Islander Soldiers.

Judging the morality of the past using the social values of the present is fraught with danger. Topics such as indigenous military service, for example, invite more emotion than objectivity. It is with some anxiety then, that with the aim of providing a broader picture of military history than we often find in the ‘mainstream’ media or popular

Zulus and Tedious, Ignorant Politics – My Bookshelf Part X.

I had been very much looking forward to reading “Zulu Rising” by Ian Knight, about the disastrous British loss of roughly 1200 souls in the Battle of Isandlwana, Zululand, Southern Africa, in 1879, until I realised I was reading a social rather than a military history, and a decidedly biased one at that. The battle – or, perhaps

The Pentropic Experiment – Part II.

The Australian Pentropic Division was to consist of a total of 14,045 men, of which 6,540 of those were infantry. The five enlarged infantry battalions each had 57 Officers and 1,251 Other Ranks. Each infantry battalion encompassed five rifle companies – as against the previous four – a Headquarters Company, Administrative Company, and Support Company. While the divisional

The Pentropic Experiment, Part I.

In 1960, the Australian Army undertook a radical reorganisation. Influenced by the United States’ Army which had converted their infantry to Pentomic divisions several years previously, the Australian Pentropic experiment was intended to ‘modernise’ the Australian Army and prepare it for service, if necessary, on the atomic battlefield. However within five years, the Pentropic organisation was discarded. In

Headquarters in an Australian WW2 Infantry Battalion.

In a previous blog post [here] we examined the structure of a WW2 Australian ‘Jungle’ Infantry Battalion and mentioned in passing that in addition to the four Rifle Companies which were the primary element of force within the battalion, a Headquarters Company provided the support elements necessary for the Rifle Companies to exist. As any creditable understanding of

Chunky Reads for Military History Nerds.

For those with a passing interest in military history, the self-confessed ‘nerds’ like myself, and anyone in between, the internet is a veritable playground of resources. There are a plethora of websites with facts, figures and photos for us to drool over, however where do we go if we want something more than that? Where can we find

The Lead-up to Balikpapan – the 2/3rd Australian Commando Squadron.

On the 1st of July, 1945, the Seventh Australian Division landed at the Japanese-occupied former Dutch town and port of Balikpapan, Borneo, for Operation Oboe One. It was one of the largest Australian amphibious operations of the war. The 2/3rd Australian Commando Squadron, one third of the 2/7th Australian Cavalry Commando Regiment and commanded by Major Peter Tancred,

Australian Commandos on Bougainville – Extract No.2 from “Commando White Diamond” by Don Astill.

The 2/8th Australian Commando Squadron, under the command of the much respected Major Norm Winning, was the only such Australian unit to fight with the infantry on the island of Bougainville in the Second World War in the Pacific. Don Astill wrote a history of the squadron, and following is an extract. “At first light on 25 April

The Oba Japanese Artillery Raiders – August, 1943, Salamaua, New Guinea, Part II.

Continued from Part I, posted 5 November 2015. 16 Platoon, “D” Company, 47th Australian Infantry Battalion …Some of the platoon were about to begin constructing a defensive position for the night by cutting fire lanes, others were detailed to protect them, and some left their weapons to wash in the creek. At roughly 1730 hours (5:30 p.m.) The

What am I Worth? Rates of Pay in the Second Australian Imperial Force.

It would be naïve to think that for some who enrolled in their country’s armed forces, money was not a motivating factor. This would have been especially so for non-skilled labourers prior to the first-world welfare of the 20th Century. For professionals who chose to put aside their career, enlisting in the military may have resulted in a
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