Monster Guns

A little further after Changi Chapel Museum, there is another historical site which was a strategic location in the defence of Singapore against the Japanese invasion during World War II. Along Cosford Road, this was where the so called “monster guns” once existed. “Monster Guns” so named because of its colossal size.

johore battery 01
^ The Johore Battery is a war memorial site in Singapore that dates back to the early 1940s. Some of the other major coastal batteries were the Pasir Laba Battery, Labrador Battery and the Fort Siloso Battery. The British had anticipated that the direction of the Japanese invasion would come from the sea. As such, the defence-plan was to strengthen the coastal defences of the island. This led to the building of the Johore Battery in 1939 as a coastal artillery gun emplacement site.

johore battery 02
^ This old hut was sited near the fenced-up area of Johore Battery in Cosford Road. It was said that there existed a labyrinth of tunnels built for the purpose to store ammunition for the guns. The monster guns were the biggest and heaviest coastal artilleries and were able to pierce the armour of battleships. Before Singapore fell into the hands of the Japanese, it is said that orders were sent out to destroy the guns. Tunnels were sealed up after the war.

johore battery 03
^ Below is the text from the display panel that makes reading easier on your eyes.

The Johore Battery comprised three guns. They were part of a group of twenty large coastal guns installed in Singapore in the 1930s.

The Johore Battery’s three weapons were among Singapore’s largest coastal guns. They were known as 15-inch guns, because 15 inches (38 cm) was the diameter of the shell they fired. Their gun barrels were 16.5 metres long and the shells stood 1.5 metres high. The guns were capable of hurling these shells at battleships over twenty miles away.

They were originally called “monster guns” when tested in England in 1934, before being sent to Singapore. When World War II started, there were only seven of these defending the coasts of the British Empire. Two were near Dover in England, and five in Singapore. Besides the Johore Battery, Singapore also had two 15-inch guns at Buona Vista Battery. They were located at the junction of Ulu Pandan and Clementi Roads, in the West of the island.

Each of Johore Battery’s guns had its own ammunition bunker. These were about 500 metres apart, arranged in a line that stretched from the present site onto what are now the runways of Changi Airport. Though these guns were originally intended to stop an attack from the sea, two of Johore Battery’s guns could turn around and fire to the rear, towards Johor Bahru. The third, the one located at this site, could only fire out to sea.

From 5th to 12th February 1942, the two guns of the Johore Battery that could turn around fired landward in Singapore’s defence. They shelled Japanese infantry positions from Johor Bahru, just across the Causeway, eastwards to the area north of Tanjong Punggol. They also joined in the battles for Bukit Timah Road and Pasir Panjang. The guns of Johore battery fired 194 rounds before the demolition by the British on the night of 12th February. This demolition, and the postwar upgrading of Changi aerodrome, means all that remains are the underground tunnels on this site, which once housed ammunition and power plants.

johore battery 04
^ A replica of the “monster guns”.

They were the biggest guns to be installed outside Britain during World War II. The site was named Johore Battery as it was learnt that the Sultan of Johore made a donation to the British in support of the war effort during World War II.

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One Response to “Monster Guns”

  1. jparker Says:

    i have a 1895 6.5 rifle

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