The Generals, Australians and Borneo (2)

The Borneo Campaign Map

From: “General Kenney Reports”

[continued from the previous post where the Generals were on the island of Labaun after the Australian troops had landed to take it back from the Japanese.]

We got to the USS Boise and the next morning we all went over to the beach near Brooketon.  Gen. Wooten joined us.  We waded through a half mile of swamp to a road where 6 jeeps picked us up and drove into the town of Brooketon itself.  The place was completely wrecked by bombing.

Australian soldiers firing artillery, Borneo

Wooten said they encountered very little opposition until they got about 10 miles inland, where they were in contact with about 500 Japs who were dug in on a hill commanding the road.  He had radioed for some airplanes from Palawan to blast their artillery out of the hills so he could use the road.

MacArthur, of course, wanted to see what as going on, so we climbed in the jeeps and headed off for more trouble.  About 5 miles down the road we came to an overturned Jap truck.  It seemed that about 2 hours before, the truck with 12 Nips on board, had dashed along the road with the lights turned on, the horns blowing, and the fools all yelling “Banzai”, heading for the Aussies who were marching toward them.  The Aussie machine-gunners had taken care of the truck and all the Japs.

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MacArthur on Labaun, Borneo 10 June 1945

From: “The Australian Experience”

The decision to bring forward the OBOE VI operation, on the western side of Borneo, was a strategic surprise to the Japanese. The area around Brunei Bay facilitated rapid deployments and operational maneuver from the sea. General MacArthur set Z-Day as 10 June 1945. Naval and landing force command for the Brunei Bay amphibious assault, landing 33,500 personnel and 49,500 tons of supplies and equipment was delegated to Rear Admiral Royal, and Major General George Wootten, commander of the Australian 9th Division.

The Brunei Bay operation was, according to MacArthur, ‘flawlessly executed’. Between 10 June 1945 and the end of the war, the fighting at Brunei Bay and Labuan led to the loss of 119 Australians killed and a further 221 wounded. At least eight Americans lost their lives and 55 were wounded. The Japanese lost 1,375 and 130 captured during this operation, although guerillas probably killed another 1,800 throughout British Borneo.

Borneo, 1945

The order of battle for the ground forces for the OBOE II is indicative of the Australian Army’s approach. Australians made up 94 per cent of the invasion force. It was built around the Australian 7th Infantry Division. The major Australian contribution, its nine infantry battalions (in three brigades) were central to the activities of the ground force. The Australian artillery and armored units were allocated an infantry support role, and were not well versed in the application of combined arms teams.

The US Army provided the specialist amphibious ship-to-shore units for the Australian division. While the Australian Army was responsible for beach operations, the Navy provided a Beachmaster and the RAN Beach Commandos. The NEI troops did fight but were also employed as interpreters and as security for the Netherland Indies civil affairs organization. The RAAF airfield construction squadrons, which were attached to the ground force commander, were to land early and have an airbase ready for Allied aircraft in just four days.

Click on images to enlarge.

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Military Humor –

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Farewell Salutes –

Atilano ‘Al’ David – Angeles, P.I. & NM; WWII, PTO, Sgt. 31st Regiment Philippine Division, (Bataan Death March survivor)

Harold P. DeMoss – Nashville, TN; US Navy, WWII, PTO, Ensign, Fighting Squadron 100, KIA

Hubert Fuller – Huntington, WV; US Army, WWII, PTO, 147th Signal/7th Armored/3rd Army

Frank Guerrieri Sr. – Garfield, NJ; US Navy, WWII, PTO, USS St. Louis

John Hickman – Auckland, NZ; RNZ Navy # 14321

Kathy Meinsen – Bastrop, TX; US Army

Gerald Nehring – Hinckley, IL; US Army, WWII, CBI

Thomas Reilly – Scituate, MA; US Coast Guard, Chief Boatswain’s Mate (Ret. 24 y.)

Norman Summers – Auckland, NZ; Royal Navy # MX801257 / RNZ Navy # 12177

Julian Waldman – Oceanside, NY; US Army, WWII

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Personal Note – I have having a little computer trouble.  If I do not answer comments or visit your site, I will do so as soon as possible.   Thank you for your patience.

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on September 13, 2018, in First-hand Accounts, Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 64 Comments.

  1. A time to remember those who suffered and gave so much. They live with honour in our memories and always will. Thank you for enriching our powers of recall.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It always amazes me how determined the Japanese were to die rather than being captured.

    Liked by 1 person

    • They felt it was a disgrace to their Emperor, their family and themselves to give up and surrender. That was also a reason why so many Allied soldiers were treated badly. They were considered disgraceful.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Fithing the japones soldiers was a hall.Hope your computers will be oke vet

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Hell in the Pacific. They don’t seem to make many (any?) films depicting the Pacific War anymore do they? Are we forgetting about this already? I know there’s a lot of literature and stories out there that would be more than worthy to work from.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. A lot of my dad’s family from Australia fought there.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. “were to land early and have an airbase ready for Allied aircraft in just four days”. That s amazing. I knew the RAAF were hard working but an airfield in 4 days?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I hadn’t realized until I read this post that General MacArthur is one person from the war that I recognize immediately, Even though I don’t remember studying him, he must have been quite a hero during my very early childhood in the late 1940s. I know that we always saw black and white newsreels when we went to the movies, and television programs like “You Are There” often provided looks back at the war. I suspect I simply absorbed some knowledge of him that way.

    I do like that you’re able to bring troops from other nations to life in these posts. People like me who don’t have military in our backgrounds have missed a lot of stories about them we might have heard had we had uncles, fathers, and so on who had fought with them during those years.

    Liked by 1 person

    • MacArthur was quite a figure in our youth, many wanted him to run for President. He also loved the camera and being in charge. Truman, who failed at most everything he attempted in life, did not have Mac’s respect at all, but it was him that took the General down when he fired him from leadership in Korea. Without being aware, you most likely heard his name quite often.

      Like

  8. Great posts as usual. I posted a link on my Facebook page – I hope you don’t mind. My father, Sgt. Allen Noel O’Brien, was with the 2nd/31st battalion 7th Div at Balikpapan on July 1st. Dad always spoke highly of American soldiers – (as did my brother in Vietnam) Dad had encountered American Paratroopers at Nadzab in New Guinea.I wrote a poem about the Balikpapan landing and may send it to you when I can find it if you wish.
    Cheers
    Dennis O’Brien

    Liked by 1 person

    • Please accept my thanks to your father for serving, the Australians deserve so much more recognition than they’ve received. The paratroopers your father met on New Guinea would have been the 11th Airborne Division. Depending on the date, it was probably the 503rd Regiment. It seems the soldiers had a mutual admiration going, I’ve heard the same from my father and from many who served in Vietnam.
      I would really like to have the poem. Please send it when you have the time!!
      Thank you, Dennis for contributing. That’s the spirit that helps make this website, not only everyone’s site, but everyone’s history!!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I know you are just quoting what others wrote, but I can’t help wincing every time I read the word “Jap.” I realize they were our enemy during WW2, but somehow it seems so harsh whereas calling the Germans “Jerry” does not. Is it just me?

    Liked by 1 person

    • Despite being the enemy, ‘Jap’ was merely a shortening of Japanese ( or ‘Nip’ short for Nipponese), just as ‘Jerry’ was easier to say when you writing or saying it so much. It has only been since WWII that the PC or politically correctness made it a slur.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. Good luck with the computer. Another super view of the operation, GP. Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Roaring “along the road with the lights turned on, the horns blowing, and the fools all yelling “. I’m sure we did that at university once, but the circumstances were very different.
    As always, an excellent account, thanks for sharing it with us all!

    Liked by 3 people

    • I can well picture it happening at the university to get attention, but these guys had to have a death wish. If I get an ‘excellent’ from you, that means a great deal! Thank you, John.

      Like

  12. As always thank you for a great historical read that is so close to lil red dot😊

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Sorry I have not been able to comment on all your great posts. Been ill for a period of time, but I kept all your work and will “like” them for you. Hope you are keeping well, all the best – Anna

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Seems the Australians provided a significant contribution to the fighting in this part of the Pacific Theater. I’m glad you’re giving them recognition.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Another good post. While I am writing, I want to say I like the “How to fold the flag” in the side bar of your posts.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Hope you get your computer fixed soon. Maybe it’s just the storm. My computer was acting up too yesterday. It was so slow. I kept on turning it off and on to get it going.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The computer guy is here right now and I asked what it was that happened. He said in 19 years he never saw anything like my problem before – but I think he fixed it. (finger crossed, I’m on a little notebook right now)

      Liked by 2 people

  17. So well written, thanks. Boy, those Japs were not known for their humility.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. MacArthur seemed to have a good grasp of the whole theater, and how to use geography, air and water in an operation. Strategically, I think he was ahead of the curve. Emotionally, not so sure.

    I hope the computer problem turns out to be minor.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. More hard fighting for the brave Aussies. Always good to read about them, GP.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Good luck with the computer, GP … we tend to take ’em for granted when things are going well (a bit like the armed forces …).

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Fantastic stuff, GP. And timely, I might add – I have just finished reading ‘Sandakan’ by the Australian war historian Paul Ham and I highly recommend it.
    The very name Borneo conjures collective memories of the Sandakan POW camp death marches, one of the saddest and most brutal experiences of Aussie soldiers at war. Out of more than 1,600 boys captured after the fall of Singapore, only a mere SIX survived the inhuman cruelty of the Borneo camps. The period of captivity from 1942 to 1945 saw our men beaten, starved, tortured and murdered during some of the worst POW conditions ever seen.
    As tough as it is to learn about, I encourage you and your readers to read more about Sandakan. Unfortunately, it continues to be a forgotten story of our past. This is why these sites and their stories are so important. Great work GP!

    Liked by 2 people

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