Wildcat's WWII pics.

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Apr 11, 2005
South East Queensland
From an Aussie perspective of WWII. The following pics are of the 7th Australian Division's landing at Balikpapan in Borneo in July 1945.


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More pics from Borneo Operations.


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Wurger said:
Yes, but the weather was good...

Obviously you dont know how miserable the weather can be in the jungles of SE Asia.

Temps over 100F with near 100% humidity. Rain can either be a short sprinkle or come down in a deluge thats like taking a shower.

The threat of receiving a lethal bite from a snake is always a threat, and it happened with alarming frequency. And the insects and bugs are numerous, carry diseases (some lethal) and can and will find you. Even if they dont bite you, they will annoy you and drive you mad.

The weather and enviornment of SE Asia was severe and unforgiving on men and eqmt alike.
Wildcat, great pics.

I've never been able to figure out why in the world MacArthur planned this operation. None of the oil from Balikpapin, Tarakan and Samarinda was going anywhere, with the allied naval and air blockade 100% tight.

Perhaps he wanted the oil fields to start producing and reduce the logistics burden? Maybe politics were at work and he wanted to quash any nationalist sentiment and make sure the Dutch were coming back "under force"?

That pix of the ladies next to the C47......... do you call them "bush babes"? hehehehehhehe
syscom3 said:
Wildcat, great pics.

I've never been able to figure out why in the world MacArthur planned this operation. None of the oil from Balikpapin, Tarakan and Samarinda was going anywhere, with the allied naval and air blockade 100% tight.

Perhaps he wanted the oil fields to start producing and reduce the logistics burden? Maybe politics were at work and he wanted to quash any nationalist sentiment and make sure the Dutch were coming back "under force"?

That pix of the ladies next to the C47......... do you call them "bush babes"? hehehehehhehe

Yep even to this day the whole Borneo campaign is still controversal in Australia. Many believe it was a waste of time and more importantly a waste of good soldiers (most were veterans of North Africa and New Guinea). At the time many Senior Australian and Allied Generals, including Gen Blamey, thought it was unnecessary. However MacArthur justified it on political grounds relating to Dutch prestige (as you mentioned) and on strategic grounds relating to oil. Although I believe after the massive pre invasion airstrikes (up to 200 bombers a day in June) and naval bombardment (23 000 shells) there wouldn't be much oil left! In fact alot of the oil storage tanks were purposly destroyed for the fear the Japs would drain the oil onto the beaches and start huge fires.

BTW bush babes or shielas same thing!!
lesofprimus said:
I remember once or twice looking about as good as these guys lol...
Excellent shots Wildcat.... Where's u dig those up from???

I can imagine you did Les. This pics is of sappers who had the job of clearing obstacles the Japs had set up stretching 500feet from the shore to stop the landings at Tarakan. This took place under fire from the shore and in waist deep mud on the three landing beaches. The first two decorations (military medals) from Tarakan were awarded to engineers clearing these obstacles. Here is a pic of a section of the beaches. More pics to follow soon..


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More pictures from the Borneo Campaign.


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yeah must have been intense ...heat , humidty the natural predators let alone moving any or all equipment with no roads and supplying the men and equipment and there doesn't appear to be much level terrain ...and no helicopters

I have just come across you Balipapan photos and I am very interested in them.

My father was there in an anti aircraft unit during the landings and my mate's father was one of the engineers that went ashore to clear the beaches at the begining of the invasion.

I would like to here about what info and photos that you have.

I have found that tracing the unit my father was in to be nearly impossible, as if they did not exist. I have seen daily records for the unit at the war memorial in Canberra but that is about it.

My father also fought in north Africa.

I would make my photos available as soon as I digitise them.

G'day mate, Do you know what Division he was in? From what I have found, the 2/1st composite Anti-Aircraft Regt was at Balikpapan. This unit was part of the 7th Division. The only other unit it could be is the 2/3rd composite Anti-Aircraft Regt who fought in Borneo. They were part of the 9th Division. So if you can track down his division you might have your answer. Hope this has been useful.
Great Pics

I found this site via your Link in the "Balikpapaan remembered" thread.

Sys asked the question about why the operation was undertaken at all.

According to "High Command - Australia and Allied Strategy 1939-45: DM Horner, Australian War Memorial (published by George Allen Unwin) Library Of Congress Cat Number 82-72082, Pages 395-405 " the instigation for the operation came from the Manila conference". Prior to that Mac had been refusing to accept Blamey as the land forces commander, unless Blamey was completely subordinated to the US command system. This was unnacceptable to the Australian government

Blamey arrived in Leyte 11-03-45, and told Berryman that it would be necessary to compromise with the Americans. On the 13th Mac detailed how he planned to employ the ABD forces in the TO henceforward, they would essentially take over the the SWPA except for the PI. Mac wanted to relinquish US control over the theatre, and pull out all remaining US forces operating in NG.

The Mac plan also called for the wihdrawal of I Aus Corps, including the 6th ID for continued pressure in the Indies (which was the basis of the Brunei operations)

Blamey pointed out there was an inconsistency in this approach, in that whilst the main offensive elements were being pulled out of the NG TO no such similar approach was being applied to the PI, which in Blameys opinion had reached a far greater level of conclusion than the NG TO.

Berryman had a discussion with Sutherland where he told him "the US are continuing to mop up the PI, so we should mop up some British territory as well. Sutherland replied that the British were keen on getting a base in Northern Borneo. "It is obvious" wrote Berryman, "that Commonwealth interests are being subordinated and that General Macarthur hopes to get into the war against the Japanese islands, and leave us 250000 nips to look after....a secondary role"

At the conference Macarthur in fact was not suggesting an assault on Balikpapaan initially. He had nominated Java itself as the focus of operations by I Aus Corps, but this was rejected by the Australians as too ambitious. With 6th ID no longer under I Aus Corps command (and therefore not under the command of Mac) it was felt that Java was simply too hard as a nut to crack.

In the end the choice Brunei was a compromise. It would maintain pressure in the theatre as the Americans wanted, it would deliver a base for the British, who were desperately wanting to be included in the final campaigns against Japan, but were having severe difficulties logistically, and were being just as severely resisted by the Americans, who wanted the final assaults to be an all American affair. It would not overstretch the capabilities of the reduced IAus Corps (as was the main concern of Blamey and his staff). From the Australian perspective, it would retain Blamey as their Land Forces commander....Mac had wanted Blamey removed from his staff, and placed in field command of the Corps....effectively a demotion for Blamey, who also retained command over the land forces in the SWPA and Australia at this time.

The capture of Brunei (as opposed to the Dutch controlled part of the island) was suggested by King. Notoriously anti-British, King was reluctant to allow the Brits the use of Manus Island in the final campaigns, and completely disapproved of any British temporary presence in the PI. Mac persisted at this time with the direct assault onto Java. This was not a display of Mac at his best.....

The matter was referred to the Joint Chiefs, who were not impressed with the arguments to capture Java directly. A measure of sanity in the end prevailed. The Joint Chiefs on the 3rd April issued the following orders to Macs command:

"a. Complete the occupation of Luzon and conduct such additional operations within the Phillipines as would directly contribute to the defeat of Japan and the liberation of the Filipinos
b. Make plans for occupying North Borneo using Australian Troops; and
c. Plan and prepare for the campaign against japan co-operating with Nimitz in the naval and amphibious phases of the invasion

Mac had gotten most of what he had wanted, but not at the expense of sacrificing I Aus Corps. There was no mention of Java, or the liberation of the NEI by I Aus Corps as Mac had wanted. His references to such an operation, even after the conclusion of the Brunei operations were dropped from that point forward. In this I get the distinct impression that the JCS were getting nervous about the cost operations on the mainland were going to be...they were beginning to receive the reports on the casualties suffered on Okinawa, and might yet still need the Australians on Japan itself

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