Offensive operations

Arriving in Malaya in July 1950, just one month after the Dakotas of No. 38 Squadron, the six Lincoln aircraft of No. 1 Squadron RAAF were the only heavy bombers in the area until 1953 when they were joined by some RAF Lincolns. The Australian Lincolns were therefore the mainstay of the Commonwealth bombing campaign, especially in the early years of the conflict when the outcome was still in doubt.

From 1950 to 1958 No. 1 Squadron flew 4,000 missions in Malaya. The squadron flew both pinpoint-bombing and area-bombing missions as well as night harassment raids – flying among many targets but only dropping bombs occasionally – in the manner of the RAF “siren raids” of the Second World War.

Operation Termite in July 1954 was a high point of the squadron's service in Malaya. Five Australian Lincolns and six Lincolns from No. 148 Squadron RAF took part in this operation against guerrilla camps in Northern Malaya. The Lincolns carried out a series of bombing runs and ground attacks in conjunction with paratroop drops.

The long range and heavy payload of the Lincoln made it an effective bomber, while its relatively slow speed proved advantageous in Malaya when trying to locate jungle targets.

Although the fighting was largely over when they arrived in 1958, the Canberra bombers of No. 2 Squadron flew some missions from Butterworth including formation-bombing runs. The Sabre jet fighters of No. 3 Squadron and No. 77 Squadron also flew strafing missions from Butterworth against Communist-guerrilla targets.


Last updated: 12 January 2019

Cite this page

DVA (Department of Veterans' Affairs) (2019), Offensive operations, DVA Anzac Portal, accessed 30 September 2020, http://anzacportal.dva.gov.au/wars-and-missions/malayan-emergency-1948-1960/australians-operations/raaf-operations/offensive-operations
Was this page helpful?