December 8, 1941: The Battle of Kuala Pak Amat !
Shortly before midnight on December 7th, The British Defense troops on the Badang and Sabak beaches reported that ships anchoring about one and a half miles from the coast . The Japanese convoy of ships consisted of three large transport (Awajisan Maru, Ayatosan Maru, Sakura Maru) escorted by five Sendai Light cruisers and squadron of destroyers. (Isonomi, Uranami, Shikinami Ayanami). The Army was from the 56th Infantry Regiment of the 18th Division of 25th Army under the command of Major General Hiroshi Takumi. Shortly afterwards, the beaches artillery opened fire and was replied by the Japanese. This event indicated that the war had begun in Kelantan on exact time of 90 minutes before Pearl Harbor. About 2.00 a.m on December 8th, The Japanese Army landed on the Badang-Sabak beaches and moves under the heavy enemy fire, advancing straight until they reached the wire entanglements and cut them The moved over the corpse of their friends who died of bomb explosions and attacked by the British pillboxes and captured them.
The British beach defense artillery opened fire on the enemy ships in response to earlier enemy bombardment on the British Coasted Defense positions in the area of Kuala Pak Amat beach. Little was realized at the time that it was the signal of the beginning of the 2nd WW between the Japanese and the British in Kelantan, Malaya & Pacific. The Japanese Force selected for the invasion of Kelantan were troops from the Infantry Brigade, Commanded by Major General Hiroshi Takumi, with its 56th Infantry Regiment, under the Command of Colonel Yoshio Nasu. Both units were from the Japanese 25th Army. Commanded by Lieutenant-General Tomoyuki Yamashita, the Strength of this Japanese Kelantan Force was between 5,300 and 5,590 men. This force was called the Takumi Detachment after the name of the Overall Commander, General Hiroshi Takumi.
On Dec 7, 1941, at about 11.45 PM, the British beach defense troops reported enemy ships anchoring at Kuala Pak Amat beach. Despite the heavy seas, the Japanese force successfully transshipped their troops into the landing craft. At the same time, the Japanese Naval escort ship began a bombardment of the coast as signal to commence the landing.
At about 12.25 Midnight, on Dec 8,1941, the leading Japanese troops landed at Kuala Pak Amat beach which lies between Badang and Sabak beaches. By 1.00 AM, after adjacent pillboxes manned by Indian troops of the 3/17th Dogras who inflicted very heavy casualties on the advancing Japanese troops before being themselves wiped out almost to a man.
Around 3.30 AM, the British air craft of the Hudson type belonging to No.1 Squadron of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) based at Kota Bharu airfields at Pengkalan Chepa and torpedo-bombers type Vickers Vildebeests from Gong Kedak airfield near Pasir Puteh and Lalang Luas airfield near Machang began attacking the Japanese Transports in the face of heavy anti-aircraft fire from the Japanese warship and transports. By Dec 8, 1941 at 4.00 AM, the Japanese Army rod a firm foothold on the Kelantan beach of Kuala Pak Amat.
During the battle, The Awajisan Maru (9.794 tons) sunk by the Hudson of No.1 Squadron in the early hours of 8th December 1941 was a significant victory for the RAAF. The invasion of Malaya preceded the attack on Pearl Harbor by an hour and a half, making it the first Japanese campaign of World War II, likely making the Awazisan Maru the very first casualty in the Pacific war. The ships were carrying approximately 5,200 troops of the Takumi Detachment (Major-General Hiroshi Takumi, aboard Awazisan Maru).
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Battle of Kuala Pak Amat !