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Malaya Historical Group :: MHG
Aviation and Military Archaeology may cover almost any form of research into or collecting of artifacts connected with the history of aviation and military relics.

If you have any information about any war relics and air wrecks in our country, please send an email to me malayahg@gmail


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Pahang Kuantan

A lonely pillbox guarding scenery beach north of Kuantan

During 1940's Kuantan was a small town in Pahang east coast. Kuantan was 190 miles from Headquartes of 9th Indian Division but British decided to make use of small aerodromes 10 miles west of Kuantan town which garrison by 22nd Indian Brigade under Brigadier Painter and some aircraft. During world war 2, several British squadron operated from these based which most of the planes supporting planes based in Pengkalan Chepa and Gong Kedah attacking Japanese landing forces in early December 1941. Most of surviving planes from Kelantan also make a shelter on this aerodrome before proceed to Singapore.

When Kelantan fell to Japanese, Japanese Air Division which now operated from Kelantan airfield attacking Kuantan aerodrome and military installation nearby starting from 9th December. Airplanes from G3M Nell bombers and G4M Betty bombers attacked and bombed Kuantan aerodrome without getting any resistance from ground due to Kuantan did not have any anti-aircraft guns installed. Japanese only done minimal damaged to the aerodromes since it was been evacuated since 9th December. Only return fire were from small arms rifles. During retreat from Kelantan, 9th Indian Division was assigned to protect Kuantan aerodrome.

British insisted that the aerodromes which located 9 miles from Kuantan river will be defended and leaving Japanese landing forces which landed in Kuantan beaches unopposed leaving several small light mobile forces in the east of Kuantan river. The only single way to connected east and west Kuantan was a slowing ferry services guarded by several pillboxes. 

In the morning of 30th December, Takumi Detachment which come from Terengganu via Jabok Valley and supporting troops landed at Kuantan beaches comes in a strength were engaged by British artillery and small arms fire. The 2 ferry were bombed and only one remained in service. At night of 31st December, the rearguard forces were withdrawn from east of Kuantan and destroying the ferry but the defence lines positioning west of the river still intact but due to water level at that time were rising upper the reaches, most of the lines including pillbox now are under submerged which weakened the defences.

In meantime, Commander of Kuantan Forces were ordered to hold Kuantan aerodromes till 5th January but in 2nd January a serious threat in west coast of Malaya and the communication, they received orders to withdraw to Jerantut in 3rd January. By the day, Japanese troops closed in on the aerodromes and during the withdraw at 1750 hours, a strong attacking took place. In this attacking, Lt. Col Cummings commanding the rearguards of 2/12 Frontier Force Regiment won the Victoria Cross. During the withdrawal to Jerantut, the rearguards was twice being ambushed on the main road by Japanese who bypassed the aerodromes using bush tracks west of the aerodromes and suffered heavy casualties. Only 40 of his men survived.

On the night of 6/7th January, British troops reached Jerantut ferry and moved to Raub-Tras-Tranura. Even Kuantan was captured by Japanese troops, Kuantan forces do some significantly task to deny its aerodrome fell to enemy for a month and greatly decreased the enemy to make a large scale air attack on Singapore. Japanese also suffered heavy casualties on these operation especially by British artillery when the Japanese concentrated its troops on Kuantan town.

During MHG trip to Kuantan, several pillboxes were found near Kuantan aerodrome now airport. One pillbox in Kuantan old ferry terminal, one found near a mosque east of Kuantan aerodrome and one situated in Teluk Chempedak beach which now a tourist picnic spot here in Kuantan. Several others were located in Pengkalan Balok which north of Kuantan.


A pillbox turned well into relaxing spot for visitors at Teluk Cempedak beach   Another pillbox located near Kuantan river ferry crossing overlooking Kuantan town.


One pillbox found near Kg Balok.   Another pillbox found near Balok beach north of Telok Cempedak


Another pillbox found in the vicinity of Balok river   A preserved example of pillbox found near Balok beach resort


Overgrown bushes covered this pillbox as a natural camouflage.   One pillbox found near RMAF airbase at Kuantan

Kampung Pantai Batu Hitam pillbox   Another pillbox buried near Batu Hitam Beach
A sunken pillbox near Balok River    





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