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    Tarakan (Tarakan Town) North Kalimantan Province | Borneo Indonesia
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5th AF Nov 26, 1944
Australian Army
May 1, 1945

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Australian Army
May 19, 1945
Lat 3° 17' 60N Long 117° 37' 60E  Tarakan (Tarakan Town) is located at an elevation of 9' / 2m above sea level on the southern portion of Tarakan Island off the northeast coast of Borneo. Prewar and during the Pacific War, part of the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). Today located in North Kalimantan Province (Kalimantan Utara) in Indonesia. In Indonesian known as Kota Tarakan (Tarakan City).

The Tarakan area was developed by the Dutch into the oil producing center of the Netherlands East Indies (NEI). Starting in 1902, the Dutch began drilling oil wells in the Tarakan area with 800 wells in operation by the start of the Pacific War. Starting in 1915, the Imperial Japanese Navy (IJN) began importing oil from Tarakan when the fleet switched from coal to oil.

Wartime History
On January 11, 1942, occupied by the Japanese to seize the oil drilling and refineries at Tarakan. Occupied by the Japanese until May 1, 1945.

American missions against Tarakan
January 7, 1942–June 12, 1945

On May 1, 1945 U. S. Navy (USN) Amphibious Group Six landed Australian Army soldiers at Tarakan. The landing was covered by a Task Group commanded by Rear Admiral Russell S Berkley with additional elements were provided by the U. S. Navy 7th Fleet, including Australian ships that provided covering fire until the landing craft were only 400 yards from the beaches while aircraft flew ground support mission until 15 minutes prior to the landing to suppress any opposition.

The landings commenced at 8:15am with the Australian Army 9th Division, 26th Infantry Brigade landing the 2/23rd Battalion at "Green Beach" to the right plus 2/48th Battalion landing at "Red Beach" to the left. Afterwards, 2/24th Battalion in reserve landed at "Green Beach".

Other Australian Army units involved include 2/23rd Infantry Battalion, 2/24th Infantry Battalion, 2/48th Infantry Battalion, 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion, 2/3rd Pioneer Battalion, 2/4th Commando Squadron "C" Squadron, 2/9th Armoured Regiment "D" Company 2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion, 2/7th Field Regiment, 53rd Composite Anti-Aircraft Regiment, 2/11th Field Company, 2/13th Field Company, 2nd Field Company, 110th Casualty Clearing Station and 2/11th Field Ambulance.

Ashore, the Australians met very little resistance as most Japanese had withdrawn inland. The fighting continued on Tarakan Island until August 1945 by which time neither the airfield or oil facilities were fully operational due to damage.

Tarakan Airfield (Juwata Airport)
Used during the war by the Japanese, liberated by Australians, used by RAAF.

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Last Updated
November 18, 2019



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