Borneo campaign



The operation was a complex oboe company of Allied n the United States, Australia and the United Kingdom during the Pacific War during World War II. The goal was the liberation of the Japanese-occupied Borneo. It included the use of air, land and sea-based organizations and began the reconquest of Tarakan on 1 May 1945.

Early history

Japanese troops landed from 16 December 1941 on Borneo (→ Japanese invasion of Borneo) and occupied in the following year a large part of the island. Borneo was at that time part of Dutch East Indies and the northern part was British territory. Many of those soldiers stationed there fell into Japanese captivity and were placed in camps on the island. Australian special forces of the Services Reconnaissance Department, known as the Z-Force have been sent to Borneo to locals to train guerrilla fighters against the Japanese occupiers. These struggles cost around 2,000 Japanese life.

Allied planning

The plan for the reconquest of Borneo was a political decision in the first place. 1945 played considerations for engaging in the Japanese-occupied territories Dutch East Indies a subordinate role. Priority was the tactic of Iceland hopping to bypass Rabaul and as close as possible to the Japanese home islands to come. Australian troops were not involved in missions in the Philippines and it made ​​a dissatisfied mood wide, which related primarily to the inactivity of the experienced Australian soldiers of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF). The Dutch were particularly upset because their affected areas not considered in the existing plans found.

General Douglas MacArthur, Supreme Commander of its time (Supreme Allied Commander) of the South-West Pacific Area, scheduled towards the end of 1944, a series of operations under the collective pseudonym OBOE. Specifically, were the operations on Tarakan (OBOE 1), Balikpapan (OBOE 2), Banjarmasin (OBOE 3), Surabaya (OBOE 4), East NEI (OBOE 5) and North Borneo (Sabah) (OBOE 6). These were the 7 and 9 Division of the AIF provided.

Japanese occupiers

In the north-west Borneo was the 37th Army under the command of Lieutenant General Baba Masao. The southern and eastern part of the island was under Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada, who was in command of both the maritime country and the army units.

The occupiers were from the beginning in the fight against domestic guerrilla groups, including the so-called Kinabalu Guerrillas, the’m in the north of Tun Datu Mustapha Datu Harun and were led by Albert Kwok in the west. Their resistance was only a committed by the Japanese at the guerrillas bloodbath in Petagas 21 Completed in January 1944.

The importance of Borneo, especially Tarakans, as crude oil source for the Japanese took over the course of 1944, significantly down, because the Allied supply lines to the Japanese home islands ever blocked in their further advance. So the last oil tanker left Tarakan in July 1944. After heavy bombing paralyzed the oil production and the maritime routes to Tarakan were sealed with sea mine.

In the course of
meaninglessness, the Japanese units were significantly reduced there in spring 1945. So one of the two battalion stationed there s been abbeordert to Balikpapan.

The battles

The island of Morotai was used by the Allies as a base for the collection of their units, there were also prepared for the forthcoming landings.


Three Allied cruisers and six destroyers under the command of Rear Admiral Berkey began on 27 April 1945, with its naval artillery to bombard the southern part of the island of Tarakan, which was intended as a landing area. The bombardment continued for three days. After 30 April, the island was occupied by a battalion Sadan, started on 1 May, the landings of the main units with 18,000 soldiers under Brigadier Commander Whitehead on Tarakan.

Although the coastal bombardment had destroyed many Japanese positions or substantially damaged, but were sent forward to secure the main landing units pioneers to cut swaths through the coastal fortifications. The landing units consisted of 26 Infantry Brigade of the 9th Division, which was accompanied by approximately 140 KNIL soldiers who served as scouts and translators. Furthermore, some NEFIS staff went ashore. The following battles for the conquest of Tarakan took a further six weeks. More than 200 Australian soldiers died and 20 June, the island was occupied.

One of the main goals in taking the island was the construction of airfield ren to support further operations. However, the Japanese had the airfields they were destroyed or severely damaged during the fighting. The flown to restore RAAF units were faced with a very difficult task, since the very marshy soil of the island made ​​a new installation of airfields impossible. End of June, some airfields could be released, at least for smaller fighter e, but they have never been used to the extent that it once was provided.

North Borneo

Oboe 6 was the second operation from 10 Carried out in June 1945. It included the landing in the Bay of Brunei in northwest Borneo and the capture of the barrier island Labuan. The envisaged to 9 Division had the task of expanding the Bay of Brunei to an advanced allied base and take the oil fields, rubber plantations and the associated production of secondary importance. Coastal bombardment by ships calling and e airstrike supported the landings at Brunei and Muara Island. In Labuan, hundreds of Japanese occupiers of the 37th fought Army, under the command of Lieutenant General Baba Masao and had retreated into a swamp area, against the advancing Australians. But even there translated airstrikes and naval artillery of resistance to an end. Brunei fell on 13 June to the Australians on a second landing wave 16 June at Weston brought ashore. Other smaller landings took place on 19. And on 23 June was Mempakul June held at Sabang. The main thrust was directed against Beaufort, which was believed that it was occupied by up to 1,000 Japanese. On 27 June began the attack on the village. Since the Japanese defense was very uncoordinated organized, Beaufort fell against nightfall the Australians. During the night skirmishes with scattered Japanese troops still took place, which finally settled on the afternoon of 29 June retired.

However, partly fights on Labuan and North Borneo North lasted until the war ended. Until then, the Australians complained more than 100 dead and some 1,400 Japanese dead.


First landing at Balikpapan on 1 wave July 1945

The final operation from 1 2 Oboe July 1945 was the capture of Balikpapan in East Borneo. It was the largest conducted by the Australian land, air and naval units amphibious landing operation during the Pacific War, with more than 30,000 soldiers. The Australians led as it did for the previously conducted landings tanks to fight the Japanese defenses. Pioneers cleared minefield he installed and destroyed by the Japanese booby trap. Although the Japanese attacked sporadically Australian positions, the outcome of the operation Oboe 2 was never compromised.

The Japanese resistance during the landing operation was relatively small. The Australians brought the first wave of 10,500 soldiers, 700 vehicles and about 1,960 tons of material on land. Although took the Japanese defense efforts to as the Australians were advancing further inland, but could the airfield of Sepinggang Balikpapan be taken on the second and on the third day. The airfield of Manggar fell on 5 July at the hands of the Australians. The following rise in Samarinda was made ​​with extreme caution as the Australian commanders had been ordered to keep their losses as low as possible. The area around Samarinda could therefore be explained only at the end of the month as free of the enemy. The remaining Japanese units had settled towards Banjarmasin and Kuching. During the fighting, the 229 Australians and the Japanese lost about 1,800 soldiers.


•National Archives and Records Administration – ARC 39073, LI 208-UN-166 – ALLIES INVADE BALIKPAPAN on YOUTUBE (English)

•National Archives and Records Administration – ARC 39071, LI 208-UN-164 – FINAL VICTORY ON OKINAWA – ALLIES INVADE BORNEO on YOUTUBE (English)

Military operation in the Pacific War

History of Indonesia

Malaysian history

History (Sabah)


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