WAU 1942-1943

Australian Army Campaigns

Book 6
Big Sky Publishing
Free sample

"Throughout most of 1942, the Australian army fought a series of commando actions to keep the Japanese at bay in the Wau - Salamaua area of New Guinea. The Australian commando operation against Salamaua in June 1942 is still considered to be 'the perfect raid'. Following other commando actions at Mubo, the Japanese reinforced their troops at Salamaua in January 1943, and conducted a daring operation to capture Wau. Advancing by way of a seemingly impassable track between the Australian outposts, a force of two infantry battalions reached the foothills overlooking Wau before coming up against a single Australian company of infantry. Courageously led by Captain Bill Sherlock this small force held the Japanese advance at bay for a vital 36 hours, allowing other Australian troops to be rushed in to defend Wau. More importantly, the Australian stand enabled fresh troops to be flown in to the vital airfield and these men turned the tide in the battle. Based on a detailed analysis of the battlefield, this book outlines how the victory was achieved and demonstrates how determined leadership can turn the tide of battle"--Back cover.
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Publisher
Big Sky Publishing
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Published on
Mar 31, 2016
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Pages
216
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ISBN
9780980777406
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Language
English
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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In 1994 a group of Australian UN peacekeepers, made up of soldiers and army medical personnel, was sent to Rwanda under a United Nations mandate to help restore order to the war-torn country. These Australians would be exposed to a lack of humanity they were not prepared for and found hard to fathom. On 22nd April 1995, the daily horror and tragedy they had witnessed escalated out of control. At a displaced persons' camp in Kibeho, in full view of the Australian soldiers, over 4,000 unarmed men, women and children died in a hail of bullets, grenades and machete blades at the hands of the Rwandan Patriotic Army. Constrained by the UN peacekeeping Rules of Engagement, these Australians could only watch helplessly and try to assist the wounded under the gaze of the trigger-happy killers. Pure Massacre is a record of what happened during this peacekeeping mission. Kevin "Irish" O'Halloran, a Platoon Sergeant at the time, stresses the weaknesses of the UN charter and what happens when "good men do nothing". He pulls together the perspectives of those Australian soldiers who served in Rwanda at this time. Pure Massacre gives a new and personal voice to the Kibeho Massacre. It takes a special type of bravery, discipline and compassion to do what these soldiers did. Little did they know, when the second tour of Rwanda was over, that they would be the highest decorated UN peacekeeping contingent since the Korean War. For many, their service in Rwanda would come with a personal toll. No Australians died during and immediately after the massacre at Kibeho, but as Pure Massacre testifies, the suffering and tragedy is embedded in their memories.
In the wave of devastating German offensives launched in the spring of 1918, it is Operation Michael that has captured most attention, characterised by astonishing advances and their potentially shattering impact on the British Expeditionary Force’s (BEF) Third and Fifth armies. While this offensive eventually petered out, albeit tantalisingly close to the BEF’s crucial logistic hub of Amiens, German General Ludendorff redirected the German effort north to Flanders to launch Operation Georgette. In Flanders, the BEF front line lay alarmingly close to the vital channel ports, and the main German thrust posed a direct threat to the town of Hazebrouck, the BEF’s second key logistic hub. After four years of grinding and horrific war, all that stood between the Germans and victory was the 1st Australian Division, hastily recalled to defend the town.

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.

The AIF and the Hundred Days Battlefields such as Gallipoli, Fromelles, Pozières, Bullecourt and Passchendaele are burnt into the Australian Great War psyche. Unfortunately the sheer guts, fortitude and sacrifice of the diggers in those battles had often been wasted by poor leadership and planning. From an Australian perspective, such sacrifice engendered bitterness and frustration, which resulted in an emergent sense of Australian nationalism. The AIF now sought a unification of its five divisions to fight under its own command and administration.

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.

In 1994 a group of Australian UN peacekeepers, made up of soldiers and army medical personnel, was sent to Rwanda under a United Nations mandate to help restore order to the war-torn country. These Australians would be exposed to a lack of humanity they were not prepared for and found hard to fathom. On 22nd April 1995, the daily horror and tragedy they had witnessed escalated out of control. At a displaced persons' camp in Kibeho, in full view of the Australian soldiers, over 4,000 unarmed men, women and children died in a hail of bullets, grenades and machete blades at the hands of the Rwandan Patriotic Army. Constrained by the UN peacekeeping Rules of Engagement, these Australians could only watch helplessly and try to assist the wounded under the gaze of the trigger-happy killers. Pure Massacre is a record of what happened during this peacekeeping mission. Kevin "Irish" O'Halloran, a Platoon Sergeant at the time, stresses the weaknesses of the UN charter and what happens when "good men do nothing". He pulls together the perspectives of those Australian soldiers who served in Rwanda at this time. Pure Massacre gives a new and personal voice to the Kibeho Massacre. It takes a special type of bravery, discipline and compassion to do what these soldiers did. Little did they know, when the second tour of Rwanda was over, that they would be the highest decorated UN peacekeeping contingent since the Korean War. For many, their service in Rwanda would come with a personal toll. No Australians died during and immediately after the massacre at Kibeho, but as Pure Massacre testifies, the suffering and tragedy is embedded in their memories.

The Battle of Fromelles - until recently largely forgotten in the accounts of Australia’s experiences in World War One- remains the single bloodiest day in terms of numbers of soldiers killed, wounded or missing, in Australia’s military history. The battle now is also one of the most controversial military episodes in Australian history.

The battle for Fromelles was undoubtedly a tragedy – in the midst of a war which produced many such tragedies. Should anyone be blamed? Does finger pointing from the safety of 95 years distance add much to our understanding of the battle, the Western Front or the war itself? This book attempts to look at the battle, free from emotion, and place the course of events and the unfurling of the tragedy into its tactical, operational and strategic setting. This book is part of the Australian Army History Unit's Campaigns Series; well-researched, comprehensive and easy-to-read books on Australia's military campaigns.

What readers are saying, " I have received Roger Lee's book and I'm thrilled to have it! Thank you so much! It is so very carefully documented, extremely clear, and most helpful on what are in fact fuzzy areas such as : "Casualty Figures" or "The Trench". As for the information on the size and composition of : regiments, platoons, brigades, battalions, etc, the mind boggles! I had no idea it was so varied and complicated! In other words, the book opens up vast avenues of reflection and information, and I am learning heaps of things on every page. It's wonderfully pedagogical, and the lay-out is brilliant. It makes my experience in La Somme a hundred times richer. Hearty congratulations to Roger Lee!"


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