In 1945, 240 Australians died taking the small Borneo island of Tarakan from the Japanese. The tragedy of Tarakan was that by the time they succeeded, they need not have begun.
Peter Stanley explores that battle, what it was like and what it means to us over fifty years on. He traces the operation from its origins in MacArthur's GHQ, down to the rifle sections patrolling in Tarakan's rugged jungle.
Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy suggests new ways of looking at Australia's experience of war. It critically appraises the view that the Borneo campaign was unnecessary, arguing that it was a justifiable operation doomed by the politics of coalition warfare and by bad planning.
Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy illuminates the Australian experience of war. Through it, we can hear the men on Tarakan - scared, angry, humorous, proud, bitter and, above all, Australian - the voices of a vanished Australia.
Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy is the story of people at war, how it affected them, and how we have remembered it and them. Royalties from sales of the book will go to the Australian War Memorial to further its mission of assisting Australians to understand, interpret and remember the Autralian experience of war.
List of maps
Introduction: Tarakan, fifty years on
1. 'We're heading for Japan': Tarakan - stepping stone to nowhere
2. 'The boys who do the landing': the men and units of Oboe One Force
3. 'To capture Tarakan': planning Operation Oboe One
4. 'The barrage is lifting; we're just about to land': P-Day, 1 May 1945
5. 'Heading for the airstrip': the first week - the airstrip, Tarakan Hill and Sykes
6. 'Then push up from the beachhead': the second week - Tiger, Crazy Ridge and Helen
7. 'Carry on without a frown': the third week - the patrol fight and the airstrip
8. 'We've got to climb the razorback': Freda and Margy
9. 'There's the fire from Nippon's pill box': the corporals' fight for Fukukaku
10. 'This lousy joint': capitulation
11. 'Oboe One is over': occupation and departure, 1945
12. 'We're sure to have the memory': looking back on Tarakan
I Order of battle, Oboe One Force, May 1945
II Casualties, Oboe One Force, May-December 1945
III Roll of Honour, Australian forces on Tarakan, May-December 1945
IV Note on sources and Bibliography
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st April 1997
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.0 x 15.2
Weight (kg): 0.51
Edition Number: 1