Tuesday, September 7, 2010


On the island of Borneo, which was the focus of the jungle war fought against Indonesian insurgents between 1966 and 1968, British Special Forces developed tactics that were to transform military doctrine and provide the foundation for strategies later adopted in fighting Yemeni guerrillas in the Radfan Mountains. The 22nd Special Air Service regiment undertook small-scale, four-man patrols into the rain forest, usually accompanied by a doctor, to win over the indigenous populations by establishing medical clinics. The trust gained, and the intelligence acquired, enabled long-duration missions to be conducted to monitor the border area, ambush enemy
infiltrators, and mount deniable raids into Indonesian territory to destroy bases and assembly areas. The principle of winning the “hearts and minds” of the local villages proved the key to a successful campaign that defeated the Communist-inspired guerrillas.