By mid-1918, after the calamitous German March offensive in which 1200 square miles of hard-won territory had been lost, the BEF (British Expeditionary Force) had begun to learn its lessons. In just 100 action-packed days Germany was brought to its knees. And Lieutenant-General Sir John Monash and his Australian Corps played a critical role in that stunning victory.
In this authoritative account of the 100 days, Peter Brune traces the painstaking BEF acquisition of its tactical doctrine with regard to its artillery, tanks and its air force. And the consequence of this knowledge was a sophisticated inter-locking all arms approach to war: incorporating coordinated firepower rather than the futile expenditure of manpower. However, it is Brune's use of participants' diaries that brings an immediacy to his story. The reader will be taken to the bloody interface of battle, hear the voices of some of the Australians involved, and gain a sense of the cost of ultimate victory.
When Imperial Japan unleashed the Pacific War in December 1941, Australian forces went into action, as part of a larger British Empire force, to defend Malaya and Singapore.
Australia’s principal contribution to defending Malaya and Singapore was the 8th Division. Originally raised for service in the Mediterranean, the division was committed piecemeal to Malaya and its performance was bedevilled by poor command decisions in the face of an enemy better prepared on all counts for the campaign at hand. The 8th Division, however, also reflected some strengths of the AIF at large: stubbornness in positional defence, effective and flexible small unit tactics and leadership, and skill and determination in close quarter combat.
Singapore was lost more in spite than because of Australian efforts, but its loss underlined Australia’s strategic dependence on ‘great and powerful friends’ during the Second World War. This book is part of the Australian Army History Unit's Campaigns Series; comprehensive, well-researched and easy-to-read books on Australia's military campaigns.
Brigades and battalions, of battles and actions great and small, some of which name the CO of a battalion, while others do not. The Official Histories, the various unit war diaries and many of the unit histories are likewise inconsistent, often neglecting to identify the unit’s CO other than as ‘the CO’ or ‘the old man’.
The author, the son of an AIF veteran of the 41st Battalion who served from Passchendaele to the Hindenburg Line, asked his father the name of the man who had commanded his battalion. He replied curtly, ‘Goodness knows, we were much too busy to worry about that!’
The author discovered that the 41st had not one CO, but three. And so it was reflected with most AIF combat units. Age, exhaustion, wounds, death and promotion all contributed to the rotation of battalion and formation COs. By the end of the war, CO appointees for the 60 infantry battalions, 15 light horse regiments, 25 artillery brigades,,5 machine-gun, 5 pioneer, 2 cyclist, 4 camel corps battalions and 5 ammunition columns reached almost 500; the number of individual appointments numbering close to 2000.
Combat Colonels of the AIF in the Great War seeks to address the regrettable gap in Australia’s documented history of its combat colonels. Its purpose is to name all the Commanding Officers who led units into action in the Great War and to describe their lives before and, for those who survived, after the war. From these pages emerge the men who shaped Australia’s battlefield history - both the professional soldiers and the former teachers, accountants, salesmen, clerks, farmers and others from a broad range of occupations whose leadership on and off the battlefield proved so crucial. These are men Australia cannot afford to forget.
Previous studies have been characterized by an overemphasis on Montgomery's role in the campaign, rather than a systematic examination of overall British methods. They have ignored the difficulties that the 1944 British Army faced given its manpower shortage, and they have underestimated the appropriateness of Monty's methods to the campaign war aims that Britain pursued: namely, the desire that Britain's modest military forces secure a high profile within a larger Allied effort. The cautious, firepower-laden approach used by the 21st Army Group was both crude and a double-edged sword; however, despite these weaknesses, Colossal Cracks represented an appropriate technique given the nature of British war aims and the relative capabilities of the forces involved. It proved to be just enough to defeat the Germans and keep alive British hopes that her war aims might be achieved.
This volume describes the battle to save Hazebrouck — part of what was to become the Battle of the Lys — and focuses on the role of the 1st Australian Division in halting the surging German thrust towards the town. While often neglected by history, this action was critical to the survival of the BEF and the Allied war effort in 1918 and deserves far greater recognition. The Battle of the Lys also brings the performance of the BEF divisions during Operation Georgette into sharper focus while providing a unique opportunity to reassess BEF and German performances at what was a decisive point in the First World War.
This volume describes the battle to save Hazebrouck — part of what was to become the Battle of the Lys — and focuses on the role of the 1st Australian Division in halting the surging German thrust towards the town. While often neglected by history, this action was critical to the survival of the BEF and the Allied war effort in 1918 and deserves far greater recognition.
Ill Met By Moonlight is the gripping account of the audacious World War II abduction of a German general from the island of Crete. British special forces officers W. Stanley Moss and Patrick Leigh Fermor, together with a small band of Cretan partisans, kidnapped the general, then evaded numerous German checkpoints and patrols for nearly three weeks as they maneuvered across the mountainous island to a rendezvous with the boat that finally whisked them away to Allied headquarters in Cairo.
"It was a mad adventure, and it came off. Moss recorded the whole escapade in a diary, which survives as a thrilling account of one of the most reckless and dramatic actions of the war."—Patrick Leigh Fermor
"A twin masterpiece of action and narrative."—Spectator
"[An] exciting account of a feat which demanded an extreme of daring and determination."—London Times
The 2011 Paul Dry Books edition includes an Afterword by Patrick Leigh Fermor.
"eloquent... heartbreaking... a sterling tribute. The stuff of legends." Nick Richardson, Herald Sun
FAIR DINKUM (def.): honesty, guts, directness, fortitude, courage, truth.
You had to be fair dinkum to enlist after the hell of Gallipoli hit home. A new breed of warrior and patriot stepped up as Anzac's second wave. Among them were 152 men of the 7th Battalion - fruit pickers and farmers, bootmakers and blacksmiths, miners and mailmen. They fought under the colours of 'mud and blood' in the searing sands of Egypt, on Gallipoli's fatal shore, across killing fields in France and beyond.
Born in the right place at the wrong time, the bravery and ingenuity of these young Australian men forged a legendary band of brothers: 'The Fair Dinkums'.