The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945


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Thousands of British soldiers were captured and many more evacuated. After Italy invaded Albania in April , Mussolini announced that he had no plans to threaten Greece. Despite this, the British and French governments pledged themselves to maintain Greek independence. At the outbreak of war, Greece attempted to remain neutral but came under increasing pressure from Italy.

In October , Mussolini sent troops from Albania into Greece. Britain dispatched a squadron of aircraft to assist the Greeks, but Greek troops were already counter-attacking and driving the Italians back into Albania. It became increasingly clear that a German invasion of Greece was imminent. For Germany, this was not so much to assist the Italians, but to protect the Rumanian oilfields and secure their southern flank for the planned invasion of the Soviet Union.

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After initially refusing British offers of troops, in secret talks in February the Greeks accepted that an Allied expeditionary force should be dispatched to Greece. Germany invaded Yugoslavia and Greece on 6 April Outnumbered on the ground and in the air the Greek and Allied forces were unable to deploy sufficient troops in any one area to halt the German advance. The campaign was also hindered by poor communications between the Greek and Allied commanders, the difficult terrain and the under-developed road and rail system.


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Greek and Allied troops began to fall back as the Germans moved rapidly through the country, occupying Salonika on 8 April. The 22 nd and 26 th Brigades, together with the divisional headquarters and supporting divisional units, deployed to Malaya. They formed part of the British Commonwealth forces, defending the Singapore naval base from potential attack, if Japan entered the war as the Axis-Pact partner of fellow militarist dictatorships Germany and Italy. Having visited many Australian war cemeteries, in I found Ambon, in eastern Indonesia, the most moving. It is unique in that the location was first the Australian barracks, then the prisoner-of-war camp, and then their cemetery.

One of the tragedies of the 8 th Division experience is that inter-war Australian governments largely ignored their recommendations, delivered on 6 February , almost 22 years to the day before Singapore fell. As the late Professor Jeffery Grey, one of Australia's top three military historians, observed:. The [] report identified Japan as the only 'potential and probable enemy' … Australia should adopt a scheme which would make all its manpower and resources available quickly should a threat develop and, while the first line of defence should be 'devoted to contributing our share of an adequate Far Eastern Fleet', Australia should also 'maintain an Army capable of preventing an enemy from obtaining a decision on shore … and it is essential that the Military Force, like the Naval Force, be the maximum obtainable'.

A few of the many examples underlying the particular difficulties endured by the 8 th Division in , and in the three and half years afterward, are worth noting. The perennial lack of adequate defence investment in the inter-war years was initially driven by war-weariness.

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The Final Campaigns Australia In The War Of 1939 1945

This was strengthened by blind ideological optimism concerning the lifespan of agreements at the Washington disarmament conference. From the mid s both were supplemented by complacent, even cultish, faith in the British Commonwealth's "Singapore Strategy" for the defence of its Pacific region members. Second, several of Australia's Army chiefs and senior RAAF officers were sacked in the inter-war period for pointing out the strategic vulnerabilities involved with relying on the Imperial Fleet Base in Singapore as the main, and eventually sole de facto, guarantor of Australia's strategic security.

A third, and particularly illustrative example of complacent under-funding of defence needs, is that Australia had no tanks at all until four obsolete ones were purchased to assist infantry training in the late s. No modern tank capable of serious combat overseas was fielded by Australia until April when the first M3-medium "Grant" tanks arrived.

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Subsequently, the Japanese were able to deploy some tanks[8] in the Malayan campaign to great effect without being opposed by a single British or Australian tank. A fourth telling example is that the Royal Air Force selected the sites for Malayan airbases without consulting the British Army as to their defensibility from land attack. A fatal flaw in the defence of Singapore and Malaya was in-built from the start. Finally, Singapore and any fleet units operating from it could only be defended successfully with air cover by a large number of modern fighters and bombers. The provision by Australia of an infantry division the 8 th and two RAAF light bomber squadrons to Singapore in early was partly an interim measure to bolster the known gap in air defence cover.

Two more RAAF fighter squadrons followed. But as the Army History Unit campaign study, and other operational analysis and scholarship has shown, the swift Japanese advance down the peninsula owed much more to the decisive use of tanks. Particularly when supported by air superiority. In the islands, dispersing the 23 rd Brigade in three widely-spread, small-island, locations meant their defeat by the Japanese was inevitable and swift.

That elements[10] of Sparrow Force[11] on Timor were able to fight on for so long was principally due to the much larger size of that island, and the support they could and did receive from the Timorese people.

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Once the armed combat campaigns ended in Malaya and the islands, the moral combat campaign of mateship, steadfast resistance and survival continued for the three and a half years of brutal Japanese captivity. Statistics provide perspective to the human costs paid by the men of the 8 th Division and consequently their families. In World War II, some , Australians served overseas from a population of eight and a half million.

The 8 th Division alone lost almost killed-in-action during a month of fighting in Malaya and Singapore. It is signed by Goodman and dedicated to a contributor Charles Debney. For further enquiries ISBN - Booklet with map. Two Australia WW2 books. Hard cover books. General aged wear and marks, see photos. Kit Muster by J.

Military history of Australia during World War II | Military Wiki | FANDOM powered by Wikia

Perryman CSM : new book. Kit Muster. Also is a general history of the RAN. Uniforms, Badges and the Categories of the Australian Navy - General aged wear, mark to the front cover under the 'S' looks like a sticker mark. Book Condition: new book - perfect. The Royal Australian Air Force. An Illustrated History. Published by Sydney, Ure Smith, Wear to the dust cover and hard cover scratching. Most studies on artillery, whether it be Australian or from any other country, usually describe the guns and their specifications.

A large reference book describing the artillery of garrisons throughout Australia.

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The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945 The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945
The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945 The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945
The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945 The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945
The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945 The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945
The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945 The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945
The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945 The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945
The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945 The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945
The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945 The Final Campaigns. Australia in the War of 1939-1945

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