4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment

Event Claret Operations
Commanding Officer
Decorations 1 MC; 1 MID
Conflict Indonesian Confrontation, 1962-1966
References
  • Indonesian Confrontation
  • Indonesian Confrontation
  • Indonesian Confrontation
  • Indonesian Confrontation
  • Indonesian Confrontation
Category Unit
Conflict Indonesian Confrontation, 1962-1966
Unit hierarchy
Description

4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (4RAR), was raised at Woodside on 1 February 1964. It was the first regular infantry battalion to be raised in Australia and its tour during the Indonesian Confrontation was the battalion's first overseas service. The battalion was the first to employ national servicemen on operations.

4RAR arrived at Terendak, Malaya, on 9 September 1965. It carried out training and familiarisation exercises before being deployed to Borneo in April 1966. Battalion headquarters was stationed at Bau and the battalion operated from four fortified company bases in the surrounding area.

4RAR carried out operations on both sides of the border. Operations were largely aimed at locating Indonesian forces and discouraging incursions into Indonesian territory. Operations involved patrolling, laying ambushes, or capturing materials found at campsites. 4RAR also undertook "hearts and minds" campaigns to gain the confidence and trust of the rural Chinese people, who could offer information about Indonesian movements. Also, the Chinese were less likely to offer assistance to the Indonesians as a result of these campaigns.

Cross-border operations were code named "Claret" and were the focus of 4RAR's strategy in Indonesia. Peace negotiations had affected operational aims and 4RAR undertook primarily reconnaissance and surveillance operations, rather than offensive missions.

Claret operations rarely resulted in enemy contact. Indonesian activity was small-scale and aimed to confront or challenge, rather than provoke, open warfare. As a result, periodic heavy mortaring of security bases was more customary than direct enemy contact.

On 11 August 1966 the signing of a peace treaty between Malaysia and Indonesia officially ended the conflict. British Commonwealth units were ordered to cease operations in Borneo the following day. 4RAR left Borneo for Terendak on 30 August. On 2 September the battalion handed over to the 3rd Malaysian Menjers. It carried out training in Malaysia and members began returning to Australia from August 1967. The battalion officially handed over to 8RAR on 16 October 1967.

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