Not Without Risk – The Allied Merchant Navy on the Australian East Coast in WW2.

Previously I had been aware that a small number of German ‘raiders’ and Japanese submarines had roamed Australia’s coasts during the Second World War, and that both Allied naval and merchant marine vessels had been targeted by the same. After all, everyone knows about the attack by Japanese midget submarines on Sydney Harbour and the loss of the

End of the Line – Australian Railway Operating Companies in the Great War.

Enormous quantities of materials and supplies were expended or consumed on the Western Front during the Great War, but how did that get to the men in the ‘front line’ and the support areas? An army without supplies neither pushes forward nor stands its ground: it is forced, reluctantly, to retreat. The greater scale of the war in

Remembered Strangers – A Personal Tribute.

Like many hundreds of thousands of other Australians, I have distant ancestors who served in the Great War. I have only found four of them so far, though no doubt there were at least several more, and two of those were killed in action on the Western Front. I know very little about these men – great, great

Burn with Sincerity: The Oba Artillery Raiding Party, August, 1943 – Part I.

August, 1943, New Guinea. The Australian and American offensive code-named ‘Doublet’ against the Japanese-occupied location of Salamaua had been progressing as planned since it began on the night of the second-last day of June. The Japanese had been thrown out of their positions around their most forward inland bastion of Mubo, were being threatened in the vital Komiatum

Excerpts from “Commando Kayak” by John Hoehn, Part II.

The following from Hoehn’s detailed retelling of the creation of the Hohn folboat for use by Australian special forces and commandos in the war in the Pacific, alludes to the political machinations that underlay much of the more secretive aspects of allied operations in the theatre, especially inter-service and inter-Allied rivalry. “His mind wasn’t on the view. He

Demythologising Phoenix – My Bookshelf Part IX.

Politics has always been entwined with armed conflict, and in the mid to late 20th Century there was no more political war than that between the ostensibly democratic South Vietnam and its U.S. and other allies, and communist North Vietnam. One of the most controversial elements of this long, complex war, not so much at the time, but

Washington Sinks Australia – The Naval Treaty that sank our Battle Cruiser.

It is to be expected that naval vessels are liable to be sunk during wartime, but what about in periods of peace, by one’s own country, and intentionally, rather than by accident? Such an occurrence took place in Australia in the otherwise unremarkable year (by recent historical standards, that is), of 1924. The battle cruiser H.M.A.S. Australia was

Reverse Lend-Lease in WW2.

Readers of military history might be aware of the Lend-Lease program during the Second World War where the industrial powerhouse, the United States of America, provided materials to a number of Allied countries, including other powers such as Great Britain and Russia. Australia, which joined the Lend-Lease program in early September, 1942, three years after the beginning of

Australian WW2 Jungle Divisions – The Organisation of.

I’ve written previously that one of my goals with this blog is to shine a light on some of the lesser-known aspects of our military history, including military units that, because of their smaller size, ‘secondary’ or less glamorous role, are often relegated to the footnotes. In the Australian Army, the infantry has historically occupied the front pages

Infantryman and Commando – Colonel George Warfe D.S.O., M.C. – Part II.

In early 1943, George Warfe was a Captain, Temporary Major, and Officer Commanding the 2/3rd Australian Independent Company in the Wau-Salamaua Campaign in New Guinea. He was an active leader, physically fit and willing to do whatever he ordered his subordinates to do. At one stage he personally manned a Vickers Medium Machine Gun and staged a long-range
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