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A wasted Effort? – The RAAF and the Battle for Tarakan 1945

April 12, 2015 @ 4:30 am - 6:00 am

A wasted Effort? – The RAAF and the Battle for Tarakan 1945 by Mr Tony Hastings.
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The last series of Allied amphibious operations of the Pacific War began on 1 May 1945 when the 26th Brigade Group of the 9th Australian Division landed on Tarakan Island, off the north-east coast of Borneo. Over the following weeks the Brigade engaged in vicious fighting against a well dug-in Japanese garrison resulting in heavy Australian casualties, including 225 killed. But the main objective of the campaign, Tarakan airfield, was so badly cratered and waterlogged that the RAAF was unable to develop it into the planned forward air base that was needed to support the following Borneo landings at Brunei Bay and Balikpapan. The Australian Army and RAAF official histories have therefore described the Tarakan campaign as a failure.

RAAF Kittyhawks on Tarakan 28 June, 1945
RAAF Kittyhawks on Tarakan 28 June, 1945

Is this view completely justified? Why was Tarakan airfield such an important objective? What went wrong? Did the RAAF achieve anything worthwhile?

Tony is completing his PhD in military history with the University of NSW at the Australian Defence Force Academy.

His presentation will examine the often criticised efforts of the RAAF during the invasion of the island of Tarakan, located off the coast of Borneo, and place the campaign the wider context of the RAAF’s role in Pacific War in 1945

– Wednesday 4th November between 6.30 – 8.00 pm.


April 12, 2015
4:30 am - 6:00 am

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