Brunei--a name that until recently was
unknown to many people in Britain. Yet overnight it became as
familiar as Kuwait and in a short while was spread across newspapers
throughout the world. The story of how our troops and aircraft were
used to defeat the rebel forces is now stale news, but what has not
been revealed is that one of the first observers to reach Brunei was
an officer from the School of Land-Air Warfare, RAF
His job was to make a careful study of
how British forces had been deployed in the campaign and report his
findings to the joint-Services SLAW. Once these on-the-spot comments
reached England they were carefully analysed by the school's staff
and finally a report sent to the Ministry of Defence.
In fact, the SLAW has been such a great
success that it is soon to enlarge the scope of its activity by
amalgamating with the Amphibious Warfare School, at Poole, Dorset,
to become the Joint Warfare
At the SLAW there is an Assistant
Commandant (Army) and also an Assistant Commandant (Navy). As well.
A good example of some of the school's theory being put into practice occurred at the height of the Brunei fighting when a squadron of Hunter jet fighters dislodged a strong force of rebels from a town without firing a shot. Rebels were known to be lurking in the vicinity of a small town but, due to poor communications it was not certain if they had actually captured the town. Rather than strafe the town with cannon fire in order to kill any rebels that may have penetrated the defences, and in doing so kill many innocent civilians, it was decided the Hunters should make a low-level surprise pass and try and frighten rebel soldiers that might be in hiding.
This ruse was a complete success and although the RAF pilots did not know at the time they also saved the life of an important local dignitary who literally had a noose around his neck when the Hunters flashed over the main square.
Much of the work carried out at the
school is. of course. theory and this is taught at the three
instructional wings—Tactical Development, Tactical Air Operations,
and Air Transport. The Tactical Development wing, which has Gp.
Capt. J. W. Allan as Director, is divided into two sections, Air
Support Tactical Investigation and the Joint Short Range Tactical
Support Development Unit. Formulating new ideas and doctrines is the
responsibility of the former while the latter part of the wing
concerns itself with the particular problems con-
A small helicopter flight is directly
connected With the Joint Short Range Tactical Support Development
Unit, so that the ideas of this unit can be tried out in practice.
It is believed that today Britain is the only nation with a
joint-Services unit studying the application of the helicopter in
tactical support roles.The Tactical Air Operations wing, under the
command of Gp. Capt. P. R. Walker, teaches everything from counter
At the Air Transport Wing many 'dummy
operations are planned and this provides pupils with the opportunity
As at the other wings, lectures are
given in well-appointed rooms with the emphasis always on
Today, it is particularly refreshing to
find that Britain leads the world in one aspect of modern
warfare—the local war —and judging by the backing this unusual
school is being given we shall continue to stay second to none in
this sphere for many years.