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Target Adjustment using Two-Legged Communications

by John Rout

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During the period of Indonesian Confrontation in 1965, 1 Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) was sent on active service to Sarawak in Malaysian Borneo to carry out Border Protection Operations on the border with Indonesian Kalimantan. A Company's base for the operation was at Lubok Antu, a small village on the banks of the Batang Ai River, 6 or 7 thousand metres from the border. In this base camp there was a single 105mm L5 Pack Howitzer manned by Malaysian Gunners. During daylight hours local traders were free to travel back and forth over the border and they were used extensively to gather intelligence on Indonesian activities over the border. Information came to light that Indonesian soldiers had taken over and were living in a local longhouse that was just within range of the 105 Howitzer and plans were made to try to hit the building with gunfire. Maps on the Sarawak side of the border were accurate but over the border information had to be obtained from air photos. A grid reference to the longhouse was worked out and the gun fired a single round. The next day a trader was sent over the border to find out where the round landed and the day after that he arrived back with a diagram showing where the round landed. Based on this information adjustments to the gun data were made and another round was fired. This procedure continued for some time and although some rounds were reported to have landed closer to the target it was never hit. Two days between adjusting rounds at a target must be a record of some sort. There was a later report that a mad Army Air Corp pilot had dropped a marker flare onto the roof of the longhouse setting it on fire.

John Rout, March 2002

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