Confrontation (1963-1966) 'The Borneo Banyan'
1963 when the new nation of Malaysia was proclaimed, Malaysia
had absorbed the states of Malaya, Singapore (later to withdraw),
Sarawak and Sabah (North Borneo) in a new Federation. Unfortunately
Indonesia opposed the new nation.The
Indonesian President (Dr. Sukarno) embarked on a policy of 'confrontation'
and later threatened to 'crush' Malaysia.
made it clear that if Malaysia were subjected to armed invasion
or subversive activity supported from outside, then Australian
military assistance would be added to that of the Malaysian
and British. RAN warships in the Strategic Reserve were available
for patrol and escort ops.
April 1964 both Yarra and Parramatta were
involved in patrols off Malaya to intercept fast patrol boats
Sukarno was not deterred and mounted numerous incursions of troops
into Malaysian Borneo as well as sea landings on the Malayan coast.
During 1964 Australian Naval Operations were sharply increased to
counter the threat of sea-borne infiltration.
coastal minesweepers Hawk, Curlew, Snipe and
Gull, were committed and patrolled off the coasts of Borneo,
Malaya and Singapore. Later in 1964 Teal and Ibis
took part in these ops. HMAS Sydney, now converted to her
new role as a fast troop transport sailed for Malaysian ports carrying
army personnel, ammunition, AA guns and stores. As well destroyers,
Duchess, Vampire and Vendetta together with
the frigate Derwent joined in 'confrontation' patrol duty.
persisted with hostile acts which included dropping paratroops into
Malaysia and the landing by sea of infiltrators who clashed with
attacks', the Prime Minister told parliament, 'may create a real
risk of war...it is tremendously important that Indonesia should
not become communist.' On 10th November 1964 compulsory National
Service was reintroduced for the army and the RAN permanent strength
was to be increased from 12,569 to 15,893 over the next three years.
Teal whilst operating as part of the Singapore Straits
patrol on 13th December 1964 was fired upon with automatic weapons
by a vessel which then headed for Indonesian waters. Teal returned
fire with three Bren guns and two Owen guns and arrested the boat.
C.O., Lieutenant Murray was later decorated with the DSC,
its 'confrontation' and the British organized substantial naval
forces to defend Malaysia. RAN destroyers, frigates and minesweepers
maintained their patrols. When Indonesian forces crossed the border
into eastern Sebatik Island near Tawau, Sabah, on 28th June 1965,
Yarra was called upon to carry out bombardments designed to harass
the withdrawal of the infiltrators. Bombardments of the border area
were again carried out on the 5th and 10th July.
the night of the 30th September 1965 a coup attempt, in which Indonesian
communists became involved, occurred in Indonesia. Six senior Generals
were killed. The coup failed and was followed by widespread violence
and bloodshed. It proved a turning point for 'confrontation', which
declined thereafter and on 13th August 1966 a formal agreement concluded
between Indonesia and Malaysia bringing the conflict to an end.