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The Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation (ePub)

The Commonwealth's Wars 1948–1966

Aviation Military > Post-WWII Warfare

By Robert Jackson
Imprint: Pen & Sword Aviation
File Size: 2.6 MB (.epub)
Pages: 176
Illustrations: 16 black and white
ISBN: 9781473816138
Published: 18th May 2011


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The struggle with Communist terrorists in Malaya known as The Emergency became a textbook example of how to fight a guerrilla war, based on political as much as military means. This book deals with both the campaign fought by British, Commonwealth and other security forces in Malaya against Communist insurgents, between 1948 and 1960, and also the security action in North Borneo during the period of Confrontation with Indonesia from 1962 to 1966. Both campaigns provided invaluable experience in the development of anti-guerrilla tactics, and are relevant to the conduct of similar actions which have been fought against insurgent elements since then. The book written with the full co-operation of various departments of the UK Ministry of Defence contains material that until
recently remained classified.

This is the first full study to cover the role of airpower in these conflicts. It will be of relevance to students at military colleges, and those studying military history, as well as having a more general appeal, particularly to those servicemen and women who were involved in both campaigns.

As referenced in 'further reading' part of Britain's Vietnam: wargaming the Malayan Emergency article

Wargames Illustrated, October 2018

Robert Jackson's book 'The Malayan Emergency and Indonesian Confrontation', is a well-researched account of what could have become Britain's Viet Nam. In 1948, the western alliance was attempting to block the spread of communism across Europe; in what became known as the Cold War with Russia. In Asia, restless India was given its Independence, Burma swiftly followed. France and Holland also had problems with their restless colonies in North Africa and the Dutch East Indies driven by nationalist seeking independence The Malayan Emergency in 1948, was Britain's first post-war, 'hot' colonial war, driven mainly by the Malaya Communist Party and composed mainly of Chinese. Its aim was to forcibly replace British colonial rule with an all races left-wing government.

At first the insurgents were known as bandits but soon named communist terrorist or CTs. They raided villages, ambushed buses and civilian vehicles and carried out hit and run attacks on the security forces. Robert Jackson describes the gritty war faced by 18 year old, fresh faced National Servicemen who pursued the CTs to hide-outs deep in the jungle. It was a war of attrition both side suffering heavy losses.

The war, although the term was avoided and overshadowed by the Korean War, spawned three Special Forces units designed to carry out search and destroy communist bases deep in the jungle. Normally seven days 'jungle bashing' was the limit expected of the young National Servicemen, but with helicopter support some Special Forces patrols spent 103 days in the Ulu (jungle). The first two ad hoc Special Forces were Ferret Force and Shawforce, were led by former SOE Force 136 and Chindit officers. The third Special Forces, led by the iconic Chindit leader Mike Calvert, was the Malayan Scouts, better known as the reborn SAS, the elite 22nd Special Air Service.

Robert Jackson's 'Malayan Emergency and Indonesian confrontation' is a well written, composite description of what has become Britain's forgotten war.

Richard Gough, Military Author and Historian

Those with an interest in either Post-World War II British military history, Royal Air Force operations in Asia, or military operations in the (British) ‘Far East’ may find this volume of value, as could former service personnel who participated in the conflicts it describes.

On a Rating Scale where 1: very poor, 10: excellent, I have given this volume a 9.

NZ Crown Mines

About Robert Jackson

ROBERT JACKSON is the author of over eighty books on military, aviation, naval and scientific subjects. He was defence and science correspondent for a major British newspaper publishing group. Among the other books he has compiled for Pen & Sword are on the Bf-109 in the FlightCraft series, whilst he has written extensively on the T-34, the Panzer I and II, the Centurion, and Chieftain main battle tanks, as well as the Russian T54/55, for TankCraft.

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