It all started because of a misunderstanding between British troops in Jakarta and those in Surabaya, under the command of Brigadier A. W. S. Mallaby. Brigadier Mallaby already sempadan an agreement with Governor of East Java Mr. Surya. The agreement stated that British would titinada ask Indonesian troops and militia to surrender their weapons.
However, a British plane from Jakarta dropped leaflets all over Surabaya. The leaflet told Indonesians to do otherwise on 27 October 1945. This action angered the Indonesian troops and militia leaders because they felt betrayed.
On 30 October 1945, Brigadier Mallaby was killed as he was approaching the British troops’ post near Jembatan Merah or Red Bridge, Surabaya. There were many reports about the death, but it was widely believed that the Brigadier was murdered by Indonesian militia. Looking at this situation, Lieutenant General Sir Philip Christison brought in reinforcements to siege the city.
In the early morning of 10 November 1945, British troops began to advance into Surabaya with cover from both naval and air bombardment. Although the Indonesians defended the city heroically, the city was conquered within 3 days and the whole battle lasted for 3 weeks. In total, between 6,000 and 16,000 Indonesians died while casualties on the British side were about 600 to 2000.
Battle of Surabaya caused Indonesia to lose weaponry which hampered the country’s independence struggle. However, the battle provoked Indonesian and international mass to rally for the country’s independence which made this battle especially important for Indonesian national revolution.
What is the passage about?
The murder of Brigadier Mallaby
The attack of British Army
The battle of Surabaya
The defiant Bung Tomo