- Planning stages
- War years
- Occupation and post war years
- Modern day Pengerang
- Tunnel systems & underground places  
- A veteran remembers  
 


Occupation and post war years (1942-1960)

After the British surrender, two Japanese officers, Lt-Col Numaguchi and Major Akiyama, was sent to conduct a survey of all of Singapore's fortifications as they were in February 1942. The Pengerang battery was covered in their report where they noted that both the 6" guns and 18 pounders had been rendered unusable.

British command on the other hand were more in the dark about Pengerang's true condition. Although the denial scheme had officially reported that Pengerang's main guns had been destroyed, there was no actual 1st hand information to confirm this, nor was there any information as to the state of the actual gun emplacements. The only confirmation they had was from a Royal Engineer officer who had seen from afar, by way of optics, that Pengerang's guns, "appeared to be damaged".
Beyond this they lacked vital information as to how intact Pengerang overall remained and thus how easily it could be re-used by Japanese forces.

In 1944-45, a small scale aerial survey was conducted by the British that revealed considerable Japanese activity in the entire Pengerang area. The Battery Observation Post (BOP) was even seen to still be in place. From this, the British had to assume that the Pengerang defended area had since been rearmed and brought back into full operation.

A further intelligence report stated that up to April 1945 there was in the area, 30 Japanese troops, 50 mixed troop, 12 police and 300 army coolies. The report went on to state that there was a oil dump, food stores, officers quarters and 4 batteries of 6 AA guns, and that no civilians were allowed near the area. An independent source adds, there was even a possible Japanese radar station at Kampung Pengerang, as well.

A further report then came in from the "Interservice Liaison Department" (I.S.L.D), which quashed the previous estimated troop strength from around only 400, now increased up to 1,600, after Japanese landings had been observed in December 1944.

Any possible British plans for the re taking of Malaya and Singapore, would have had to have factored in the threat of a Japanese held Pengerang would have posed to any invading allied force.

Outside of British military reports there are also civilian accounts of Pengerang under Japanese control. It was reported the Japanese sent local workers to the Pengerang area to presumably work at the already well established pre-war bauxite mines. The accounts point to the harsh conditions under the Japanese resulting in many deaths.

The Pengerang area also seemed to have had some anti Japanese groups based there, including a Communist Party headquarters, which was later tracked down and set fire to by the Japanese.

So far no reports have yet been found of any actual allied attacks carried out on the Pengerang area during the time of the Japanese occupation up to their surrender in 1945.

In 1946, a major survey was conducted by a Major Rice as to the condition of Singapore's fixed defences, Pengerang was included in this work. 70 years on, the report in question can today be found in the National archives in London, but frustratingly, the specific pages covering the Pengerang battery are missing from within its covers!

In the decade after the war, it's apparent that Pengerang was never brought back to any kind of operational condition as it had been in the pre-war years. The HQ and gun emplacements remained scrapped and abandoned on Bukit Pengerang, and locals were warned not to enter the area as there was still a possible danger of unexploded munitions.

During the Malayan Emergency (1948-1960), many British units were stationed in and around Pengerang, tasked with hunting down communist terrorists, as was the case for most of Malaya during those troubled years. Whether any part of the former battery was used in any way is not know.

When the
Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation (Konfrontasi) flared up between 1963-1966, Pengerang once again saw some limited action with some of its beaches becoming landing points for Indonesian insurgents. I have found one report of "hunters" in the area engaging one such insurgent group near Tanjong Pengelih.

 
 
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