RAF in Malaya – The Enemy and Allied Forces II

Operation ‘Firedog’ – the air war against the CTS (Communist Terrorists) during the Malayan Emergency – began in earnest in July 1948 with the formation of an RAF Task Force at Kuala Lumpur. Reinforcements, notably Lincolns from the UK were sent to Malaya and Singapore on detachment. The first to arrive were Lincolns on 57 Squadron. On 15 March 1950, at a time when Chin Peng’s forces were slowly winning the war against the Security Forces, eight Lincolns on 57 Squadron arrived at Tengah from Waddington for operations against terrorists in Negri Sembilan. 57’s Lincolns were relieved in July by 100 Squadron. In December 1950 these were replaced by Lincolns on 61 and 148 Squadrons, the latter having converted from the Lancaster at Upwood in February 1950. The Lincoln seemed ideal for the task of bombing CT hide-outs in the jungle but while five Lincolns could effectively drop 70 1,000lb bombs on a jungle strongpoint the guerrillas had by now split into much smaller and more mobile units and were almost impossible to hit by ‘conventional’ bombing. One operation, in the Ipoh region between July and November 1954 involving Lincolns, 22 SAS and four infantry battalions, accounted for only 15 terrorists killed. From 1950 to 1958 eight Lincoln Mk.30s of 1 Squadron RAAF at Tengah dropped 17,500 tons of bombs but killed only 16 CTs and destroyed barely 30 camps. There were successes. On 13 May 1957 an operation by the RAAF Lincolns near Seremban killed a notorious Communist leader known as ‘Ten Foot Long’ and four of his followers. The Malaya Emergency officially ended in August 1960 and Operation ‘Firedog’ ended in October.

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