Australia 1942 (Australian Army History)

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Romain Fathi. Professor Kim Beazley. William Westerman. Phillip Bradley. Jean Bou. Karl James. Kate Ariotti. Garth Pratten. Andrew Ross. Thomas Richardson. Robert Stevenson. Margaret Hutchison. Mark Johnston. John Connor. Peter J. Jeffrey Grey. Home Contact us Help Free delivery worldwide. Free delivery worldwide. Bestselling Series. Harry Potter. Popular Features. New Releases. The Kokoda Campaign : Myth and Reality. The Kokoda campaign of has taken on mythical status in Australian military history. According to the legend, Australian soldiers were vastly outnumbered by the Japanese, who suffered great losses in battle and as a result of the harsh conditions of the Kokoda Track.

In this important book, Peter Williams seeks to dispel the Kokoda myth.

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Using extensive research and Japanese sources, he explains what really happened on the Kokoda Track in Unlike most other books written from an Australian perspective, The Kokoda Campaign Myth and reality focuses on the strategies, tactics and battle plans of the Japanese and shows that the Australians were in fact rarely outnumbered. For the first time, this book combines narrative with careful analysis to present an undistorted picture of the events of the campaign.

It is a must-read for anyone who is interested in the truth of the Kokoda campaign of Other books in this series. The Kokoda Campaign Dr. Add to basket. Guarding the Periphery Tristan Moss. Our Corner of the Somme Romain Fathi. Australia Professor Kim Beazley. Soldiers and Gentlemen William Westerman. The Battle for Wau Phillip Bradley. Light Horse Jean Bou. The Hard Slog Karl James. Djoeata oilfield occupied.

Australian troops landed at Brunei Bay N. Borneo , including Labuan and Muara Islands. Australian troops capture Brunei Town. Organized resistance ceases at Labuan Island. Muara Island reported clear of enemy. Australian troops landed in Sarawak N. Borneo , at Lutong. Organized resistance ceased on Tarakan. Seria Brunei and Miri-Lutong Sarawak oilfields captured. Australian troops landed at Balikpapan S. Naval Defence 1. General Information regarding naval defence systems prior to will be found in Official Year Book No. Before twelve months had passed, ships and men of the R.

The R. Construction of another two sloops had begun. The strength in ships was further increased during and by the taking up for naval duties of various merchant ships armed merchant cruisers, minesweepers, etc. These were later added to by one "N" and two "Q" class destroyers, and the heavy cruiser Shropshire which was handed over as a gift from Britain to replace the Canberra , lost during August, , at the first Savo Island Battle, Solomon Islands. An extensive naval shipbuilding programme was commenced during , and although at that time the Australian shipbuilding industry was of almost negligible proportions, highly satisfactory results were achieved during the war years when the following vessels were constructed: Three Tribal Class destroyers - Arunta, Warramunga, Bataan , 7 Frigates one not commissioned at end of war , and 60 Australian minesweeping vessels corvettes , the majority of tons displacement.

In addition, a floating dock of 2, tons, 3 oil fuel lighters of 1, tons, 35 fairmile motor launches of 80 tons, boom defence vessels, landing craft and other small vessels were constructed. The following Australian naval vessels were lost during the war: Three cruisers, 4 destroyers, 2 sloops, 3 corvettes, 1 auxiliary minesweeper, 1 depot ship, 4 store carriers, 1 small survey vessel and 2 fairmiles.

At the date 2nd September, of the formal surrender of the Japanese Empire, Australian Naval strength consisted of: Three cruisers, 9 destroyers, 3 landing ships infantry , 1 destroyer transport, 1 destroyer escort, 2 sloops, 6 frigates, 53 corvettes Australian built minesweepers , 3 auxiliary anti-submarine vessels, 5 auxiliary minesweepers, 10 auxiliary vessels ammunition, victualling and store carriers , 1 fleet oiler, 3 repair ships, 9 boom defence vessels, 5 tugs, 2 cable repair ships, 7 surveying vessels, 28 fairmiles, 26 harbour defence motor launches, and miscellaneous small craft.

When hostilities commenced, the main units, with the exception of Perth , were in Australian waters. Perth remained until March, on patrol and escort duties in the Caribbean Sea and Western Atlantic. By Christmas, , the five destroyers were in the Mediterranean where the Sydney joined them before the entry of Italy into the war in June, From then on, right throughout the difficult days of the Naval War in the Mediterranean, the R. There were never between May, and December, less than one cruiser and four destroyers serving with the Mediterranean Fleet at any one time.

During the months of May and June, - the critical period of the evacuations of Greece and Crete, the Syrian campaign and the enemy investment of Tobruk in all of which operations the R. During this period the destroyer Waterhen and the sloop Parramatta were lost in action, while on the "Tobruk Ferry Run". On this run Australian destroyers inaugurated carrying supplies from Mersa Matruh and Alexandria to the besieged troops at Tobruk.

Sydney played the principal role in an outstanding action in the Mediterranean during July, , when she put to flight two Italian cruisers, one of which, Bartolomeo Colleoni , was crippled by Sydney's fire, and finished off by torpedoes from R. Sydney was afterwards lost in November, while in the Indian Ocean, during an engagement with the German raider Steiermark in which the enemy vessel was sunk. Australia was active in the Atlantic from June, to February, , and was involved in the operations off Dakar July and September, In the second phase of that undertaking, she put out of action a Vichy French destroyer of the Fantasque Class.

Before leaving Dakar, Australia herself was slightly damaged. During early August, , Hobart assumed the major role in the direction of the evacuation of British Somaliland at the port of Berbera, and carried out the final demolitions and bombardment of that port. A year later, in the Persian Gulf, the armed merchant cruiser H.

Australia at War - Japanese Attacks on Australia WW2

Kanimbla , manned by R. When Japan struck with overwhelming force on 7th December, , eight R. Six others, including Hobart and Perth , arrived soon afterwards. From then on, until after the invasion of Java in late February, , the ships were under almost constant enemy air, submarine and surface attacks as they carried out their duties of minesweeping, anti-submarine protection, patrolling and convoy escort work. The destroyer Vampire was on the screen of H. Ships Prince of Wales and Repulse when they were sunk off Malaya by torpedo bombers on 10th December, ; Vampire rescued survivors.

Vampire was later sunk by enemy aircraft during the Japanese task force raid into the Bay of Bengal in April, The sloop Yarra was lost while endeavouring to defend a small convoy against a Japanese force of three heavy cruisers and four destroyers. Perth was lost in action against numerically superior enemy forces in Sunda Strait on the night 28th February - 1st March, Nearer home, the R. Much of this work was carried out under heavy enemy air attack, and without our own air cover. This proved to be the point at which the Japanese sea borne drive on Australia was finally halted.

Throughout the period of the building up for, and the eventual mounting of, the offensive against Japan in the South West Pacific, the R. It was also responsible for the maintenance of the Australian coastal traffic which transported the vital raw materials for heavy industry. The corvettes and survey ships of the R. The destroyer Voyager was lost during the night of 22nd September, , while disembarking Army personnel and stores at a point on the Timor coast about which only meagre navigational data were available. The corvette Armidale was lost to enemy air attack in the Arafura Sea during December, , while reinforcing Australian Army forces in Timor.

December, marked the beginning of the long series of amphibious operations which finally defeated the enemy forces in the South West Pacific. During the invasion of the Philippine Islands, Australian cruisers, destroyers and landing ships took part in the operations off Leyte Island in October, Australia suffered damage when struck by an enemy aircraft and sustained 30 fatal casualties - including her Commanding Officer - and a number of wounded.

Shropshire and Arunta also took part in the Battle of Surigao Strait later in the month. In January, Australian cruisers took part in the invasion of Luzon Island. Australia , which had been repaired was again damaged, this time by five enemy suicide aircraft, and extensive repairs were necessary. Following Japan's entry into the war, the five ''N'' and two ''Q'' Class destroyers together with 13 corvettes served with various British Commands, mainly with the Mediterranean and Eastern Fleets.

Some of them took part in operations such as the invasions of Madagascar and Sicily, and in the landings in North Africa; others assisted the great Russian drives by carrying out monotonous but valuable escort work in the Persian Gulf, the southern point of entry for war material destined for Russia. The destroyers took their part in fighting the convoys through to Malta, enabling that fortress to withstand the heaviest air attacks the Italians and Germans could inflict on it.

It was after the crucial Malta convoy battle in June, , that the destroyer Nestor , while returning to Alexandria, was sunk by enemy aircraft. During the last year of the war, the "N" and "Q" destroyers and 18 corvettes 21st and 22nd Minesweeping Flotillas were attached to the British Pacific Fleet. These ships, and the 3, personnel involved, were additional to the Australian warships and men serving under American operational control in the South-West Pacific area.

All the ships formed part of the Task Units, British Pacific Fleet, and were engaged in the Fleet Train or on screening duties for carrier-borne operations against the Japanese mainland. After the surrender of Japan the 21st and 22nd Minesweeping Flotillas, together with 8 other corvettes, were engaged in minesweeping activities at Hong Kong and off the China Coast. Early in the war there occurred a series of daring attacks on passenger and cargo ships by German surface raiders which also shelled Nauru and laid minefields in our coastal waters.

Generally operating as a trio, they ranged over waters east and south of Australia for a period of slightly more than six months. They sank a total of 10 ships, including the 16, ton passenger-liner Rangitane ; they also laid minefields which were responsible for the loss of four ships and damage to a fifth.

After sinking five ships in the Nauru area early in December, , one of the raiders heavily shelled the phosphate loading equipment at Nauru, and the Manyo Maru and the Tokyo Maru landed prisoners on Emiran Island. These survivors reached Australia by rescue ship on 1st January, The next intrusion into the shipping lanes along the east coast of Australia occurred after the Coral Sea Battle, when Japanese naval operations south of the equator were confined to attempts to cut Allied lines of communication by submarine attacks.

On the night of 31st May, , Japanese midget submarines attacked shipping in Sydney Harbour, sinking the naval depot ship Kuttabul , a former Sydney ferry. At least three midget submarines were destroyed by Harbour defence vessels.

Land, sea and air forces

The Sydney Harbour raid was the precursor of a submarine campaign against shipping off the east coast of Australia, and during June several vessels were attacked, one being torpedoed and sunk. Although some of these submarines were destroyed by Allied aircraft, two more attacks were recorded in August, and between January and May, , eight freighters and the hospital ship Centaur were torpedoed of the east coast.

No further attacks were experienced until December, , when early in the month an Allied merchant ship was shelled by an enemy submarine in Bass Strait, and early on Christmas morning an Allied merchant ship was sunk by a torpedo from an enemy submarine between Sydney and Melbourne.

When, owing to the Japanese submarine menace, the convoy system was instituted around the Australian coast in June, , Australian escort vessels were employed to protect the convoys. As the Allied forces moved northward to New Guinea and along the northern New Guinea coast, the convoys were extended, and, by the end of the war, Australian escort vessels had afforded anti-submarine protection to vast numbers of Allied troops and quantities of Allied war materials to places as far afield as Morotai, Borneo and the Philippines.

This was that the majority of the ships were commanded by R.

Kokoda Track, Papua New Guinea | Department of the Environment and Energy

Later, in May , Captain J. Collins, C. Squadron, with the rank of Commodore First Class. This was the first time in its history that the squadron had come under the command of an officer of the R. At the outbreak of war, the strength of the R. This figure was doubled overnight as Reserve personnel were mobilized.

Some of the Reservists went into shore establishments on base staffs, Naval Control and the examination service; others were drafted immediately to sea, a large number sailing as gunners in defensively equipped merchant ships. There was never a shortage of volunteers, and recruiting progressed steadily. At the end of the war, there were 36, mobilized personnel in the R. Nursing Service. In June, , there were still approximately Australians serving on loan with the Royal Navy, and, of these, more than were members of the Royal Australian Navy Volunteer Reserve. These volunteers enlisted under the "Yachtmans' Scheme" by which peace-time yachtsmen, pastoralists, professional men and business executives joined the R.

Those over thirty years of age were required to pass the navigation tests for the Yachtmaster's Certificate, and were granted commissions before they left Australia. The younger volunteers reached the United Kingdom as ratings, were trained in craft ranging from destroyers downwards, and then entered H. King Alfred training establishment to complete courses for their commissions.

The first batch left for Britain in January, , and the last group enlisted under the scheme sailed in February, Many distinguished themselves while serving in every type of vessel, and carrying out every type of duty. In June, , R. This list does not take into account the considerable number of Australians commanding individual "little ships" such as motor torpedo boats and various types of landing craft. The W. The first W. A total of decorations and awards to R.

This number included 18 awards bestowed by United States authorities, 4 Royal Netherlands and 4 Greek decorations. Air Defence 1. General A statement respecting the preliminary steps taken in connexion with the development of air defence will be found in Official Year Book No. The Secretary, Department of Air was an ex-officio member. On 12th December, , an additional member - the Business Member - was appointed. The expansion of the R. This re-organization, which was effective from 4th June, until the cessation of hostilities on 15th August, , provided for the following Board members:- the Chief of the Air Staff, the Air Member for Personnel, the Air Member for Engineering and Maintenance, the Air Member for Supply and Equipment, the Finance Member civilian , and the Business Member civilian.

The strength of the R. There were 12 squadrons in existence of which two were formed in nucleus only, while a number of the flying personnel of No. In addition to R. Head-quarters, there were four R. The squadrons were located at Laverton, Richmond, Rathmines and Pearce, but during the precautionary stage prior to the outbreak of war, two squadrons Nos.

As a gesture to the British Government, No. Coastal Command on the outbreak of war. This was the first R. The approved pre-wa r development programme was 19 squadrons with a first-line strength of aircraft with a reserve of 50 per cent. This programme was to be completed by June, At a meeting held on 22nd September, , the defence Committee endorsed a recommendation by the Air Board that the R.

War Cabinet on 2nd March, approved of a further expansion of the R. Expansion in accordance with that plan was, however, retarded because of difficulties experienced in obtaining the requisite aircraft. As the result, following on decision of War Cabinet on 5th October, , the planned rate of expansion of R. The additional 16 squadrons were to be formed and maintained from local production. That planned expansion was, however, retarded because aircraft deliveries fell below requirements and programmed deliveries.

On 2nd March, , War Cabinet, taking into account revised figures of anticipated deliveries from overseas and local production, approved of the following recommendations relative to the expansion of the R. In October, , a review of the nature, extent and balance of the war effort in the light of manpower position was made by War Cabinet, and the monthly allotment of manpower to the R. War Cabinet decided that the Commonwealth's part in the Empire Air Training Scheme should be directly related to the contemplated strength of the R.

Following a review of the strength of the R. In addition to 53 R. By 1st September, there were 53 R. Command in S. In addition there were 2 R. As at the cessation of hostilities in Europe, Australia had provided 15 squadrons in that theatre under the E. On 30th April, , operational units of the R. Air Force were combined operationally under Lieutenant-General Geo.

Australian Army during World War II

Command, known as "R. Command, Allied Air Forces". The function of R. On 26th February, operational control of R. Command, instead of 5th Air Force as hitherto. Command did not exercise any administrative function in respect of any R. Head-quarters through the various Group and Area Head-quarters. Advanced echelons of R. Head-quarters were established as necessary to maintain administrative contact with General Head-quarters, S.


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When the Empire Air Training Scheme was first visualized, it was anticipated that all advanced training would take place in Canada after elementary training in the respective dominions with a calculated peak output of 50, aircrew annually. This was the basis adopted. Rhodesia was used to relieve Australia's aircrew waiting list before the Australian training was fully under way.

The United Kingdom agreed to contribute to both the Australian and Canadian schemes certain aircraft, spares and similar supplies. The remaining costs in Australia were borne by Australia, which also contributed to the remaining costs of the Canadian scheme, first on a basis of The following figures include all Australians trained to 31st March, the date of cessation of the scheme :- Intake Output Australians trained in Australia Australians trained in Canada Australians trained in Rhodesia a 40, 10, 27, 9, a Includes 8, wastage in Australia and 4, aircrew still in training at 31st March, The total Australian intake to training amounted to 51, The overseas drafts were partially trained in Australia.

During the training of Australian aircrew under the E. Of these, occurred in Australia, 65 in Canada and 23 in Rhodesia. The highest figures of personnel serving in the R. Royal Australian Air Force personnel served in every theatre of war in the world with the exception of China. Catalinas, however, carried out mine-laying operations off the China Coast. On 1st September, , there were individual units in the R. Zones and operations i European War. These were the first Australians to take part in the air war against Germany. Some fought with squadrons of the Advanced Air Striking Force through the Battle of France, some with Fighter Command squadrons, and others with Bomber Command in its bombing offensive against targets in Germany and Norway.

In addition to the Australians in Royal Air Force squadrons there were in England at the outbreak of war a few flying boat crews of No. Other crews arrived at the end of the year. This offer was accepted and No. Following the fall of France and the entry of Italy into the war in the land battle was transferred to the Egyptian and Libyan Zone. At the request of the Air Ministry, No. This squadron later became a fighter squadron.

In April, , the first R. It was equipped with Spitfires and fought with Fighter Command. By the end of seven more Article XV. A second Spitfire squadron, No. In the United Kingdom five new R. The first of these, No. A detachment of this squadron went in August, to Russia where it carried out convoy escort duty and mapped part of the Arctic Ice Barrier.

To increase Bomber Command's growing power all R. These included Nos. In No. It took part in bombing operations in North Africa and Italy. Number was equipped in the United Kingdom with Lancasters. In the Middle East, two other R. Both of these squadrons were engaged in naval co-operation work, convoy escort and sea reconnaissance.

In and the following years R. In the Middle East Nos. From Italy these squadrons flew across the Adriatic to assist the Yugoslav partisans by bombing and destroying enemy shipping and concentrations. Later, in Italy, as a bomber squadron, it attacked marshalling yards and enemy strong-points.

In the United Kingdom, Nos. From to the end of the war R. Squadrons serving with Bomber Command continued their attacks on strategic targets in Germany and the occupied countries, destroying oil plants, communication centres and power supplies. In the air defence of Great Britain, Nos. In this Squadron, joined later by No. Squadrons which were operating in the United Kingdom at the close of the war in Europe had flown a total of 30,, operational miles in 65, sorties against the enemy. As yet no mention has been made of the service in every theatre of the War of the many thousands of Australian aircrew who were absorbed directly into R.

During the period May, to May, approximately 60 per cent. Operational Commands served in R. Squadrons, and since for many reasons the policy for Dominion personnel to serve only in units of their respective Dominions was impossible, there were eventually very few R. Squadrons which had not had at some time or other Australian aircrew on strength. In addition, a large number went to the Allied Expeditionary Air Force and the Second Tactical Air Force, and their duties covered the entire range of the manifold tasks of these forces.

Because they were so widely scattered, it is impossible to separate the weight of the effort of the Australian personnel from the vast number of men from all the Dominions who were serving under the same terms. Apart from those operating with the Middle East Command, several thousand aircrew were absorbed in this manner into R. Operational Squadrons based in England, whilst an additional 1, served as instructors under Flying Training Command. In Australia's offer of an air contribution to the Malayan Garrison was accepted by the British Government and three squadrons were duly sent to Singapore that year, a further one being added in In June, , a Station Head-quarters and an additional squadron were formed and a chain of operational bases was established, providing landing strips, petrol, oil, bombs and ammunition.

In February, , at a conference held at Singapore, the respective spheres of responsibility between the Far East, Netherlands East Indies and Australia were defined. On the outbreak of war with Japan, this agreement was implemented by locating the General Reconnaissance Squadron at Ambon in Ceram, and another at Koepang in Timor. Later, as the weight of the Japanese offensive moved south, a detachment of the Timor Squadron was sent to Namlea in Boeroe to help strengthen the Ceram-Boeroe area.

In mid-January, , operating from bases to the north the Japanese commenced raiding the Ceram-Boeroe group, until finally, towards the end of the month, the approach of a large enemy convoy forced the squadrons to evacuate those bases. The squadron at Koepang continued operations against the enemy, until a landing in that area became imminent. Towards the end of February this squadron was also withdrawn to Darwin. The first raid on Darwin occurred on the 19th February, During , R. By medium bombers and long range fighters were attacking bases and installations in Timor and the Tanimbar Islands, the Kai Islands, the Aroe Islands and on the south coast of Dutch New Guinea.

Heavy bombers attacked enemy ports and installations, shipping, and aerodrome installations in Ambon, Ceram, Babo-Kaimana-Monokwari, Sourabaya, Macassar and Batavia, and oil refineries at Balikpapan, Tjpoe and Wonokromo. Allied bomber operations in this zone were at their maximum between June, and April, Thereafter bomber operations continued, but on a gradually descending scale of intensity as air forces were transferred to the New Guinea theatre to take part in operations to the north-west directed at the Halmaheras and later at Borneo. In the course of North-Western Area operations allied aircraft destroyed enemy ships and damaged Allied aircraft also destroyed enemy aircraft and probably destroyed some 90 others; enemy aircraft were damaged.

Allied total aircraft losses due to enemy action were The main R. At the outbreak of war with Japan there were two R. These were flying boat squadrons and their primary role was reconnaissance to provide an outer line of air observation. A composite squadron was soon afterwards sent to Rabaul to provide some measure of local air defence, but the squadron was overwhelmed by intense air attacks which preceded the enemy capture of Rabaul in January, The first R.

So intense was the scale of operations at this time that by 3rd May the squadron was reduced to a total of three aircraft. It had, however, succeeded in destroying 18 enemy aircraft in air combat and a further 17 in ground strafing attacks on Lae aerodrome. Its own losses were 12 pilots and 22 aircraft. The two flying boat squadrons were withdrawn in May, to the mainland where they continued their reconnaissance to the north-east from their new base at Bowen, Queensland.

The development of an Allied Air Force base at Milne Bay was begun in June and July, , and two fighter squadrons were established there as an air garrison.


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  • These, together with other R. The two fighter squadrons, backed by support from air elements at Port Moresby and in co-operation with Australian land forces, contributed largely to the enemy's defeat at, and withdrawal from, Milne Bay. Supply dropping from the air on a large scale was begun in November, With this assistance the land forces were able to advance down the northern slopes of the Owen Stanleys. This period marked the first use of R. Attack Squadrons, whose Bostons and Beaufighters began constant harassing attacks on the Japanese lines of communication over the mountains and at their beach-heads in the Buna-Gona area.

    During the Allied air strength steadily increased, enabling direct support to be given to land operations, and the opening of an air offensive against New Britain. In April, , R. Catalinas began the mining from the air of enemy ports throughout the South-West Pacific Area, a specialized operation which caused the loss of thousands of tons of enemy shipping and supplies, and restricted the use of many harbours. The mining was sustained throughout the remainder of the war, and the Catalinas moved eventually through the Netherlands East Indies and the Philippines to the China Coast.

    During the later part of it became apparent that a mobile task force was needed and in January, No. The early operations of the group were confined to direct support of the Australian land forces in their drive along the Ramu Valley. During No. Soon after the landing of American land forces at Morotai in September, No.

    It then began moving to Morotai where its role became that of destruction of enemy watercraft in the Kai Islands, around Ceram, in the Banda Islands and Maccleur Gulf. During this period the activities of Northern Command, R.

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    Apart from airfield construction the R. Task Force was, like Northern Command, carrying out routine patrols. It did not again come into prominence until the launching of the Borneo campaign in the middle of Preparation for the operations in Borneo began as early as January,

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