Banjarmasin (Bandjermasin; 114.565E 3.319S) was founded in 1606 by the Dutch as a trading post on the mouth of the Barito River, the largest river in Borneo.  The port was the capital of Dutch Borneo and is a trade center, exporting copra, timber, and rubber from a large and wild hinterland.  The city is subject to flooding, and so it is heavily diked, and many of its buildings are constructed on pilings. Coal was mined in the area. The population in 1941 was about 65,600 persons.

When war broke out, the town was garrisoned by the South and East Borneo Territorial Command, equivalent to about a battalion of militia (500 troops). The town fell on 9 February 1942 to a battalion from 146 Regiment, 56 Division which marched overland from Balikpapan. They were met by a small group who moved around the Borneo coast in barges to execute a pincer maneuver against the town. The operation was improvised in response to the American victory at the Battle of Balikpapan. The Dutch garrison attempted demolition of facilities but were hindered by the desertion of most of the native troops.

MacArthur proposed liberating the town in 1945 (OBOE 3) but these plans were opposed by Blamey and the town remained under Japanese control the remainder of the war.


Australian War Memorial (accessed 2010-8-27)

Morison (1948)

Willmott (1982)

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