The SAS in Borneo

Borneo: The Invisible War

In 1963 22 SAS was sent to Borneo under the overall local command of Major General Walter Walker, Indonesia was sending troops and insurgents across the Sarawak border to destabilise the region.  Walker, impressed by the SAS in Malaya was convinced that a hearts and minds campaign would work here Lieutenant Colonel John Woodhouse, a Malayan Veteran commanded 22 SAS in Borneo, he is considered by many to be the farther of the modern SAS.  It was here that he refined and honed the classic 4 man patrol, as the war developed it was decided that the best kind of defence was attack, to hit the Indonesians before they crossed the border.  It became the SAS’s role to penetrate the Indonesian border undetected and gather intelligence; these claret operations became the new sting to the refined hearts and minds campaign.  These patrols minus any form of identification would disappear for months at a time, having located the enemy elaborate ambushes were planned involving the Gurkhas, strike aircraft and heavy artillery, claret raids were a complete success.  Harassed and demoralised the Indonesians will to fight had been crushed, commonwealth forces killed more than 2000 Indonesians at a loss of 115 servicemen 22 SAS loosed 3 men and 2 were wounded.  The war came to an abrupt end when the Indonesian Government was overthrown and the new one ended the campaign.