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.