Remember the guy who alleged that there was a U-Boat base on the east coast of Johor prior to the outbreak of the Pacific War? He’s back, now he has an ‘untold history’ about the fortress guns of Singapore, specifically one of the 15-inch gun batteries known as Johore Battery.
Now some background first. Johor Battery was one of two 15-inch batteries guarding Singapore at the outbreak of World War 2. It was located in the Changi area (the other was located in Buona Vista on the west side of the island). Two of the three guns there were donated (a princely £400,000) by the Sultan of Johor, Sultan Ibrahim. Apparently he didn’t want the guns to fire into his territory, hence they could only traverse through 270°; the third gun is fixed to fire only towards the sea. The guns were practically useless during the siege of Singapore as they are only supplied with armour-piercing rounds – totally unpractical against enemy troop concentrations.
Back to our wannabe historian. This are what he alleged
"The guns have a length of 500 METERS"
I find it totally ridiculous that the gun (barrel) length is longer than the KL Tower is tall. The Kaiser Wilhelm Geschutz (Paris Gun of World War 1) has a barrel of 28 meters long and the late Saddam Huseein’s Project Babylon (the Iraqi Supergun) has a barrel length of 46 meters. Even the humongous 31-inch calibre schwere Gustav and Dora of World War 2 had barrels of 32.48 meters! He rather smugly claimed that it was what his resources mentioned..and that his resource was not Wikipedia. He gave the link to his source…a blog. Ok fine, since the blog writer was at the gun site and wrote down the facts written on the plaque there. I found out that the gun (barrel) length is only 16.5 meters and that the guns are actually 500 meters APART. For someone who claims that his ‘port’ (a Malaysian slang word for 'hanging out place') is Leyden University and California University…this is not even a kindergarten–level mistake! What’s worse he did not admit to this error!
"All Three guns can only fire in a 270° arc because of the request by the Sultan who didn’t want the guns to have the ability to ‘threaten’ the state of Johor."
I can’t remember from where, but I did find out about this matter! However only ONE of the guns is on a fixed to fire towards the sea (fixed here means that the gun only had a fire arc of 180°). On the other hand, through further Googling, the other two guns, even though have restricted fire arc, CAN be trained on most of the northern shore of Selat Tebrau including Johor Bahru (see map below). So where did that story about the Sultan’s request came from? Only the Buona Vista battery have a 90° dead zone to the north because of the orientation of its mounting. The myth about the guns cannot fire overland persists even though documents have shown that the guns did have limited traverse and can be made to fully (or at least have greater) traverse if the buffers were removed. What caused the guns to be useless during the war was that they were only issued with AP rounds – totally ineffective against ground targets. The secondary 9.2” batteries were each issued with only 30 rounds each.
"That one fixed gun, that is the one presented by the Sultan is the Johore Battery. And that gun cannot be aimed at Johor…the plaque at the site says so!"
My initial reaction was ‘find out what ‘battery’ means, idiot’. Apart from not knowing what ‘battery’ means, he also sounds like he got confused by the single replica gun today…thinking that that single gun was the entire battery in 1941-42. Plus I have seen the picture of the said plaque – it didn’t mention anything about the Sultan’s request! (Unless there is another plaque there) Furthermore the idiot…sorry gentleman, contradicts himself – first saying that the two trainable guns were given by the Sultan..then he said that the fixed gun is the one!
Blatant mistakes is one thing. Not admitting it is another. He rather proudly claims that what he wrote is a result of meticulous research. Well if someone made a ‘meticulous research’ he will not make mistakes like a 500 meter long gun barrel! But what makes me extremely annoyed, no, make that angry with him is that when I mentioned that one of sources of the Battle of Singapore was my granduncle who was one of the 100,000 British and Commonwealth troops defending the island. During the war he was a lieutenant in the Second Battalion of the Malay Regiment who became a POW when the British surrendered. I remember his stories on how shocking the impact of the sinking of HMS Prince of Wales and HMS Repulse to the military and civilians alike; on how itchy his men to get into action as they were placed to defend the Changi area where General Percival (erroneously) believed the main Japanese thrust would come from; or how he witnessed a flight of Hawker Hurricane fighters taking off in the morning only to return with half of their number later ; or about the relatively useless Brewster Buffalo; or how he became a POW and was sent to the Death Railway.
Now this idiot, really, simply dimisses my granduncle’s story as ramblings of a senile 70 plus year old man. Actually I’m not sure if a senile man can say that he positively saw Hurricanes and can identify Buffaloes! To the the idiot however, history means it’s written down and presented as a working paper in seminars. Oral history is totally unacceptable and irrelevant. This idiot also forgets that before something could be written, they were usually presented orally at first. I concur that eyewitness accounts are not gospel. They can be used however to give personal recollections of the events and also to corroborate other evidences and facts. I wonder if this idiot is an actual historian, he would totally dismiss personal accounts of men like Saburo Sakai, Adolf Galland, Robin Olds, Minoru Genda, Otto Carius, Alex Vraciu, Ernest Barkmann, Vassiliy Zaitzev and many other veterans of World War 2. Perhaps even the late Leftenan Adnan Saidi, should he survived the war.
My assessment of this idiot is that he is full of shit and ego. Most of the people responding to his thread gave encouraging and soothing words such as ‘good work’, ‘oh I don’t know about this, thanks for telling us’, ‘come on give us more hidden history’ and the like. But his ego is extremely bruised when someone contradicts him, even with facts. That’s when start calling names and accused others of being idiotic, unknowledgeable, ’kampung’, bullshitting (‘pot’, ‘kettle’,’black’ comes to mind again!). At best, he simply retreated into his shell, never to give response. That or he gave irrelevant and irreverent answers!