Malaya — 1948.

The United Kingdom and the Malayan Communist Party (MCP) are vying for the post-colonial soul of the country.

From the start, it wasn’t going to be easy for the British military.

Malaya, you see, was in that awkward situation so common wherever Europeans decided to plant a flag: One border, two ethnicities.

Malayans and Chinese, in equal numbers, called the Southeast Asian country home.  So far, it had worked.  But now the British were scooting, and the proposed Federation didn’t appeal to the Chinese half of the family.

And what do they decide to do?  Launch an insurgency to grab power.

Malay Peninsula Malayan Emergency
The Malay Peninsula. The divided geography and long borders added to the government’s woes. (Wikimedia Commons)

Counterinsurgency operations (COIN) — always a hurdle for conventional armies and mindsets — in a jungle with lengthy borders brew a nightmarish ale.

For 12 years (1948-1960) the government forces and the MCP fought it out.