An alternate Occupation of Darwin TL


Monthly Donor
An alternate Occupation of Darwin timeline.

This is a timeline inspired by the Indonesian invasion of Darwin thread by Black Mage.

December 2, 1979 – Emboldened by the non-reaction of the United States of America to the capture of the U.S.’ Tehran Embassy a month earlier, Indonesian President Suharto instructs his military commanders to begin quiet preparations to implement Operation Southern Sky. Southern Sky is nothing less than an all out surprise attack against Australia’s Northern Territory, including the port city of Darwin.

December 13, 1979 – His military commanders inform President Suharto that Southern Sky is now as ready as is possible without actual mobilization of forces.

December 24, 1979 – The Soviet Union invades Afghanistan.

January 7, 1980 – Judging the United States & other Western nations to be utterly preoccupied by events in Iran and Afghanistan Suharto orders mobilization of all Indonesian armed forces units. The Jakarta government issues statements that the actions are a precaution against possible threats to foreigners due to the current crisis conditions in the Moslem states of Afghanistan and Iran. Given events in the Persian Gulf area, virtually no notice is taken of the mobilization.

January 26, 1980 – Australia Day. Australian National Holiday

January 27, 1980 – Without any warning, and with total strategic & tactical surprise, Indonesian forces launch Southern Sky. In the first moments of the invasion Indonesian Special Operation units seize Darwin’s airport. These forces quickly seize the airport control tower & cut all communication lines out of the airport. Australia suffers its first casualties of the conflict when Constables Paul Jones and William Edwards are killed in the Darwin Airport Arrival terminal. As Indonesian commandos spread out from the Airport to secure police stations, radio stations, telephone exchanges, and most especially the Port facilities, follow-up forces begin to fly in to the captured airfield. By 08.00 local time the City of Darwin is effectively occupied & cut off from the rest of Australia. At 09.00 local time the first transport vessel arrives at Darwin’s docks; an LST, it unloads 3 tanks and supporting troops. Some twenty additional ships, both military & civilian begin to enter the harbor, carrying the better part of two Indonesian divisions.

January 28, 1980

00.25 hrs. Indonesian blocking forces defending approaches to Darwin region engage initial Australian recon patrols. After a series of sharp, brief engagements, reserve cavalry units withdraw without penetrating Indonesian defensive perimeter.

02.00 hrs. RAN P-3C Orion is shot down during attempted over flight of Darwin.

03.00 hrs. Defense Minister arrives at PM’s residence. Informs Prime Minister that situation is, if anything, worse that that reported by panicked Northern Territory ranchers. Prime Minister formally orders mobilization of all active duty & ready reserve military formations in Northern Territory.

09.00 hrs – Having finally identified invader as Indonesian regulars, Prime Minister addresses emergency session of Parliament. Chaos ensues.

10.00 hrs – President Suharto announces “peaceful annexation” of Northern Australian Peninsula. During this announcement Suharto notes that the region is closer to Jakarta than it is to Melbourne or Sidney & he invites Australian representatives to Jakarta to formalize transfer of territory. Within minutes of Suharto’s address streets of Jakarta fill with delighted revelers, street of all major Australian cities fill as well, mood here is considerably more somber.

10.40 hrs (00.40 Zulu, 23.40 EST (prior day) – President Carter is informed of Australian Crisis.

January 29, 1980

02.00 hrs - Indonesian scouting forces encounter Australian Light Horse platoon. In ensuing firefight one Indonesian scout vehicle is destroyed at cost of 3 Australian KIA. This is the first encounter between regular forces of both countries.

13.00 Zulu – National Security Advisor Brzezinski updates President Carter on Australian Crisis just before end of daily National Security Briefing. Secretary of State Vance is instructed by President to call for emergency meeting of UN Security Council and to have U.S. Ambassadors to Indonesia & Australia request urgent meetings with Heads of both governments. Secretary of Defense Brown is instructed to contact Australian Defense Minister for consultations.

January 30, 1980 – 13.00 ZULU UN Security Council meets to discuss Australian Crisis. Australian representative demands immediate withdrawal of all foreign troops from Australian soil. Indonesian representative replies to demand with statement from his government accusing Australia of responsibility for Crisis. Council meeting ends without resolution of Crisis.

23.95 ZULU - John Malcolm Fraser, Prime Minister of Australia is connected, via secure phone, to POTUS James Carter & U.K. Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher. PM Frasier formally asks both leaders for assistance under the terms of mutual defense treaties with both the U.S. & U.K. Having spoken earlier, both Carter & Thatcher, over the strenuous objections of their senior advisors, agree to mobilize forces immediately.

January 31, 1980

02.00 Zulu Commands are sent via the Office of the U.S joint Chiefs of Staff to Fort Bragg NC ordering a brigade of the 82nd Division (Airborne) to depart for Australia within 36 hours, a Brigade of the 101st division (Air Assault) was ordered to follow 12 hours later. Within 30 minutes of these orders reaching Fort Brag similar orders are received at the Division HQ of the 1st Marine Division & CINCPAC deploying two Marine Amphibious Units (MAU) to the Australian Region along with their support ships (including USS Tarawa & USS New Orleans). This same order calls for the redeployment of the Enterprise, Ranger, & Oriskany CBG to new operating areas in what is christened Operating Area Koala.

As these orders are circulated, massive movements of naval vessel around the world begin, as the various CINC’s begin to shuffle force to ensure that no “hot spot” is ignored and/or undefended.

08.00 Zulu – PM Thatcher inform HRM of the latest news from Australia.

11.00 ZULU – President Carter inform House & Senate Majority & Minority leaders of activation of the Australian/U.S. mutual defense treaty and his intentions to follow its requirements. Surprisingly, the greater protests are from his fellow Democrats.

15.00 ZULU – President Carter meets with Indonesian Ambassador to the U.S. Carter requests that the Ambassador inform his government of the United States concerns regarding the Australia Crisis and expresses the hopes of the United States that the matter can be concluded without further loss of life. Carter does NOT inform the Ambassador of the United States intentions to support Australia at this time.

February 1, 1980

05.00 hrs local time Indonesian armored forces approach the recently & hastily established Australian Main Line of Resistance (MLR) north of Katherine, NT. Scouting forces of both sides engage in skirmishing.

09.50 hrs local time – First significant air battle of campaign occurs 65 KM northeast of Katherine. Battle is a tactical draw, with 4 RAAF Mirage III & 4 Indonesian A-4’s lost. Battle is a strategic victory for Indonesian forces as planned air strike against Darwin unloading sites is thwarted.

11.00 – 16.00 hrs local time – Australian defensive sites outside of Katherine are targeted by all assembled Indonesian Artillery resulting in moderate, but noteworthy, damage to several sections of the MLR.

21.00 hrs local time – Just after sunset eight Indonesian A-4 Skyhawks strike left flank of MLR with napalm & 250 kg. Fragmentation bombs. As the A-4’s streak for safety, the main offensive blow of the second stage of the Indonesian invasion strikes the shattered remnants of the Australian left wing. Composed of almost all light forces, & possessing limited anti-tank capability the MLR’s left flank is rolled up by the advancing armor. Thanks to the leadership of a Light Horse colonel, surviving Australian forces successfully break contact with the Indonesian ground forces and fall back in reasonably good order through Katherine. Once through the City the surviving RAA forces attempt to reestablish a reasonable fighting position against the Indonesian forces that are sure to be in hot pursuit.

February 2, 1980

05.50 hrs local time – SAS patrols return from Katherine. To the surprise of the commanders on scene, the Indonesian forces are reported to be constructing a strong defensive position NORTH of Katherine, near what had been the Australian MLR. The scout units also report that numerous building in Katherine proper appear to being rigged for demolition/

18.00 hrs Local Time –First USAF C-141 lands in Brisbane. Aircraft contains Command & Control elements of both the 82nd & 101st divisions and supporting HQ forces. Behind them, at five-minute intervals, are the rest of both RDF brigades. Two hours behind the last Starlifter a flight of C-5 Galaxy heavy lift transports, carrying two platoons of Bradley Fighting Vehicles from the U.S. 7th Cavalry are lifting off from refueling stops in Panama.

February 3, 1980 20.00 ZULU – President Carter addresses the nation. In what is later called the best speech of his Presidency, Carter announces the movement of United States forces into the Australian Crisis. Calling on every good feeling that the American people have, had, or were likely to have in the future, Carter announces his support for the Australian nation. At the same time he asks that both nations involved in the “current tragedy” attempt to settle matters peacefully. He then offers himself as a go-between in negotiations between the South Pacific neighbors. Immediate post speech polling numbers show a 73% approval rating for Carter’s actions. Nearly one respondent in three, however, is found to wonder why the United States seems to be more willing to help in Australia than to get America’s hostages out of Iran.

HRM Elizabeth, Sovereign of (among other places) Australia releases an announcement that Her Government will immediately take steps to support her loyal Australian subjects.

Australian Prime Minister Fraser announces a total exclusion zone for the Timor Sea and a war notice to Mariners & Aviators for all sea and air spaces extending out 800 KM from Any Indonesian land area. Areas where the National Frontiers of neutral countries overlap the war zone are excluded from the War Warning. Both announcements are to take effect at 00.01 ZULU on February 6,1980.

February 4, 1980

08.00 hrs local time – Ten H-60 Black Hawks helicopters, escorted by 6 AH-64 Apaches, land at the Australian Army field HQ 15 KM south of Katherine. Four of the Black Hawks carrier slung fuel bladders while the remaining aircraft carry weapon reloads, mechanics & the C&C element of the 101st’s Apache Squadron. Their arrival marks the practical end of Indonesian armored superiority in the area.

09.00 hrs local time – Despite impassioned please from his advisors, President Suharto refuses to withdraw any forces from Australia. Convinced that the Americans will not dare to act against his regime due to his staunch anti-Communist positions. The Americans, he is convinced, are simply putting on a show for domestic consumption. After all, look at Iran, they have spit in America’s face and NOTHING has happened except bluster.

23.00 ZULU – Alpha-Three Six, flight of three B-52D’s arrives at Anderson Air Force Base, Guam. 18 Additional B-52D’s arrive over the next two days.

February 6, 1980

07.00 ZULU – Completing a 54-hour speed run through the Indian Ocean during which the sub had only slowed for a total of four hours to check for possible trailing vessels (an excursion that no one on the boat wanted to repeat anytime soon), the USS Omaha, a Los Angeles Class Submarine, had reached her new operating area. She immediately began a slow search pattern with brief high-speed sprints, both above & below the themocline, in an effort to sanitize the area before the arrival of the Enterprise Battle group. The carrier & her escorts were two days behind the SSN, and it was the Omaha’s job to be sure than no surprises awaited her consorts If someone had bad intentions toward the “Big E” they would have to get through Omaha first. Since she was just about the best submarine ever dreamed of, much less built, that was not going to be an easy task. Thirty-five hundred miles away USS Tunny & USS Parche (Sturgeon Class SSN’s) began to perform much the same tasks after sorter runs through the Pacific. Unbeknownst to either side, the main body of the United States Navy had begun to arrive.

23.55 hrs local time – Streaking out of NORTH three RAAF FB-111 bombers roared across Darwin. In less than ninety seconds, the Airport control tower, two Indonesian C-130 transports, a F-5 fighter, and the local electric distribution hub were destroyed. As the lights went out and the bombs echoes were heard across the city, the Australian citizens still living in the city broke into cheers worthy of a football match. The 2 F-5’s on CAP were caught totally flat-footed by the Australian attack, as was the AAA units that had been placed along the expected Australian axis of attack. By the time any of them reacted the Aardvarks were already nearing Katherine. As the -111’s approached the city the trailing bomber loosed its final two bombs. Both weapons missed their intended target, the Indonesian divisional HQ; nevertheless, the message was clear. Indonesia was far from declaring victory, despite the speeches being delivered by President Suharto.

February 7, 1980

07.00 hrs local time – Australian defenders south of Katherine wipe out a probing attack by three Indonesian Armored cars, supported by a platoon of dismounted infantry. Another in a string of small unit action, it is noteworthy mainly because it is the first combat usage of Humvee mounted TOW missiles by Australian forces. The weapons system, part of the 101st’s equipment, had been “lent” to the Australian forces by their American partners. As the American ground troops had not yet been authorized to enter combat, the Major commanding one of the One-Oh-One’s companies had seen no reason not to allow his Australian counterpart the use of the “Hummer”, since they were, after all, allies. This generosity may, or may not, have been due to the fact that the two officers had first met some ten years earlier as fresh minted officers in the Viet Nam Central Highlands. Theirs was not the only old acquaintance being renewed among the two countries field grade officers & senior noncoms.

February 8, 1980

03.00 hrs local time – Looking to repay the Australians for their strike on Darwin, 12 Skyhawks headed toward the Australian defensive lines with the intention of destroying as much of the Australian supply dumps as possible. 150 KM north of Katherine, in what was assumed to be “safe’ airspace, the A-4 formation suddenly finds that safety is a relative thing. To the stunned astonishment of the Indonesian pilots, their formation is torn to pieces by Sidewinder missiles fired by Australian A-4’s. Only 5 of the Indonesian planes manage to survive the initial salvo, two of these quickly fall to a second missile shot. The three survivors jettison their bombs and break for home, any thought of pressing on driven from their minds by the sights of their fellow’s burning wreckage. As the Indonesians break off their incursion, the Air intercept controller aboard Seal-Zero Four, an American E-3 AWACS, smiles as he listens to the excited chatter of the Australian pilots, as they good naturedly argued over who had made the kills. As they run, the Indonesian pilots have no idea of just how lucky they are. Flying on each wing of the E-3 are two F-15A Eagles, they had been ready to act as back-up if any Indonesian bombers had gotten through the RAAF fighters.

February 10, 1980

08.00 ZULU - The USS Enterprise battle group arrives in the Koala AO. Her Air Wing instantly becomes the most powerful air force in the region. With her arrival in the AO all American force commanders are given local release for any and all non-special (i.e. Nuclear) weapons in Theater. Rules of Engagement allow full defensive and retaliatory strike actions. Offensive actions are held at the Level of the National Command Authority (President Carter).

11.00 ZULU – Hammerhead (flight of 6) arrives at Clark AFB Philippines. Hammerhead flight is the last of eight flights of USAF FB -111F bombers that have been forward deployed to the Philippines. The arrival of the last group of FB-111’s is shown live on Philippine & Australian television. The lack of secrecy for this, and numerous other, military deployments is deliberate. President Carter hopes that the arrival of so much American Muscle in the area will convince President Suharto to withdraw his forces.

19.15 ZULU – USS Oriskany arrives in Koala AO. USS Ranger’s Battle Group is only 24 hours behind the Oriskany BG. The marine Amphibious force is four steaming days behind the CBG’s.

February 11, 1980 –

20.00 ZULU – The Indonesian Ambassador to the United States, The Indonesian Ambassador to the United Nations, The Ambassadors of the five Permanent Members of the Security Council (both to the United States & to the UN) and the Ambassadors of Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, India, & the Philippines all receive the following message



21.30 ZULU – President Carter addresses the Nation.


Monthly Donor
[thread=31900]Link to the discussion thread. It's in the Post 1900 forum.[/thread]

February 12, 1980

08.00 hrs local time – President Suharto was nearly blind with rage. Not, as one would have suspected, with the United States, its President, or even with the Australians (who lacked the good manners to accept defeat as he had expected). No, Suharto was in a close to killing rage at HIS OWN military staff. Imagine, telling him to accept the American demand (which had been followed, within minutes by identical demands from the Australian & British Legations)! Fools! Hadn’t the events of the last five years taught them anything? The Americans talked mightily, but did very little; look at what they had done to the South Vietnamese, not to mention this current situation in Iran. What had the Soviet Ambassador said on that news show? Ah, yes. “If it was our Embassy our people would be on the way home right now.” That was the right attitude. Perhaps it was time to reconsider his position regarding the USSR. Now, those were MEN! America would not attack. If they did, he would show them that the Iranian’s were not the only ones who could capture an Embassy.

23.00 hrs local time – The H-53 Sea Stallion has an maximum range of over 900 miles one-way. It can also carry up to 55 fully equipped infantrymen. Lastly it is HUGE, the largest helicopter in not just the U.S. but also the entire West’s inventory. Landing it in the middle of a city, much less doing so at night, requires courage in the extreme or a healthy does of insanity. The pilot of Scrubber-Two Seven had been accused of both during his career, and those accusers all had more than a grain of truth in what they said. For all that, Scrubber-Two Seven had just landed on the grounds of the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta with half of a reinforced USMC company on-board. Three minutes behind Scrubber-Two Seven was Scrubber-Two Eight, who’s pilot even Scrubber-Two Seven thought was a bit mad.

23.01.30 hrs local time – Scrubber Two Seven launches from the Embassy grounds, his rotor noise & engine noise drowning out the sounds of Two Eight’s approach.

23.10 hrs local time – Hound-Seven, the lead aircraft in a four plane F-14 formation turns toward the Enterprise having flown a discreet CAP over the insertion of the marines into the Jakarta Embassy.

President Carter had decided that one Embassy hostage crisis was enough.

February 13, 1980

03.00 hrs local time – Secret police units assigned to watch the U.S. Embassy in Jakarta watch in stunned silence as the men who had arrived so suddenly (and LOUDLY) create prepared positions inside the Embassy grounds. The new arrivals had, apparently, included a heavy weapons platoon; before the watchers eyes at least four heavy machine gun emplacements and thee mortar pits are being prepared. To the eyes of one of the watchers, a former army officer, it is clear that many of the men had, if not combat experience, at least exceptional training. Storming the Embassy now will require at least a battalion of troops, perhaps more. It is a reluctant group commander who reports this change to the Interior Minister.

Scrubber-two Eight lands on the Enterprise. It had been a long, fairly harrowing trip back to the boat. Scrubber-Two Eight lands with just ten minutes of fuel remaining. The flight crew watches as the remaining Embassy dependents and non-essential personnel exit the helo.

The Indonesian commander of the Katherine Line orders his forces to being the destruction of selected structures in Katherine. His hopes that Australian forces would attack his forces in the city, creating rubble to fight from had not been fulfilled, so he would now create it on his own. On the Australian side of Katherine the defenders can only wonder what the explosions represent.

10.00 hrs local time – The commander of the Australian Corps, the overall RDF commander and representatives from CINCPAC meet to finalize plans for what they all hope will not happen the next day. The Australian officers at the meeting are holding onto their professionalism through sheer force of will. Reports from refugees, mostly from Katherine, but other from throughout the Indonesian “occupied zone” indicate that all is not well. While no organized, large scale atrocities have been reported, it is clear that not all of the occupying units are under strict discipline or under officers who care to enforce such discipline. Several orders have already been required to “remind” ground forces that the laws of war are to be obeyed to the letter. Being professional soldiers, many of them with combat experience, no one in the conference WANTS the war to expand, but the Australians officers would be less than human if a tiny part of them didn’t long to repay some of the indignities suffered by their countrymen & women.

The troops deployed around Darwin, following the orders of their senior NCOs, work feverishly to complete minefields & tank traps along the likely lines of approach to the city. At the airport, thousands of drafted Darwin residents continue work on revetments to protect the remaining Indonesian Air Force aircraft based at Darwin Airport.

13.00 hrs local time – U.S. Ambassador to Indonesia enters President Suharto’s office. He is there to present a final appeal from President Carter to President Suharto to accept the terms of Australia, UK & the U.S. He hopes that he will be allowed to return to the Embassy when he is finished. The Ambassador had not been in favor of reinforcing his Marine detachment, seeing it as a massive provocation. He knew that Secretary Vance had agreed, but the President was not listening to the Secretary these days. He was listening to his senior military advisors, primarily the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs & to National Security Advisor Brzezinski.

To the Ambassador’s surprise President Suharto welcome is, if not warm, at least correct.

14.00 hrs local time

The U.S. Ambassador returns to the Embassy. He has composed his FLASH report on the way back from the Embassy. The words “disconnected from reality” appear in four separate paragraphs. Not being a trained clinician, the Ambassador cannot be certain, but it is his belief that President Suharto has lost his mind.

16.00 hrs local time

Australian & allied forces designated to maintain the Katherine defensive position are, for the umpteenth time, checking their fighting positions, cleaning weapons and convincing themselves that they would “be just fine”.

February 14

06.00 hrs local time – It had been a very long trip, but HMAS Orion was about to make it worthwhile. As convoys went it was a small one, but it was still a convoy. This was what submarine commanders dreamed of; the enemy force was going to pass almost directly over his boat. He had already selected targets for his six bow tubes. The convoy’s escort was not designed to stop a submarine; he had been able to identify two of the Indonesian Navy’s Riga corvettes and a fast missile boat. The Riga’s were a minor threat, & the missile boat was no threat at all. The escort would have been useful against a single surface ship or several light patrol boats, now it was nothing but targets. As the lead Riga passed about 600 yards ahead of Orion it unmasked the prey, two LST type ships & two freighters, each of about 15,000 tons. The commander ordered a final update of the targeting solutions his Weapons Officer & XO had been praying over for the better part of an hour, followed by “Match bearing & shoot bow tubes one, four, five” 90 seconds later he followed this order with “Match bearings & shoot bow tubes two, six, & three!” The Orion was shallow, but all the water in the Tasman Sea was shallow compared to the open waters to the southeast.

06.04 hrs local time – The torpedo run to the first target had been the shortest, so it had been the last weapon fired. The longer it was until the first explosion, the less chance of a miss due to broken control wires. As preprogrammed all six torpedoes would activate their on-board sonar at 200 meters from the expected target location. As soon as his sonar operator told him that one of the torpedoes had gone active, Orion’s commander ordered the control wires on all torpedoes to be cut, and evasive maneuvers started. As he sped away from his shooting position, leaving a pair of noisemakers to help mask is course, the captain & crew of Orion were rewarded for their days of effort as five detonations echoed through the hull.

06.45 hrs local time – Satisfied, if disappointed, that the enemy submarine had made its escape, the Escort Force commander turned to rescue operations. He was fairly sure that there would not be a lot of survivors to find; both LST’s had sunk in less than five minutes, and the freighter must have been carrying munitions as part of its cargo, the explosion had been much larger than either LST, and the ship had simply vanished in an eruption of debris. The remaining freighter had actually suffered considerable damage from the wreckage throw from the sunken ship. As his ship turned to where the convoy had been, the commander radioed that an American nuclear submarine had attacked his force. It was an understandable error.

09.00 – The report of the American attack silenced nearly all dissent in the Indonesian government. Attacking nearly a full day early! The few voices that asked how the escort commander could be sure that it was an American submarine, since it had escaped, were ignored. With 21 hours left for possible negotiation, the die had been cast.

10.00 hrs local time – Darwin, Australia placed under 24 hour Curfew by order of Military Governor. Escorted work parties are exempted from order.

18.00 hrs local time – All three American CBG’s continues to steam towards their final patrol locations. At Clark AFB F-4 Phantoms, FB-111 ‘Varks, and F-15 eagle pilots received preliminary briefings in their roles in the coming actions. In the next room the pilots of the tankers who would support the attacks received their initial briefings.

20.00 local time – Sixteen F-4G “Wild Weasels” and 8 F-15A fighters depart Clark AFB for their final staging area.

11.00 ZULU – Final meeting of U.S. Cabinet prior to deadline. President carter is told that an extended war will have grave consequences on the World’s economy. Oil prices, already high as a result of the Iran Crisis, have increased by almost $2.00 a barrel since the deadline was announced. Carter asks the room “Is anyone willing to abandon Australia? Is anyone willing to destroy America’s world position? If we don’t support an ally when they are attacked by Indonesia, what will our NATO partners think? If anyone has an answer to those questions, now’s the time.” No one spoke; several Cabinet officers had developed a sudden fascination with the piece of tabletop in front of them.

13.50 ZULU – CINCPAC receives a final war warning. The deadline will NOT be changed. All deployed forces increase alert level.

14.00 ZULU – SecState Vance meets with Soviet Ambassador. Informs Ambassador that proposed American actions will not, from the American perspective, cause any disputes with the USSR. The Ambassador expresses his heartfelt hope for a peaceful resolution to the situation and thanks the Secretary for his message.
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Monthly Donor
February 15, 1980

03.00 hrs local time – SAS scout team reports that Indonesian positions have been improved in last 24 hours with additional fighting positions and prepared positions for Indonesian tanks & Artillery. Civilians have, to the extent possible, moved as far from Indonesian positions as possible. As instructed, beacons have been set beyond outer edge of Katherine.

20.25 ZULU (05.55 hrs local time) – USS Omaha fires the first American shot of war. The Indonesian Whiskey Class Sub that Omaha had been tracking for the last four days, barely has time to realize it is under attack before the American MK 48 torpedo strike just abaft of the conning tower. The immensely powerful weapon, designed for considerably more substantial targets, tears the old ex-Soviet boat to pieces. Its work completed, the American sub leaves the area at a sedate 15 knots.

06.15 local time – Australian & American artillery begins to land on Indonesian positions. With the precise locations of the enemy artillery batteries, supply dumps, and fighting positions known from satellite imaging, backed up by direct observation by Australian & British SAS recon teams, the shellfire is devastating.

06.40 hrs local time – Indonesian Air Search Radar detects what appears to be a large attack formation headed towards Jakarta. Virtually every fighter available on Java & Sumatra scrambles to meet the threat. Even then, the enemy aircraft seem to outnumber the defenders by a two to one margin.

06.45 hrs local time – Radar screens throughout Java & southern Sumatra suddenly explode in spikes and noise as powerful jammers are activated on the four EA-6 Prowlers accompanying the Jolly Rogers. The 24 Tomcats increase power as E2-C Air Intercept officers direct them toward the enemy targets. When they are 180 KM from their initial targets the RIO (Radar Intercept Officer) for each F-14 activates the aircraft’s powerful intercept & targeting radar. There are a total of 22 enemy aircraft, allowing the Hawkeye intercept officers to assign a target to each Tomcat. When the Tomcats had activated their radar every Indonesian pilot had know instantly that they were being tracked and they had begun evasive maneuvers while still heading toward the Americans at full power. At 100 KM each Tomcat fired a Phoenix missile at their designated target, twenty seconds later the American fighters launch a second missile. While the Indonesian F-5 & A-4 pilots knew that a hostile radar had acquired them, they had no way to know that missiles were already headed toward them at 4 times the speed of sound. The first knowledge most of the pilots had of the Phoenix’s approach was when they were blown from the sky. The 48 Tomcat–launched missiles had destroyed 16 Indonesian planes, while two other had collided attempting to evade the missiles. The Tomcats broke into pairs and dove after the survivors. On the ground, Indonesian radar operators began to scream instructions to the surviving pilots, vectoring them AWAY from the Americans. Their concern for their fellows, while admirable, spelled disaster for the Indonesian defense network. Inside the cloud of electronic noise emanating from the Prowlers sixteen A-6 Intruders & eight A-7 Corsairs had been waiting for the Jolly Rogers to spring their ambush. As the flight closed in on the Indonesian coast it broke into quarters, each with its own Prowler for protection. At twenty miles from the Indonesian coast each attack plane fired a pair of Standard ARM (Anti-Radiation Missiles). With that completed, all of the American planes, save the Tomcats, turned for home.

06.55 hrs local time – At a command from the E-2C controller, all 24 F-14’s break off combat, accelerate to mach 1.5 and head away from the Indonesian coast. This saves the life of three Indonesian pilots.

The first real combat test of the F-14 has gone very well indeed.

06.56 hrs local time – The last ARM missiles arrives on target. Virtually every Air search radar on Northern Java and Southern Sumatra is destroyed by the American attack. The Indonesian Air Force’s attack & defense capability over Indonesia has also been effectively destroyed. The war is 1 hour and ten minutes old.

11.00 hrs local time – Seal-Zero Four completes its last electronic sweep of the Katherine area. Nothing in the air, no sign of SAM radars. This report is sent to Beagle-Zero One.

11.01 hrs local time – “Copy.” Beagle-Zero One altered course slightly, his approach was critical.

11.05 hrs local time – The bomb bay doors snap open on Beagle-Zero One, The B-52 D is older than the men flying in it, but the old bomber still packed a lethal punch. This is about to be demonstrated.

11.06 hrs local time – At the touch of a button, 84 500 pound & 24 750 pound bombs fall from Beagle-Zero One. A few seconds later the other two bombers in the three-plane formation do the same. There are three more vees behind Beagle flight.

11.09 hrs local time – The Allied forces south of Katherine are all as far into their fighting holes & bunkers as they can get. The old hands among them have warned of what the following minutes will be like. Even these Viet Nam veterans are not truly ready for what is about to happen.

The B-52 flights had been at 43,000 feet when each plane had released 66,000 pounds of bombs. It takes an object four minutes to fall to earth from that altitude. The four flights of bombers had been spaced so their bombs would be effective over a maximum area. Their target was the Indonesian lines north of Katherine.

11.13 hrs local time – The Indonesian lines north of Katherine are ruptured along a four-mile front. Inside the box created by the B-52 strike, nothing survives. The ground, formerly a hard clay, is turned into what looked to be plowed ground. At random intervals, tanks and APCs lay poking out of the dirt at weird angles, overall the appearance of the area is that of some impossibly large sandbox. Most of the remaining Indonesian troops are stunned into combat ineffectiveness.

11.35 hrs local time – Two RAAF FB-111’s, their mission having been delayed by the amount of smoke & dust in the air, open bomb bay doors and begin their launch sequences. What drops from these bomb bays is not more death for the Indonesians on the Katherine line; these planes drop promises of life. Both -111’s, their leaflet mission over, turn for home without a shot being fired at either plane.

11.37 hrs local time – Leaflets in Indonesian, Dutch & English begin to litter the ground all along the Katherine defensive MLR. Each promises, in all three languages, safe passage to allied defensive positions & humane treatment for anyone approaching the Allied lines. It also announces the scheduled arrival time for the next three B-52 attacks, starting with one at 22.00 that evening.

13.55 hrs local time – Directed by an E-2C, two A-7 Corsairs head toward a group of four surface contacts, traveling away from Darwin at 12 knots. With no missile radars showing on their threat receivers, the two American aircraft swoop in for a closer look. They find four smallish vessels, all flying the Indonesian flag, no SAM’s or SAM radars. Years of drills allow the pilots to identify the Riga’s as they flash overhead at 500 knots. Pulling up & away the leader of the SURCAP (SURface Combat Air Patrol) element reports his findings and requests further instruction.

14.02 hrs local time – KRI Jos Sudarso, the final survivor of an ill-fated Indonesian convoy, breaks in half seconds after the detonation of 1000 lb. bomb amidships.

14.08 hrs local time – Ranger launches two A-6 Intruders to assume SURCAP duties. The Corsairs, having expended their Air to Surface weapons load, return to the boat

14.15 hrs local time – The overall Indonesian commander for Southern Sky receives the first reasonably complete report regarding his forces north of Katherine.

14.30 hrs local time – An urgent discussion commences between Southern Sky’s commander and the Commander of all Indonesian ground forces.

17.00 hrs local time - Allied forward Observation Posts (OP) report movement all along the Katherine Line. Some report the sound of gunshots, even some automatic weapons fire. Several OP’s prepare their claymores for firing, in others the protective covers are pulled from TOW missile launchers and M2 .50 cal machine guns. All the troops manning the OP’s believe that they are ready for anything. They are wrong.

17.02 hrs local time – Indonesian troops, many showing what in previous wars had been called early signs of shell shock, begin to approach the OP’s under flags of truce or holding leaflets overhead. Promised a quick, easy victory, these poorly trained conscripted troops have decided that one day of shelling and a single B-52 strike that killed a third of their force, is all that they owe President Suharto. They are not alone in this belief.

22.05 hrs local time – As promised, both wings of the Indonesian defensive works outside of Katherine are visited by the BUFF’s (Big Ugly Fat F… (Well you can guess the rest) what the crew-dogs call the B-52). The Katherine defensive line, marking the farthest advance by Indonesian troops into Australia, ceases, in a military sense, to exist.

February 16, 1980

02.00 hrs local time – The radar operators had been warned about this. A large force of American aircraft was approaching behind powerful jamming. To a man the officers in charge of Darwin’s air defense couldn’t believe that the Yankees would try the same thing twice. They had learned from what had happened the day before, their radars would stay down, and what was left of their fighters would stay safe inside their revetments.

02.10 hrs local time - The B-52G had been modified to carry jamming equipment powerful enough to allow American bombers to penetrate the defenses of the USSR. That it was an overmatch for the search radars available to the Darwin defenders was a massive understatement. In any case, it had allowed the “G” along with five other -52’s to roll right over the Indonesian air defenses. The pilot was happy to make the turn for home. It was a long way to Guam.

02.14 – Darwin Airport disappears under the impact of 300,000 pounds of bombs & 30,000 pounds of Cluster Bomblets. Each bomblet, roughly the size of a softball, is capable of penetrating the top armor on a tank. Many of the bomblets were set for delayed detonation. This allowed the Allies to both destroy the airport runways and make repair a very hazardous job.

02.18 – With no sign of any fighters in pursuit of his charges, either on his radar or on the screens of the Hawkeye fighter controllers, Sundog-One Two accepts the vector that will lead his flight of six Tomcats back to the Ranger and turns for home.

02.45 hrs local time – Twenty-six Mirage III fighter-bombers strike the Indonesian lines outside of Darwin. While not the awe-inspiring pounding of a B-52 strike, the Mirages’ attack is, in a way, even more demoralizing. Buzzing like so many enraged wasps, the Mirages do not just bomb or napalm the defenses; they repeated strafe them, giving these attacks a terribly personal feel.

With the airport out of action and the movement of supply vessels from Indonesia cut off by Australian, British & American submarines & surface craft the Indonesian forces in Darwin are cut-off from resupply & reinforcement.

03.00 hrs local time – Having finished refueling, two F-4 Phantoms, configured for defense suppression, roar over Balikpapan Naval Base, searching for targets. Within seconds six more pairs of Weasels go to work.

03.03 hrs local time – Four USAF FB-111 destroy the Headquarters and warehouse buildings at Balikpapan. Other strike forces attack naval bases at Gorontalo, Kemayoran, Ujung, Sabang, and Koada. Only at Sabang are the defenders at all successful, shooting down one of the Weasels as it exits the target area. Ejecting at very low altitude, both crewmen suffer serious injuries but survive

07.00 hrs local time – Advancing Australian armored forces, flanked by Light Horse LAV (Light Armored Vehicles) and Bradley Armored Fighting Vehicles from U.S. 7th Cavalry, find no resistance as the roll over the Indonesian MLR north of Katherine.

Australian & British SAS units, backed up by units of the 1st Gurhka Rifles recently flown in from Hampshire, begin the unpleasant business of going house to house in Katherine, in search of Indonesian forces and booby traps.

11.00 hrs local time – Knowing that his command is totally cut off, defenseless against the overwhelming might of the American & Australian Air forces, and effectively at the mercy of the Australians, does not make the General’s decision any easier. That his superior agrees with him is small comfort to a man who had spent his life preparing for this command. Reluctantly, the General orders his communication officer to contact the commander of the Australian Corps.

03.30 ZULU – The head of President Carter’s Protective Detail awakens the President. Secretary of State Vance and President’s Chief of Staff are downstairs with important news.

03.34 ZULU – The Foreign Secretary informs Prime Minister Thatcher that Indonesian forces in Australia have requested a ceasefire.

18.00 hrs local time – Prime Minister Fraser approves the ceasefire. He instructs the Corps commander to ensure that clear conditions are set in place regarding the protection of civilians in Darwin.

February 17, 1980

02.25 hrs local time – President Suharto is startled by the arrival of intruders. As he prepares to rage at his security staff, he suddenly realizes that the COMMANDER of the Security Police is one of his visitors. Accompanying the Commander are the heads of all the armed services. These men escort the ex-president from his quarters.

05.00 hrs local time – The acting president of the Provisional Government accepts the terms of President Carter’s note of February 11, 1980, and asks for a cessation of hostilities.

09.00 hrs local time – Prime Minister Fraser announces to the Australian people that the war is over.

February 20, 1980

10.00 ZULU – Representatives from the Provisional Government of the Indonesian Republic meet with Australian negotiators to discuss terms for permanent cessation of hostilities.

February 28 1980

08.00 hrs local time – The Provisional Government announces that Ex-President Suharto died in his sleep during the night. No Autopsy is performed and his body is interned within 24 hours in keeping with Islamic tradition.

11.00 ZULU - The Provisional Government’s Representatives accept all terms outlined by Australia’s chief negotiator. Terms include payment of A$ 1,00,000.00 to the families of each person killed during the Indonesian invasion (payable over 10 years), Payment for reconstruction of all allied properties destroyed as the result of combat during the invasion (payable over 10 years), payment of all legitimate claims filed by Australian citizens & by visitors to Australia who suffered losses as a result of the Indonesian invasion (payment to be decided by a commission of Swiss, Irish Republic (Eire), & Qatar judges). Funding for these legitimate debts to provided from oil sales from Timor Sea fields. Free elections on self determination to be held in East Timor, Bali, and any other region of Indonesia where 20% of the voting age population signs a petition requesting a self determination plebiscite. Election oversight to be conducted by representatives from Sweden, Brazil, and a third country to be decided by the Brazilian & Swedish representatives.

March 18, 1980

04.00 ZULU – All American Hostages are released by their Iranian captors

April 1980 – Polling indicates that President carter is most popular President since FDR

November 4, 1980 – Ronald Reagan is elected President of the United States. Pundits remark about the economy’s impact one the election. “Americans always vote their pocketbooks.” becomes the most well know quote of the election season.

January 20, 1981 – Ronald Reagan inaugurated POTUS.