Kill The Major: The true story of the Allied guerrilla hunt for the last Japanese forces in Borneo
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"One of those amazing stories that wars throw up." Steven Carroll, Sydney Morning Herald
The true story of the 42 Australian, New Zealand and British guerrillas and their Borneo-warrior allies who fought behind Japanese lines in World War II and forced the surrender of the last Japanese companies, two months after World War II’s official end.
Over 1,000 Japanese were killed in the ‘Semut 1’ operation, a casualty rate out of all proportion to the small size and armaments of the force. But rather than revere and praise their leader, after the war, many of the guerrillas recounted their hatred for the British Major, Tom Harrisson.
“Malone’s fascinating book reveals that the Allied guerrillas, with the help of traditional head-hunting local tribesmen, did an outstanding job after being dropped into the Borneo jungle during the Pacific War. In particular, Malone builds a strong argument that the 9th Division should have accepted the guerrillas’ accurate intelligence and moved inland to round up the two big groups of Japanese roaming the interior. Instead, following the official Japanese surrender, they chose to withdraw, leaving the loyal locals at the mercy of the Japanese.”
Brian Toohey, National security writer and former Canberra and Washington correspondent for the Australian Financial Review
"While it is now 75 years since Special Operations Australia (SOA) conducted its most successful operation throughout the course of the Second World War, the author has provided a refreshing review of events, and he has re-ignited much debate over the legacy of Operation Semut ... The book also lays down an academic challenge to other researchers to eke out whether the Headquarters of the Services Reconnaissance Department and Operation Semut truly achieved the mission assigned by General Headquarters."
Major (Retrd) Jim Truscott
"... an informative and enjoyable, if sometimes shocking, read. It casts light on one of the lesser-known theatres of the Pacific War and packs a mighty punch in terms of insights into military leadership and human nature under the most extenuating combat circumstances."
Former intelligence officer Warren Reed
Paul Malone has also been interviewed by Philip Clark on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation's Nightlife programme, and by Terence Toh in The Star.
About the Author
Paul Malone is an Australian author and journalist with thirty years experience, having worked for The Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, The Australian Financial Review and The Canberra Times, where he was Political Correspondent for five years and wrote a weekly column until late 2017. His two previously published books are: Australian Department Heads Under Howard: Career Paths and Practice; and The Peaceful People: The Penan and their Fight for the Forest.