Friday, September 28, 2012

Dutch Military Aggression I

First attack

The first attack began in the early hours of 19 December. At 04:30, Dutch aircraft took off from Bandung; heading for Yogyakarta via the Indian Ocean. Meanwhile, the Dutch High Commissioner Beel announced that the Dutch were no longer bound by the Renville Agreement on radio. The operation began as the Dutch attacked major Indonesian centers in Java and Sumatra.[2] At 05:30, Maguwo airport and the radio station at military aircraft including Yogyakarta was bombed by the ML-KNIL.[2] The Republic fielded only three captured Japanese Mitsubishi Zeros[2] whereas the ML-KNIL fielded with several American-built P-40 Kittyhawk and P-51 Mustang fighters, B-25 Mitchell bombers and 23 Douglas DC-3s carrying approximately 900 troops.[5]
Dutch paratroopers landed on Maguwo airport, which was defended by 47 lightly armed Indonesian Air Force cadets who lacked anti-aircraft machine guns. In advance, dummies were landed by the Dutch to draw enemy fire which enabled Dutch fighter planes to strafe the defenders.[2] The skirmish lasted for 25 minutes ending with the Dutch taking over Maguwo; killing 128 Republicans with no casualties.[10] Having secured the airport perimeter by 06:45, the Dutch were able to land airborne troops in two successive waves and use Maguwo as an airhead for reinforcements from their main base in Semarang.[2] At 8:30 am, General Spoor gave a radio broadcast ordering his forces to cross the Van Mook line and capture Yogyakarta to "purge" the Republic of "unreliable elements".[2]
The main aim of Operation Kraai was to quickly destroy the Tentara Nasional Indonesia (TNI) which General Spoor thought would desperately defend their capital. Thus, with Dutch superiority both in the air and on land, the Dutch army would easily execute a final and decisive victory upon the Indonesian army. However, most of the TNI had left Yogyakarta, defending western Yogyakarta's border from another Dutch military campaign. The commander General Nasution himself was on an inspection tour in East Java.[2] The air attack found the Indonesians unprepared and within hours, the advancing Dutch army had quickly taken the airport, main road, bridge and strategic locations.[2] General Sudirman's strategy was to avoid any major contact with the Dutch main army, thus saving the Indonesians from total defeat. He would prefer to lose territory but gain extra time to consolidate his army.