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Did Australia provide the majority of allied forces in the Pacific until late 1943?

Discussion in 'War in the Pacific' started by Aussiegoat, Feb 3, 2017.

  1. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    The CBI was established as it's own theater on June 22, 1942.
     
  2. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Agreed, but it was not as clear cut all the time, just as the schism between the ETO/MTO. Forces from England staged from there to be part of TORCH and then forces staged from MTO to invade southern France, the ETO. Bombers and fighters based in the MTO struck targets in the ETO, and of course air assets launched in England, bombed Germany and then flew on to the MTO.

    B 29's launched from China to attack Japan in the PTO, while forces in the western Pacific struck targets in the CBI.

    Of course you have to draw a line somewhere, but to those on the cutting edge such distinctions seem almost meaningless.
     
  3. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    Good points. Considering your post and others following, I would have defined it as either affected or (at the time) considered likely to be affected by combat. This would exclude CBI (own theatre) and the US West Coast (considering the Japanese - except subs - never moved east of Hawaii to my knowledge) and Panama, but include Alaska (considering its proximity to the Aleutians). That said, I'd love to hear about how many US troops were positioned defensively to fight off a possible invasion on the West Coast - never thought about it before!
     
  4. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    I find CBI fascinating! It always makes me cringe though when I read about 'British' forces in Burma when the vast majority were Indian. Same could be said for lots of campaigns (and historians) though I guess - books about the Middle East, Singapore, Burma and to a lesser extent Western Europe usually seem to define English, Northern Irish, Scottish, Welsh, Australian, Kiwi, Canadian, Indian etc etc as 'British'. Commonwealth is far more appropriate, or better yet name their country of origin rather than lumping them together!
     
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  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Im sure the English have the same problem with the word "British".
     
  6. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    Haha true! Although it's usually English or American historians/authors that make this mistake.
     
  7. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    From the Army Green Book "Global Logistics and Strategy 1940-1943", Appendix E - December, 1941 thru April, 1943, troop movements via Army controlled shipping.
    North, South, and Latin America - 129,572
    Alaska - 131,147
    Central Pacific - 164,313
    South Pacific - 133,214
    Southwest Pacific - 221,904
    China Burma India - 30,028

    Appendix E gives a monthly breakdown, but these are the totals.

    Further, there was no large mass of troops held in reserve to fight off an invasion of the US West Coast, as that had largely been discounted, especially with Japanese invasions heading in a south/southeasterly direction. That is not to say that there were not plenty of AA and shore batteries there though. Mostly Hawaii was seen as the prime target and that was where the troops were going in December, 1941 and the early months of 1942.
     
    Last edited: Apr 11, 2019
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  8. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    In a lot of posts "British" is intended to mean "British Commonwealth". "Commonwealth" is actually ambiguous as the British Commonwealth is not the only one. So in many cases we should be using the full title many (most) of us get lazy. I do try to use "British" instead of "English" and "Soviet" instead of "Russian" which I consider more significant misuses but obviously that's just one persons opinion.

    In regards to the war in Burma have you read Quartered Save Out Here? If not I encourage you to do so. Not very useful in portraying the strategic part of that campaign but if you want a view of what it was like for a section involved in it I doubt you can find better.
     
  9. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Australians are as British as Americans...so it does grate when we are included in the name instead of called out as Australian.
    As far as the word Britain is concerned...it consists of the (Northern) Irish, the Welsh, the Scots and the English...these are truly separate countries with their own language and customs...it must be a little annoying to be lumped together, especially given their history...Plus IMO England has done so much Internationally in history, that it must for some Poms be a little annoying to have three other countries attached to their achievements...
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Looking at:
    definition british - Google Search
    The first definition of "British" would seem to be the one your prefer but even it says "United Kingdom" which during WW2 would include the colonies wouldn't it?
    The second is:
    That would seem to include Australia and not the USA.
    Interestingly this link distinguishes between American and British definitions of "British": :):
    British definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary

    Sounds like they should probably add more variations based on locality.
     
  11. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    It’s only correct IMO if we are referred to as ‘Commonwealth’...at least that’s says it wasn’t British...but how hard is it to just mention the countries involved?
     
  12. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Is it our fault that those danged lobsterback's have so many alias's they go by?
     
  13. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    You do realize that while it's not widely mentioned the US has a small "commonwealth" as well? Thus making the term somewhat ambiguous. There may be others as well. For a formal history or communication making sure one uses the correct terms makes sense. On boards such as this or in friendly discussion in general less so. There's also the question of whether or not one wants to emphasize the unit by calling using the more inclusive terms or the contributions of specific countries by using their names.
     
  14. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    So these figures are for 'troops' (does it delineate between Army, Navy, USAAF?) transported, excluding those already in place? Considering the Australian Army peaked at 476,000 (the vast majority of which was in Australia) in August 1942, these figures roughly suggest that Australian and American forces were similar in size by 1943, taking in Central/South/Southwest Pacific.

    Therefore to answer my own question, it seems likely that Australian forces were larger from December 1941 through 1942 and much of 1943, but that this gap was gradually eroded until US forces began outnumbering Australian sometime in mid-late 1943. This transition was then compounded by a reduction of 100,000 Australian militia beginning in October 1943. Ironically, despite this and further disbanding in 1944, more Australian troops were in action in mid-1945 that at any other time. Almost the entire Army - 3 AIF and 3 Militia divisions, plus some limited armoured forces - were concurrently conducting offensive operations in New Guinea, Borneo, New Britain and Bougainville. Of course by then American forces involved were huge by comparison.
     
  15. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    And no doubt disconcerting for many Irish, Scots and Welsh to be attached to many English 'achievements' ;)
     
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  16. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    It's a fair point that there are multiple commonwealths but I agree with CAC that it seems inappropriate to label Australian, Indian, Canadian, NZ and several African nations as British. Australian (and Canadian/NZ) demographics in the 1940s might have been heavily 'British' but such generalisations tend to minimise the contribution of these and other countries, while inflating the contributions of the English, Scots, Welsh and Northern Irish.
     
  17. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Australians in New Guinea...

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]


    The Us in New Guinea...
    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Australia AND the US in New Guinea...

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Yes, these numbers are just those troops transported to, not those in place.

    Can't recall if there is a breakdown, from this list or if I am thinking of another. But, naval personnel would be minimal since they had there own resources for movement.
     
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2019
  19. Takao

    Takao Ace

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    Just checked and there is no breakdown for army, navy, USMC, etc.
    However, there is a note that the total personnel movement consist of 1,601,228 Army troops, 40,000 navy, and 36,000 Allied & civilian.
     
  20. Aussiegoat

    Aussiegoat Member

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    This post suggests US land forces in the Pacific (Hawaii, Alaska, Southern Pacific Islands, Australia and NZ) totalled the following by November 1942:

    9 Divisions + 10 Regiments
    = Roughly 12 divisions in total

    This is a fairly similar total to Australian forces.
     

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