Nobody can describe about the ancient history of military strategy perfectly. But in China, “The Art of War”, as a book on ancient Chinese military theory has came out more than 2500 years ago, introduced by Sun Tzu who lived approximately from 550 BC to 480 BC. His book covers a rich content with brilliant ideas of military strategy which spread and influenced in world history.
In modern-old periode, after the collapse of the imperial dynasti, China also have few men who has great military thinking along with the formation of the Red Army who fought alongside the Chinese people in seizing independence in the year of 1949 against Guomindang Party with its counter-revolution armed forces. One of the greatest leader of People Liberation Army is Mao Zedong (Chairman Mao) who have many thinking of the military strategy which have been applied in many battle during civil war. As we know, there were significant differences between Red Army and the Guomindang troops, both in terms of number of personnel, weapon, ammunition and equipment. He applied basic viewpoints of dialectical and historical materialism to military matters, analysed the relation between people and weapon. “He said that weapons are important factor in war, but not decisive factor. It’s people, not things, that are decisive. The contest of strength is not only a contest of military and economic power, but also a contest of human power and morale. Military and economic power is necessary wielded by people”. This military thinking has been proven in various wars. One of the famous battle which was refers to this thinking is the general attack on the city of Yogyakarta that occured on March 1st, 1949 between the Indonesian National Army and the Netherland Forces which can raised the bargaining position of the Republic of Indonesia in the International Commitee.
THE MARCH 1ST GENERAL ATTACK ON THE CITY OF YOGYAKARTA
After the independence of the Republic of Indonesia which has proclaimed by Soekarno and Moh. Hatta on August 17th, 1945, the Netherland Goverment was still tried to took over the legal goverment of the Republic of Indonesia to became one of the commonwealth countries of the Netherland based on their own perception. According to this perception, the Netherland decided to directly attack the Republic of Indonesia in order to acces commodities in Republican-held areas, in particular sugar, oil and rubber as they had for more than 350 years before the independence of the Republic of Indonesia. The first military aggression was held in July 21, 1947 by deployed three divisions in Java and three brigades in Sumatra. The main objective of this aggresion was to seize rich plantation areas and the other areas which had natural resources, especially oil. As a cover for the international world, the Netherland called this military aggression as a police action and declared this action as domestic affairs. At that time the number of Dutch troops had reached more than 100,000 personnel with modern weapons, ammunition and also including heavy weapons granted by British soldiers and Australian soldiers. Later on, this situation made the UN Security Council through KTN (Three-State Commission) held an agreement at Jakarta Port on an American ship USS Renville by agreeing to a ceasefire along the demarcation line, otherwise known as the Van Mook line.
Once again, the Netherland neglected the agreement by launching attack on December 19, 1948 using lightning war tactics (blitkrieg) in all areas of the Republic of Indonesia. It began with the captured of Maguwo Airbase (currently known as Adi Sucipto Air Force Base) by deploying paratroopers and in a swift motion capable of taking control of the city of Yogyakarta which was the Capital of the Republic of Indonesia at that time. This attack also arrested the leaders of the Republic of Indonesia, Soekarno and Moh. Hatta. This condition made Soekarno to hand over the Republic of Indonesia to Syafrudin Prawiranegara, the Prime Minister of the Republic at that time, saved the National Flag and made an emergency goverment in Padang, West Sumatra.
Approximately one month after the second Netherland Military Aggression which has launched in December 1948, the Indonesian National Army began to devise a strategy to counterattack the Dutch army which began by disconnecting the telephone, destroying the railway, attacking Dutch convoys, and some other acts of sabotage. This condition was made the Dutch were forced to multiply posts along the big roads that connected the cities that had been occupied. This means, that the strength of the Dutch forces was spread in small posts throughout the republic which is now a guerrilla field. In the circumstances of the scattered Dutch forces, the Indonesian National Army began an attack on the Netherlands.
Around the beginning of February 1948 at the East Java border, Lt. Col. dr. Wiliater Hutagalung who was appointed as a Territorial Officer and was tasked with forming a guerrilla preparation network in the territories of Division II and III, met with Chief Commander Sudirman to report on UN Security Council resolutions and Dutch resistance to the resolution and launch propaganda stating that Republic Indonesia no longer exists. Through Radio Rimba Raya, Commander in Chief Sudirman also heard the news. Commander in Chief Sudirman instructed to think about steps that must be taken to distort Dutch propaganda about the condition of the Republic of Indonesia. The thinking developed by Hutagalung was, the need to convince the international community, especially the United States and Britain, that the Republic of Indonesia is still exist by the Republic of Indonesia Emergency Goverment (PDRI), there are armed forces organization and there are soldiers. To prove this and to penetrate isolation, a spectacular attack must be carried out which cannot hidden by the Dutch, and also must be know by UNCI (United Nation Commision for Indonesia) and foreign journalists who have been in Yogyakarta to be disseminated throughout the world.
On March 1, 1949, as the sirens to signal the start of activities in the morning began, the Indonesian National Army troops consist of around 3000 personnel led by Lt. Col. Suharto launched a massive attack, facing about more than 10,000 Dutch troops to the entire city of Yogyakarta. A few hours before, guerilla forces had entered the territory of the city of Yogyakarta, make a lot of small post to launched the attack. This battle focuses on the city of Yogyakarta. In addition, attacks were also carried out in several other cities such as Solo, and Magelang, aimed at obstructing the assistance of the Dutch army. The general attack was dicided into five sectors, namely:
- The West Sector is led by Lt. Col. Ventje Sumual
- East Sector under the leadership of Major Sarjono
- South Sector under the leadership of Major Sarjono
- North Sector under the leadership of Major Kusno
- The City Sector under the leadership of Lieutenant Marsudi
The city of Yogyakarta was surrounded by guerrilla forces from various directions. The course of the battle was fierce in several streets in the city of Yogyakarta. Resulting in panicked Dutch troops, due to lack of preparation in blocking attacks from the Republic. So that the resistance carried out by the Dutch was less significant for the Republic of Indonesia. Dutch troops can be pushed back in a short time, even the military post used was abandoned and Indonesian fighters managed to seize several military vehicles. The Indonesian National Army troops occupied the city of Yogyakarta for 6 hours. Exactly at 12:00 noon, as originally determined, the entire army was withdrawn. Unfortunately, the general attack on March 1, 1949 took many casualties, consisting of 53 Indonesian police and 300 soldiers killed. While the Dutch were 14 injured and 6 people were killed. The number of victims from the Netherlands based on Dutch media as many as two hundred people were killed and wounded, the number was calculated during the battle that took place in March 1949.
THE SUPPORTING FACTORS
Mr. Alexander Andries Maramis, based in New Delhi, described how excited they were to hear radio broadcasts captured from Burma, regarding the massive attacks by the Indonesian National Army on the Dutch. The news became Headlines in various print media published in India. The March 1 General Attack was able to strengthen the bargaining position of the Republic of Indonesia, humiliating the Dutch who had claimed that the Republic of Indonesia was already weak. Shortly after the General Attack on March 1, the Surakarta General Attack took place, which was one of the Republic of Indonesia's most brilliant successes because it proved to the Dutch that guerrillas were not only able to carry out ambushes or sabotage, but were also able to carry out frontal attacks in the middle of Solo cavelerie forces, heavy weapons artillery, strong infantry and commandos.
The success of the general attack on March 1, 1949 cannot be separated from several factors that support it. These factors include:
- Politic/Diplomacy. The plans of Netherland to attack Indonesia massively has been estimated in advance before the second aggression at December 19, 1948. That’s why the Indonesia’s temporary goverment center has been set up in Bukittinggi, Sumatra. Also, The center of foreign relations and diplomacy has been prepared in New Delhi, India. This general attack also raised the bargaining power of the Indonesian Goverment in the international forum. The Indonesian National Army have proved that they were still exist, have a good organization and capable to launch attack against the Netherland’s troops in order to prevent the independence. This attack also opened the world’s eyes and make them realized that Indonesia would fight until the end to get their independence.
- Indonesian National Army has been formatted on October 5, 1945, less than two months after the independence of the Republic of Indonesia. The organization has not established yet and some of the personnel who were supposed to occupy a position has not yet appeared. Even within a periode of three years, the Indonesia National Army’s organization that was still modest continued to make improvements while continuing to carry out wars in order to maintain independence. But this condition did not dampen the morale of the soldiers. Those with all available equipments always struggle to maintain the independence they have achieved. In addition, some leaders who were able to command also had received military training specifically for natives, they were incorporated in the PETA Battalion and other military units. This experience has more or less provided enough provisions for soldiers to fight against Netherland Army.
- People’s support. This factor can not be separated from the entire movement of the Indonesian independence war. The Indonesian people who have felt independence for more than three years will not be willing to give up their nationalism to become members of the Netherland commonwealth. This is what underlines the community to work hand in hand with other elements to join the struggle with Indonesian National Armed Forces, people who have weapons are struggling as much as they can, those who not have weapons can participate in providing logistics, both in the form of food and medicine. This they do sincerely and totally, solely to help the success of the struggle of the soldiers.
The success of the general attack that opened the eyes of the world, besides being influenced by several supporting factors, was also influenced by inhibiting factors as a consequence of the incomplete Indonesian National Army’s organization at that time. Units that move on the orders of their leaders tend to carry out independent actions which indirectly weaken the position of the soldiers. Other than that a number of separate people and the rest of the unit also often take action on individual attacks against the Netherland troop’s post. this can indirectly increase the alertness of the Netherland army before a general attack is held. but this was finally overcome by continued coordination and at the behest of the Sultan of Yogyakarta who at that time still had great authority and adherence to the Yogyakarta community, they began to resist the attack while devising a strategy to attack again through a massive attack on the morning of March 1, 1949
“The Art of War”, as a book on ancient Chinese military theory has came out more than 2500 years ago, introduced by Sun Tzu who lived approximately from 550 BC to 480 BC. His book covers a rich content with brilliant ideas of military strategy which spread and influenced in world history. Chairman Mao also said that “weapons are important factor in war, but not decisive factor. It’s people, not things, that are decisive. The contest of strength is not only a contest of military and economic power, but also a contest of human power and morale. Military and economic power is necessary wielded by people”, which known as one of the famous Mao’s military thinking.
One of the famous battle which was refers to this thinking is the general attack on the city of Yogyakarta that occured on March 1st, 1949 between the Indonesian National Army and the Netherland Forces which can raised the bargaining position of the Republic of Indonesia in the International Commitee. The Indonesian National Army which was consist of only 3000 personnel could launched a massive attack and occupied the city of Yogyakarta for six hours. This number of personnel was tottally different from the Netherland army which numbered more than 10,000 personnel. In addition, equipment,weapons and ammunition are very limited. This huge difference did not damped the intention of the soldier to fight. Proven by a very good spirit and strategy, supported by communication and coordination, also support from the people of Yogyakarta, the general attack was successfully carried out brilliantly. This certainly proves that victory or defeat in war is decided by people, not things.
- Chairman Mao’s Military Thinking, AFCC, Sept 2004
- Notosusanto, Nugroho, dkk. Sejarah Nasional Indonesia Jilid VI. 1984. Balai Pustaka
- Batara R. Mutagalung. Serangan Umum 1 Maret 1949. Mata Padi. Yogyakarta
 Chairman Mao’s Military Thinking, AFCC, Sept 2004