May and August 1945 Australian military forces fought to liberate the
island of Borneo from more than three years of Japanese occupation.
In well-planned and co-ordinated seaborne assaults at; Tarakan, Brunei
bay and Balikpapan, Australian soldiers overwhelmed and outfought
determined and well-prepared Japanese defenders. Australian and American
air and naval forces closely supported the Australian soldiers.
When Balikpapan was attacked it was a major oil port in East Asia but by
then had little strategic military significance.
On 1 July 1945 Australian soldiers launched their largest amphibious
operation storming the beaches to the south of Balikpapan Township. A
preliminary 20-dayallied bombardment had destroyed the Japanese beach
defences and thus by nightfall the Australians had advanced 2 km inland.
The town was liberated the next day but the two airfields to the east
were not secured until the 9 July.
Fighting to the north and the west of the town continued for more than
two weeks with entrenched Japanese resisting every Australian advance.
Balikpapan was the last large scale allied operation on land in the
Second World War and conflict concluded with the end of the war on 14