Kranji beach was one of the battle sites in the defence of Northwestern Singapore between the Australian 22nd Brigade and the Japanese Imperial Guards Division. The Australian 22nd Brigade sector included a local unit, Dalforce (made up of a total of 4,000 Chinese volunteers who came from all walks of life), which defended the western bank of the mouth of Sungei Kranji, while the eastern bank of the river was defended by the 2/26 Battalion of the Australian 27th Brigade.
On the night of 9 February 1942, the Japanese Imperial Guards Division crossed the Johore Straits and attempted to infiltrate the 2/26th position. They encountered stiff resistance which impeded their advancement. Oil from petrol tanks located near Sungei Mandai Kechil was released and set alight. The blazing inferno spilled into the Straits and Kranji coastline, causing further casualties to the invading forces.
Panicking at the heavy losses, LG Nishimura, the Commanding Officer of the Guards, wanted to withdraw his troops. However due to an inexplicable decision by the Australian 27th Brigade commander to withdraw his troops from the coast, the Japanese were eventually able to establish a beachhead from Kranji to the Causeway.