northern Malaya, the Philippines, Guam, Wake Island and Hong Kong.

12月8日,或者按照国际日期变更线另一侧美国的时间12月7日,日本人几乎同时袭击了夏威夷、新加坡、马来亚北部、菲律宾、关岛、韦克岛和香港,令全世界陷入震惊之中。

It took Japan’s battle-hardened troops five hours to overwhelm Shing Mun Redoubt and punch through the thinly manned defensive line. In just five days, they sent the British fleeing across the harbor to Hong Kong Island.

久经沙场的日军仅花费5个小时就占领了城门碉堡,冲破了兵力薄弱的防线。仅在5天后,英军就被迫穿过海港,逃往香港岛。

Allied forces on the island were quickly reorganized into East and West Brigades. Brigadier Lawson was put in charge of the West Brigade, meant to stop the Japanese from reaching the powerful heart of the colony. His headquarters were in a string of bunkers in the center of the island, far from the coasts where the fighting was expected, according to General Maltby’s plan.

岛上的盟军迅速重组为东部旅和西部旅。劳森准将负责指挥西部旅,阻止日军到达殖民地的心腹重地。根据莫尔特比少将的计划,劳森的指挥部位于港岛中心的一连串地堡中,远离预计会发生战斗的海岸线。

On the evening of Dec. 18, the Japanese forces crossed the narrow channel between the mainland and the island and quickly penetrated the coastal perimeter. Within hours, they were charging across the hills overlooking Brigadier Lawson’s position on Wong Nai Chung Gap Road.

12月18日晚,日军穿过大陆和港岛之间的狭窄航道,迅速冲破沿海防线。数小时后,他们迅速穿过能够俯瞰劳森准将在黄泥涌峡道上的据点的小山。

Brigadier Lawson planned to move his headquarters back the next morning, but by 7 a.m. he was surrounded. Around 10 a.m., according to an account General Maltby wrote after the war, Brigadier Lawson reported that the Japanese were firing into his bunker “at point-blank range and that he was going outside to fight it out.”

劳森计划第二天早上把指挥部搬回去,但是到早上7点,他已经被包围了。据莫尔特比少将在战后写的一份报告称,上午10点左右,劳森准将报告说,日军向他的地堡“近距离开火,他打算出去回击”。

Sgt. Bob Manchester of the Winnipeg Grenadiers was in a ditch opposite and saw Brigadier Lawson and three of his men hit by machine-gun fire as they scrambled up the hillside behind the bunker.

当时,温尼伯近卫步兵营的鲍勃·曼彻斯特中士(Bob Manchester)就在对面的战壕里,他看见劳森准将和三名部下在往地堡后面的山坡上爬时,被机关枪击中。

Fighting around the headquarters continued until Dec. 22, when the remaining soldiers in the area were captured. Capt. Uriah Laite, a chaplain, was taken to the bunkers by the Japanese to call for any men still alive to come out. “During the rounds,” he wrote in his diary, “I found the body of our Brigadier Lawson and was given permission to take his identification disc off his wrist.”

该地区剩余的士兵在总部周围继续战斗,直到于12月22日被俘。身为随军牧师的尤赖亚·莱特(Uriah Laite)上尉被日本人带至地堡处喊话,要求所有活着的人出来投降。他在日记中写道,“在此期间,我发现了劳森准将的尸体,并得到允许,从他的手腕上摘下了身份手环。”

The Japanese commander buried Brigadier Lawson the next day and erected a white marker on the grave with the brigadier’s name and rank written on it in Japanese, a rare honor. In 1946, the Canadian authorities reburied his remains in Sai Wan War Cemetery on Hong Kong Island, where they are today.

第二天,日本指挥官下令埋葬了劳森准将,并在墓前竖起了一块白色的碑,上边以日文写着准将的名字和军衔,这算是一种罕见的荣誉。1946年,加拿大当局将他的遗骨重新埋葬在香港岛的西湾国殇坟场,他至今仍长眠在那里。

With Brigadier Lawson’s death, the defense of the western half of the island devolved into chaotic, uncoordinated counterattacks and retreats. The British finally surrendered on Christmas Day.

随着劳森准将阵亡,香港岛西半边的防御工作陷入了混乱,反击七零八落,队伍不断溃退。最终,英军在圣诞节那天宣布投降。

Captain Laite spent four years as a prisoner of war and gave Brigadier Lawson’s bracelet to the family when he returned to Canada. His son John Lawson keeps it framed with his father’s medals today.

莱特上尉当了四年的战俘,后来回到加拿大,把劳森准将的手环交给了他的家人。其子约翰·劳森将它和他的一些军章放进相框里,保存至今。

“全文请访问纽约时报中文网,本文发表于纽约时报中文网(http://cn.nytimes.com),版权归纽约时报公司所有。任何单位及个人未经许可,不得擅自转载或翻译。订阅纽约时报中文网新闻电邮:http://nytcn.me/subscription/”

相关文章列表