How Borneo was won: The Untold Story of an Asian Victory
General Sir Walter Walker
I august 1969 tiltrådte general Sir Walter Walker posten som Commander-in-Chief Allied Forces Northern Europe. Hovedparten af generalens tjeneste er udført i Det fjerne Østen, afbrudt af kurser i England. Under striden med Indonesien 1962-65 var generalen øverstkommanderende for alle britiske og Commonwealth-styrker på Borneo. Forud for overtagelse af posten som chef for Nordkommandoen var general Walker Deputy Chief of Staff (Operations & Intelligence) og senere Acting Chief of Staff ved Centralkommandoen. Om sine erfaringer som øverstkommanderende på Borneo har general Walker i tidsskriftet The Round Table, The Commonwealth Quarterly skrevet nedenstående artikel, der gengives i sin engelske udgave med forfatterens tilladelse. Selv om artiklen behandler begivenheder på en så fjern krigsskueplads som Borneo, indeholder den betragtninger om bl. a. krav til førere og enheder om dygtighed også under andre taktiske vilkår end de beskrevne. Spredning af styrker på kamppladsen og kamp i rum skaber vilkår, hvor kravene til mindre enheder måske ikke er så forskellige fra de i artiklen behandlede.
LIMITED war has been going on continuously in South East Asia, in varying degrees of intensity, for the past 21 years. There have been eight important conflicts: eight years of war in IndoChina, Indonesia’s fight for freedom against the Dutch, the 12-year Malayan emergency, the Korean war, the conflict in Laos, the three-and-a-half-year Indonesian confrontation against Malaysia, the 1967 security operations in Hong Kong and the present large-scale fighting in Vietnam . The subject of this article is the Indonesian confrontation against Malaysia, which was concentrated m ainly on the island of Borneo and lasted more than three years. Until September 1963, Borneo had consisted of three separate and in dependent states-Sarawak, North Borneo and Brunei. Then Sarawak and North Borneo (later called Sabah) joined the Federation of Malaysia, with Brunei electing to remain outside as an independent state under British protection.
Consequent upon the outbreak of the Brunei revolt, I was appointed Commander British Forces, Borneo, on December 19, 1962, and later became Director of Operations. In April 1963, the Indonesians crossed the border and annihilated the police station at Tebedu, uncomfortably close to Kuching. We were given the task of identifying and defeating Indonesian aggression, or “confrontation” as it came to be called, over a land frontier of 1,000 miles, a coast line considerably longer, and the air space above. My aim was to prevent the conflict from escalating into open war, similar to that in South Vietnam today. To do this, it was necessary to win the opening rounds of the jungle battle and also, at the same time, the psychological battle in the kampongs and villages of the up-country tribal peoples. In addition, there was an internal threat of clandestine communist subversion and of armed rebellion in the mainly Chinese urban areas. These dangers had to be tackled with the same energy and expertise as the external challenge, for the Chinese-run Clandestine Communist Organisation had a membership of 24,000.
When I arrived in December 1962, the forces available consisted of one brigade of three battalions, six naval coastal minesweepers, and some 15 naval and air force helicopters. When I left in March 1965, there was a combined multi-national force constisting of:
a. Coastal minesweepers and naval and maritime police fast armed patrol boats, for both inshore and up-river patrolling.
b. 70, later 80, helicopters (which was about 40 short of what was required, and some 2,700 less than the troop-carrying helicopters available in South Vietnam).
c. About 40 fixed wing aircraft.
d. Four regular infantry brigades-totalling 13 infantry battalions-British, Gurkha, Malay, Australian and New Zealand.
e. The equivalent of one battalion of SAS (Special A ir Service Regiment)-the squadrons being British, Gurkha, Australian and New Zealand.
f. The equivalent of about two battalions’ worth of police field force, or police jungle companies.
g. About 1,500 border scouts, required from the indigenous tribes.
h. Two regiments of armoured cars-British and Malay.
i. The equivalent of two regiments of Artillery-British, Malay and Australian.
j. Two regiments of Engineers-British, Gurkha, Malay and Australian.
k. An excellent joint communications system, which gave me rapid intercommunication with the troops in the jungle, the aircraft in the air and on the airfields, the ships at sea, the four joint Army, Naval, Air and Police headquarters, and the headquarters of the National Operations Committee in Kuala Lum pur; as well as the Commanderin-Chief’s headquarters in Singapore.
There were few motorable roads in Borneo outside the urban areas, and no railways. In addition, there was only one deep sea port-Labuan. From there everything had to be transhipped in small coastal cargo boats and lighters across the 20 miles of sea, and up river to Brunei. Initially there were no Service stocks in the country, such as rations, medical stores, ammunition, clothing, tentage or transport. All these had to be brought in some 900 miles by air and sea. There were no camps for the troops, no generators, no pumping engines, no workshops, and no local military forces from whom one could get assistance. Every battalion, camp, company base and platoon post had to be built from scratch.
Ninety per cent, of the logistic supply within Borneo was by air, both air-landed and air-dropped. This was dictated by the lack of roads and also by our operational concept, which was one of complete mobility and flexibility. In guerilla and insurgency operations in really dense jungle country, roads are not only deathtraps, but they give advance notice to the enemy of your presence and intentions. To give an example of our air supply effort: during the year from November 1964 to October 1965, in each month we lifted an average of 19,000 troops, we air-landed an average of 1,900,000 lbs of supplies, and we air-dropped an average of 2,000,000 lbs of supplies. Few people in England at that lime, or indeed since, can have realised the magnitude of our airlift.
Six Ingredients of Success
On the air journey to Borneo in December 1962, I occupied myself in drafting a directive which I was resolved to issue immediately on my arrival. It was based on my experience of the 12-year Malayan emergency (1948-60) and a study of insurgency in Indo-China (Laos and South Vietnam) from 1946-62. It goes without saying that the Malayan emergency influenced me tremendously, because it was there that Field Marshal Templer forged that unique and successful system of unity-between the armed forces themselves, between the armed forces and the police, and between the security forces as a whole and the civil administration. It was this unity, join t planning and join t operations at all times and at all levels, that defeated the communist guerrillas in Malaya.
In my directive, I said that the ingredients of success would be fivefold: unified operations; tim ely and accurate information, which means a first-class intelligence machine; speed, mobility and flexibility; security of our bases, whereever they were and whatever they might be (airfield, patrol base, etc.); and domination of the jungle. After about one month I added a sixth principle: winning the hearts and minds of the people, and especially indigenous people. This was absolutely vital to the success of operations because, by winning over the people to your side, you can succeed in isolating your enemy from supplies, shelter and intelligence. This sixth principle entailed winning the local peoples trust, confidence and respect. We set out to speak their language and respect their customs and religion. We sent small highly trained special air service-type patrols to live and work among them, to protect them and share their danger, to get to know them and gain their confidence. These troops were as friendly, understanding and patient to the villagers as they were tough and ruthless in the jungle. We sought to give the villagers a feeling of security by day and night, through the presence of phantom patrols and through constant visits by the civil administration, the police and the army. We helped their agriculture, improved their communications and trading facilities, improved their water supply, provided medical clinics and a flying doctor service, established schools, provided transistor wireless sets and attractive programmes, and so on.
We went to any lengths to keep our hands clean. For example, our security precautions for offensive air support, for artillery and mortar fire were as fool-proof as it was humanly possible to make them. It was indelibly inscribed on our minds that one civilian killed by us would do more harm than ten killed by the enemy. Every time we defeated the enemy we took every possible precaution to ensure that he could not exact retribution on the nearest village. We gave that village protection, either visible or invisible. If the latter, only the headman was told that we were in ambush nearby. In addition, each village had its own alarm system and local defence plan. At all costs the enemy had to be prevented from capturing a village and digging in, because this would have meant a battle to recapture it and, in the process, its probable destruction. If the price a village had to pay for its liberation from the enemy was to be its own destruction, then the campaign for hearts and minds would never have been won.
Winning the hearts and minds of the indigenous inhabitants is not just a question of direct aid. People must be given the w ill to help themselves and the necessary expertise to do so. This is something which the British Army is good at, because they have so much experience and know-how. But this can so easily be lost; and I found that we had to start from scratch because the lessons of the Malayan emergency had been forgotten in a space of three years. Good though our record has been in several insurgency campaigns, on each occasion we have had to play ourselves in all over again.
Holding a 970-Mile Frontier
The speed, mobility and flexibility of our surface forces was all-important in the operations as they developed. This immediately becomes obvious when one realises that a frontier of 970 miles (equal to the distance between Liverpool and Warsaw) was held by only 13 battalions against an enemy two or three times their strength who had no constraints about violating the frontier. To dominate and own the jungle over 1,000 miles, to a depth of 100 miles, against this enemy, and smash him every time he attempted an incursion, was no mean achievement on the part of the 13 battalions concerned. There were those who argued at the time that more battalions should have been kept back concentrated-900 miles away in Singapore and on the mainland-ready to be flown in when an incursion took place. Such policy, I was convinced, would have resulted in the arrival of too little too late. One just could not dominate the Borneo jungle from Singapore, let alone win the hearts and minds of the local people from that distance.
The frontages of the four brigades were 181, 442, 267 and 81 miles. Before I was given a fourth brigade headquarters in January 1965, the front of the most westerly brigade was 681 miles. (In comparison, a brigade’s area of responsibility in Europe is about 9-12 miles square.) With these tremendous frontages and depths, and almost complete lack of roads, railways and navigable rivers, how were the infantry, in this really thick, mountainous jungle country, to maintain the momentum of operations? Their job was to anticipate the enemy’s intentions, cut him off, seal him o ff and destroy him before he could retreat to the sanctuary of his side of the frontier. The solution lay in a combination of good intelligence and all types of air support.
It was mainly helicopters that provided the army with the necessary degree of speed, mobility and flexibility. They proved themselves over and over again to be real bat tie-winners. They flew tirelessly over the mountains and along the valleys, placing men exactly where they would do most good. For example, reconnaissance patrols were positioned along the frontier to find and report the enemy, and sections were set down neatly in depth to cut o ff unsuspecting raiders. A clever company commander with a few “choppers” could so block guerillas at every turn that they would think an entire army was on their heels. We hit the enemy so often the moment he put his nose across the frontier that we were credited with having some special form of radar. To take the strain o ff the helicopters and o ff air dropping, we were always building short jungle airstrips, or improving existing ones, for our light fixed wing aircraft. The Beaver is a wonderfull aircraft and was certainly one of the best buys the army ever made.
Another means of transport which really proved itself in Borneo was the hovercraft. Trials were completed with the SRN-5, which could take about 20 troops or two tons freight, and has a cruising speed of 50 knots. We found it suitable for patrolling rivers and coasts, for routine surface transport, and for quick movement of small parties of troops, particularly at night, when the helicopter was not at its best. Anyone who has operated in the jungle w ill know that there is no front in the accepted military sense; and this is even more the case if there are dissident elements within, lying low, prepared for armed rebellion, as was the case in Borneo. Unless commanders take a firm stand, they can very soon have all their forces tied down defending their bases. We dealt with this problem by making everyone responsible for his protection, whereever he might he, in front or rear areas. Every man in uniform had to he a potential front line infantry soldier. Officers and men of armoured car, artillery, engineer and signals units, were all trained and ready to fight as infantry. The same applied to the services in depth-RCT, RAOC, REME and Medical. I use the term “in depth” deliberately, and not “in rear”; for there is no “ rear” in counter-insurgency operations.
We made great use o f deception and guile, never doing the same thing twice. We used all forms of lethal and warning devices: armoured cars, mortars, dogs, booby traps, claymore mines, trip flares, seismic intruder devices, and so on. Tim e and time again the enemy tried to in filtrate into villages and towns and to get within mortar range of our airfields. But our intelligence was such that nine times out of ten we knew his every move and we brought him to battle long before he had reached a point from which he could mortar a village, let alone a town.
In the forward areas we adopted a mobile defence, keeping our forward posts to the minimum. Such forward posts as there were had to be properly dug in with overhead cover and capable of being held overnight by not more than one third of the post’s garrison against any opposition-artillery, mortars, rockets, Bangalore torpedoes, or direct infantry assault. The other two thirds of the garrison was always out in an offensive role, dominating the jungle and ambushing tracks by day and night, so that the enemy never knew where we were, and was always liable to be contacted and savaged. Results could not be achieved merely by attacking and shooting the enemy and then returning to base. He had to be played at his own game, by living out in the jungle for weeks on end, by winning the hearts and minds of the people and by planting our own agents in villages known to be unfriendly. In these conditions, your base must be carried on your back, and that base consists of a featherweight plastic sheet, a sockful of rice and a pocketful of ammunition. The jungle has got to belong to you; you must own it; you must control and dominate it.
Special Fighting Skills
What, then, is the technique of domination of the jungle? In really dense, jungle, it is the individual fighting skill of the soldier which has to make up for the difficulty of providing him with conventional forms of fire support from both ground and air. In Borneo, we made sure he was properly acclimatized and given jungle training at our jungle warfare school in West Malaysia. Troops could not be precipitated from Salisbury Plain straight into jungle operations against regular soldiers (who had been trained as guerrillas since 1945) in a tropical climate unless a very great deal of realistic and really tough preliminary training, particularly night training, had taken place.
These Indonesian regular soldiers* were the people we were eventually up against, not the ill-trained volunteers whom we met in the first year. While he was no ‘‘jungle superman”, he earned his freedom against the Dutch the hard way in 1946, fighting in much the same fashion as he fought in Borneo; but now he was a great deal better trained and equipped than he was in 1946. He possessed a variety of modem weapons, and those of iron curtain and U.S. manufacture were of high quality. He used such weapons as artillery, medium mortars, anti-personnel mines and rocket launchers with considerable skill. All in all, he was a thoroughly competent adversary. Against him, we established complete mastery by our fierce aggressive patrolling and ambushing-always searching for and hunting the enemy, and ourselves living as guerrillas. Our objective was to dominate and own the jungle and the frontier, week in, week out, day and night. There was no galloping over the jungle canopy in helicopters. We used all our cunning and guile (for example, contour flying) to get within striking distance of the enemy by helicopter, but without being seen or heard. Then we tracked him down, stalking and closing in on our feet for the kill. The sure way to beat a guerrilla is to operate more quietly, smoke less, and talk less to possible enemy agents before an operation. In Borneo, it was nearly always the Indonesians who fell into the booby traps and triggered off the claymore mines and trip flares set by patrols. I never allowed any of my forward troops into any shop, cafe or bar. When they rested they did so in their jungle base, miles from any bright lights.
* The irony of the situation was that it was the British army who had trained these Indonesian officers at our jungle warfare school in Malaysia and at our school of intelligence in England.
We avoided tying up troops in static posts. Decentralization was the order of the day. For example, the gunners deployed 30 guns in single gun positions over nearly 1,000 miles. The 105 mm. pack Howitzer could be picked up lock, stock and barrel, with ammunition and detachment, by a Belvedere helicopter: the assembled gun was slung underneath and was switched 20 miles to a platoon post in well under an hour. Our artillery was as mobile and flexible as our infantry. The same applied to the sappers. Heavy bulldozers were air-dropped by Belvedere or flown in by Twin Pioneers and assembled on the ground. Gradually we acquired light air-portable earth moving equipment. We were completely air minded and allowed no obstacle to stand in our way.
Lightweight Weapons for the Infantry
The fin al element in establishing jungle mastery was by lightening the soldier’s load. After two years we began to discard some of the heavier type weapons and equipment. The infantry’s main weapon became the American armalite rifle-theAR15-a really lightweight automatic weapon with a first round hit capability, which pole-axed the enemy at 50 yards in the jungle.
In 1965, the changes in our weapons and equipment were sudden and extensive. The infantry, in addition to being armed with the AR15 rifle, were issued with the 88mm. mortar instead of the 3-inch, the Carl Gustav in place of the 3.5-inch rocket launcher, and the General Purpose Machine Gun (GPMG) (replacing the Medium Machine Gun). They also had claymore mines, M79 grenade launchers, M26 grenades, seismic intruder detectors, Australian light-weight jungle kit, and new British and Gurkha light-weight rations. They had artillery to support them, and all infantry NCOs had to be experienced in directing artillery and mortar fire, calling for air support, talking-in air support aircraft, constructing helicopter pads, and so on. Many of us in the West have in the past been guilty of under-estimating an Asian guerrilla-type enemy, often with disastrous results. This is really unforgivable, for we have only to remember the toughness of the Japanese in 1942 and of the Communist terrorists in the first three years of the Malayan emergency, to realize what a mistanke this is. Those with little experience of Asians should speedily remove from their minds any notion of the inherent superiority of the white man as a soldier. As Field Marshal Slim has pointed out,
The Asian fighting man is at least equally brave, usually more careless of death, less encumbered by mental doubts and not so moved by slaughter and mutilation about him. He is better fitted to endure hardship uncomplainingly, to demand less in the way o f subsistence or comfort, and to look after him self when thrown on his own resources. He has a keen practised eye for country and the ability to move across it on his own feet. He has no inherent disinclination to move through swamp and jungle nor to climb hills. Jungle fighting is similar to night fighting in that, although men may be close together, they see little , and they suffer the fears and anxieties of isolation. The more civilized we become, the more shall we draw our soldiers from well-lighted towns and the more frightened shall we be in the dark and in the jungle. The greater, therefore, w ill be the odds in favour of a more primitive foe. The European can, at present, more readily design and produce new weapons and equipment, and find the skilled men to maintain them. Being superior in education he is also to find a higher proportion of potential officers. But the Asian learns as readily as we do how to handle complicated new weapons. Our soldiers must be carefully indoctrinated and highly trained for guerrilla and counter-insurgency type operations in battlefield conditions which are almost unimaginable in their demands on human endurance. In Europe, our climate is too temperate and our life is too urban; and our peacetime training areas are only of limited scope.
Exercises on Salisbury Plain are in no way a suitable rehearsal for jungle operations. Nevertheless, there is a great deal that can be done in Britain. For example, because jungle conditions are similar to night conditions, our preparedness for jungle fighting would obviously be improved if half of the tactical training of troops likely to serve in the Far East could take place by night. There are always good reasons why night training cannot be carried out. There are many better reasons why it should. The Russians do a tremendous amount.
Secretly in Small Groups
In the West, the army is trained in nuclear and conventional tactics, and it depends for transportation primarily on roads, railways, water and, to a more limited extent, air. In guerrilla warfare, roads, railways and rivers are the ambusher’s paradise, even when convoys observe all the safety rules. On the other hand, an army that travels secretly, mostly in small groups, making rendezvous only at the precise moment of battle, cannot be ambushed. That is the way the Viet Cong usually travels. It is the way our soldiers learned to move: and they did it better than the enemy. They out-guerrilla-ed the guerrilla in every department of the game through sheer good training, based on operational experience.
The ambush is at one and the same time the guerrilla’s most potent enemy and his most potent weapon. Whether on a small or large scale, it can be the key element even when guerrilla warfare shifts gear to fullscale mobile warfare. After all, an ambush is merely another word for “ fighting from ground of yor own choosing” but with the difference that it depends entirely on complete surprise. The enemy must be unaware that he is walking into a trap. An ambush requires all the tricks of the infantryman’s trade: an eye for country, track discipline, concealment, camouflage, silence, alertness, fire discipline, marksmanship, guile, cunning and, above all, self-discipline. It requires constant training and rehearsal. For example, you w ill never pull o ff an ambush if you smoke, chew gum, wash your hands, clean your teeth, Brylcream your hair, whisper, or cough. In ambush, a man is lying in wait for a dangerous hunted animal whose sense of smell and keen eyesight are phenomenal.
Let us now look back on the course of Indonesian confrontation and trace the changing demands it made on an infantry battalion. In 1963, the threat was from small, ill-trained and poorly armed gangs of so-called “ Indonesian border-terrorists” . To meet this threat, our tactics were similar to those of the Malayan emergency: platoon operating independently from companys bases. In 1964, the Indonesian government stiffened the border terrorists with regulars and we had to contend with much stronger and more professional opposition, calling for closer control at battalion level and a start to company operations. Helicopters, un til then small and in short supply, became larger and more numerous.
The War of 1965-6
In late 1964, Indonesia stepped up her campaign and trebled the strength of her regular garrisons in the border area, particularly in West Sarawak. In 1965 and 1966, we were therefore dealing with the regular Indonesian army in a real war, akin to fighting the Japanese in Burma. It was longrange patrolling, often in company strength, ambushing and attacking relatively large bodies of enemy, often dug in. It had become a company commander’s war. The enemy fought with tenacity and skill. He had mortars and guns and used them efficiently. Gone were the days when the immediate reaction to a contact was to charge the enemy. During 1965 and 1966, only the highest standards of patrolling, battle-craft, fire and movement, and the fullest use of our artillery and mortar support, could win the day.
In mid-1966, the “war” ended and the wheel turned fu ll cycle hack to 1963: once more battalions were chasing only terrorists, mostly Chinese from Sarawak, trained in Indonesia. Terrorists in filtrating in twos and threes, demanded the re-development of platoon and section patrols and ambushes. And then, suddenly, in August 1966, there came the attempted Indonesian incursion of 50 insurgents at a time. It took one battalion a full month to smash one such incursion in the most appalling jungle and weather. A whole battalion was stretched overall about 200 miles, deployed as follow-up platoons in cut-off and deep ambushes, with the helicopter as usual doing a superb job. By that time, however, we were such masters of the situation that such an incursion was annihilated to a man. All this goes to show how versatile the infantry soldier had to be. One day he was fighting terrorists; the next he was attacking sophisticated, well-equipped, highly trained regular soldiers, dug in and supported by artillery and mortars. The superb performance of our security forces deserved much more publicity than it received.
The effective use of such fighting forces depends on tim ely and accurate inform ation-in other words, intelligence. Before the formation of Malaysia and before confrontation, both Sarawak and Sabah had been peaceful countries with practically no crime. Indeed, the size of the combined police forces of Sarawak and Sabah was smaller than the strength of the local police force of the smallest state on the mainland of West Malaysia. There was no locally-raised army or navy; just a small maritime police force. Most serious of all was the grave shortage of Special Branch police officers and inspectors.
We took immediate measures to overcome this shortage. Then, against some opposition, we raised a force of 1,500 border scouts from the up-river tribes, who became our “ eyes and ears”. They provided company and platoon commanders with early warning o f the movement of enemy on both sides of the border. New battalions sometimes took a very long time to learn the technique of how to use their border scouts properly, but in the end everyone came to realize their worth. This is yet another example of failing to profit from the lessons of the past. These same tribes were the very people whom our special forces organized against the Japanese in the Second World War. It was because we won the hearts and minds of these people that they supplied us with reliable information. Their tribal areas, land, relatives and friends extended on both sides of the frontier, regardless of the international boundary.
In counter-insurgency operations, certainly in a sovereign independent country possessing a sophisticated Special Branch, military intelligence should be the servant and not the master of the Special Branch. This is because Special Branch officers and their staff and agents live in the country, speak the language, know the people, and are of the people, whereas army intelligence staffs are here today and gone tomorrow. Good intelligence depends on continuity at every level.
Giving Effect to Unified Command
There remains the all-important question of unified operations, about which both the Services and the civil administration s till have so much to learn. When I arrived in Borneo, the Army and R.A.F. were in separate and widely separated headquarters, and there was no permanent Royal Navy representation ashore. In order to bring everyone together, my first action was to take over a suitable building and establish a Joint Headquarters. This set the pattern for similar headquarters at all levels throughout the country.
To give practical effect to unified command, a Director of Operations’ Joint Headquarters must he set up at the earliest possible moment. This should consist of five elements: the civil administration, civil police (including Special Branch), the Navy, Arm y and Air Force. Then there must be join t operational executive committees set up at every level throughout the country: state, with the chief minister in the chair; division; district; and local.
There are various pitfalls to guard against. It is all too easy to forget that the armed forces are in support of the civil administration and the police, and w ill continue to be so. There must never be in committee a “heavy front row of military brass”. On the contrary, the civil administration must be seen to be conducting affairs, and must not be kept, or allow themselves to be kept, in the background. If the country is newly independent and short of experienced administrators (as was the case in Borneo), the civil officials must be particularly encouraged to take the lead. Some army officers can be far too dictatorial and unbending in their manner. They must overcome this failing and go out of their way to he diplomatic, patient and courteous; and they must have a complete grasp of the functions, capabilities and limitations of the civil police and civil administration. Only in this way can they win the respect and confidence of their civil colleagues.
It is too easily forgotten that civil officials see battalions come and go at short intervals, whereas they themselves spend the whole of their working lives in the country. They speak the language and know the people. Internal friction is bound to be generated if military commanders ride rough-shod over political implications. Especially is this so if the operations are being conducted in an independent sovereign country, such as East Malaysia.
In the current climate of world opinion, any military action has farreaching consequences. The political factor must, therefore, be paramount and the services must accept this. Unilateral military action will eventually lead to disaster. Joint operations entail control by a triumvirate-civilian, policeman, soldier-all under the single direction of a “military” Director of Operations. It is the job of the Director of Operations to make sure that the system operates as two blades of a pair of scissors, neither subordinate to the other, but each making it possible for the other to succeed. The directive given to me by the National Operations Committee in Kuala Lum pur charged me with “stimulating and encouraging the civil administration”. Although this did not entitle me to give orders direct to the civil administration, it did enable me to cause orders to be given to the civil administration through the National Operations Committee. Once the National Operations Committee were satisfied, they invariably gave their support. It was then my business to ensure that these orders were carried out to the letter with the minimum of delay. It was very seldom necessary to crack the whip. Once one begins to win battles and, in addition, produce civic results, one has won the confidence of the country as a whole, and from then on all is comparatively plain sailing.
I will conclude this article by once agin quoting from Field Marshal Slim’s book “Defeat into Victory”. In it he says: I believe that jungle fighting is today, strange as it may seem, the best training for nuclear war.
He goes on to explain this by saying that formations will be compelled to disperse and that dispersed figliing will require skilled and determined junior leaders, and self-reliant, physically hard, well-disciplined troops. He ends with these words:
In nuclear war, after the first shock of mutual devastation has been survived, victory will go, as it does in jungle fighting, to the tougher, more resourceful infantry soldier . . . The easier and more gadget-filled our daily life becomes, the harder w ill it be to produce him.
In Borneo we did produce him, and victory was ours, with a loss of life which was less, over three years, than the slaughter on the roads in Britain on a single Bank Holiday. On November 27, 1967, M r. Denis Healey, the Secretary of State for Defence, paid this tribute to our Forces:
When the House thinks of the tragedy that could have fallen on a whole comer of a Continent if we had not been able to hold the situation and bring it to a successful termination, it w ill appreciate that in the history books it w ill be recorded as one of the most efficient uses of military force in the history of the world.
PDF med originaludgaven af Militært Tidsskrift hvor denne artikel er fra: how_borneo_was_won1969.pdf
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