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*NOTE: On this page I will but up three chapters because they are relatively short.*

The Tiger Brigade

The title of the chapter is very meaningful. If I spoke about the T- Brigade in the last chapter. I will tell about the Tiger Brigade concerning the period I am going to tell about now. No one knows precisely from where the name came from. I know that a company from the 2-6 R.I. used it about themselves, but they were not the only ones. The men of the Brigade who set foot on land under the watchful eyes of the English got the feeling in the following months that they were the tigers of Semarang. They had selfconfidence, and were born with the awareness that they could do the job and it became a symbol for the growing unity. It was not only one soldier or vehicle that adored the name. For everyone it was a title of honour, which showed they were a part of the Tiger Brigade. But before it came so far there still had to go a few month.

The Town of Semarang

The place where the troops went ashore was still in a miserable condition. Little had changed since the Japanese was master at the place. The bersiap time had left its footmark behind together with the neglect and destruction from the time of the Japanese. After a short period of general relieve immediately after the capitulation, came a time of terror were no blank7 could feel secure if they showed up in the streets. The Japanese who in the first place had laid down their arms made a quick end to this terror when a group of them was slaughtered in the Boeloeprison. They guarded a few points in the town and in the near surroundings and the Dutchmen lived strictly speaking under their protection. Shortly thereafter the English troops arrived, the 49th Indian Brigade group, which was used for the evacuation of the camps in Mageland and Ambarawa. They were forced to redraw before the evacuation was finished but hold on to a few points in Semarang. Djatingaleh, Kenarilaan, Nieuw-Tjandi, a few storage yards in Bodjong, Hôtel du Pavillon, het Grote Huis, the airfield and the harbour. The rest of the town was guarded by the Japanese at different places who also guarded the Gombel, a part of Djatingaleh, Oud-Tjandi, the Slaughter House, and the B.A.T. Factory. The Europeans were still living voluntarily – if one can speak of voluntarily when it comes to security – in camps.

This was the situation when the 5th Airborne Brigade relieved the 49th Indian Brigade Group on 14th January. The Brigadier Darling, the new Commander started at once with relieving the Japanese. But the liquidations continued until the Dutch troops arrived. Although it became more secure little by little in Semarang under the paratroopers. The English politic was obviously to let the Republicans alone as much as possible as long as they did not disturb the peace too much. On 16th January a Civilian Rule under the name A(llied) M(ilitary) A(dministration) C(ivil) A(ffairs) B(ranch) with which Dr. P.H. Angenent was standing as leader. The republic in Semarang had a machinery of government of their own which was not late in using the given liberty for underground activities. As long as the English were alone in the town they were only planning. But as soon as the Dutch troops arrived they started to act actively. Let us see how the Commander of the T Brigade acted. Because of this half-hearted way of acting by the English Commander it was a weird town in which the first Dutch troops arrived: Over Bodjong hang white red flags and on the walls of every big building was written anti Dutch sentences like “Merdeka atau mati ”. The native’s inhabitants looked at the trucks without enthusiasm they went from indifferent to stiff. When the rumours that the Dutch were coming penetrated the European district Nieuw-Tjandi. All civilians ran out in the streets and bet them welcome with an “at last” which came from deep in the heart. At last under their own authority, finally finished with the half-heartedness, finally secure and without the need to leave the town because they would be handed over to the republic such as it had already treaded to happen once in January.

As a Cat in a Foreign Warehouse

It was how the Dutch troops felt in the first days even months in Semarang. The enemy sat unpleasant deep in their positions outside and they knew it was not secure in town either. They did not know anything about how many men or weapons their opponents had or which tactics he used. Since the red white was protected they could not get rid of or distinguish them. Since anti Dutch element was running freely around and travel to the interior of the land to obtain orders. They doubted about the possibilities to obtain success and felt like cat and mouse or a mouse in the fall.

The only light was the friendly caring by the Dutch civilians. Although the word friendly might be a bit weak. They were not alone friendly but hearty and for many they were as a father and mother. It was also good for the soldiers to be in the middle of countrymen and to hear their own language spoken everywhere where they came and use it also outside their own circles. Already after a few days they were given liberty until 10.00PM and through the caring of the civilians everybody found a home of their own so as to spend these hours. Nobody looked at whether you were high or low everybody was welcome. A lot of those friendships went on after the guest left the military. These were the few evening hours, which helped them through the hard duty.

1 Bersiap means be prepared
2 Merdeka atau mati mean something like “Free or die” or “Independence or death”
7 Blank mean White
Part 4

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