The Kelantan Times

Writer of Life

December 8, 1941: The Battle of Kuala Pak Amat !

with 5 comments

The Japanese landing assault of the Takumi Detachment at Kuala Pak Amat, Sabak Beach, Kota Bharu, December 1941 (Archives)

View of fishing village, 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.

View of Pantai Cahaya Bulan/Badang Beach, one of the Japanese landing assault (left sector of Takumi Detachment) during the WWII.

Bachok Beach (Melawi Beach), one of the Japanese landing assault (right sector of Takumi Detachment).

View of Sabak Beach, The central sector and main landing assault of the Takumi Detachment and real spark that ignited World War II in the Pacific. (Dec 8, 1941) Kuala Pak Amat, ninety minutes before Pearl Harbor!

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).

The Awazisan Maru, also known as Awajisan Maru or Awagisan Maru was a 9,794 gross ton freighter that was built by Tama Shipbuilding Co., Tamano for Mitsui & Co. Ltd. launched in 1939 and was notable for being the most advanced freighter of its time. It was commissioned by the Imperial Japanese Navy to transport troops in World War II and was part of the Japanese Invasion of Malaya on December 8, 1941. (Archives)

Photographed with my fellow during the visit to this historical site. Imitating Mr Fujiwara (a Japanese scout) and Ibrahim Yaacob stood while waiting for the Japanese troops in the midnight of 70 years ago here at Sabak Beach. This position where it was believed that Awajisan Maru now lies estimated 2 miles of water off the coast exactly behind me and is fast becoming a popular diving destination due to its remarkable history. It is more popularly known amongst local divers as the Japanese Invasion Wreck.

Takumi Detachment Map

Lockheed Hudson aircraft of No. 1 Squadron under assembly at RAAF Station Richmond. The Hudson in the right foreground was flown by Flight Lieutenant John Lockwood, who led the first sortie which heavily damaged the Awazisan Maru. (Archives)

Lockheed Hudsons aircraft was an American-built light bomber and coastal reconnaissance aircraft built initially for the Royal Air Force shortly before the outbreak of the Second World War and primarily operated by the RAF thereafter.

Bachok Beach, became the landing assault of Japanese troops (left wing of Takumi Detachment). Archives.

The corpse of Japanese troops (of Takumi Detachment) on the beach of Kuala Pak Amat, 1941 during the Battle of Kuala Pak Amat with 3/17th Dogra Regiment from the 9th Indian Infantry Division. (Archives)

An obsolete historical site plat at the entrance before heading to Kuala Pak Amat.

photo of 2008 by Manlukeman: Nostalgia, this monument was erected to commemorate the Japanese landing at Kuala Pak Amat. Today, it no longer appear in Kuala Pak Amat because of serious erosion along the coastal.

The chalet (Tiram Beach Resort) also disappear because of acute erosion throughout each year .

What a lost it was. Memory reminisced by a Kelantanese who loves the story and history of his state.


….. in the




Battle of Kuala Pak Amat !

Kuala Pak Amat, Sabak Beach.


Written by Muhammad Ismail Ibrahim

December 8, 2011 at 12:03 AM

Posted in History

5 Responses

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  1. Very good coverage of the historical WWII of the Pacific where its starts in Kota Bharu, 1941.
    Thumbs up!


    March 11, 2012 at 2:12 PM

  2. a very good account of the historic event.

    wan zaheed

    March 24, 2012 at 7:49 AM

  3. Very Well done, I like the way you put together the different photos to help tell of this event

    Steve Cox

    July 16, 2012 at 9:32 PM

  4. This is good reminder for the new generations thanks.


    September 19, 2014 at 1:30 PM

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