10 LAD, Water Supply – Operation Compass, December 1940 – January 1941

Accounts of New Zealand Ordnance Units’ wartime activities are rare, with one of the few accounts from the Second World War found in the wartime publication Prelude to War.

Prelude To Battle was the first of ten surveys on the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Forces (2 NZEF) produced by the New Zealand Army Board during the Second World War to provide short articles on the activities of 2 NZEF.

Prelude To Battle was published by Whitcombe & Tombs, in 1942 and covers the first Libyan Campaign of June -December 1940. Prelude To Battle includes chapters on

  • the LRDG,
  • Divisional Signals,
  • NZASC, 4th NZ Mechanical Transport Company (4RMT), and
  • New Zealand Ordnance Corps (NZOC), 10 Light Aid Detachment (10 LAD) attached to New Zealand Engineers (NZE), 5 Field Park Company

The chapter Water Supplies covers explicitly the activities 10 LAD during  Operation Compass, which was the first significant British military operation of the Western Desert Campaign (1940–1943), during which British, Empire and Commonwealth forces attacked Italian forces in western Egypt and Cyrenaica, the eastern province of Libya, from December 1940 to February 1941.

10 LAD was one of 11 LADs, numbered 9 to 19, raised as part of the NZOC in late 1939 to render assistance and repair mechanic transport and the anti-tank units of 2 NZEF. Raised at Hopuhopu Camp, 10 LAD was commanded by Second Lieutenant George D Pollock, and attached to 5 Field Park Company, NZE. 10 LAD sailed as part of the Main Body of 2 NZEF in January 1940, Disembarking in Egypt in February 1940.

In late 1940 New Zealand units, including the Fifth Field Park Company, with 10 LAD attached, Divisional Signals, 4 RMT and other specialist troops, had been seconded to General Archibald Wavell for Operation Compass. The official War History New Zealand Engineers, Middle East states, “but beyond guarding the water pipeline and establishing water points and forward dumps at Charing Cross, the Company was not much affected. The British Army seemed to do very well without its assistance”. However, as this Prelude To Battle chapter describes, 10 LAD played a critical role in ensuring water supply to the advancing allied units.

A Light Aid Detachment, Water Colour by Captain Peter McIntyre

The Prelude to Battle chapter, Water Supplies, reads:

Concerned with the maintenance of water plants to supply the troops advancing into Cyrenaica and the servicing of Royal Engineers’ equipment, the 10th Light Aid Detachment of the New Zealand Ordnance Corps entered each town almost immediately after its capture to attend to the water installations and pumping appliances.

Before the British assumed the offensive, the 10th LAD has succeeded in drawing water from about ten feet below the surface at Burbeita and in the sandhills at Baggush. When Fort Nibeiwa was attacked on 8 December, the 10th LAD were in caves in the escarpment at Charing Cross, several miles inland from Mersa Matruh. As soon as the last of the Sisi Barrano forts was captured, Major G. D. Pollock, who commanded the 10th LAD went to Sidi Barrani to attend to the water works there. He found in perfect order a Fiat diesel pumping engine capable of 250 litres an hour and a plant for distilling salt water. The remainder of the 10th LAD entered Sidi Barrani two days later. The Italians also left a large pumping station almost at Buqbuq, half way between Sidi Barrani and Sollum .

As the Australians concentrated for the Battle of Bardia, the 10th LAD were filling and working water wagons for Sollim. At this stage they began to operate closely with the 5th Field Park Company and on 10 January they moved with them to the harbour at Bardia. A fortnight later they were in Tobruk at work on the large distilling plant. After the Battle of Derna and the subsequent Italian withdrawal towards Benghazi, the 10th LAD were given a special job. The British command had made the decision to cut across the plateau south of Benghazi: the success of this plan depended on getting a supply of water quickly to Msus, some 500 miles south-west of Derna. it was the responsibility of the 1Oth LAD to have ninety-five tons of water at this point for the armoured division. This was accomplished. The operation succeeded, Benghazi fell, and the whole of Cyrenaica was subsequently occupied. In northern Cyrenaica, the water problem ceased. West of Derna lies a region of small streams, trees and green countryside decorated with fresh white buildings. When the British consolidated in this area in February 1941 the work of the 10th LAD ended and they followed the New Zealand signallers. Transport driver and engineers back to Helwan, where the New Zealand Division had taken up its station preparatory to its departure for Greece.

Prelude to Battle Page 32-34

Following this brief excursion into Libya, 10 LAD continued to be attached to 5 Field Park, NZE for the remainder of the war. In November 1942, the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers (NZEME) was formed as part of 2 NZEF and 10 LAD transferred from the NZOC to the NZEME. 10 LAD was disestablished in late 1945.

“Arte et Marte”
By Skill and By Fighting


The identity of Ngāti Tumatauenga

Met by a combination of mutual mistrust on the one hand and a sense of opportunity on the other, the earliest contacts between Māori and Europeans would grow into a mutually beneficial economic relationship by the 1840s and 1850s. The Treaty of Waitangi sealed the relationship, with a vital element of the relationship becoming amalgamation. Māori was granted the rights and privileges of British subjects under a universal system under the treaty’s terms and early colonial laws. Unfortunately, the relationship was often one-sided, favouring the Crown and settlers who would set the terms of the amalgamation process into one of assimilation, intending to absorb Māori into the white settler world. This path led to conflict, followed by erecting barriers between Māori and Settlers that would endure for generations. One Hundred and Seventy-Nine years after the treaty’s signing, the relationship between Māori and Europeans has matured, with many colonial-era grievances reconciled or on the path of reconciliation. A sign of how far the nation’s relationship between Māori and Europeans has matured is found in one of the institutions of the state, the Army, now recognised as the standalone iwi; Ngāti Tumatauenga – ‘Tribe of the God of War’.

Ngāti Tumatauenga is the youngest iwi of New Zealand, as it was only established in1994 as the result of an initiative by the Chief of General Staff (CGS), Major General Anthony Leonard Birks, CB, OBE. The CGS intended to regenerate the Army’s culture into a “uniquely New Zealand Military culture by combining appropriate aspects of European and Māori heritage to enhance further the cohesion, morale and esprit de corps of the Army”.[1] Established with the blessing of the veterans of the 28th Maoi Battalion, the Māori Queen and iwi surrounding Waiouru; Ngāti Tūwharetoa, Ngāti Kahungunu, Ngāti Maniapoto and Ngāti Tuhoe. [2] Ngāti Tumatauenga blends the customs and warrior traditions of Māori and European into a fusion of both, laying the basis of the New Zealand Army’s ethos and values.[3] Although Ngāti Tumatauenga is a modern conception, it has a strong whakapapa drawn from its Māori and European ancestry, reflecting its position as the guardian of all the peoples of New Zealand regardless of race, religion or creed.[4]

The path towards Ngāti Tumatauenga has been long as, for most of its existence, the New Zealand Army, like those of Canada, South Africa and Australia, embraced British military traditions. Regardless of the British Military influence, there has always been a desire to identify New Zealand as a unique military entity. In both World Wars, Canada, South Africa, and Australia would send expeditionary forces filled with units bearing English, Scottish and Irish names, motifs and identities to battlefields worldwide; New Zealand would be the exception. Although there were Territorial units in New Zealand with Scottish identities, the New Zealand Military authorities felt that New Zealand was too small to allow these identities to be embodied as separate units within the Expeditionary Forces. New Zealand Forces would march in one khaki uniform and wore distinctive New Zealand badges up to the Second World War, which often included Māori phrases and symbology.[5]

The sole and logical exception was Māori, who participated as a subunit, representing a subset of New Zealand in a way that the Scots or Irish did not.[6] Unknowingly in their desire to make New Zealand Forces identifiable as a national entity, New Zeland Military authorities had set the path and framework towards establishing Ngāti Tumatauenga in later years.

Alongside the British Military traditions, it is Māori Tikanga which is the glue that binds Ngāti Tumatauenga together and provides the distinct and unique cultural practices and traditions which enhance the loyalty, cohesion and tribal identity of the Modern New Zealand Warrior.[7] Contrary to popular belief, Māori warfare was not an established feature of Māori culture and life but rather something that Māori would apply themselves to depending on the circumstances to acquire land, counter threats or defend Mana. Māori would refine their warfighting traditions as participants on both sides of the conflicts of the nineteenth-century New Zealand land wars. In the twentieth century, Māori leaders such as Sir Apirana Ngata would see military service for the Crown as an extension of their warrior heritage and a pathway to equality. In his 1943′ price of citizenship’ pamphlet, Ngatai would assert, “We are of one house, and if our Pākehā brothers fall, we fall with them. How can we even hold our heads when the struggle is over to the question, “Where were you when New Zealand was at war?”.[8] Excellent and honourable service in the Second World War would cement the place of Māori in the post-war Army, with a 1977 survey establishing that the Regular Force consisted of 34 per cent Māori and the Territorial Force 16 per cent, a higher proportion than Māori employment in the general civilian workforce.[9] With the Māori cultural resurgence of the late twentieth century, the Army was well placed to embrace change as this resurgence impacted change in the Army.

The regeneration of the culture of the New Zealand Army initiated by the CGS in 1994 was swift in its implementation, the Army badge would retain its traditional British design but was modified to include a taiaha in place of a sword and a scroll embossed with “Ngāti Tumatauenga.” on its base. [10]

The Army Marae Te Whare Tū Taua a Tūmatauenga, the home of Ngāti Tumatauenga, was dedicated during labour weekend in 1995. The Army Marae is the single point in the New Zealand Army through which all members, regardless of race, gender or creed and where they originate from, pass through on their military journey. Unique amongst Maraes, Whare Tū Taua a Tūmatauenga faces west and the setting sun, sending a message that Ngāti Tumatauenga protects the country by night and day.

The regeneration of the army culture was not without its challenges, and by its nature, the Army Marae is less formal than traditional Maraes, with one recruit commenting, “The Māori it’s so cabbage here! ‘Cause I come from a place where it’s really rich. I was telling my dad, we went to the Marae and they spoke English!” [11] Despite this lower-level critique, another soldier with Māori ancestry explained that “Ngāti Tumatauenga represents the amalgamation of the Imperial soldier’s spirit with the Mana of the Māori warrior. This is a positive reflection of the Treaty of Waitangi partnership principle, giving many much pride in using Ngāti Tumatauenga in their pepeha.”[12] The introduction of Ngāti Tumatauenga also faced detractors and sceptics. The speedy introduction caught many members of the Army off guard and unprepared for such a sudden and, at times, aggressive cultural shift. The passage of time and the ensuring benefits of the adoption of Ngāti Tumatauenga has modified the attitude of many of the original detractors and sceptics.[13]

As Ngāti Tumatauenga approaches its twenty-fifth year, its acceptance in the community as an iwi is further enhanced by the use of Māori performing arts to promote and sustain the Army’s cultural ethos. Ngāti Tumatauenga hosts and participates in Kapa Haka competitions at the national level,[14] with, at times, non-Māori leading performances.[15] The use of Māori performing arts by Ngāti Tumatauenga extends past competitions in New Zealand. Kapa Haka is used by Ngāti Tumatauenga as a military and diplomatic tool on the international stage, reflecting how the shared Māori and European military heritage works to uphold the principles of the Treaty of Waitangi and the interests of the New Zealand people. [16]

In conclusion, the transformation of the New Zealand Army into Ngāti Tumatauenga – “Tribe of the God of War” echos the aspirations of the early Māori and European residents of New Zealand and their perception of amalgamation under the terms of the treaty of Waitangi. From 1840 to 1994, to road towards Ngāti Tumatauenga was complicated by the conflict between Māori and the Crown defining the Māori and Pākehā relationship into one acknowledging the martial ability of each other. The World Wars of the early Twentieth Century would see the New Zealand Expeditionary Forces and their respective Māori Battalions earning the respect of friend and foe, leading to Māori finding themselves a place in the post-war New Zealand Army. Riding the wave of a resurgent Māori culture, the leadership of the New Zealand Army took a significant risk and implemented the regeneration of the Army’s culture. The New Zeland Army, through its transformation into the iwi of Ngāti Tumatauenga, has transformed into a unique iwi, shaped and defined by the influences of a resurgent Māori culture and the combined martial traditions of European soldiers and Maori warriors, their shared history, heritage and experience of war.

Bibliography

Primary Sources

Major-General A.l.Birks. “Chief of General Staff Directive 9/94; the Army’s Culture.” Wellington: Army General Staff, HQ New Zealand Defence Force, 1994.

New Zealand Army. “The Army Culture.” NZ Army Publication (NZ P77) Why? Chapter 3, Section 1  (2014).

Secondary Sources

Published

Brosnahan, Seán. “Ngāti Tūmatauenga and the Kilties: New Zealand’s Ethnic Military Traditions.” In A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland’s Diaspora, edited by David Forsyth, 168-92: Edinburgh University Press, 2016.

Cooke, Peter, and John Crawford. The Territorials. Wellington: Random House New Zealand Ltd, 2011.

Corbett, D. A. The Regimental Badges of New Zealand: An Illustrated History of the Badges and Insignia Worn by the New Zealand Army. Auckland, N.Z. : Ray Richards, 1980, Revised Edition, 1980.

Harding, Nina Joy. “You Bring It, We will Bring It Out”: Becoming a Soldier in the New Zealand Army: A Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Anthropology at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand. 2016.

Hohaia, Debbie. “In Search of a Decolonised Military: MāOri Cultural Learning Experiences in the New Zealand Defence Force.” Kōtuitui (Online)  (2016).

McKenzie, Peter. “How the NZ Army Became an Iwi.”  https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/11/25/331569/peter-mckenzie-on-army-as-an-iwi-for-monday.

Oldham, Geoffrey P. Badges and Insignia of the New Zealand Army: An Illustrated Price Guide to Cap and Collar Badges, Insignia and Shoulder Titles of the N.Z. Army, Police & Militia, from 1847 to the Present Day. New and rev. Ed ed.: Milimem Books, 2011.

Soutar, Monty. Ngā Tama Toa = He Toto Heke, He Tipare Here Ki Te Ūkaipo : Kamupene C, Ope Taua (Maori) 28 1939-1945 : I Tuhia Tenei Pukapua I Roto I Te Reo Maori. David Bateman, 2014.

Taylor, Richard Tribe of the War God: Ngati Tumatauenga. Heritage New Zealand, 1996. .

Te Ao Māori News. “Te Matatini 2015 – Te Kapa Haka O Kairanga.”  https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/te-matatini-2015-te-kapa-haka-o-kairanga.

Unpublished

“Discussions conducted by author with various members of the New Zealand  Army “. 2019.


Notes

[1] Major-General A.l.Birks, “Chief of General Staff Directive 9/94; the Army’s Culture,” (Wellington: Army General Staff, HQ New Zealand Defence Force, 1994).

[2] Peter McKenzie, “How the NZ Army Became an Iwi,”  https://www.newsroom.co.nz/2018/11/25/331569/peter-mckenzie-on-army-as-an-iwi-for-monday.

[3] New Zealand Army, “The Army Culture,” NZ Army Publication (NZ P77) Why? Chapter 3, Section 1  (2014).

[4] Richard  Taylor, Tribe of the War God : Ngati Tumatauenga (Heritage New Zealand, 1996), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 110-11.

[5] Although many NZ badges follow British badge design conventions and in many cases are direct copies, many badges have also included many unique New Zealnd features such as the adoption of Māori iconography and symbols and use Te Reo Māori in place of the traditional English or latin for mottoes. D. A. Corbett, The Regimental Badges of New Zealand : An Illustrated History of the Badges and Insignia Worn by the New Zealand Army (Auckland, N.Z. : Ray Richards, 1980, Revised enl. edition, 1980), Non-fiction, 9-17.

[6] Seán Brosnahan, “Ngāti Tūmatauenga and the Kilties: New Zealand’s Ethnic Military Traditions,” in A Global Force: War, Identities and Scotland’s Diaspora, ed. David Forsyth (Edinburgh University Press, 2016), 168-83.

[7] New Zealand Army, “The Army Culture.”

[8] Monty Soutar, Ngā Tama Toa = He Toto Heke, He Tipare Here Ki Te Ūkaipo : Kamupene C, Ope Taua (Maori) 28 1939-1945 : I Tuhia Tenei Pukapua I Roto I Te Reo Maori (David Bateman, 2014), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 35.

[9] Peter Cooke and John Crawford, The Territorials (Wellington: Random House New Zealand Ltd, 2011), 371.

[10] Geoffrey P. Oldham, Badges and Insignia of the New Zealand Army : An Illustrated Price Guide to Cap and Collar Badges, Insignia and Shoulder Titles of the N.Z. Army, Police & Militia, from 1847 to the Present Day, New and rev. ed ed. (Milimem Books, 2011), Bibliographies,Non-fiction, 92.

[11] Nina Joy Harding, “You Bring It, We’ll Bring It Out” : Becoming a Soldier in the New Zealand Army : A Thesis Presented in Partial Fulfilment of the Requirements for the Degree of Doctor of Philosophy in Social Anthropology at Massey University, Manawatū, New Zealand (2016), Non-fiction, 130.

[12] McKenzie, “How the NZ Army Became an Iwi”.

[13] “Discussuions Conducted by Author with Various Members of the New Zealsnd  Army Command Chain.,”  (2019).

[14] Te Ao Māori News, “Te Matatini 2015 – Te Kapa Haka O Kairanga,”  https://www.maoritelevision.com/news/regional/te-matatini-2015-te-kapa-haka-o-kairanga.

[15] Debbie Hohaia, “In Search of a Decolonised Military : MāOri Cultural Learning Experiences in the New Zealand Defence Force,” Kōtuitui (Online)  (2016): 52.

[16] Ibid.


Indonesian Counterinsurgency in West Papua

The conduct of counterinsurgency operations occurs when a government is forced to take military action to either prevent or retaliate to attacks by disaffected groups and has become the defining feature of the modern era of conflict. The focus of the study on counterinsurgency is on either historical examples such as Malaya, Algeria or Vietnam or ongoing operations in places such as Iraq and Afghanistan. From the earlier conflicts, lessons have been learnt, lost, rediscovered, and adapted for modern conflicts. A good example is the works of David Galula which, based on his observations and experiences in Indochina and Algeria, have been adapted for use in the current United States Army counterinsurgency manual. Counterinsurgencies are seldom successful and, once committed to, are painful to disengage from. An enduring example of counterinsurgency with no end state is the 55-year-old Indonesian counterinsurgency in West Papua. The West Papua counterinsurgency campaign is against a motivated and determined opponent, dispersed in small cells amongst the local population with unparalleled knowledge of the local environment of isolated and complex terrain. Fighting the insurgency is a well-trained and motivated force equipped with modern western weapons and equipment with the support of the significant regional powers, which despite these advantages, has failed to bring the insurgency to an end.

The origins of the West Papua conflict go back to December 1949, when after a short war of independence, the Dutch East Indies gained independence from the Kingdom of the Netherlands as the Republic of Indonesia. West Papua, the western half of New Guinea Island, remained under the sovereignty of the Netherlands. Due to the ethnic and geographic differences between the Indonesian Islands, the Dutch administered West Paupa separately from the Dutch East Indies and wished to prepare West Papua for independence as a separate country.[1] Indonesia argued that the Dutch occupation of West Papua was illegal and saw the territory as an integral part of the Indonesian State.[2]  From 1949 to 1961, Indonesia unsuccessfully attempted through the United Nations (UN) legal mechanisms to gain sovereignty. Dissatisfied with the UN and confident with an infusion of modern Soviet military hardware, Indonesia launched several unsuccessful military operations against the Dutch territory in 1961 and 1962.[3][4] Despite retaining the military advantage, the Dutch were not in a position to conduct a protracted military campaign in Asia without western support. Seeking to gain favour with Indonesia, the United States and Australia forced the unwilling Dutch to enter into a settlement under the auspices of the UN for a temporary transfer of sovereignty of West Papua to Indonesia. The agreement required that in 1969 the UN oversaw a referendum, which gave the people of West Papua two choices:

  • Remain as part of Indonesia, or
  • become an independent nation.

Known as the “Act of Free Choice”, the vote was to be a consensus of just over 1000 elders, who were selected by the Indonesian Military, were coerced at gunpoint and had little choice but to vote to remain as part of Indonesia as the province of Irian Jaya.[5] The UN supported Indonesian stealing of the vote only worked to stiffen the resolve of the Free Papua Movement (OPM) to resist Indonesian rule.[6]

The Indonesian provinces of West Papua and Papua. Independence activists describe the
 combined provinces as West Papua. https://www.lowyinstitute.org/publications/west-papua-issue-won-t-go-away-melanesia

With the failure to establish an independent West Papua and sovereignty turned over to Indonesia, anti-Indonesian dissidents who had been trained and armed by the Dutch immediately took up the fight to make West Papua an independent sovereign state. The granting of sovereignty over West Papua to Indonesia by the UN was intended as temporary. However, to increase its control over West Papua, Indonesia implemented a policy of forced assimilation.[7] This policy encouraged the migration of settlers from Java and Sumatra to replace Melanesians in all government, cultural, and educational institutions with non-Melanesian migrants so that by the time the “act of free choice” took place in 1969 a substantial portion of the urban population of West Papua was non-Melanesian.[8]  As the Indonesian forced incorporation continued, support for the OPM from the frustrated West Papuan community grew. Initially only considered a nuisance by the Indonesians, by 1970, the OPM benefited from the defections of Melanesians serving with the Indonesian forces, and the use of bases across the border in Papua New Guinea had become a significant annoyance to Indonesia. The OPM’s effective guerrilla force was modest in numbers, between 400 to 600 hardcore guerrillas. Initially armed with World War II vintage weapons with little ammunition, OPM forces were adaptable natural jungle fighters and, as a matter of necessity, were experts in using traditional Papuan weapons such as bows, arrows, and axes. From the first action against Indonesian Forces on the 26th of July 1964, the OPMs preferred tactic was small-scale hit-and-run operations against Indonesian patrols, installations and commercial operations. A measure of their effectiveness was that the Indonesians soon avoided patrols into the jungle and retaliated with brutality, which became the cornerstone of the Indonesian counterinsurgency policy.[9]

The Indonesian response to the insurgency has been to view West Papuan separatists as enemies of the Republic of Indonesia and adopt a military approach as the primary counterinsurgency strategy to defeat the OPM.[10] The Indonesian counterinsurgency strategy was developed based on the lessons learnt in the successful operations against the Darul Islam and Republic of South Maluku rebellions in 1948 and 1950. These rebellions had been defeated within a year by utilising a more powerful armed force using loyal troops drawn from other provinces. From the start, the Indonesian approach was flawed, and the Indonesian Government did not take into account the long-term disadvantages of relying on military power while ignoring the West Papuans’ needs which failed to establish trust in the Government, pushing the West Papuans to support the OPM. The Indonesian counterinsurgency campaign was ruthless and saw by 2018 reportedly 500,000 West Papuans killed since the assumption of Indonesian sovereignty in 1963.[11] Indonesian counterinsurgency strategy not only targeted members of the OPM, but the assault, rape and murder of the family and known associates of OPM members, was commonplace. An example from 1970 saw Indonesian soldiers reportedly shoot and kill a pregnant woman, cut the baby from the mother’s womb, dissect it in front of 80 women and children of the woman’s village, concurrently soldiers raped and killed the pregnant woman’s sister.[12] The Indonesian counterinsurgency campaign also included airpower supplied by the United States in the ground attack role.[13] Indonesian fixed and rotary wing aircraft using napalm, conventional, cluster, and chemical weapons strafed and bombed at-will villages and suspected OPM training camps in West Papua and the border areas of neighbouring Papua New Guinea.[14]

The Indonesian Military controls West Papua as a “virtually autonomous government entity” , and until 1998, information on the counterinsurgency in West Papua could be managed and conducted unseen to the eyes of the world.[15] Financial interests in the mining enterprises, such as the Freeport mine by Australian and United States interests, effectively muzzled those two countries, and Papua New Guinea had little choice but to reach an uneasy compromise with Indonesia.[16] John Pemberton described Indonesia as invisible in the international media, “…an ideal absence in which nothing…happens.”[17]  In 1998 a change in the Indonesian Government and the events in East Timor saw a significant shift in the world focus on the conduct of Indonesia’s counter Insurgency operations in West Papua. Since 2005 Indonesia has withdrawn troops and taken a more conciliatory approach to the needs of the people in West Papua, shifting from seeking a military solution to a political solution.[18] Regardless of the changes since 2005, the Indonesian Military continues to maintain its ruthless control over West Papua. With the loss of East Timor, West Papua remains a power base and a significant source of revenue for the Indonesian Military as their significant involvement in both legal and Illegal businesses provides substantial funds for the Indonesian military organisation and senior officers of the Military.[19]

Despite superiority in military technology, the tacit blessing of the United Nations, the United States and Australia and the use of extreme brutality as a tool, the 55-year Indonesian counterinsurgency in West Papua has failed. Papuan resolve for independence was not weakened but remains strong. International pressure by human rights groups highlighted Indonesian conduct in East Timor in the late 1990s, resulting in a softening of the Indonesian stance in West Papua over the last ten years. Any moral and military advantage that the Indonesians might have gained by softening their stance is negated by the generational loss of trust that is now part of the West Papuans psyche and the Indonesian belief that any separatists are enemies of the Indonesian State and, as such traitors and criminals. The lesson from the Indonesian experience in conducting an insurgency is that military power, brutality and fear are not a workable combination and that understanding and catering to the social needs of the insurgents are a more effective strategy.

Bibliography

Afriandi, Djon. “The Indonesian Coin Strategy: Failures and Alternative Approaches in Overcoming the Papuan Insurgency.” Naval Postgraduate School, 2015.

Anderson, Kjell. “Colonialism and Cold Genocide: The Case of West Papua.” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal: Vol. 9: Iss. 2: 9-25. (2015).

Brigadier E D Smith. Sukarno Rides the Tiger. War in Peace. Vol. 3, London: Orbis, 1983.

Brundige, Elizabeth, Winter King, Priyneha Vahali, Stephen Vladeck, and Xiang Yuan. “Indonesian Human Rights Abuses in West Papua: Application of the Law of Genocide to the History of Indonesian Control.” Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School (2004).

Budiardjo, Carmel, and Liem Soei Liong. West Papua: The Obliteration of a People. Tapol Thornton Heath, 1988.

Elmslie, Jim. “West Papuan Demographic Transition and the 2010 Indonesian Census: “Slow Motion Genocide” or Not?, Cpacs Working Paper 11/1.” The University of Sydney. Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies. (2010).

“Indonesia’s 1969 Takeover of West Papua Not by “Free Choice”.” The George Washington University, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB128/index.htm.

Pemberton, John. On the Subject of “Java”. Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994, 1994. Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

Philpott, S. “This Stillness, This Lack of Incident: Making Conflict Visible in West Papua.” [In English]. Critical Asian Studies  (03 / 09 / 2018): 1-19.

Premdas, Ralph R., and Kwasi Nyamekye. “Papua New Guinea 1978: Year of the OPM.” Asian Survey 19, no. 1 (1979): 65-71.

Simpson, Bradley R. “Denying the ‘First Right’: The United States, Indonesia, and the Ranking of Human Rights by the Carter Administration, 1976–1980.” The International History Review 31, no. 4 (2009): 798-826.

“United Nations Security Force in West New Guinea.” Department of Peacekeeping Operations, https://peacekeeping.un.org/mission/past/unsfbackgr.html.

Viartasiwi, N. “The Politics of History in West Papua – Indonesia Conflict.” [In English]. Asian Journal of Political Science 26, no. 1 (01 / 02 / 2018): 141-59.

West Papua: Plunder in Paradise. Indigenous Peoples and Development Series: Report No 6. London: Anti-Slavery Society, 1990, 1990. Non-fiction.

Notes


[1] N. Viartasiwi, “The Politics of History in West Papua – Indonesia Conflict,” Asian Journal of Political Science 26, no. 1 (2018): 142-44.

[2] West Papua: Plunder in Paradise, Indigenous Peoples and Development Series: Report No 6 (London: Anti-Slavery Society, 1990, 1990), Non-fiction, 21.

[3] Brigadier E D Smith, Sukarno Rides the Tiger, vol. 3, War in Peace (London: Orbis, 1983).

[4] Viartasiwi, “The Politics of History in West Papua – Indonesia Conflict.”; ibid., 146.

[5] “United Nations Security Force in West New Guinea,” Department of Peacekeeping Operations, https://peacekeeping.un.org/mission/past/unsfbackgr.html.

[6] “Indonesia’s 1969 Takeover of West Papua Not by “Free Choice”,” The George Washington University, https://nsarchive2.gwu.edu//NSAEBB/NSAEBB128/index.htm.

[7] Kjell Anderson, “Colonialism and Cold Genocide: The Case of West Papua,” Genocide Studies and Prevention: An International Journal: Vol. 9: Iss. 2: 9-25.  (2015): 13.

[8] Ralph R. Premdas and Kwasi Nyamekye, “Papua New Guinea 1978: Year of the OPM,” Asian Survey 19, no. 1 (1979).

[9] Djon Afriandi, “The Indonesian Coin Strategy: Failures and Alternative Approaches in Overcoming the Papuan Insurgency” (Naval Postgraduate School, 2015), 68.

[10] The military approach as the main means for destroying the OPM insurgents was used in West Papua and East Timor and Aceh, where insurgents fought against Indonesian rule.

[11] S. Philpott, “This Stillness, This Lack of Incident: Making Conflict Visible in West Papua,” Critical Asian Studies  (2018): 260.

[12] Elizabeth Brundige et al., “Indonesian Human Rights Abuses in West Papua: Application of the Law of Genocide to the History of Indonesian Control,” Allard K. Lowenstein International Human Rights Clinic, Yale Law School (2004): 63.

[13] Carmel Budiardjo and Liem Soei Liong, West Papua: The Obliteration of a People (Tapol Thornton Heath, 1988); Bradley R Simpson, “Denying the ‘First Right’: The United States, Indonesia, and the Ranking of Human Rights by the Carter Administration, 1976–1980,” The International History Review 31, no. 4 (2009).

[14] Budiardjo and Liong, West Papua: The Obliteration of a People, 68-69.

[15] Anderson, “Colonialism and Cold Genocide: The Case of West Papua,” 14.

[16] Philpott, “This Stillness, This Lack of Incident: Making Conflict Visible in West Papua,” 260-79.

[17] John Pemberton, On the Subject of “Java” (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1994, 1994), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 4.

[18] Afriandi, “The Indonesian Coin Strategy: Failures and Alternative Approaches in Overcoming the Papuan Insurgency,” 25-26.

[19] Jim Elmslie, “West Papuan Demographic Transition and the 2010 Indonesian Census: “Slow Motion Genocide” or Not?, Cpacs Working Paper 11/1,” The University of Sydney. Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies.  (2010): 8.


Military History Whiteboard

This page provides a break from the history of the RNZAOC and its predecessors, providing articles on various aspects of Military History.

David Galula and his influence on modern military operations

The Stanleyville Hostage Rescue Operation – The Congo 1964

The idea of Empire as a means of uniting early twentieth-century New Zealand

Indonesian Counterinsurgency in West Papua

The identity of Ngāti Tumatauenga


David Galula and his influence on modern military operations

The close of the Second World War saw an evolution of conflict that challenged the principles of military theorists such as Clausewitz or Jomini. Although conflicts where formed armies still faced each outer on the field of battle remained, wars fought as Insurgencies became the predominant form of warfare in the post-1945 world. The early leading theorises on insurgency were Mao Zedong and Che Guevara, who promoted Insurgency and the Frenchmen Fall, and Galula, who promoted some early theories and practices of counterinsurgency based on their observations and experiences in South East Asia. This article examines the experiences and work of David Galula and his influence on modern military operations.

David Galula had been commissioned into the French Army just before the fall of France in 1940. Dismissed from the French Army because he was a Jew, Galula joined the Free French Forces in North Africa, Serving as a Battalion Intelligence officer for the noted sinologist Jacques Guillermaz. Guillermaz became a key mentor and a significant influence on Galula’s life[1]. Accompanying Guillermaz to China in 1945 on his appointment as a military attaché. Galula became immersed in the ongoing Chinese Civil War, observing it close up and from both sides and, for a short period, was a captive of Mao’s Communist Chinese troops[2]. Spending a short spell observing the Greek Civil War during 1948, Galula was soon back in China, replacing Guillermaz as military attaché in Hong Kong from 1952 to 1956. Galula was well positioned in Hong Kong to study the successful counterinsurgency operations in the Philippines and Malaya and the unsuccessful counterinsurgency in Indochina, providing him with valuable lessons that he later applied in Algeria[3].

David Galula. (2022, July 5). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Galula

In the Philippines, Galula saw first-hand how the utilisation of a well-conceived civic action program, mobile striking forces and psychological warfare won the population’s support, causing the Hukbalahap Communist guerrilla movement to lose the protection and support of the local population forcing their surrender in 1954[4]. In Malaya, the fight against the communist insurgency was turning in favour of the British. This success provided Galula with a clear insight into the British approach. Having a precise political aim, with the security forces functioning within the law with the priority to defeat the insurgency by securing the population and providing better governance were all lessons Galula absorbed, and in future years considered the British achievements in Malaya an example of a successful counterinsurgency[5]. Galula continued to maintain personal contact with his fellow officers serving in Indochina. Through them, Galula could see the failures of the French counterinsurgency efforts leading to their defeat in 1954[6]. The French Defeat at Dien Ben Phu in 1945 had a traumatic effect on Galula as twenty of his military academy classmates had died, motivating him to put his observations on combating insurgency into practice in Algeria[7].

A posting as a Company Commander to Algeria in 1956 allowed Galula to test his theories. In the Greater Kabylia district, which at the time was a National Liberation Front (FLN) hotspot. [8] Galula drew upon his earlier experiences and observations to test his theories of counterinsurgency and within six to eight months, claimed to have cleared the district of FLN assets and restored the district to government control[9]. Galula’s success was noticed, earning him a promotion and a transfer to the Headquarters of National Defence in Paris in 1958. With Galula’s transfer to Paris, the situation in his former command soon unravelled as Galua had exaggerated his operational successes, leaving many unresolved issues leading to questions about the validity of his theories which went unanswered against the wider conflict then unfolding in Algeria[10].

Galula continued to lecture on his theories and attended Staff College in the United States. He was headhunted by General Edward Lansdale, who had met Galula in the Philippines and had become an admirer of his theories. Galula resigned from his commission in 1962 and was introduced into the counterinsurgency think tank industry flourishing in the United States. With General William Westmoreland’s assistance, Galua was given an appointment at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs[11]. During this period, Galula published his influential books; Pacification in Algeria (1962) and Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice (1964).

In these publications, he drew upon the lessons learnt in the French colonisation of Indochina and Africa in the 19th Century and his theories on defeating communism-inspired insurgency based on his experiences in Asia and Algeria and proposed his four “laws” for counterinsurgency

  • The First Law: The support of the population is as necessary for the counterinsurgent as for the Insurgent.
  • The Second Law: Support Is gained through an active minority
  • The Third Law: Support from the population Is conditional
  • The Fourth Law: Intensity of efforts and vastness of means are essential.[12]

In 1961 the French soldier/academic Bernard Fall published his book, Street without Joy, an essay on the French war in Indochina, Falls book often featured in US military journals and saw the author lecture Special Forces at Fort Bragg in counterinsurgency warfare in Vietnam[13]. As the leading expert on Indochina, Fall endorsed Galulas work as the best “how-to” guide to counterinsurgency warfare[14]. Galula, despite having the potential to become a rising star as a counterinsurgency theorist due to the Kenndy administration embracing counterinsurgency as a military doctrine, fell into the shadow of fall and relative obscurity[15]. If there was an opportunity for cooperation between Galula and Fall, the opportunity was lost with their deaths in 1967. Galula to Cancer and Fall to a landmine in Vietnam, ironically in the area the French knew as the “street without Joy.”[16]

For close to forty years, Galula’s works were forgotten by a few outside of historical circles, and it was not until the United States’ involvement in Iraq that Galula came out of the shadows. Easily winning the conventional war against Iraq in 2003, the United States was unprepared for the insurgency that followed. Finding that the existing Small Wars Handbook, COIN doctrine and Special Forces doctrine was not providing the roadmap to combat and win the insurgency in Iraq. US Forces undertook a significant project while employed on operations and produced FM 3-24, The US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual. FM 3-24 stressed that to win an Insurgency, political not military solutions were the key[17]. A significant influence in the production of FM 3-24 was that the American military embraced Galula’s theories as the foundation of FM 3-24. The success of the 2007 counterinsurgency “surge” was attributed directly to Galula’s teachings[18], which had been adopted for contemporary use with little due diligence into the historical mismatches between Galula’s theory and his actual practice of counterinsurgency[19].

Due to the implementation of FM 3-24, the United States counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq gained some success giving the United States Forces the upper hand over the insurgents, providing, as Galua had found in Algeria in 1956-59, a reversal of the situation from a few years earlier[20]. As the insurgency in Iraq stabilised, the American forces were able to complete their withdrawal in 2011. As with Galula in Algeria, once the influencing apparatus had been removed, the security and political situation degraded. Daesh emerged as a regional power creating an even worse insurgency for the Iraqi government, as there had been no plan to maintain the stability that the successful counterinsurgency had gained[21].

Gaula was an intelligent and keen observer who was at the right place at the right time to make observations of insurgencies in China, Greece, the Philippines, Malaya and French Indochina, which shaped his ideas on counterinsurgency. In Algeria, he had the opportunity to put his theories into practice at the Company and then Battalion level. Shaping the information to support his narrative created a mismatch between his theory and the reality on the ground, which came undone following his transfer to Paris. Endorsed by Bernard Fall as the producing the best “how-to” guide to counterinsurgency warfare, much of Galula’s theory was adopted by the United States Military in FM 3-24. Used to good effect in the “Surge’ of 2007, much of Galula’s theories found endorsement and praise and worked for a while. After the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq in 2011, the situation rapidly degraded into an insurgency, heralding the rise of Deash as a regional power, with the insurgency continuing today (2018). Galula’s influence on modern military operations has been significant, but Galula’s theories, although beneficial to the short-term goals of the United States counterinsurgency effort, are little more than a fad. A fad implemented without any robust field-testing conducted by its author or an independent authority has not benefited the United States in its long-term strategy against insurgencies.


Notes

[1] A.A. Cohen, Galula: The Life and Writings of the French Officer Who Defined the Art of Counterinsurgency (Praeger, 2012).

[2] Ann Marlowe, David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2010. 2010).

[3] David Galula, Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958, Mg (Rand Corporation) (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2006), Book.

[4] Ryan Nebres Severo, “Philippine Counterinsurgency During the Presidencies of Magsaysay, Marcos, and Ramos: Challenges and Opportunities,” (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College 2016).

[5] Galula, Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958.

[6] Bernard B. Fall, “The Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency,” (2015).

[7] Marlowe, David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context.

[8] P.J Banyard, “FLN: The Fight for Algeria’s Independence,” War in Peace1983.

[9] Galula, Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958.

[10] G. Mathias, Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice Versus Theory (ABC-CLIO, 2011).

[11] Marlowe, David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context.

[12] David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice (Praeger, 2006), Article.

[13] Frances Fitzgerald, “”Lost on the Street without Joy” (Re “the Reporter Who Warned Us Not to Invade Vietnam 10 Years before the Gulf of Tonkin”),” The Nation, 2015 2015.

[14] Robert Tomes, “Relearning Counterinsurgency Warfare,” US Army War College: Parameters, no. Spring 2004 (2004).

[15] Marlowe, David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context.

[16] Fitzgerald, “”Lost on the Street without Joy” (Re “the Reporter Who Warned Us Not to Invade Vietnam 10 Years before the Gulf of Tonkin”).”

[17] Travers McLeod, Rule of Law in War: International Law and United States Counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, 2014).

[18] Michael Evans, “The Shirt of Nessus: The Rise and Fall of Western Counterinsurgency,”  https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2015/01-02/shirt-nessus-rise-fall-western-counterinsurgency/.

[19] Mathias, Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice Versus Theory.

[20] David H. Ucko, The New Counterinsurgency Era: Transforming the U.S. Military for Modern Wars (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2009), Book.

[21] Mathias, Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice Versus Theory.

Bibliography

Cohen, A.A. Galula: The Life and Writings of the French Officer Who Defined the Art of Counterinsurgency. Praeger, 2012.
Evans, Michael. “The Shirt of Nessus: The Rise and Fall of Western Counterinsurgency.”
Fall, Bernard B. “The Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency.” 40, 2015.
Fitzgerald, Frances. “Lost on the Street without Joy” (Re “the Reporter Who Warned Us Not to Invade Vietnam 10 Years before the Gulf of Tonkin”).” The Nation, 2015 2015.
Galula, David. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. Praeger, 2006. Article.
———. Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958. [in English] Mg (Rand Corporation). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2006. Book.
Marlowe, Ann. David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College 2010.
Mathias, G. Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice Versus Theory. ABC-CLIO, 2011.
McLeod, Travers. Rule of Law in War: International Law and the United States Counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, 2014.
PJ Banyard. “FLN: The Fight for Algeria’s Independence.” War in Peace, 1983, 594-96.
Severo, Ryan Nebres. “Philippine Counterinsurgency During the Presidencies of Magsaysay, Marcos, and Ramos: Challenges and Opportunities.” 117. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: US Army Command and General Staff College 2016.
Tomes, Robert. “Relearning Counterinsurgency Warfare.” US Army War College: Parameters, no. Spring 2004 (2004).
Ucko, David H. The New Counterinsurgency Era: Transforming the US Military for Modern Wars. [in English] Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009. Book.