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AUSTRALIANS SWARM ASHORE ON N W

BORNEO COAST

ARMADA OF 200 SHIPS

DEVASTATING NAVAL AND

AERIAL BOMBARDMENT

(From James O'Connor, with the Australian forces in Borneo.)

Screened by devastating naval gunfire and aerial bombardment, troops of the Australian 9th Division under Lieut-General Sir Leslie Morshead and Major-General G. Wootten, early on Sunday morning swarmed ashore simultaneously at six points in two general areas com- manding Brunei Bay, on the north-western coast of British Borneo.

Commandos at sunset invaded the south-western tip of Labuan Island io consolidate the beachhead and drive through

Victoria town.

The assignment is the most important so far given to the Australians in the Pacific war. Apart from objectives, which include the reconquest of rich oil and other resources, it is the ñrst jab at the heart of the Japanese ill-gotten southern em-

pire and means the regaining of the first British possession in

the West Pacific.

The main points of the land were Brunei Bluff, at the sou ern bead of the bay, Maura lela half a mile from the mainland protect the left flank of the Bl larding, and Victoria Harbour,

Labuan Island, 22 miles nor cant, of the Brunei Peninst which commands the northern < trance to the bay.

Hore than 200 vessels compris the armada which conveyed 1 Australians to Brunei and th

had a rough voyage. In additi (' to th« Australian troops thc

taxe eli&Mufe* of the American g _ Army and specialists.,ana" perse

Bel of 'the British Civil admin

tration

The Australians who made t assault were from the for which made the landing on Tai kan, ou the north-east coast

Borneo, on May 1 and who h fought with distinction at Tobn

and Alamein.

General MacArthur personal , directed the operations and mai

. landing later on Labuan Islai to inspect the troops who hi made the 'assault. He was accot panied by Generals Morshead, Bo tock and Kenny, commander

thc American 13th Air Force. Tl

landing operations were so este: sive, well-timed, and almost foe proof that the Australians reach« their objectives well within tl

scheduled time.

THREE-MILE ADVANCE

Brooketon village, on Bruni Bluff, was taken *20 minutes aftc the invasion and a three-mile a< vance was made towards Brunt city, while Labuan Barbour an township was taken in an hom with the fall of the main airhel imminent.

Brunev-a city about 20 miles ir land from Brooketon, also has a airstrip two miles north and it i vital for the, operation.

Thc reconquest of I^abua island will be the first 6tep t re-establish the pre-war link wit Singapore, 800 miles to the south west, and llong Kong, on th Asiatir ernst, points from whic]

Britain dominated a formidabl arc in the South China Sea.

This new landing must havi » far-reaching effect on thi eneni>. already denied the fruit: of his exploitation of the rici Borneo oil and rubber conquest! by our air and sea blockade. Th« Japanese actual possessions an now seriously threatened.

The present operatioas are the first to loosen the enemy's grip on British possessions in the Western Pacific. All the Japanese forces in the eastern portion of the Dutch East In- dies, including the Celebes, the Moluccas, and other island outposts have been effectively

isolated.

The .lapante must inevitably fbel the pinch by being denied tin ?se of seas for their vessel« to re- inforce and supply their garrison^ in the Western Pacific.

Denial of the uses of the re-

sources <>n Borneo, the third larg «st island in the world. run*t ha\< a, big bearing on Japan's war strategy and ultimate defeat.

In Borneo the Allied forces have facilities for building bases bigger than we have ever had before.

The State? of Brunei an.i Sara- wak are both on the north-wes tern r*>ast of Borneo. The great- er part of Borneo is covered with tropical rnin forest, with moun- tains rising to 14,000 ft in places and general cross-country move- ment impossible. Troops on foot can move anywhere, but only with great difficulty once the cu'tivated areas or native tracks are left.

Labuan island is different. The highest point is only 350 ft abovi

pea level. It comprises 3.Ï square I miles end i« smaller than Tara- kan. It-« importance is derived froM Victoria Harbour, in whi'h all except the largest ships ran

[enter. This ^as a British posses I sion for nearly 100 years.

I Maura Ie'-and, where a landing

also was made, is close io tb«

j mainland and 20 miles from Bru

! uei «itv.

AVENGE RETREAT.

I Driven ont of the Far East

by the Japanese more than three years ago, Australian airmen have returned to re- sume operations to smash the enemy and avenge their retreat from the Asia ti« coast through the Kalayan Penin- sula and {he East Indies arch- ipelago to Australia.

When the Japanese thrust for- ward, the RAAF had only ob

I solete planes to strm the onrush, j

I but, back in the same theatre of ! operations now, they have the

latest planes and plenty of them,1 ¡also the best trained pilots, man}'

i

I

Lieut. James H. Doolittle, who led the first U.S. air at- tack on Tokyo, in April, 1942, and later commanded the Eighth Army Air Force, in England, photographed on Ms return to USA before taking up his Pacific assignment. U.S. Office of War Informa-

tion photo.

with experience gained against

ol her Axis forces

Tho capture by the Australian troops of an airfield on Labuan island opens to the squadron of the 1st Tactical Air Force big fields of new enemy targets, and f(T the first time since 1941 the Asiatic mainland is again within I range of RAAF bombers.

I Australian-manned Liberators

car. now range in a wide arc as far north as Hainan, part of Thailand, the whole of Malaya, Singapore, all of Java, the north- eastern part« of Sumatra, down to the Lesser Sundas if needed and back to the Celebes.

With RAF Mosquitoes operating frMn Labuan Island, the range wili include Singapore, the south-east coast of Indo-China, and tilt whole of Horneo. Kittyhawks md hard-hitting Heaufighters with heavy armament and rockot-firing Kittyhawks and Spitfires also will be able to provide close prr

tcction and offensive action if necessary.

RAN CONTRIBUTION

The RAN* personnel who partici- pated in the hoisting of the Brit- ish flag included Lieut. P. P. Meri weatber, of Iîurradoo( New South Wales. Able Seaman J. J. Ryan, of Longreach, J. Carter, nf Rand- wick, and .T. Tonks, of Urisbane. Although all the States were re- presented in the assault, the main

units were . from Western Aus- tralia. Sojth Australia and New South Wales.

The success of th* Australian

landing is primarily attributed to t-be American and Australian narai forces under Admiral For- rest Royal, of the United States Navy.

It was the biggest naval force so far ever to have assembled to aid solely Australian troops in an am- phibious lancing. In all. more than 200 ships took part and the RA2Î made an important contri- bution with the cruiser Hobart, the destroyer Arunta, the cor- vette Glenelg, the lauding ships (infantry) Manoora, kanimbla and .Westralia, - the': frigates Hawkesbury, Barcoo and Lachlan, and the auxiliary survey ship Tiger Snake. The Manoora and the Westralia took troops into Victoria Harbour and the Kanim- bla sent her barges south of

Brunei.

The Lachlan is Australia's new- est frigate and took the Duke and Duchess of Gloucester into the Captain Cook dockyard for the opening ceremony. The Lach- lan was commanded by Lieut. Commauder C. G. Tancred RAN. She went into the bay with the American minesweepers three days before the landing, laying buoys to guide . the assault ships.

All the beachmasters at the in- vasion points were RAN reserv-

ists.

AIRPORT CAPTURED

On Labuan Island, which dominates the entrance to Brunei Bay, the Australians quickly broke through the enemy's lines at Victoria Town, seat of the former Straits Settlements Government, and captured the airport with light casualties, says the Columbia

Broadcasting System's repre-

sentative. "

Large supplies were ashore within four hours of the initial landings.

it was estimated that there arc between 1000 and 5000 Japanese troops in the Brunei Bay area, who are offering only ineffective resistance. The Allied naval forces, however, encountered mines and other under-water ob- stacles, which minesweepers clear-

ed.

The American United Press says the seizure of Brunei Ba; gives the Allies a potential kej naval base for the establishment of air and naval facilities supple menting those in the Philippines.

At Brunei and Tarakan, on op posite sides of Borneo, the Allie¡ are at the strategic centre of thi Celebes, Bali, Java, Sumatra, Ma

lava and Indo-China.

Brunei is 800 miles north o

Singapore arid 600 miles east ° the shores of Indo-China. Thi surrounding area is rich in oil rubber, coal, lumber, iron an<

other resources.

"Ranging from small assaul boats to towering LST's an< majestic cruisers, the convoy whicl carried the Australians on thei epic voyage comprised well ove 200 units,'' says a "Telegraph war correspondent who is in Bru nei Bay.

"Impressive alike in its vastnes and in the extraordinary variet; of its components, the convoy wa amply protected against any like ly peril from enemy air, surfac or underwater craft. Its saff uneventful passage was anothe demonstration of our Mibiug3tio' of Japanese naval and air infli

ence in these waters.

"While the crossing to Taraka waH marked by mill-pond cond tions the Brunei armada found th elements at times in an ungrac nus mood. For more than t\v

! days stormy conditions prcvailet

.and it was with a of reVw

that troops crowding into sraallf craft for the landing saw a gnu I ual improvement in the cond

' tions."

i Spencer Davis, correspondent <

the Associated Press aboard Ai

n-iral Berkey's flagship at Brun Bay, states: "American cruiser

destroyers and gunboats followed mine-Sweepers into this placid har-

bour 48 hours ahead of the sched- uled landings with the order to cleai the way for the invasion.

While the British cruisers dropped j

anchor a flotilla of 6mall craft

wen*, about their work unopposed I as if they owned the place- The

officers and men had read at breakfast news sheets of a Japan- ese broadcast announcing that the invasion was already under way. j Great Columns of smoke were rising from Brunei town, indicat- ing that the Japanese had started destroying supplies.

TICKLISH JOB.

" The underwater demoli-

tion team bad a ticklish job. It was called on to send swim- mers ashore at Labuan Is- land in order to observe the conditions of the surf and to locate underwater obstacles and Japanese shore installa-

tions, tc

"As the swimmers, all veterans i

I Mho had similarly inspected thc

shoreline of Okinara, neared the Leach, thc Japanese sent a few bursts of 7-Vnim- shells at thom.

I Gunboats immediately engaged

the positions and dropped a bar rapt of rockets. Then a flight of Lilicrators appeared and re- leased 2">0 lb general-purpose b»-.ml>s. One shtick of bombs hit

near tho water's edge, where the swimmers were just beginning to work. They continued their v|í ploration, but it was found later that one was missing and three

wounded.

(Continued on Page Four )

AUSTRALIANS SWARM ASHORE IN NW BORNEO

(Continued from page ose.)

" Eighty-five minutes after they

liad eet out the swimmers re-

ported to their ship. Their return trip was covered by naval gun- fire and diving fighters, which drove the Japanese ashore to

cover.

" The Australian hydrographie survey unit has been doing much work in testing depths and lay- ing buoya in order to direct the transporta.

"The work of preparing Brunei Bay to receive thousands of in- vasion troops continued through- out throughout yesterday and today. Ships (anchored virtually under the enemy's nose."

TRIBUTE TO AUSTRALIANS The "Herald-Tribune," in a leader, states: "The campaign to win back the Brunei oil and rub-

ber is being undertaken by Aus- tralian troops who have done a good bit of the most difficult and most costly fighting of the Pacific war, but who have not received their share of credjt. The Aus tra liana are colourful and valiant warriors, but in recent months they have been in action where there have been few correspond exits. They have been straggling to clean out the Japanese from 8trongpoints by-passed by General MacArthur in New Guinea, It is hoped that their achievements now will have the recognition they so well deserve."

LOST WAR OF STRATEGY

General MacArthur, in a com mimique, stated: "Our columns at

Brunei and Tarakan stand bot at gates, but at geographical centre of enemy-occupied Celebes, Bali, Java, Sumatra, Malaya and" Indi China. His garrisons there can now only await piecemeal destruc- tion at wilL With his conquest vi the East Indies cut off and isola- ted from the empire his rich re- sources are rendered valueless. His naval and air arms in the Indies are impotent, and his ground troops are immobilised and unable to obtain reinforcement or sup- plies. The enemy invader has de- finitely lost the war of strategy ic the South-west Pacific.

TARAKAN OPERATIONS

MELBOURNE, June 12.- It is now apparent that the Japanese attempt to break out of his head- quarters area on Tarakan, in a major counter attack on Monday morning failed dismally, according to a statement by the Army De- partment tonight. As they closed in on tho enemy stronghold thc Australian infantry had been warned to expect a breakthrough. At 3.30 a.m. wild shooting was heard in the headquarters area and a few minutes later planes appeared at a high altitude. A flare was fired from the headquar- ters area and parachute flares were dropped, illuminating a wide radius. Guns of 75 nun. fired 10 rounds, wounding one of our men and destroying an outhouse on the airstrip. The Japanese moved out,

but lost heart when they met de- termined opposition in the dark and nowhere did they press the

attack.

CANBERRA, June 12.-The Act- ing Prime Minister (Mr Chifley) in the House of Representatives today, after quoting a communi- que on the landing at Brunei Bay, said that a most powerful force of RAAF aircraft and men ever concentrated in the South-west Pacific helped to prepare the way for the landing. He said that the enemy had been mercilessly ham mered and harassed by RAAF squadrons for weeks before the actual invasion. The RAAF also had given continuous air cover for

iii« inxusinn «vwivnv.

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