The Battle of Surabaya, Happened On 10 November 1945

The Battle of Surabaya, Happened On 10 November 1945 – The Battle of Surabaya is a historical event of war between the Indonesian army and Dutch troops. This grand event occurred on November 10, 1945 in the city of Surabaya, East Java. This battle was the first war between Indonesian troops and foreign troops after the Proclamation of Indonesian Independence and one of the largest and toughest battles in the history of the Indonesian National Revolution which became a national symbol of Indonesia’s resistance to colonialism.

Chronology of the causes of the incident

The arrival of the Japanese Army to Indonesia
On March 1 1942, Japanese troops landed on the island of Java, and seven days later on March 8 1942, the Dutch colonial government surrendered unconditionally to Japan based on the Kalijati Agreement. After the unconditional surrender, Indonesia was officially occupied by the Japanese.

Indonesian Declaration of Independence
Three years later, Japan surrendered unconditionally to the allies after the dropping of the atomic bombs (by the United States) on Hiroshima and Nagasaki. This incident occurred in August 1945. In this vacuum of foreign power, Soekarno then proclaimed Indonesian independence on August 17, 1945.

Arrival of British & Dutch Soldiers
After the defeat of the Japanese, the people of Indonesia and the fighters tried to disarm the Japanese army. There arose the battles that took the lives in many areas. When the movement to disarm Japanese troops was raging, on September 15 1945, British troops landed in Jakarta, then landed in Surabaya on October 25 1945.

British troops came to Indonesia to join the AFNEI (Allied Forces Netherlands East Indies) on the decision and in the name of The Allied Powers, with the task of disarming Japanese troops, freeing prisoners of war held by Japan, and returning Japanese soldiers to their country.

However, apart from that, the British troops who came also carried the mission of returning Indonesia to the administration of the Dutch government as a country that was a colony of the Dutch East Indies. NICA (Netherlands Indies Civil Administration) took a ride with a group of British troops for this purpose. This triggered turmoil among the Indonesian people and gave rise to Indonesian people’s resistance movements everywhere against the AFNEI army and the NICA government.

Incident at the Yamato Hotel, Tunjungan, Surabaya

Orange Hotel in Surabaya in 1911.

After the Indonesian government issued an edict dated 31 August 1945 which stipulated that starting 1 September 1945 the Sang Saka Merah Putih national flag would be flown continuously in all parts of Indonesia, the movement to raise the flag increasingly spread to all corners of the city of Surabaya. The climax of the flag-raising movement in Surabaya occurred in the flag-tearing incident at the Yamato Hoteru / Yamato Hotel (named Oranje

Hotel or Orange Hotel in colonial times, now called Majapahit Hotel) on Jl. Visit no. 65 Surabaya.

A group of Dutch people under the leadership of Mr. W.V.Ch. Ploegman on the afternoon of September 18 1945, precisely at 21.00, raised the Dutch flag (Red-White-Blue), without the approval of the Surabaya Regional Government of the Republic of Indonesia, on a pole on the top level of the Yamato Hotel, north side. The next day the youth of Surabaya saw it and became angry because they thought that the Dutch had insulted Indonesian sovereignty, wanted to restore power in Indonesia, and insulted the movement to raise the Red and White flag that was taking place in Surabaya.

The raising of the Indonesian flag after the Dutch flag was successfully torn off in blue at the Yamato hotel
Not long after the crowd gathered at the Yamato Hotel, Resident Soedirman, a fighter and diplomat who at that time served as Deputy Resident (Fuku Syuco Gunseikan) who was being recognized by the Dai Nippon Surabaya Syu government, as well as the Surabaya Regional Resident of the Indonesian Government, came through the crowd and entered.

Sidik and Hariyono guarded the Yamato hotel. As a representative of the Republic of Indonesia he negotiated with Mr. Ploegman and his friends and hoped that the Dutch flag would be removed from the Yamato Hotel building immediately. In these negotiations Ploegman refused to lower the Dutch flag and refused to recognize Indonesian sovereignty.

The talks heated up, Ploegman pulled out a gun, and a fight broke out in the assembly hall. Ploegman was strangled to death by Sidik, who was then also killed by Dutch soldiers who were on guard and heard Ploegman’s gun fire, while Sudirman and Hariyono fled outside the Yamato Hotel. Most youths scramble up to the top of the hotel to drop the Dutch flag. Hariyono, who was originally with Sudirman, returned to the hotel and was involved in climbing the flagpole and together with Koesno Wibowo managed to lower the Dutch flag, ripped off the blue part, and hoisted it to the top of the flagpole again as the Red and White flag.

After the incident at the Yamato Hotel, on October 27 1945 the first battle broke out between Indonesia and British troops. These minor attacks later turned into general attacks which claimed many lives on both Indonesian and British sides, before the end of General D.C. Hawthorn asked President Sukarno for help to calm the situation.

Aubertin Mallaby

Death of Brigadier General Mallaby

Brigadier General Aubertin Mallaby
After the ceasefire between the Indonesian and British soldiers was signed on October 29, 1945, the state gradually subsided. Despite this, armed clashes still occurred between the people and British troops in Surabaya. The armed clashes in Surabaya culminated in the killing of Brigadier General Mallaby, (head of the British army for East Java), on 30 October 1945 at around 20.30. The Buick car in which Brigadier General Mallaby was traveling passed a group of Indonesian militia when passing the Red Bridge.

The misunderstanding resulted in a shootout which ended in the death of Brigadier General Mallaby by a gun shot by a young Indonesian whose identity is unknown, and the car was set on fire by a grenade explosion which made it difficult to identify Mallaby’s body. Mallaby’s death caused the British to be angry with the Indonesian side and resulted in the decision of Mallaby’s replacement, Major General Eric Carden Robert Mansergh, to issue an ultimatum of 10 November 1945 to ask the Indonesian side to surrender their weapons and end the resistance to the AFNEI troops and the NICA administration.

The debate about the cause of the shootout

Brigadier General Mallaby’s Buick car that exploded near the Internatio Building and Surabaya Red Bridge
Tom Driberg, a British Member of Parliament from the British Labor Party (Labor Party). On February 20 1946, in a debate in the British Parliament (House of Commons) it was doubtful that this shootout was started by Indonesian troops. He said that it was strongly suspected that the firefight occurred due to a misunderstanding that the 20 members of the Indian troops led by Mallaby who started the firefight did not know that the ceasefire was ongoing because they were cut off from contact and telecommunications. Here’s a quote from Tom Driberg:

“…. About 20 (British) Indian (soldiers), in a building on the other side of the square, had been cut off from telephone communications and did not know about the ceasefire. They shot sporadically at the (Indonesian) crowd. Brigadier Mallaby came out of the discussion (ceasefire), walked straight towards the crowd, with great courage, and shouted at the Indian soldiers to stop firing. They obeyed him. Maybe half an hour later, the crowd in the square became restive again. Brigadier Mallaby, at a certain point in the discussion, ordered the Indian soldiers to fire again. They opened fire with two Bren rifles and the crowd dispersed and ran for cover; then fighting broke out again in earnest. It is clear that when Brigadier Mallaby gave the order to open fire again, a ceasefire was negotiated. the gun had actually gone off, at least locally. Twenty minutes to half an hour after that, he (Mallaby) was unfortunately dead in his car-although (we) weren’t really sure if he was killed by Indonesians who approached his car; which exploded simultaneously with the attack on him (Mallaby). I don’t think this can be accused of being a cunning murder…. because the information I got as soon as possible was from an eye witness, namely a British officer who was actually present at the scene of the incident at the time, whose honest intentions I have no idea of questioning.. …”

The Battle of Surabaya, Happened On 10 November 1945
After the killing of Brigadier General Mallaby, his successor, Major General Robert Mansergh issued an ultimatum stating that all armed Indonesian leaders and people were obliged to report and put their weapons in a certain location and surrender with their hands raised. The ultimatum cutoff was 6.00 am on November 10, 1945.

This ultimatum was later seen as an insult to the fighters and people who had formed many struggle bodies/militias. This ultimatum was pushed by the Indonesian side with the idea that the Republic of Indonesia had already been established at that time, and the TKR People’s Security Army had also been made a state army. Apart from that, many armed struggle organizations had been created by the community, including among youth, university students and students who opposed the re-entry of Dutch rule which piggybacked on the presence of British troops in Indonesia.

On the morning of November 10, the British army began launching a large-scale attack, which began with aerial bombing of Surabaya government buildings, and then deployed around 30,000 infantry, a number of aircraft, tanks and warships.

The British then bombarded the city of Surabaya with cannons from the sea and land. Resistance by Indonesian troops and militias later raged in all cities, with the active support of the people. The involvement of the community in this battle resulted in thousands of civilians falling victim to the attack, both dead and injured.

Bung Tomo

Bung Tomo in Surabaya, one of Indonesia’s highly respected revolutionary leaders. This famous photo for many people who were involved in the Indonesian National Revolution represented the spirit of Indonesia’s main revolutionary struggle at that time.

To the surprise of the British, who suspected that the resistance in Surabaya could be conquered within three days, community leaders such as the young pioneer Bung Tomo, who had great influence in society, continued to stir up the spirit of resistance in Surabaya’s youth so that the resistance continued in the midst of a large-scale British attack.

Religious figures consisting of ulama and Javanese Islamic boarding school kyai such as KH. Hasyim Asy’ari, KH. Wahab Hasbullah and other Islamic boarding school clerics also mobilized their students and civil society as a resistance militia (at that time the people were not so obedient to the government but they were increasingly obedient and obedient to the kyai) so that the Indonesian resistance lasted a long time, from day to day. day, from one day to another. The people’s resistance, which was initially carried out spontaneously and uncoordinated, is becoming more organized day by day. This large-scale battle took up to three weeks, before the whole city of Surabaya finally fell in the hands of the British.

At least 6,000 – 16,000 fighters from the Indonesian side were killed and 200,000 civilians fled from Surabaya. [2]. Casualties from British and Indian troops were approximately 600 – 2000 soldiers. [3] The bloody battle in Surabaya, which claimed thousands of lives, has stirred people’s resistance throughout Indonesia to expel invaders and maintain independence. The number of warriors who died and civilians who became victims on November 10 was later remembered as Heroes’ Day by the Republic of Indonesia until now.