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  Terrain Challenge: Terrain Challenge #56 (Solved by Buck Compton)
Posted on Fri Jan 27, 2012 11:17 pm by webmaster
Terrain Challenge Submitted by diggin.robat, hint WW2.


"Terrain Challenge #56 (Solved by Buck Compton)" | Login/Create an Account | 32 comments | Search Discussion
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Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Dauphin on Sun Jan 29, 2012 2:15 pm
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Is this place a former japanese occupied territory ?




Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by dumdum12 on Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:04 pm
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I rather guess its a war memorial reminding the outbreak of the armed Indochina campaign of Japan at L?ng S?n in 1940?



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by dumdum12 on Mon Jan 30, 2012 1:05 pm
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*Lang Son*

(copied the name from wikipedia :-P )


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Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by papa_whisky on Sat Feb 04, 2012 9:40 am
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I would guess it is a memorial related to the Philippines, and possibly in the Philippines itself.




Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Thu Feb 16, 2012 4:14 pm
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One hint:
Indeed a formally japanese occupied territory and a recently erected memorial to allied actions at this place.




Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Fri Feb 17, 2012 7:09 am
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Hey,

If the hints are correct I would just as dumdum12 say this would be long san. As you are telling this is a ww2 location. the cross on top of the monument suggests to me this monument is in honor of the free french army. I'm not really familiar with another army bearing such a sign... I can't find anything else then long san and Dong Tac...

Cheers Buck



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Fri Feb 17, 2012 3:28 pm
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It is not the croix de Lorraine, I´m afraid. it´s a tribal musical instrument, much like a guitar.


]



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:30 am
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Ok so Vietnam isn't the answer. I was wondering I'm not that familiar with the battles in the far east but It seems I'm looking at terrain filled with rice paddies. And this is a memorial for allied actions. Could this be somewhere in Burma? Maybe chindit raids?



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Sat Feb 18, 2012 4:42 am
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cold :)


]


Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Sat Feb 18, 2012 7:56 am
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Hmm well I've been busy reading about the war in the pacific. An usual fights are about airfields, city's, ports, beachheads and hills. But this location is none of these all. I was figuring this might be Thailand as they have a guitar looking quite similar to the one on the memorial but it's a bit longer than this one..

My next bet would be eigther China or Manchuria as I was unable to find anything in Thailand...

Cheers


]


Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by dumdum12 on Sat Feb 18, 2012 12:59 pm
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It would be helpful to know if we are looking for an island or a location situated on mainland Asia...


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Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Mon Feb 20, 2012 2:49 pm
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Ok, in fact there was an airstrip and this not mainland Asia.


]



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by pagskier on Tue Feb 21, 2012 8:31 am
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San Marcellino airfield? Phillipines?



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:07 pm
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Nope.


]



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Tue Feb 21, 2012 9:17 am
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Hmm ok. It kind of reduces things to Phillipines, Indonesia and New Guinea...

As you are from Germany it could mean we should look at New Guinea. I've found out some stuff about the Aussies fighting there. But there are a lot of airstrips used and made in that region.

Cheers Buck



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Thu Feb 23, 2012 7:03 pm
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Cold, I´m afraid...


]


Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Sat Feb 25, 2012 6:50 am
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So we are not talking about:

Phillipines
New Guinea
Mainland Asia

Hmm what does that leave us:

Borneo? the country to be seen is far to large to be an isle..

Cheers Buck


]


Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Sat Feb 25, 2012 2:22 pm
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getting warmer. But that´s the definatly the last hint ;)

cheers

Robert


]



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Sat Feb 25, 2012 8:08 pm
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Hmm ok so malaysia could be hot? I was searching the internet for that tribal guitar I've found something which looks quite like it only it is a bit more longer. It is called the Batak Sape or Sape Dayak.

I've read something about an Airstrip being build on the malaysian/borneo border. It was built with help of locals out of the region. It was called belawit. But I still havn't been able to find this actual monument. The region looks quite like it. At least similar structures etc but the building materials are a bit more modernized opposed to what we can seen on your photo.

CHeers Buck



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:30 am
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getting warm!


]



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by breid556 on Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:22 am
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My guess is Cabanatuan in the Philippines, where the Allies liberated a POW camp of Americans before they were executed by the Japanese.



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Wed Feb 29, 2012 4:30 am
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sorry, wrong :/


]



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by breid556 on Wed Feb 29, 2012 8:06 am
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Clark airfield then?




Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Thu Mar 01, 2012 8:22 am
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So Borneo would be the right Isle? That would mean it could be one of these:
Asa
Jesselton
Keningau
Kotawaringin
Kuching
Kudat
Labuan
Manggar
Melak Miri
Oelin
Pontianak
Ranau
Samarinda
(2 airfields)
Sandakan
Sepinggang
Tabanio
Tarakan
Ulin



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Sun Mar 04, 2012 6:33 am
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I've been reading something about the sandakan death marches. It said something about 3 memorials. I have only been able to indentify the the older ones. The one made in 2009 I couldn't find. It did mention however locals and military personel having to build an airstrip under forced labor but nothing about combat actions...

Was this a location in which was fought in the early days of the war or the later ones? And who fought here? US Marines? Aussies? Tommies?

CHeers Buck


]


Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Mon Mar 05, 2012 9:34 pm
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Actually there wasn´t much fighting at this very place, at least to official sources. Still living local eyewitnesses suggest the story to be a bit different. It had happend to the end of the war. Officially a australian operation, but with some british officers.

And yes, something to do with an airstrip.


]


Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:19 am
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Hmm ok. That didn't help much eigther. I can only find maybe 3 battles in the last year in which Australians where involved. New Britain, Wide Bay and Morotai.

This one is tough one!


]



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Buck_Compton on Tue Mar 06, 2012 8:40 am
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Ok I'm not sure if I got it... I was checking out somethings about when you told me I was getting warm. I started Reading on "Z special unit" They conducted an operation called Semut I, II, III and IV. They where tasked with monitoring Japanese Navy movements and harrasing operations in the heart of Borneo and Malasiya. I found this link:

http://www.stf.org.my/interactive/index.php?do=pressdetails&idx=66

the memorial does have the same shape as the one on your photo but only flatter. But my guess is we are looking at the opposite side of the memorial or there are two relatively similar ones it the same region (as I do not expect 2 almost exact memorials on 2 very different islands.

I'll keep on tracking to find the right one if any at all but I'm getting very hot now?

CHeers

Buck




Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by diggin.robat on Tue Mar 06, 2012 11:34 pm
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Bullseye, Buck!! You got it!

It´s Bario in Sarawak, Malaysia on Borneo. I went there last year searching for traces of Major Tom Harrison DSO OBE, Z-Force. He was leading the Semut I operation and on 25th March, 1945 was air dropped above the Kelabit Highlands at the Hamlet known as Bario with his small team. They immediately contacted the natives and erected a base at which the willing Kelabit warriors were trained in guerilla warfare and joined his ranks. Support came with Semut II-IV. From Bario many operations were mounted towards the seaside for recce, denying the japanese to be supplied from Hinterland and later for hotly interfering with the japanese retreat into interior Borneo once the 9th Australian Div. invaded Labuan and other coast sites.
I took the photo from the backside of the memorial to picture the valley of Bario. These are the very fields the Semut members were dropped on. Next to the right of the pic is a small hillock on which the radio operator hut was placed. At left, behind the tree lines an airstrip was erected on which the small australian build Auster plane could land and start - the only physical link to the outer world and needed to evacuate downed US airmen.
Behind me to the left was the HQ in a hut.

These picture showes memorial´s front, me and the plate.
http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c92/RBrosch/Battlefield%20Tours/Mem1_IGP2572.jpg
http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c92/RBrosch/Battlefield%20Tours/Mem2_IGP2553.jpg

I was staying in a long house, which is the oldest one existing at Bario. After asking around in search for the airstrip I was told that this long house was build exactly on top of the then unused airstrip, after having stayed there for some days...
I searched for an Auster wreck of one unlucky and drunken australian pilot, who had to transport the chief of the Kelabit to Miri at the coast. Both survived the belly landing and I was lucky to find the remains of the wreck with the help of the granddaughter of the chief!
http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c92/RBrosch/Battlefield%20Tours/Wreck1_IGP2667.jpg

Later I was introduced to the oldest inhabitants of the longhouse, a couple both ca. 90yrs of age. He actually was a warrior joining the Z-Force in those days, but I could only interview his wife. It was a bit contrasting what she could remember of compared to the report of Tom Harrison. In fact the Semut I men coulnd´t be sure that no japanese were present in the hamlet and they behaved accordingly until they could be sure. In fact it was a combat drop. More then Tom Harrison suggest, she spoke of many reasons to make party with them and lots of burak (rice wine)!
http://i25.photobucket.com/albums/c92/RBrosch/Battlefield%20Tours/Kelabitcouple1_IGP2716.jpg


So, not necessarily a combat zone (luckily for the charming Kelabit) but the very place of the base of a succesful Z-Force operation in WWII and worth a memorial. I´m really glad to have visit the place and to have met all the nice people there.

Tom Harrison, being a cambridge ethnologist, became an archaeolgist and curator of the National Museum of Sarawak.

For more information:
Harrisson, Tom (1959). World Within. A Borneo Story. Cresset Press: London
Heimann, Judith M. (1999). The Most Offending Soul Alive: Tom Harrisson and His Remarkable Life. University of Hawai'i Press: Honolulu

http://www.pbs.org/wnet/secrets/features/the-airmen-and-the-headhunters-watch-a-preview/451/
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tom_Harrisson

Riddle solved, well done!

Robert



Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by mooxe on Thu Mar 22, 2012 9:20 pm
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Nice job. I'll be switching it up soon.


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Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by Heimdude on Wed Mar 28, 2012 1:21 am
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Those feathers at the bottom of the monument had me looking into a possible Navajo coders (Windtalkers) connection.


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Re: Terrain Challenge #56 (Score: 1)
by papa_whisky on Mon Apr 02, 2012 7:53 pm
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Tom Harrison is one of my all time hero's shame on me for not getting it. He is responsible in many ways for what I have been doing for the last twenty years.


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