By: RaY KinZoKu

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Wednesday, 8-Dec-2010 00:02 Email | Share | Bookmark
KUALA PAK AMAT : The Last Of Its Kind ...



The Last Of Its Kind ....


Today, 8 December 2010, and exactly 69 years ago,

just minutes past midnight on the sea just off Kuala Pak Amat,

a flotilla appeared from a distance, revealing its deadly intention.

Swarm of fighting men, struggled the rough Monsoon waves to the closest shore,

in their first move to conquer the Malay Peninsular and the rest of the Archipelago,

starting with Kota Bharu ....


An old man in his 80s showed me this old coconut tree.

A very old tree, he claimed, at around his age, with three very distinctive, peculiar gaping holes on the trunk, smaller on one side, but much bigger on the other, typical of the cavitation effect made by a fast moving projectile going through dense material ..

" The last of its kind " , he said ....

He remembers it very well the event that disfigured the tree.

An event which took place exactly 69 years ago, when he was in his teen.

It happened during one night on the 8th of December 1941, when the ambitious Dai-Nippon Teikoku Gun, already eyeing for the strategic Pengkalan Chepa British Military Airstrip, landed their troops on the shore of nearby Kuala Pak Amat.

The landing was met with heavy resistance from the already anticipating British Army, who were, most if not all, conscripted Indian soldiers of Punjabi descent. While the defenders worked hard to deter the advance with burst of Browning and Bren, showers of mortar shells, well planted mines and lines of barbed wires, the effort proved to be useless against the fully determined invaders.

Though pinned down by the British fire, the Japanese fought back with fury. Shooting in retaliation from their crawling, heads low down position, their Type 38/99 Arisaka and Type 99 Keikikanju rounds wrecked havoc through the British pillbox and sandbag positions - one of which, located just next to the coconut tree, with some of the rounds even ripped through the trunk.

But according to the old man, the tree was luckier. While the defenders behind the sandbags fell to the ground, the tree didn't and remains standing to this day as perhaps, the only credible inanimate object that really " sees " the every single detail of the action that eventually saw the Japanese taking over the airstrip from the British in less than a day.

Now, with the shoreline erosion beyond control, I doubt that the tree would stay lucky.

Looking at the magnitude of the current situation, I have a very strong feeling that the frail old man would simply outlive the tree itself ...

It is now only a matter of time. Soon, very soon, the tree will join its " counterparts " into the open sea, including some British pillboxes that used to dot the same shore, pulled away by violent waves that has been ravaging the Kelantanese shoreline since the past decade or so ...

For that reason, I beg KEKKWA to urgently look into this matter. Kuala Pak Amat might not be another Malacca or Penang, but the spot itself is so special and much distinctive in our Nation's and World history, that I dare say, nothing from the two UNESCO World Heritage Sites could substitute or even match it !

Kuala Pak Amat is ..... 95 minutes BEFORE Pearl Harbour !

Perhaps, the only inanimate credible witness still left standing ...

... but maybe not for long.

Sooner or later the erosion will get to this rare, historical piece.

The interesting thing about these holes is that upon closer inspection, they all bear
physical signatures typical of projectiles / bullets travelling through dense substance.

An effect known as bullet cavitation which occurred when a fast travelling, spinning
bullet released its energy to its surrounding, as in this case, upon contact with the fibrous
palm trunk.

The effect would normally be explosive on the bullet's way out, thus resulting into a
much larger exit hole compared to the relatively smaller entry hole as shown in the
above image.

The above image shows the exit hole. The shots came from the sea / shore.

RELATED IMAGES ( 1 ) : The Landing

* The Awajisan Maru ...

.. while being used as a civilian transport ship for the Japanese Mitsui Line.

The same ship was used by the Japanese Army as troops transport ship for the
historical Kota Bharu landing. It was sunk by British war planes during the battle,
just off Kuala Pak Amat shore where it now lies silently, with the exact location
known by few and visited only occasionally by recreational divers.

Interestingly, said to be the first Japanese ship sunk in the 4 years Pacific War.

* The Battle of Kuala Pak Amat, 8 Dec 1941 ...

... as painted by a wartime Japanese artist.

( from a Japanese postcard, 1943 )

While the painting already speaks for itself, the actual hardship experienced
by the Japanese are explained in details, in the following excerpt :


    " For all their intensive preparation, Takumi’s men do not appear to have had anything
    like this at their disposal. Instead, using bayonets, helmets and spoons taken from their
    knapsacks, his soldiers began to burrow their way like turtles into the soft sand under
    the wire until they were deep enough to crawl beneath it. According to one Japanese
    account this was done by lines of men lying abreast, “digging the ground frantically and
    gradually crowding forward”. Behind them the next line of crawling men would deepen
    the trench the vanguard had excavated beneath wire, gently pulling aside casualties.

    * Read the rest @

* Japanese dead on the beach front of Kuala Pak Amat, 1941 ...

The casualties were heavy on both sides, and was one of the heaviest suffered by
the Japanese Army throughout the Malayan Campaign.

Indeed, Kuala Pak Amat was not an easy picking, even for the most determined invaders.

Japanese Reishiki Kanjyou Sentouki ( A6M Zero Fighter ) ....

... on the Pengkalan Chepa Airstrip, soon after the Japanese takeover, 1942.

Image taken from Australian War Memorial Site and the original caption reads :

" Kota Bharu, Malaya, c.1942. Camouflaged A6M (Zero) fighter aircraft of 22 Air Flotilla,
Japanese Navy, on airstrip at Kota Bharu. This unit flew into Kota Bharu from South
Vietnam and operated along the east coast of Malaya including flying " top cover " for
the successful Japanese air attack on the British war ships HMS Repulse and HMS
Prince of Wales. "


More From The Australian War Memorial Archive

By the Pengkalan Chepa River ....

... before the War - April 1941

Image taken from Australian War Memorial Site and the original caption reads :

“ Kota Bahru, Kelantan, Malaya. 1941-04. The Sergeant's Mess of No. 8 Squadron
RAAF on the bank of the Pengkalan Chepa river, which forms one of the boundaries of
the Royal Australian Air Force station, showing some of the native praus owned by
members of the Royal Australian Air Force and the Royal Air Force moored on the bank. ”

Royal Australian Air Force ( RAAF ) personnels ...

... in a special group photo, taken on the Pengkalan Chepa Airstrip,
in April 1941, some 8 months before the invasion.

Image taken from Australian War Memorial Site and the original caption reads :

" Kota Bharu, Kelantan, Malaya. 1941-04. Group portrait of personnel of No.8
Squadron RAAF in front of one of the unit Lockheed " Hudson " aircraft on the
edge of the aerodrome."

British - Australian Army Officers ...

... in Kelantan, September 1941.

Image taken from Australian War Memorial Site and the original caption reads :

“ Kota Bharu, Malaya, 1941-09. Senior Allied Officers on Kota Bharu airstrip.
From left: Brigadier B.W. Key, British Army Commander, Kelantan area;
Wing Commander C.H. Noble, RAF Base Commander, Kota Bharu;
Wing Commander Reginald Henry Saville Davis, Co No. 1 Squadron RAAF;
Flight Lieutenant Dixon, adjutant, no. 1 squadron RAAF. ”

The Pengkalan Chepa Airstrip ...

... as seen from the air.

The military airstrip is the sole purpose for the Japanese invasion of Kota Bharu, as it
provides a great strategical advantage for the push, further south.

Image taken from Australian War Memorial Site and the original caption reads :

“ Kota Bahru, Malaya. 1955-10-10. An aerial photograph of the Kota Bahru Airfield
taken from 8000 feet. The east/west runway (10/28) was built by the RAF and was
used during the Second World War during the defence of Malaya. The north east/south
west runway (25/07) was built by the Japanese although it was not as long as seen in
this photograph. (donor C.H. Spurgeon) ”

What was left from an RAF plane ....

.. brought down by Japanese flacks, after inflicting heavy damage onto the Japanese
transport ship, the Awajisan Maru. The plane crashed shortly after, into the sea off
Kuala Pak Amat, killing all its crew.

The ship, badly damaged, sank the next day, nearby.

Image taken from Australian War Memorial Site and the original caption reads :

“ A heavily corroded circular exhaust manifold from a Pratt and Whitney R-1839
SC3-G twin row radial engine, which was recovered from the sea in 1976, by
Mr Abdul Rahman Bin Win Harum, a local fisherman from Kota Bharu, Malaysia.
The engine manifold is from a No 1 Squadron RAAF, Lockheed Hudson bomber
(A16-19) which crashed into the sea after attacking Japanese shipping on
8 December 1941. ”



    Serangan udara RAF

    " Setelah diberitahu mengenai kehadiran pasukan penjajah beberapa batu di utara
    landasan pesawat mereka, pegawai kanan tentera udara di Kota Bharu meminta
    kebenaran untuk melancarkan serangan. Apabila telah jelas bahawa tentera Jepun
    mula mendarat, Skuadron Hudsons No. 1 mula berlepas untuk mengebom pesawat
    pengangkut. Gelombang pertama, yang terdiri daripada tujuh buah pesawat dan
    diketuai oleh Leftenan Penerbangan Lockwood, melakukan serangan pertama
    sekitar 02.10 pagi.

    Leftenan Penerbangan O.N. Diamond Skuadron No. 1 memilih kapal pengangkut
    terbesar dan mengebom junam. Menurutnya, dua butir bom 250 paun dilepaskan
    dalam serangan pertamanya tepat kena, dan dalam serangan kedua, baki dua butir
    bomnya turut mengenai pesawat tersebut sebelum pesawatnya terkena tembakan dan
    terbakar. Kapal itu ialah kapal pengangkut IJN Awajisan Maru (9,794 tan) yang
    merupakan kapal Jepun yang pertama bagi semua saiz yang ditenggelamkan
    dalam Perang Dunia II

    Read More @

    WIKIPEDIA : " Sejarah pendaratan Jepun di Tanah Melayu "


    Kelantan diserang 95 minit awal dari Pearl Harbour

    KOTA BHARU 13 Okt. - Umum mengetahui serangan tentera Jepun ke atas Tanah
    Melayu semasa Perang Dunia Kedua bermula di Kelantan apabila mereka mendarat
    di Pantai Sabak, Pengkalan Chepa pada 8 Disember 1941.

    Namun, mungkin ramai tidak menyedari bahawa serangan itu sebenarnya menandakan
    bermulanya Perang Dunia Kedua dan serangan Jepun ke atas negara-negara di Asia
    Pasifik setelah Eropah mula diserang pada 1939 oleh Jerman, salah satu negara
    pakatan 'Axis' selain Itali dan Jepun.

    "Perang Dunia Kedua di Asia Pasifik bermula di Kelantan, bukan Thailand atau
    Pearl Harbour, Hawaii.

    "Jepun mendarat paling awal di Pantai Sabak dari tempat-tempat lain," kata Pegawai
    Penyelidik Perbadanan Muzium Negeri, Datuk Salleh Mohd. Akib dalam satu
    pertemuan, baru-baru ini.

    Read More @

    Utusan Online - 14 Okt 2010 : " Kelantan diserang 95 minit awal dari Pearl Harbour "


    Sejarah kubu tentera British

    " KOTA BHARU 13 Okt. - "Bukan kubu Jepun, malah bukan juga monumen peringatan
    sejarah, tetapi ia adalah tinggalan sebenar kubu-kubu kebal yang dibina tentera British
    pada zaman Perang Dunia Kedua dahulu."

    Demikian kata Pegawai Penyelidik Perbadanan Muzium Negeri Kelantan, Datuk Salleh
    Mohd. Akib, merujuk kepada binaan kubu-kubu konkrit lama berusia 70 tahun yang
    masih kedapatan di beberapa daerah di negeri ini.

    Kebanyakan binaan konkrit itu berbentuk segi sembilan dan ia diperbuat daripada
    campuran simen dan pasir sungai dengan kerawat besi, sementara ketebalan dinding
    melebihi 0.3 meter dan keluasan pula lebih 18 meter persegi ... "

    Read More @

    Utusan Online - 14 Okt 2010 : " Sejarah kubu tentera British "


The Bridge of Tok Kasim ( Ghertock Tok Kasim ) ....

... as seen from what used to be the mouth of Sabak River ( Sungai Sabak ), now
completely blocked by a stretch of sand, as a result from the waves cum erosion
dynamics that transported some of the sand from the nearby beaches onto the spot.

The river was once free flowing and fishing vessels used to travel along it to get to the
nearby sea. Shoreline erosion which took place since the past few decades had
reduced its normal appearance into this tragic but ironically, serene look.

The stretch itself is now teaming with flowering vegetations, and the river had became
a sheltered and quiet lagoon. A nice spot for a postcard perfect shot .. like the
above .. ( he he ! )

However, a problem is always a problem, no matter how optimistic we try to see it.

Thankfully, a solution to this is just around the corner. In a latest move by the Department
of Irrigation & Drainage ( JPS ), fueled by a special government grant, the blocked river
mouth will be opened up once again, and this time, with both sides of the river to be
further strengthen by rock embankment.

This move however, is currently restricted to this particular place and several adjacent
spots that unfortunately, doesn't include the very spot that needs the most attention,
that is the nearby Kuala Pak Amat.

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