World Battlefronts: Flaming Oil

Balikpapan Bay was still a multiple booby trap of Japanese mines when a U.S. engineer detachment sailed in. Aboard two LCMs, the engineers safely threaded their way to the Jap-built pontoon wharves, tied up, then raced the length of the narrow beach to begin rebuilding Sepinggang airstrip, just captured by the Australian 7th Division.

Three days later, short, balding Major General Edward James Milford's slouch-hatted Aussies held an 18-mile-long beachhead which included virtually everything of importance in southeastern Borneo. They had taken Balikpapan, the "Ploesti of the Pacific," then made a three-mile westward...

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