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Australia in WWII?

Discussion in 'War in the Pacific' started by MachineGunMan, Feb 16, 2004.

  1. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    I have read that the presence of the battle hardened crews from British and Commonwealth ships were a real moral booster for US crews at the time.
     
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    More the first major defeat...the first defeat that drove them back and changed their plans...
     
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  3. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    The light cruiser HMAS Perth was at the Java Sea. The night after the battle, she and USS Houston tried to escape through the Sunda Strait but ran into a Japanese invasion force including heavy cruisers Mogami and Mikuma and several destroyers, and both were sunk. Houston's after turret had been knocked out by air attack some time earlier, so Perth followed her to cover the blind spot.

    Several Japanese troop transports, including that of the commanding general, were sunk by torpedos during the Sunda Strait battle - but they were Japanese torpedos which had missed Houston and Perth. A staff officer was sent to apologize to the general but discovered that he assumed he had been sunk by the enemy, and it seemed best not to correct him......
     
  4. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    And then both the survivors of the Houston and the Perth were captured by the Japanese and sent to make a railway...
     
  5. Duns Scotus

    Duns Scotus Member

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    Other facts about Oz in World War Two not yet mentioned-A- Austraian Prime Minister John Curtin tried to cut a deal with the Japanese pre-December 1941 where the Japanese would have been granted mineral mining rights in Western Australia at Wampo Valley in exchange for a Japanese pledge not to attack Australia.Curtin was matey with the Japanese Consul in OZ but Curtin's proposal came to nothing.
    B-ON D-day June 6 1944 an Australian Bomber Command pilot died over Caen wearing one of Luftwaffe chief Herman Goering's First World War decorations around his neck.
    The Aussie pilot, from Bunbury, West Australia, had been given the Goering medal by a neighbour in Bunbury W.A. pre-war who Goering had shot down in a fighter dogfight in France in 1916 and whose gallantry so impressed Goering that he gave him the medal when he was introduced to his Aussie''kill'' victim.
    However, no Aussie infantry units took part in the Normandy landings on June 6 1944 being engaged elsewhere.
     
  6. Robert57

    Robert57 Member

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    We tend not to hear much in the US about our Australian allies. In June 1942, US Intelligence became aware that the Japanese were building an airfield on Guadalcanal and planning to seize Milne Bay, New Guinea so they could build an airfield there. Australian troops beat the Japanese to Milne Bay and after they repulsed a Japanese attack in August, the Japs decided to concentrate on the Solomons. It can be argued that Milne Bay & Guadalcanal were equally important as a Japanese victory at Milne Bay could have led to the loss of all New Guinea and might have diverted resources from the Guadalcanal campaign.
    There were no fighter aircraft in Australia at the beginning of the Pacific war. As soon as the US was able to spare some P-40's for the RAAF, No. 75 Squadron was formed and after nine days training in P-40's, they went into combat at Port Moresby.
     
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  7. mikebatzel

    mikebatzel Dreadnaught

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    Hello Robert and welcome to the forum. There's lots do see and learn here so have fun and jump right in.

    Generally speaking, the term "jap" is considered in today’s world as a derogatory term. Regardless of what your personal views are on the term, this is a multi-national forum inhabited by members from many different countries. "Jap" may be just a shortened abbreviation for you but generally speaking, the term is focused more on the intent and meaning rather than the word itself, like all racial slurs. The only exceptions to this rule are when directly quoting period documents, or from our Veterans themselves. Please refrain from using this word in the future.
     
  8. merdiolu

    merdiolu Member

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    9th Australian Division "The Rats of Tobruk"; was an elite force fought in Western Desert between 1941-42. When Rommel started his first attack in Libya at Apri 1941 and drove Commonwealth Forces out of Cyreneica only 9th Australian Division stood up gallantly in besieged Tobruk against Axis tide and stopped advance of Afrikakorps to Egypt. 9th Australian Division stoped not one but three large scale Axis assaults on Tobruk between April-August 1941 and conducted several agressive patrols and commando style night raids on besieging Italian positions.

    When 8th Army was defeated in Battle of Gazala and Panzer Armee entered entered Egypt in June 1942 8th Army under Auckinleck finally stopped Rommel at Alamein. 9th Austrlian and 2nd New Zealand Divisions were brought up and fought Rommel to a stand still capturing loads of German and Italian prisoners and material including entire artillery force of Italian Arierte Division. One Australian battalion captured German Signal Unit 621 in Alamein line during July 1942 battles and with captured documents brought up by Australians 8th Army found out to their horror that not only their wireless communications were hopelessly compromised but Germans could actually read US Military Attache radio reports to Washington about strength , weaknesses and positions of 8th Army. Wireless and radio codes of both were immediately changed plugging a vital Allied security gap.

    During Second Battle of Alamein in October-November 1942 9th Australian Division was the forefront vanguard of entire Allied assault force and most successful one , capturing most ground on northern flank of line and inflicting heavy casaulties on enemy and suffering serious losses. Constant attacks of Australian infantry stretched Panzer Armee to a breaking point in north making 8th Army's armor and infantry breakout in south of Alamein line possible. After the battle division was pulled back and then sent back to Australia in December 1942 due to insistance of Prime Minister Curtin (I always wondered why ? This division was elite , accustomed to fight in Mediterranean Theater and any Japanese invasion threat to Australia which was non existent anyway had already passed in October 1942. Maybe you can enlighten me) This divisions reputation so high Field Marshall Harold Alexander CiC Med. personally adressed its soldiers in December 1942 before they were shipped off "wherever you may be my thoughts will always go with you and I shall follow your fortunes with interest and your successes with admiration. There is one thought I shall cherish above all others - under my command fought the 9th Australian Division."

    On june 6th 1944 D-Day on Normandy —Major General Freddie de Guingand, Chief of Staff, Allied Land Forces HQ 1944

    "My God, I wish we had [the] 9th Australian Division with us this morning"
     
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  9. Brian Groughan

    Brian Groughan Member

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    Over 993,000 Australians served in the armed forces during World War II. Of those on active service, 27,073 were killed in action or died, 23,477 were wounded, and 30,560 were taken prisoner of war. Of those taken prisoner, 8296 died in captivity. In 1943 we had a total population of 7.2 million, so by the time eligible age is taken into account we had a pretty high number of men fighting for the size of our country.
    Brian
     
  10. Brian Groughan

    Brian Groughan Member

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    Good post Ali.
    Brian
     
  11. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Just a rough calculation if half the population is female that leaves 3.6 million men if 1/3 are in the right age bracket that leaves 1.2 million with almost a million serving that's really impressive. Any idea what percentage of those serving were female?
     
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  12. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    In 1944 almost 50,000 women were serving in the military and thousands more had joined the civilian Australian Women's Land Army (AWLA). Many of these women were trained to undertake skilled work in traditionally male occupations in order to free servicemen for operational service. - Wiki
     
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  13. Brian Groughan

    Brian Groughan Member

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    With those figures broken down, there weren't too many left behind who were able to join the services and then if you added the volunteers that worked so well behind the scenes to feed and clothe the men and women here and on overseas service, there was such great commitment made by all.
     
  14. bronk7

    bronk7 Well-Known Member

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    ....more so?? what other countries?....please prove this
     
  15. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Defense of Tobruk comes to mind. No shortage of Australians in the Western Desert, Syria, Crete.

    Australia's fighting force was mostly overseas when Japan declared war. The only thing available were untrained men. Some Americans were there on Australia, but they were engineers, AA troops and non infantry/tank type soldiers.

    Initial combat against the Japanese was by the Australian militia in New Guinea and scattered forces elsewhere (Arrow Force). It was at the Owen Stanley range (Kokoda Track/Trail) that the Australians stopped the advance on Port Moresby (OK, Coral Sea stopped the seaborne attempt). Initially it was 39 Battalion composed of militia companies and a Papuan battalion of police volunteers who clashed with the Japanese. They were pushed back until they reached another defensive line manned by a 400 strong battalion of veterans from the Western Desert. The Japanese reached a point where they could see the sea; then they were ordered to withdraw.

    Guadacanal was more important and hence the order to withdraw.

    Elsewhere on New Guinea and at about the same time they were fighting on the Kokoda Track, a joint Australian and American force defeated the Japanese at Milne Bay (first land victory by the Australians against the Japanese). Australians were the ones who pushed the Japanese rearguard back to Buna (an American attempt to outflank them failed - the track was rougher than the Kokoda Track). Joint American-Australian drive to capture Buna, Gona and the surrounding areas. The threat against Port Moresby was over but New Guinea (second largest island in the world) wasn't freed from the Japanese until 1945. BTW, in the battles around Buna/Gona it was the Australians who provided tanks. The Americans thought that tanks couldn't function in the jungle and the Army Air Corps promised (loftily) that they could provide the close support the artillery couldn't (a lot of American artillery was sunk approaching its landing zone). The promises of the Air Corps fell very short of its promises.
     
  16. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    Leakey's Luck .(cousin of Richard Leakey). A British tank commander trapped at Tobruk volunteers as a rifleman after his tank is destroyed. He participates on night raids on Rommel's front lines at night. He explains how the Australians were so adept at night raids and were feared by the Germans. When the Siege of Tobruk is lifted, he returns to the tanks.
     
  17. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    It did not help when ABDA was superseded by SWPA and MacArthur who largely cut the ANZACK Forces out of the news in favor of US forces, both fought equally hard for victory.
     
  18. Riter

    Riter Active Member

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    MacArthur was such an egotist he hated to share the limelight with anyone. Eichelberger deserved better.

    Australia lost a lot of men as PoWs with the fall of Malaysia and Singapore. Australia also had a naval presence in Italy.
     

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