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Thread: Borneo Confrontation: a small, secret war

  1. #1
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default Borneo Confrontation: a small, secret war

    Inspired by an old post of Ken's I started looking at 'Operation Claret', a British and allied forces operation in the Indonesian Confrontation in the mid-1960's. This link is helpful: (A secret cross-border operation till disclosed in the UK in 1974 and Australia in 1996).

    Looking deeper I came across an item from the Borneo Research Bulletin, from 2006, based on the unpublished memoirs of Tim Hardy, the former British head of Special Branch in Borneo (part of Malaysia), December 1961-March 1968, which is previously unknown to me as an illustration of post-Imperial political intelligence work:

    There are several versions of the article, this one appears to be complete and not behind a fee paying wall.

    For those not familiar with the area: and the book Ken read was: (which has other linked books on the subject / period).

    Last edited by davidbfpo; 10-19-2009 at 05:05 PM. Reason: Add links

  2. #2
    Council Member William F. Owen's Avatar
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    Dec 2007
    The State of Partachia, at the eastern end of the Mediterranean


    The Borneo Confrontation is well worth a close look. It was actually a State-v-state War comprising mostly regular forces, but obviously with irregular forces as well (The Insurrection in Brunei) - nothing new in that, - but it walks all over the cookie cutter definitions of "COIN."
    Infinity Journal "I don't care if this works in practice. I want to see it work in theory!"

    - The job of the British Army out here is to kill or capture Communist Terrorists in Malaya.
    - If we can double the ratio of kills per contact, we will soon put an end to the shooting in Malaya.
    Sir Gerald Templer, foreword to the "Conduct of Anti-Terrorist Operations in Malaya," 1958 Edition

  3. #3
    Council Member davidbfpo's Avatar
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    Mar 2006

    Default Looking back at a 'small war'

    Two articles by Dr. Christopher Tuck, 'Winning While Losing’: Borneo Headquarters and the End of Confrontation, June–November 1966' is behind a pay-wall, so only the Abstract is available:
    From 1963 to 1966 Britain fought an undeclared war against Indonesia in the jungles of Borneo. Existing accounts of the tactical outcomes of this campaign take at face value the comments produced after the event by such key individuals as Sir Walter Walker, until March 1965 the British Director of Borneo Operations, who regarded the campaign as ‘a complete success’. This article demonstrates that this narrative is a retrospective judgement and that senior British officers at the time regarded the conclusion of the campaign as a success for Indonesia.

    The second is open and concerns strategy, with a big dollop of mis-perception by the British of their Indonesian opponents.

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