A man sitting on a 6-Pounder Gun barrel
12-Pounder Gun

An 8-Inch BL Gun Barrel mounted in the Siloso Point Gun Emplacement in 1993. This gun is now outside the Casemates.

Siloso Point from the sea
The Siloso Point Gun Emplacement and Searchlights from the Sea.

Although built as an AMTB Battery for a Twin 6-Pounder Gun, there was a shortage of such guns in Singapore. As a consequence of this, Fort Siloso and several other AMTB Batteries were armed with old 12-Pounder QF Guns. One, Pulau Hantu was armed with an 18-Pounder Field Gun. In Johore, Pengerang had two 18-Pounders. The 12-Pounder mounted at Siloso in 1941, came from two mounted at Berhala Reping when that battery was rearmed with Twin 6-Pounders. The other 12-Pounder from Berhala Reping was said to have been sent to Labrador. I presume that it was actually the Batu Berlayar AMTB Battery at Labrador which got this gun.

A Holdfast (mounting for a fixed gun) for the 12-Pounder was built in the Siloso Point emplacement, and the 12-Pounder mounted. The Emplacement at Siloso Point was code-named'OSO'. Before WWII, the gunners who manned the 12-Pounder at OSO used to exercise daily. A boat delivering water to islands such as Pulau Bukom, would pass by, and this was used as a practice target. The speed and range of the boat was tracked and fire orders were passed to the gunners, who in turn trained the gun on the boat and duly ‘sank’ it.

When Demolitions were carried out at Fort Siloso the deny it to the Japanese on 14th February 1942, the 12-Pounder was tripped into the sea. The Japanese recovered the gun and remounted it.

The OSO 12-Pounder in 1946.

In March 1948, OSO finally got a Twin-6 Pounder. This came from Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in the latter part of 1947. This gun, and others brought to arm Berhala Reping and Batu Berlayar, were modified to operate in an ant-aircraft role as well as their AMTB role.

OSO Director Tower and Twin 6-Ppounder. A mushroom shaped object can be seen on top of the gun . This was a ventilator. An electric motor sucked cordite fumes from the inside gun when it was in operation. This is not fitted in No.2, so that may have been taken when the Gun was being mounted.

The Breeches of the Guns.

The Twin 6-Pounder could fire 72 rounds per minute with a well drilled gun crew. This despite each gun being hand loaded. Ammunition was stacked pyramid fashion on trolleys on rails behind the gun. The rails enabled the trolley to be pushed to follow the movement of the gun, thus ensuring that ammunition was always to hand. Rounds were passed from a soldier at the trolley to another man between him and the Gun Loader. The round was then passed to the Gun Loader who had an arm sticking out slightly, the right arm for the Loader of the left-hand gun, and the left arm for the Loader of the right hand gun.

The 6-Pounder round was placed in the Loader’ armpit pointing forward and angled up. As the loader felt the round being placed, he would grasp it with his free hand and push it towards the breech. His other hand would be brought up to the base of the shell to push it home into the breech. As soon as the shell was in the breech, the Loader would position his arm for the next round. When both guns were loaded, the Gunner would operate the firing mechanism which fired the guns one after the other in quick succession. The cartridge cases were automatically ejected on the recoil, and the whole procedure started again.

In the AMTB role, Twin 6-Pounder Guns were very effective, as the Italians found out to their cost on 26th July 1941. A force of seventeen Italian Torpedo and E-Boats attempted a dawn raid on the Grand Harbour at Valetta in Malta. Aided by Searchlights, Twin 6-Pounders at Forts St. Elmo and Ricasoli drove them off sinking eight Torpedo and five E-boats. None of the attackers managed to get in to Grand Harbour, none made it home.

Twin 6-PounderTwin 6-Pounder

ABOVE: Believed to be the sole surviving Twin 6-Pounder. This is at the Belmont Battery of Fort Rodd Hill, Victoria Island, BC, Canada. The gun was brought to the Belmont Battery from Norway.

Section 3