Borneo campaign (1945)

Borneo campaign (1945)

Overview
The Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

 Campaign of 1945
was the last major Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 campaign in the South West Pacific Area
South West Pacific Area
South West Pacific Area was the name given to the Allied supreme military command in the South West Pacific Theatre of World War II. It was one of four major Allied commands in the Pacific theatres of World War II, during 1942–45...

, during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In a series of amphibious assaults between 1 May and 21 July, the Australian I Corps
Australian I Corps
I Corps of the Australian Army was its main frontline corps during World War II. Various Australian and other Allied divisions came under its control at different times. In 1940–42, the corps was based in the Mediterranean Theatre...

, under General Leslie Morshead
Leslie Morshead
Lieutenant General Sir Leslie James Morshead KCB, KBE, CMG, DSO, ED was an Australian soldier, teacher, businessman, and farmer, with a distinguished military career that spanned both world wars...

, attacked Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 forces occupying the island. Allied naval and air forces, centred on the U.S. 7th Fleet under Admiral Thomas Kinkaid, the Australian First Tactical Air Force
Australian First Tactical Air Force
The Australian First Tactical Air Force was formed on 25 October 1944 by the Royal Australian Air Force . Its purpose was to provide a mobile force of fighter and ground attack aircraft that could support Allied army and naval units fighting the Empire of Japan in the South West Pacific Area...

 and the U.S. Thirteenth Air Force
Thirteenth Air Force
The Thirteenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces . It is headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. 13 AF has never been stationed in the continental United States...

 also played important roles in the campaign. They were resisted by Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

 and Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 forces in southern and eastern Borneo, under Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada
Michiaki Kamada
was a Vice-Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy and saw service in the Pacific Theatre of World War II.-Biography:...

, and in the north west by the Thirty-Seventh Army, led by Lieutenant-General Baba Masao
Baba Masao
was a Lieutenant General of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II, commanding the Japanese ground forces of the Borneo Campaign of 1945 in the closing months of the war. The campaign would be the last major Allied offensive of the war in the South West Pacific Area...

.

The plans for the Allied attacks were known collectively as Operation Oboe.
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Encyclopedia
The Borneo
Borneo
Borneo is the third largest island in the world and is located north of Java Island, Indonesia, at the geographic centre of Maritime Southeast Asia....

 Campaign of 1945
was the last major Allied
Allies of World War II
The Allies of World War II were the countries that opposed the Axis powers during the Second World War . Former Axis states contributing to the Allied victory are not considered Allied states...

 campaign in the South West Pacific Area
South West Pacific Area
South West Pacific Area was the name given to the Allied supreme military command in the South West Pacific Theatre of World War II. It was one of four major Allied commands in the Pacific theatres of World War II, during 1942–45...

, during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

. In a series of amphibious assaults between 1 May and 21 July, the Australian I Corps
Australian I Corps
I Corps of the Australian Army was its main frontline corps during World War II. Various Australian and other Allied divisions came under its control at different times. In 1940–42, the corps was based in the Mediterranean Theatre...

, under General Leslie Morshead
Leslie Morshead
Lieutenant General Sir Leslie James Morshead KCB, KBE, CMG, DSO, ED was an Australian soldier, teacher, businessman, and farmer, with a distinguished military career that spanned both world wars...

, attacked Japanese
Empire of Japan
The Empire of Japan is the name of the state of Japan that existed from the Meiji Restoration on 3 January 1868 to the enactment of the post-World War II Constitution of...

 forces occupying the island. Allied naval and air forces, centred on the U.S. 7th Fleet under Admiral Thomas Kinkaid, the Australian First Tactical Air Force
Australian First Tactical Air Force
The Australian First Tactical Air Force was formed on 25 October 1944 by the Royal Australian Air Force . Its purpose was to provide a mobile force of fighter and ground attack aircraft that could support Allied army and naval units fighting the Empire of Japan in the South West Pacific Area...

 and the U.S. Thirteenth Air Force
Thirteenth Air Force
The Thirteenth Air Force is a numbered air force of the United States Air Force Pacific Air Forces . It is headquartered at Hickam Air Force Base on the island of Oahu, Hawaii. 13 AF has never been stationed in the continental United States...

 also played important roles in the campaign. They were resisted by Imperial Japanese Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy
The Imperial Japanese Navy was the navy of the Empire of Japan from 1869 until 1947, when it was dissolved following Japan's constitutional renunciation of the use of force as a means of settling international disputes...

 and Army
Imperial Japanese Army
-Foundation:During the Meiji Restoration, the military forces loyal to the Emperor were samurai drawn primarily from the loyalist feudal domains of Satsuma and Chōshū...

 forces in southern and eastern Borneo, under Vice-Admiral Michiaki Kamada
Michiaki Kamada
was a Vice-Admiral of the Imperial Japanese Navy and saw service in the Pacific Theatre of World War II.-Biography:...

, and in the north west by the Thirty-Seventh Army, led by Lieutenant-General Baba Masao
Baba Masao
was a Lieutenant General of the Imperial Japanese Army in World War II, commanding the Japanese ground forces of the Borneo Campaign of 1945 in the closing months of the war. The campaign would be the last major Allied offensive of the war in the South West Pacific Area...

.

The plans for the Allied attacks were known collectively as Operation Oboe. The invasion of Borneo was the second stage of Operation Montclair
Operation Montclair
Operation Montclair was a military operation during the Second World War. The final version of the outline plan originally called "Operation Princeton", it outlined plans to recapture the Visayas and Mindanao in the Philippines, Borneo and the Dutch East Indies....

, which was aimed at destroying Japanese forces in, and re-occupying the Netherlands East Indies, the southern Philippines
Philippines
The Philippines , officially known as the Republic of the Philippines , is a country in Southeast Asia in the western Pacific Ocean. To its north across the Luzon Strait lies Taiwan. West across the South China Sea sits Vietnam...

, Sarawak
Sarawak
Sarawak is one of two Malaysian states on the island of Borneo. Known as Bumi Kenyalang , Sarawak is situated on the north-west of the island. It is the largest state in Malaysia followed by Sabah, the second largest state located to the North- East.The administrative capital is Kuching, which...

 and British Borneo
British Borneo
British Borneo means the two parts of the island of Borneo presently part of the Federation of Malaysia, during the British colonial rule: Labuan and what was called British North Borneo .-Catholic missions:In 1687 Father Ventimiglia, a Theatine, was commissioned by Pope Innocent XI to...

.

Although the Borneo campaign was criticised in Australia at the time and in subsequent years, as pointless or a "waste" of the lives of soldiers, it did achieve a number of objectives, such as increasing the isolation of significant Japanese forces occupying the main part of the Dutch East Indies
Dutch East Indies
The Dutch East Indies was a Dutch colony that became modern Indonesia following World War II. It was formed from the nationalised colonies of the Dutch East India Company, which came under the administration of the Netherlands government in 1800....

, capturing major oil
Petroleum
Petroleum or crude oil is a naturally occurring, flammable liquid consisting of a complex mixture of hydrocarbons of various molecular weights and other liquid organic compounds, that are found in geologic formations beneath the Earth's surface. Petroleum is recovered mostly through oil drilling...

 supplies and freeing Allied prisoners of war, who were being held in increasingly worse conditions (see, for example, the Sandakan Death Marches
Sandakan Death Marches
The Sandakan Death Marches were a series of forced marches in Borneo from Sandakan to Ranau which resulted in the deaths of more than 3,600 Indonesian civilian slave labourers and 2,400 Allied prisoners of war held captive by the Empire of Japan during the Pacific campaign of World War II at prison...

 and Batu Lintang camp
Batu Lintang camp
Batu Lintang camp at Kuching, Sarawak on the island of Borneo was a Japanese internment camp during the Second World War. It was unusual in that it housed both Allied prisoners of war and civilian internees...

 articles).

The initial Allied plan comprised six stages: Operation Oboe 1 was to be an attack on Tarakan; Oboe 2 against Balikpapan; Oboe 3 against Banjermasin; Oboe 4 against Surabaya or Batavia (Jakarta); Oboe 5 against the eastern Netherlands East Indies; and Oboe 6 against British Borneo (Sabah). In the end only the operations against Tarakan, Balikpapan and British Borneo—at Labuan and Brunei Bay—took place. The campaign opened with Oboe 1
Battle of Tarakan (1945)
The Battle of Tarakan was the first stage in the Borneo campaign of 1945. It began with an amphibious landing by Australian forces on 1 May, code-named Operation Oboe One...

, with a landing on the small island of Tarakan
Tarakan Island
Tarakan is an island off the coast of East Kalimantan, Indonesia. It is a marshy island situated in the eastern Celebes Sea, off the northeastern coast of Borneo. The island occupies an area of .-Petroleum:...

, off the north east coast on 1 May 1945. This was followed on 10 June 1945 by Oboe 6
Battle of North Borneo
The Battle of North Borneo took place during the Second World War between Allied and Japanese forces. Part of the wider Borneo campaign of the Pacific War, it was fought between 10 June and 15 August 1945 in North Borneo...

: simultaneous assaults on the island of Labuan
Labuan
Labuan is a federal territory in East Malaysia. It is an island off the coast of the state of Sabah. Labuan's capital is Victoria and is best known as an offshore financial centre offering international financial and business services via Labuan IBFC since 1990 as well as being an offshore support...

 and the coast of Brunei
Brunei
Brunei , officially the State of Brunei Darussalam or the Nation of Brunei, the Abode of Peace , is a sovereign state located on the north coast of the island of Borneo, in Southeast Asia...

, in the north west of Borneo. A week later, the Australians followed up with attacks on Japanese positions around Weston
Weston, Sabah
Weston is a town on the west coast of the state of Sabah in Malaysia. It is located in the Interior Division of Sabah, and is about 100 kilometres south of Sabah's capital Kota Kinabalu. Weston is one of the towns along the Pan Borneo Highway....

 on the north-eastern part of Brunei Bay
Brunei Bay
Brunei Bay is the gateway to Brunei and Borneo. It is located 4°45'-5°02'N, 114°58'-115°10'E; east of Bandar Seri Begawan. The Brunei portion of the bay is in two sections separated by a finger of Sarawak about 6km wide at the coast...

. The attention of the Allies then switched back to the central east coast, with Oboe 2
Battle of Balikpapan (1945)
The Battle of Balikpapan was the concluding stage of the Borneo campaign . The landings took place on 1 July 1945. The Australian 7th Division, composed of the 18th, 21st and 25th Infantry Brigades, with support troops, made an amphibious landing, codenamed Operation Oboe Two a few miles north of...

, the last major amphibious assault of World War II, at Balikpapan
Balikpapan
Balikpapan is a seaport city on the eastern coast of the island of Borneo, Indonesia, in the East Kalimantan province, a resource-rich region well known for its timber, mining, and petroleum export products. Two harbors, Semayang and Kariangau , and the Sepinggan International Airport are the main...

 on 1 July 1945.

These operations ultimately constituted the last campaigns of Australian forces in the war against Japan.

Battles


  • 1 May  – 21 June 1945: Battle of Tarakan
    Battle of Tarakan (1945)
    The Battle of Tarakan was the first stage in the Borneo campaign of 1945. It began with an amphibious landing by Australian forces on 1 May, code-named Operation Oboe One...

     (Oboe One)
  • 10 June – 15 August 1945: Battle of North Borneo
    Battle of North Borneo
    The Battle of North Borneo took place during the Second World War between Allied and Japanese forces. Part of the wider Borneo campaign of the Pacific War, it was fought between 10 June and 15 August 1945 in North Borneo...

     (Oboe Six)
  • 1–21 July 1945: Battle of Balikpapan
    Battle of Balikpapan (1945)
    The Battle of Balikpapan was the concluding stage of the Borneo campaign . The landings took place on 1 July 1945. The Australian 7th Division, composed of the 18th, 21st and 25th Infantry Brigades, with support troops, made an amphibious landing, codenamed Operation Oboe Two a few miles north of...

    (Oboe Two)