Another forgotten conflict since WW2: Borneo

Borneo (Paradata)

The Battle of Plaman Mapu on 27 April 1965 was one of the largest battles during the Indonesian- Malaysia Confrontation over the creation of the new Malaysian state. Plaman Mapu was a small base in the jungle on the border between the Malaysian state of Sarawak and Indonesia, and the battle commenced in the early hours of 27 April after Indonesian troops crossed the border and launched a surprise attack against 36 men of B Company 2 Para who found themselves fighting an estimated 400 Indonesian troops which had artillery support.

Borneo (Paradata)

Sergeant-Major Williams organised a counter attack and whilst under heavy fire led men towards a captured position and engaged around thirty Indonesian soldiers and during a second attack Williams killed several more with a GPMG during which he was blinded in one eye. When they launched a third attack Williams began receiving support from rifle fire which was followed by artillery and grenades and the Indonesian infantry retreated across the border after an intense two-hour fire fight.

From most accounts the Battle of Plaman Mapu was a turning point in the conflict. Due to heavy losses (total numbers unknow) the Indonesian Army did not launch another large cross-border attack and their defeat was a disaster for the government: within months there was revolution in Indonesia and peace was secured within a year as the conflict ground to a halt. (photo Para Date) More information can be found at Airborne Assault Para Data .

https://www.paradata.org.uk/article/battle-plaman-mapu

British Forces in the Radfan 1 April 1964 to 30 June 1964: One of several forgotten conflicts.

British Paratrooper on the Radfan Moutains. (Paradata)

One of many forgotten conflicts since WW2: the Aden Emergency was an armed insurgency by the NLF and FLOSY against the Federation of South Arabia, a protectorate of Britain which is now part of Yemen. 

The 5000-foot Bakari Ridge which dominated the Wadi Dhubson was regarded as impregnable by the insurgents and accommodated their leadership. To capture the Wadi Dhubson members of 3 Para (3rd Battallion Parachute Regiment) scaled the mountain carrying 90lb loads and covered 11 miles during two-night marches and after a number of skirmishes and a large firefight they occupied the ridge on 24 May.

Radfan (Pradata)

Soldiers descended from the ridge on 30-foot ropes and surprised the insurgents and this was followed by a violent fire-fight and air attacks from RAF fighters and concentrated fire from the battalion broke all resistance and the insurgents withdrew leaving their dead and all their weapons behind. Villages were searched, and arms dumps destroyed. Within nine days 200 square miles of territory which had been an insurgent stronghold and had never been entered by Europeans was secured and place under government control and many insurgents had been killed.

(Paradata)

3 PARA withdrew back to Aden on 28th May having won a DSO, an MC and four additional medals, three MIDs and six CinC commendations. D Coy, 3 PARA were deployed on 6 June and remained behind for a further four weeks.


40 years since Warren Point, Narrow Water Northern Ireland

On 27th August 1979 an army convoy of three-ton lorries and land Rovers from the 2nd Battalion the Parachute Regiment (2 Para) drove into a well-planned IRA ambush.

The first explosion (IED) is thought to have been a device weighing half a ton which was concealed under hay on a flat bed lorry. The explosion killed six members of 2 Para travelling in a lorry at the rear of the convoy. 

Warren point
Searching the area

Immediately after the explosion other members of 2 Para cordoned off the area, called for reinforcements and soldiers from the Queens Own Highlanders flew to the scene in helicopters from their base at Bessbrook in county Armagh.

The dead  and injured were being air lifted from the scene when a second explosion killed a further ten soldiers from 2 Para, a lance corporal from the Queens Own Highlanders and his commanding officer.   

After this explosion one eyewitness said they heard heavy automatic fire from the other side of  the canal which forms the border and soldiers returned fire.

RUC Inspector Error McDowell said, “We were patrolling in South Armagh at the time and we got the call to come to Narrow Water… It was just complete devastation, bodies everywhere… The second device detonated as troops raced to those killed and injured by the first…”

One member of 2 Para who survived the attack, Tom Caughey, later told the Irish Sun, “I was in the last wagon and I remember we just came through the roundabout and onto the dual carriageway and it went up… I remember it as a flash and a rumble, the sensation of flying… jettisoned from the three-ton truck…. I found myself coming around and seeing my legs on fire, not really taking it in. Sitting up and looking about… There was carnage everywhere, I couldn’t see anybody actually moving… I kept looking at my legs which were on fire, burning and suddenly a switch went off and I thought to myself, your legs are burning…”

18-year-old Tom Caughey  was being  evacuated by helicopter when the second large IED exploded.

The eighteen soldiers killed at Warren Point

Roll of honour Warren Point  27 AUGUST 1979

Andrews- Corporal Nicholas J, age 24 (2 Para) Married

Barnes -Private Gary I, age 18 (2 Para) Single

Beard- Warrant Officer Walter, age 31 (2 Para)

Blair- Lieutenant Colonel David, age 40 (Queen’s Own Highlanders) Married with two children

Blair- Private Donald F, age 23 (2 Para)

Dunn- Private Anthony G, age 20 (2 Para) Single

England- Private Robert N, age 23 (2 Para) Married with one child

Fursman- Major Peter, age 35 (2 Para)

Giles- Corporal John C, age 22 (2 Para) Married

Jones- Private Jeffrey A, age 18 (2 Para)

Jones, Corporal Leonard, age 26 (2 Para) Married with 18-month-old daughter

Jones- Private Robert D.V, age 18 (2 Para) Single

MacLeod- Lance Corporal Victor, age 24 (Queen’s Own Highlanders)

Rogers- Sergeant Ian A, age 31 (2 Para) Married

Vance – Private Thomas R, age 23 (2 Para)

Wood- Private Anthony G, age 19 (2 Para) Single

Woods- Private Michael, age 18 (2 Para) Single

Ireland- Lance Corporal Chris G, age 25 (2 Para) Married with one child