- Title: JUNGLE OPERATIONS: AIR SUPPLY: MALAYA 1949/50 [Main Title]
- Film Number: DRA 1051
- Other titles:
- Summary: A Malayan Film Unit film documenting the importance of following army procedure for airdrops of supplies in isolated areas of the jungle during the Emergency.
- Description: Title: 'Malayan Film Unit Production', 'Air Supply Part 1'. Countdown. Main titles 'Jungle Operations: Air Supply: Malaya 1949/50' and 'A military training film supervised by an officer appointed by the General Staff – Crown copyright approved March 1950'. 'Produced for the Army Kinema Corporation by the Malayan Film Unit'. Film opens with aerial footage over jungle, initially from relatively high altitude. Commentary contrasts an apparently 'quite lovely' jungle seen from the air and the sinister 'rather frightening...primeval forest' when seen more closely. A British patrol is seen moving through the jungle; commentary stresses that men can live in the jungle, and that it 'has a nasty habit of looking the same' in many different countries. Right equipment and procedure allows men to live and fight by 'overcoming the jungle and making it your friend'. Jungle operations may take small units far into the jungle (one member of the patrol is seen to be a local guide). The patrol halts; although movement is 'neither far nor fast' supply is still 'a quartermaster’s nightmare'. 'The jungle resents clothing' and need for medical supplies, ammunition, special maps. The patrol moves off; Quartermasters are said to be 'forced to use Santa Claus tactics - delivery down the chimney' by air supply 'which won the war in Burma'. Fade to Battalion HQ before the patrol, this patrol being a platoon of 1st Battalion Devonshire Regiment under the 1st Battalion Suffolk Regiment. The use of an Air Supply Request Form gives details of time, place etc. 'Completeness and accuracy…are of paramount importance'. The form is delivered to a signal office, a close-up shows the details of three days' supplies for 40 British troops and 6 Malays, the allocation of fresh and dry food, the map reference, time and date, recognition signal and radio frequency. Animated diagram shows the responsibilities of Combined Operations Room (GSO II (Air) and RAF) and of Q Branch and their subordinates. At an Ops Room GSO II (Air) and his RAF counterpart are seen sharing a single large desk. At the Air Supply Company supplies are carefully packed. Importance of accurate work and correct labelling of supplies with their dropzone. Loading a Dakota transport aircraft while the aircrew are briefed 'All's ready'. Back in the jungle the patrol select a dropzone. Maps may not be infallible. A signaller use a radio; an Auster is called to help identify a suitable site. The light aircraft 'eyes in the jungle and messenger boy'. Use of preselected dropzone. Importance of care in selecting a dropzone; RAF 'not gifted with telepathic powers' and supply planes 'not stunt planes'. An animated contour map and topographic transect demonstrates how terrain affects a supply-dropping aircraft. End of Part 1. Reel 2: 'Malayan Film Unit – Air Supply Part 2'. Countdown. Important to select a dropzone 'at least the size of a football pitch'. Men at work clearing secondary jungle; 'worth the effort'. Importance of good approaches. Laying a dropzone marker in the form of a 'P'. Improvise if necessary with clothing, maps etc. Identifying letter obligatory. 'Learn and master the easiest, quickest way'. Learn indicators for special requirements; rostrum camera sweeping over a painting of a dropzone illustrates signals for 'wireless battery' (WI), 'wireless set' (W), 'wireless set and battery' (W), 'supply drop and ground assistance' (H underlined), 'small arms ammunition (H double underlined), ‘supply drop food and medical' (a square), and 'positional fix' (H). A supply drop requires 24-hour turnaround. Need for perimeter defence. Use of smoke or fires to indicate dropzone and wind direction. Aerial footage shows a drop and the dispatchers at work. Drop height never less than 300ft. Supply drop in progress. The aircraft departs. Importance of clearing the dropzone and salvaging parachutes and packing. Men carry away supplies and remove parachutes. Issuing supplies (the local guide is seen eating a piece of fruit). Importance of hiding packing material and parachutes if they cant be salvaged. The RAF 'will find you [even in the toughest situation] if you make it possible for them to do so'. Use of life saving air-dropped medical stores. Importance of accurate request and 'keep[ing] to your part of the bargain'. Recapitulation of the steps; if dropzone selection and preparation, marking, perimeter defence, smoke indication, recovery of stores, salvage of material all observed 'you can rely on the rear organisation delivering your goods'. Reemphasises equipment, procedure, knowledge, training 'jungle sense' to live happily in any jungle; 'it depends what you make of it'.
- Access Conditions: IWM Attribution: © IWM
- Featured Period: 1945-1975
- Production Date: 1950-03
- Production Country: Malaya
- Production Details: War Office (Production sponsor) Malayan Film Unit (Production company) Hussain, M D Zain (Production individual) Govan, Harold WilliamBritish Army sergeant-cameraman with South East Asia Command Film Unit (British) and No.9 Army Film & Photographic Unit, formerly Royal Scots (The Royal Regiment), service number 7662913, BEM in London Gazette 37576 published 21 May 1946, pg 2. (Production individual) Arnavasi, A Peter (Production individual) Shamsudin, Osman (Production individual) Govan, H W (Production individual) Tan, Ronnie (Production individual) Bhaskaran, V G (Production individual) Potter, Ronald Edward David 'Gillie'1923-11-162004-05-25Studied Ealing School of Art, joined National Screen Service as title artist; Second World War, service with Army Film and Photographic Unit, then South East Asia Command Film Unit; post-war Malayan Film Unit. Work in commercial television from 1950s, Guild Television Service, Rank Organisation. Formed own company, Gillie Potter Productions. Distinguished animator. (Production individual)
- Personalities, Units and Organisations: Royal Air Force (regiment/service) British Army, Royal Army Service Corps, Air Supply Company (regiment/service) British Army, Devonshire Regiment, 1st Battalion (regiment/service) British Army, Suffolk Regiment, 1st Battalion (regiment/service)
- Keywords: Malaya (geography) Malayan Emergency 1948-1960 (event)
- Physical Characteristics: Colour format: B&W Sound format: Sound Soundtrack language: English Title language: English Subtitle language: None
- Technical Details: Format: 35mm Number of items/reels/tapes: 2 Footage: 1815 ft; Running time: 20 mins
- Notes: An interesting and well-made film, with visuals and commentary being tightly interwoven and the use of animation is particularly impressive. The stress on interservice cooperation between Army and Royal Air Force is marked. Two members of the production team, Govan and Potter, had previously served with the South East Asia Command Film Unit (British) during the Second World War, with Govan having served as a combat cameraman. Potter would go on to great distinction as an animator on television commercials, and would found his own animation company, Gillie Potter Productions.
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