Eight inch coastal defense guns were the heaviest defense guns emplaced by Japanese forces in Micronesia. All 8-inch guns encountered are naval guns, stemming either from obsolete warships of pre-World War I vintage, or are guns of the then current production run, destined for armed merchant transports, but emplaced on land. So far, large naval guns have been encountered on Moen, Chuuk, Federated States of Micronesia; Eneen-Kio (Wake Atoll), Marshall Islands (but politically USA); and Betio, Tarawa Atoll, Kiribati. Whilst the Japanese captured a number of heavier coastal defense guns in British and U.S. fortifications which were overrun in 1941 and 1942, such as Corregidor, Singapore and HongKong, none of these guns were apparantly moved to Micronesia.
The guns in Micronesia stem from two sources: a series of ships the Japanese government had purchased from British and Italian Naval shipyards in the years prior to World War I, and from a Japanese armament factory, which had been making British-designed guns in license. Following the Washington Naval Limitations Treaty of 1922 a number of ships had to be scrapped, but their armaments, both turrets and gun barrels could be landed and stored.
The shortbarreled versions were light guns, which were emplaced in quantity in western Micronesia, designed as a quick solution after the fall of the Japanese bases in Kiribati and the Marshall Islands in late 1943 and early 1944.
Bibliographic citation for this document
Spennemann, Dirk H.R. (2000). 8-inch Coastal Defense Guns. British, Italian and Japanese Naval Guns and their Emplacements in Micronesia.
Dirk H.R. Spennemann,
Institute of Land, Water and Society,
Charles Sturt University, P.O.Box 789,
Albury NSW 2640, Australia.