What About The Aussies?

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by Blackblue, Dec 19, 2004.

  1. Blackblue

    Blackblue Senior Member

    Hi Lee,
    There seem to be a number of queries regarding Australian units in the campaign against the Japanese and nowhere obvious to post questions. I also wondered if there was anywhere to place queries about Malaya/Singapore and the early part of the Pacific campaign.

    I have noticed that the title of this topic mentions the war in the Pacific and only the US and the Japanese. A significant part of the war in the Pacific was waged by the Australian's in New Guinea, Papua, Timor etc. including a series of important actions well before America came on the scene. The Australian's were the first to defeat the Japanese in battle at Milne Bay and on the Kokoda Trail.

    Regards

    Tim D
     
  2. harribobs

    harribobs Member

    I'd love to know more about the aussie part in the pacific

    any suggestions to a suitable book?
     
  3. CROONAERT

    CROONAERT Ipsissimus

    Originally posted by Blackblue@Dec 19 2004, 11:21 AM
    A significant part of the war in the Pacific was waged by the Australian's in New Guinea, Papua, Timor etc. including a series of important actions well before America came on the scene.

    ...and also by the Brits, New Zealanders, Indians, etc....

    Dave.
     
  4. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Australia in the Pacific is not as well-known in the US as it should be, which is very annoying. The Australians were the first army to defeat the Italians, Germans, Vichy French, and Japanese in battle. The Australian Official Histories are a good place to start. After that, go to the Australian War Memorial Web Page, and their on-line shop, and start drooling. They have a lot of very fine books on Australia's war in the Pacific. Some of them are listed on my web page's bibliography. One thing hurt was the Australians fighting to liberate the Dutch East Indies and Borneo late in the war while the Americans got the "Glamor" in the Philippines and Okinawa.
     
  5. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Indeed the Australians under Gen Morshead were one of the finest units available to 8th Army in North Africa. They had an excellent reputation and were pivotal in the defense of tobruk in 1941.

    Interestingly I feel that most of the Commenwealth troops get a bit of a raw deal when it comes to WWII. To the uninitiated the western Allies seem to comprise of the British, the US and the Free French when if the truth be known many more nations contributed troops and played an important role in the defeat of both Japan and Germany
     
  6. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Gotthard Heinrici@Mar 21 2005, 12:29 PM
    Indeed the Australians under Gen Morshead were one of the finest units available to 8th Army in North Africa. They had an excellent reputation and were pivotal in the defense of tobruk in 1941.

    Interestingly I feel that most of the Commenwealth troops get a bit of a raw deal when it comes to WWII. To the uninitiated the western Allies seem to comprise of the British, the US and the Free French when if the truth be known many more nations contributed troops and played an important role in the defeat of both Japan and Germany
    [post=32381]Quoted post[/post]
    Too true, mate. US residents know nothing about the role of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, and other Commonwealth members. They think the war was won by Patton and MacArthur singlehandedly.
     
  7. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Originally posted by Kiwiwriter+Mar 21 2005, 05:13 PM-->(Kiwiwriter @ Mar 21 2005, 05:13 PM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-Gotthard Heinrici@Mar 21 2005, 12:29 PM
    Indeed the Australians under Gen Morshead were one of the finest units available to 8th Army in North Africa. They had an excellent reputation and were pivotal in the defense of tobruk in 1941.

    Interestingly I feel that most of the Commenwealth troops get a bit of a raw deal when it comes to WWII.  To the uninitiated the western Allies seem to comprise of the British, the US and the Free French when if the truth be known many more nations contributed troops and played an important role in the defeat of both Japan and Germany
    [post=32381]Quoted post[/post]
    Too true, mate. US residents know nothing about the role of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Mauritius, and other Commonwealth members. They think the war was won by Patton and MacArthur singlehandedly.
    [post=32382]Quoted post[/post]
    [/b]
    and indeed some of the fiercest fighitng in Normandy took place on the Canadians part of the front were they faced 12th SS hitlerjugend. At the end of the campaign the SS division was almost non-existent due to the ferocity of the fighting.
     
  8. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    The Canadians in Normandy were a tough bunch. No conscripts, and all were regiments with long lineages back to the heritages of England and France. It was a small, lean army, with a lot of tradition, and a lot of anger over Dieppe.
     
  9. Gerard

    Gerard Seelow/Prora

    Originally posted by Kiwiwriter@Mar 22 2005, 02:25 PM
    The Canadians in Normandy were a tough bunch. No conscripts, and all were regiments with long lineages back to the heritages of England and France. It was a small, lean army, with a lot of tradition, and a lot of anger over Dieppe.
    [post=32437]Quoted post[/post]
    You're right about that Anger Kiwiwriter and I think it pervaded through the Commonwealth Forces during the last war. There was a general feeling that they were fighting "Britain's" war and that the experiences that they had in the First World War led them to believe that they might be needlessly sacrificed by the Mother country in her defense of empire.
     
  10. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Originally posted by Gotthard Heinrici+Mar 22 2005, 11:49 AM-->(Gotthard Heinrici @ Mar 22 2005, 11:49 AM)</div><div class='quotemain'><!--QuoteBegin-Kiwiwriter@Mar 22 2005, 02:25 PM
    The Canadians in Normandy were a tough bunch. No conscripts, and all were regiments with long lineages back to the heritages of England and France. It was a small, lean army, with a lot of tradition, and a lot of anger over Dieppe.
    [post=32437]Quoted post[/post]
    You're right about that Anger Kiwiwriter and I think it pervaded through the Commonwealth Forces during the last war. There was a general feeling that they were fighting "Britain's" war and that the experiences that they had in the First World War led them to believe that they might be needlessly sacrificed by the Mother country in her defense of empire.
    [post=32449]Quoted post[/post]
    [/b]Yes, that led to a lot of tension in the Commonwealth command functions. Freyberg's New Zealanders had a charter from Wellington that enabled him to pull the division out of engagements if necessary to save lives. The result was that the New Zealand Division was rarely used in static and wasting defense, but as a corps de chasse. Between major offensives in North Africa, it was held in reserve in Syria. In Italy, it served more often in the line as the 8th Army's manpower ran short due to commitments to France and Greece. Similar rules, not as well enforced, applied to the Australians. Canada would not commit ground troops to Egypt and Libya. The first Canadian ground troops to see action fought in Hong Kong. These restrictions were the result of the slaughters at Gallipoli, Vimy, and Ypres. It is pleasant, however, to report that the Australian, Canadian, and New Zealand forces made a powerfully favorable impression on their British bosses.
     
  11. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    The West Indies also contributed significantly. Many troops were stationed in East Lancashire, Northern England, and a number stayed in Britain after the war to raise families. This was true in Burnley, my home town, and the surrounding area where a few West Indian families formed small local commumities.

    I think this was due in no small part to the hospitality shown to them during the war by two illustrious pre-war West Indian test cricketers -- "Learie" Constantine and "Manny" Martindale -- who, as professionals in the Lancashire League (Constantine with Nelson and Martindale with Burnley) -- exerted considerable effort to make them feel welcome and organized numerous events to alleviate any discomfort they may have felt in such a foreign environment (cold, wet, gloomy -- and almost totally white -- Lancashire).

    My hometown of Burnley had a pre-war population of close to 100,000 and the only people of color living there were the Martindales -- Mr. Martindale, his wife, two sons and two daughters who were from the West Indies.

    "Manny" Martindale was the Professional for Burnley CC -- a test cricket fast bowler. It so happened that the Martindale family lived three doors away from my Pickering grandparents on Creswick avenue and I used to play with the boys at their house -- and also in informal (unorganized) cricket matches. The oldest boy, Fred, was one year younger than me and we attended the same school . The youngest, Colin, was two years younger than me -- they were both excellent cricketers.

    I think the same very small number of people of color existed in the great majority of Lancashire Industrial towns before the War.

    I cannot remember what campaigns the West Indian troops participated in. There were also some Sikh and Ghurka troops that were stationed in the vicinity of my home town.
     
  12. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

  13. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    HMS Achilles was manned largely by New Zealanders when she participated in the pursuit of the Graf Spee in mid-December 1939.
     
  14. jamesicus

    jamesicus Senior Member

    The first Australian armed forces unit I can personally remember arriving in England was a contingent of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) -- Pilots, Gunners, Observers & Ground Staff -- at Christmas 1939.
     
  15. GUMALANGI

    GUMALANGI Senior Member

    Read books about aussies in Vietnam also,.
    Too bad i forget the book,.. but i can look again if anyone want to have the refence,.. read it in hurry at Kunokinuya Bookshop here...
    base on the book,....one of the most outstanding Units in Vietnam
    but then,.. in any Vietnam Movie,.. aussies never mentioned

    regards

    gumalangi
     
  16. DirtyDick

    DirtyDick Senior Member

    In the spirit of this thread, there were also South Africans and Rhodesians who fought in the British and Commonwealth forces; and even though the minority white Afrikaaner population was generally anti-war, if not pro-German, a significant number of "Boers" fought for Britain. Again, these were volunteers and those who could have opted to remain in South Africa. The SAs had a significant presence during the Italian campaign, but the post-war politics - international isolation and an anti-British Afrikaaner ruling party - of that nation probably had a lot to do with their role being forgotten.

    Richard
     
  17. Blackblue

    Blackblue Senior Member

    Originally posted by harribobs@Mar 20 2005, 08:02 AM
    I'd love to know more about the aussie part in the pacific any suggestions to a suitable book?
    [post=32299]Quoted post[/post]

    Harribobs,
    For the Australian campaigns in New Guinea you can't go past 'A Bastard of a Place' by Peter Brune...one of the best books I have ever read. For Malaya I recommend 'The Bridge and Parit Sulong' by Lynnette Ramsay Silver (more about the massacre at Parit Sulong but also a good overview). 'The Heroes of Rimau' by Lynnette Ramsay Silver about the Z Force raids on Singapore is also a ripper.

    All available from the Australian War Memorial:
    http://cas.awm.gov.au/pls/PRD/cst.acct_mas...lorer&bos=Win32

    I also recommend the following which also have good overviews of the Malayan Campaign:

    http://www.warbooks.com.au/IndividualBooks...fsingapore.html

    http://www.warbooks.com.au/IndividualBooks...gapore1942.html

    http://www.warbooks.com.au/IndividualBooks...ertwilight.html

    Rgds

    Tim
     
  18. Kiwiwriter

    Kiwiwriter Very Senior Member

    Another good book on the Australians in New Guinea is "The Ragged Bloody Heroes." It's on my web page bibliography.
     
  19. Blackblue

    Blackblue Senior Member

    'Those Ragged Bloody Heroes' is also by Peter Brune and as David says is also a great book dealing with the Kokoda campaign. Brune later included much of this book as part of 'A Bastard of a Place' which deals also with the actions at Gona, Buna, Sanananda and Milne Bay.

    Rgds

    Tim
     
  20. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Have to agree with Tim a ‘******* of a Place’ is probably one of the best overviews of the Papua campaign, a lot of personal accounts of the action. ‘South West Pacific Area – the First Year Kokoda to Wau’ is also an excellent read and part of the official history.

    Lex McAulay’s books ‘Blood and Iron’ and ‘To the Bitter End’ are also excellent books. The second deals with the often forgotten actions at Buna, Gona and Sanunanda.

    A new book by Paul Ham ‘Kokoda’ is also and excellent book.

    It’s a pity a lot of the stories and history of these campaigns were not recorded a lot earlier.

    Spider
     

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