Battle of Balikpapan (1945)

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Battle of Balikpapan (1945)
Part of the Pacific Theatre of World War II
American manned Alligators during the landing of Australian troops at Balikpapan, Borneo
American manned Alligators during the landing of Australian troops at Balikpapan, Borneo
Date1–21 July 1945
Result Allied victory
 United States
 United Kingdom

The Battle of Balikpapan was the concluding stage of Operation Oboe. The landings took place on 1 July 1945. The Australian 7th Division,[1] composed of the 18th, 21st and 25th Infantry Brigades, with KNIL troops, made an amphibious landing, codenamed Operation Oboe Two a few miles north of Balikpapan, on the island of Borneo. The landing had been preceded by heavy bombing and shelling by Australian and US air and naval forces. The Japanese were outnumbered and outgunned, but like the other battles of the Pacific War, many of them fought to the death.

Major operations had ceased by July 21. The 7th Division's casualties were significantly lighter than they had suffered in previous campaigns. The battle was one of the last to occur in World War II, beginning a few weeks before the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki effectively ended the war. Japan surrendered while the Australians were combing the jungle for stragglers.

Following the surrender, the three Brigades were committed to occupation duties until around February 1946. The 21st Brigade was detached to Makassar in the Celebes Islands to accept surrender of the Japanese forces, release POWs and maintain civil order.

Order of battle[edit]

A map of the battle
Members of the 7th Division at Balikpapan

Allied units ("Oboe Two Force")[edit]

Land forces[edit]

Air units[edit]

Royal Australian Air Force

United States Army Air Forces

United States Marine Corps

United States Navy

Naval forces[edit]

Japanese Units[edit]

  • IJA 37th Army
    • 56th Independent Mixed Brigade
    • 71st Independent Mixed Brigade
    • 25th Independent Mixed Regiment
    • 432nd, 454th, 455th, 553rd, 554th, 774th Independent Infantry Battalions
    • 20th, 22nd Independent Machine Gun Battalions
    • 64th Independent AA Gun Company
    • 307th, 332nd Independent Motorcar Company
    • 103rd Field Road Unit
    • 75th Construction Duty Unit
    • 147th Line-of-Communication Hospital
    • 37th Army MP
    • 4th Signal Unit


  1. ^ Video: Allies Invade Balikpapan etc. (1945). Universal Newsreel. 1945. Retrieved February 22, 2012.
  • Australian Official Histories of World War II
  • ‘Japanese Monograph Number 26: Borneo Operations. 1941–1945’ in War in Asia and the Pacific. Volume 6. The Southern Area (Part I).
  • Wesley Craven and James Cate (1953), The Army Air Forces in World War Two. Volume V: Matterhorn to Nagasaki. Government Printing Office, Washington D.C.
  • Major General R.N. Hopkins (Retired). Australian Armour. A History of the Royal Australian Armoured Corps 1927–1972. Australian Government Publishing Service. 1978.
  • Samuel Eliot Morison (1989), The Liberation of the Philippines: Luzon, Mindanao, the Visayas 1944–1945. Little, Brown and Company, Boston.
  • Gordon L. Rottman, US Marine Corps Order of Battle. Ground and Air Units in the Pacific War, 1939–1945. Greenwood Press. Westport. 2002.
  • Royal Navy (1959), Naval Staff History Second World War: War with Japan, Volume VI; The Advance to Japan. British Admiralty, London.
  • James J. Fahey (1992), Pacific War Diary, 1942–1945: The Secret Diary of an American Sailor Houghton Mifflin ISBN 0-395-64022-9 (gives a shipboard view of the naval operations around the island, in particular the terrible beating the minesweepers took in clearing the harbour)

External links[edit]