De Tijger Brigade op Midden Java 1946 - 1949
Signal Unit Tiger Brigade
The Signal unit was raised on 15th January 1946 in Port Dickson in Malacca on the same day as the Tijger Brigade. And was first placed at Charley Beach. The first members of the unit was former POWs coming from Thailand and consisted of a radio and a telephone platoon.
Beside participation on an exercise radio net the radio operators were tout about the radio WS-22 by English instructors. The Signal unit was transferred to Semarang together with the rest of the Brigade on 9th March 1946 and was stationed in the district Tjandi.
Directly after their arrival the small unit was filled with personnel so by the end of the year it was up on the strength of KNIL personnel, which it was supposed to. Leader of the unit was on the paper a vdg. Koot from the Army. He cannot have had much influence on the daily work of the unit. Most of it went on in the subunits, which was led by Sgt. Scheffer and Kruk. Later the Command was taken over by Captain Flucks from the Army.
The radio platoon was reinforced with among others the Suriname Sergeant Terlingen, Corporals Pingoen and Smit together with soldier 1st class Oroh. To their disposal they had the following radios SCR-399, WS-19 HP/CV, WS-19/jeep and a few WS-22.
In the clearings operations, which followed the Signal unit was called on for (early) mobile connexions. First they tried to use the radios WS-18 and WS-48 but they did not function. Then they tried with the WS-22 made portable in bags and on carriers. It continued to be difficult to use in the terrain by the personnel in the Infantry, which it had to follow until used, could be done of prisoners of war.
Later on a construction to carry it on horses would be made on the initiative of Captain Flucks. This did not function either since the horses got upset when walking near obstacles and damaged the apparatuses. When they came to a rice field the animal and apparatuses sank deep in the mud. Then with a lot of difficulties the personnel had to try to drag them up again. This made an end to making the radio WS-22 mobile unless in a vehicle.
In the end of December 1946 the Signal unit was reinforced by the Army. For the radio platoon it meant an extra burden since Sergeant Scheffer and Private Kramer had to divide their time between their original work and the training of new radio operators.
During the 1st Police Action the Tiger Brigade got the task to break out in a Westhern, Southern and Eastern direction with as end goal Weléri, Salatiga and Demak. Semarang itself was taken over by a Territorial Command with 4 battalions. The primary attack went in a southern direction and it was here the Signal unit was concentrated.
During the advance the radio combinations WS-19 HP/CV and WS-19 HP/jeep was put to use as shown in. About the results it is known that they were not good enough; this is not strange since barantennes, ground waves and high mountains were asking for problems.
First the Telephone platoon laid a line of Quad-cable from Semarang to Salatiga. Here a military central was installed of the type BD-96. Then lines were laid to the different units of the Brigade in the region. The line of Quad-cable was later replaced by a line running from the PTT central in Semarang to the PTT central in Salatiga. Originally this was made possible by the cooperation between the Signal unit of the B-Division and the Signal unit of the Tiger Brigade working towards each other from respectively Semarang and Salatiga respectively.
After the 1st Police Action the Headquarter of the Tiger Brigade was moved to Salatiga. From then on they only operated in this area. The connexions continued with the change that the telephone connexion from Semarang was not connected directly to the central of the Tiger Brigade but through the PTT central in Salatiga.
Although this period with the Army and older militia draftees went well. It was easy to get the idea that the KNIL element had become huge especially by the radio platoon. This together with the fact that the T-Brigade operated in the middle of the area where the TNI resistance was best organised. The radio connexions were essential because the telephone lines were cut all the time. A big advantage was that they now had the reliable radio installation SCR-284.
In the start they got support from the Signal unit of the B-Division. At first in the use of 1st Lieutenant C. de Vries who came from this unit, who should have been transferred to Captain Flucks. These persons were trained at ROS and DLvbdd with the mark “Battalion Radio Operators”.
During and after the 2nd Police they got the responsibility for installing a central and laying out lines. For a short period soldier Stolting was employed with a radio installation SCR-399 (mobile) to hold contact with HMS Tjerk Hiddes in the Indian Ocean.
After the disbandment of the T-Brigade it is not known what become of the personnel from KNIL. Incorporation in the Signal unit of the V-Brigade is a possibility.