Fortress Penang

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Zaf1
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Fortress Penang

Post by Zaf1 » 29 May 2011 00:15

Hi

Penang Island was a heavily defended island fortress during WW2 and it guarded the northern entrance to the Straits of Malacca. It fell quickly to the Japanese during the first few days of the invasion of Malaya in December 1941
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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Zaf1 » 29 May 2011 00:21

The Penang fortress was almost as formidable as the Singapore fortress but with fewer coastal artillery batteries
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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 01 Jun 2011 08:07

Hi Zaf

Great pictures, do you have anymore?

These fortifications are built to the exact same pattern as those built for the Singapore Naval Base defensive scheme around Singapore Island. They would have been built in the 1930's, pre war.

Steve

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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Zaf1 » 01 Jun 2011 12:10

Hi Fatboy Coxy

Thanks I have a few more photos but some are at same location with different angle. These fortress were formidable but the British simply abandoned and the Japanese occupied the island fortress without losing a single men where Singapore fortress was defended with considerable fighting.
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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Zaf1 » 01 Jun 2011 12:20

The beach defence pillboxes at Penang Fortress mostly faced southward towards the sea
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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Zaf1 » 01 Jun 2011 12:29

There are large twin underground bunkers at Gelugor. I don't know the exact name but that place used to be known as Minden Barracks

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minden_Barracks
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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Zaf1 » 01 Jun 2011 12:44

At Tanjung Tokong in the north of the island. The tower seems to be a fairly standard Gun Director Tower such as was located at AMTB (Anti Motor Torpedo Boat) Batteries such as Berhala Reping, Pulau Sejahat and other places in Singapore. There are two searchlight emplacements on both side of the tower
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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Zaf1 » 01 Jun 2011 12:52

The HQ of the 3rd (Penang & Province Wellesley) Volunteer Corps. Most of the Penang volunteer force had stayed on the island while the others evacuated the island
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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 01 Jun 2011 20:42

The 3rd Battalion, Straits Settlements Volunteer Force (Penang & Province Wellesley) were about 850 strong. They had little training, and poorly equipped, and were only really useful for line of communications work. Their deployment was on Penang Island and the mainland opposite (Province Wellesley) including Butterworth.

The battalion was disbanded when the British evacuated Penang, but a number continued to serve as liason officers with British/Indian Battalions.

Steve

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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Larry D. » 01 Jun 2011 21:00

Interesting photos, especially in that most of the bunkers, emplacements and pillboxes remain intact after all these years. I presume the Japanese garrison made use of them during the war? Penang was an important Japanese naval and submarine base that I am sure was well defended.

L.

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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 01 Jun 2011 21:59

Great Photos Zaf

The Gun Pits at Batu Maung may have been built for 9.2 inch coastal guns, but only 2 x 6 inch MK VII Naval guns (14,000 yards range guns) were installed. They were manned by the 8th Heavy Battery HKSRA. I don’t know if more heavy coastal guns were planned, and where might they have been located.

Batu Maung is located at the southern end of Penang Island, Tanjong Tokong is located very close to the old Fort Cornwallis at the northern end, closest to the mainland. I think your spot on in suggesting that an Anti Torpedo Boat battery was planned here. As you say its similar to Singapore, with a Gun Director Tower and Searchlight emplacements. I would have expected the British to have planned to install a number of QF 6 pounder 10 cwt guns in twin turrets. Some had been installed in Singapore but manufacturing output was slow.

As well as the coastal guns, anti aircraft guns were also planned. I’m not sure who was to man them, I have read both 20th Heavy Anti Aircraft Battery HKSRA and 2nd Indian Heavy Anti Aircraft Regiment, but can confirm neither.

Steve

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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Zaf1 » 02 Jun 2011 00:35

Thanks

The Germans also had U-boat base in Penang called the Monsoon Group.
http://www.ibiblio.org/hyperwar/Germany ... index.html

The information about the Penang fortress sites are here at the bottom of the page:
http://www.fortsiloso.com/batteries/batteries.htm

During WW1 the German ship Emden raided Penang harbor and sunk French and Russian warships
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Penang

This might have led to make coastal artillery forts to defend the island

Regards

Zaf

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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Zaf1 » 02 Jun 2011 18:20

Hi Steve.

I think that it's not just the weapon productions were slow but Penang like Singapore, was supposed to be defended with all type of guns and planes, these were sent but were diverted elsewhere en route, to Russia or North Africa.

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Zaf

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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by Fatboy Coxy » 20 Jun 2011 19:28

Thanks Zaf

I would love to know what the British planned as the eventual full Order Of Battle garrison for this fortress

Steve

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Re: Fortress Penang

Post by The_Strategic_Digger » 03 Jul 2011 01:08

Thanks for these posts Zaf1. Some great photos there.
I have visited Penang briefly, and would love to explore this fascinating place further in future. I have been searching for sometime without luck for photos of Japanese occupied Penang and German U-Boats in Penang.
I wonder what the official attitude is towards the preservation of WWII historical sites in Malaysia, and how people in post-colonial Malaysia now view the conflict.

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