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These resulted in heavy casualties and the area was not secured until 22 January In response, Australian soldiers aggressively sought to kill their Japanese opponents for the remainder of the war. The Australians generally did not attempt to capture Japanese personnel, and some prisoners of war were murdered.
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Following the defeats in Papua and Guadalcanal the Japanese withdrew to a defensive perimeter in the Territory of New Guinea. In order to secure their important bases at Lae and Salamaua they attempted to capture Wau in January Reinforcements were flown into the town and defeated the Japanese force in its outskirts following heavy fighting. The Japanese force began to withdraw towards the coast on 4 February.
Following their defeat at Wau the Japanese attempted to reinforce Lae in preparation for an expected Allied offensive in the area. The Papuan campaign led to a significant reform in the composition of the Australian Army. In late and early Curtin overcame opposition within the Labor Party to extending the geographic boundaries in which conscripts could serve to include most of the South West Pacific and the necessary legislation was passed in January The Japanese efforts to secure New Guinea included a prolonged submarine offensive against the Allied lines of communication between the United States and Australia and Australia and New Guinea.
These were not the first Axis naval attacks on Australia; during and five German surface raiders operated in Australian waters at various times. Following the defeat of the Japanese surface fleet the IJN deployed submarines to disrupt Allied supply lines by attacking shipping off the Australian east coast. This campaign began with an unsuccessful midget submarine raid on Sydney Harbour on the night of 31 May Following this attack, Japanese submarines operated along the Australian east coast until August , sinking eight merchant ships.
It sank two ships in Australian waters before returning to Batavia. Considerable Australian and other Allied military resources were devoted to protecting shipping and ports from Axis submarines and warships. Australian forces played a key role throughout this offensive, which was designated Operation Cartwheel. In particular, General Blamey oversaw a highly successful series of operations around the north-east tip of New Guinea which "was the high point of Australia's experience of operational level command" during the war.
After the successful defence of Wau the 3rd Division began advancing towards Salamaua in April This advance was mounted to divert attention from Lae, which was one of the main objectives of Operation Cartwheel, and proceeded slowly. The town was eventually captured on 11 September In early September Australian-led forces mounted a pincer movement to capture Lae.
On 4 September 9 Division made an amphibious landing to the east of the town and began advancing to the west. Once the airborne forces secured Nadzab Airfield the 7th Division was flown in and began advancing to the east in a race with the 9th Division to capture Lae. This race was won by the 7th Division, which captured the town on 15 September. The Japanese forces at Salamaua and Lae suffered heavy losses during this campaign, but were able to escape to the north. After the fall of Lae the 9th Division was given the task of capturing the Huon Peninsula. The 20th Brigade landed near the strategic harbour of Finschhafen on 22 September and secured the area.
The Japanese responded by dispatching the 20th Division overland to the area and the remainder of the 9th Division was gradually brought in to reinforce the 20th Brigade against the expected counter-attack. The Japanese mounted a strong attack in mid-October which was defeated by the 9th Division after heavy fighting. During the second half of November the 9th Division captured the hills inland of Finschhafen from well dug in Japanese forces. Following its defeat the 20th Division retreated along the coast with the 9th Division and 4th Brigade in pursuit.
These documents led to a code breaking breakthrough which enabled MacArthur to accelerate the Allied advance by bypassing Japanese defences. While the 9th Division secured the coastal region of the Huon Peninsula the 7th Division drove the Japanese from the inland Finisterre Range. The company defeated a larger Japanese force at Kaiapit and secured an airstrip which was used to fly the Division's 21st and 25th Brigades in. Through aggressive patrolling the Australians forced the Japanese out of positions in extremely rugged terrain and in January the division began its attack on the key Shaggy Ridge position.
Following this success the Japanese withdrew from the Finisterre Range and Australian troops linked up with American patrols from Saidor on 21 April and secured Madang on 24 April. The attack on Darwin in February marked the start of a prolonged aerial campaign over northern Australia and the Japanese-occupied Netherlands East Indies.
Following the first attack on Darwin the Allies rapidly deployed fighter squadrons and reinforced the Army's Northern Territory Force to protect the town from a feared invasion. These raids were opposed by US, Australian and British fighters and suffered increasingly heavy casualties as Darwin's defences were improved. While the Japanese raids on northern Australia ceased in late , the Allied air offensive continued until the end of the war. During late Allied aircraft conducted attacks on Timor in support of the Australian guerrillas operating there.
These attacks continued until the end of the war, with the US heavy bombers being replaced by Australian B Liberator -equipped squadrons in late The Australian military's role in the South-West Pacific decreased during In the latter half of the Australian Government decided, with MacArthur's agreement, that the size of the military would be reduced to release manpower for war-related industries which were important to supplying Britain and the US forces in the Pacific.
Australia's main role in the Allied war effort from this point forward was supplying the other Allied countries with food, materials and manufactured goods needed for the defeat of Japan. The size of the RAAF was set at 53 squadrons and the RAN was limited to the ships which were in service or planned to be built at the time. These troops had seen action alongside Australian units throughout the New Guinea campaign. Australian warships and the fighter, bomber and airfield construction squadrons of No.
The losses incurred whilst performing these relatively unimportant roles led to a decline in morale, and contributed to the ' Morotai Mutiny ' in April Four Australian warships and the assault transports Kanimbla , Manoora and Westralia —along with a number of smaller warships and support ships—took part in the US landing at Leyte on 20 October Australian sources state that Australia became the first Allied ship to be struck by a kamikaze when she was attacked during this operation on 21 October, though this claim was disputed by US historian Samuel Eliot Morison.
The Australian naval force took part in the Invasion of Lingayen Gulf in January ; during this operation Australia was struck by a further five Kamikazes which killed 44 of her crew and forced her to withdraw for major repairs. While the US units had largely conducted a static defence of their positions, their Australian replacements mounted offensive operations designed to destroy the remaining Japanese forces in these areas. The Australian Government authorised these operations for primarily political reasons. It was believed that keeping the Army involved in the war would give Australia greater influence in any post-war peace conferences and that liberating Australian territories would enhance Australia's influence in its region.
By April the Japanese had been confined to their fortified positions in the Gazelle Peninsula by the Australian force's aggressive patrolling. After the war it was found that the Japanese force was 93, strong, which was much higher than the 38, which Allied intelligence had estimated remained on New Britain.
The main focus was against the Japanese base at Buin in the south, and the offensives in the north and centre of the island were largely suspended from May While Australian operations on Bougainville continued until the end of the war, large Japanese forces remained at Buin and in the north of the island. The 6th Division was assigned responsibility for completing the destruction of the Japanese Eighteenth Army , which was the last large Japanese force remaining in the Australian portion of New Guinea.
The 17th Brigade advanced through the inland Torricelli Mountains while the remainder of the division moved along the coast. Although the Eighteenth Army had suffered heavy casualties from previous fighting and disease, it mounted a strong resistance and inflicted significant casualties. The 6th Division's advance was also hampered by supply difficulties and bad weather.
The Australians secured the coastal area by early May, with Wewak being captured on 10 May after a small force was landed to the east of the town. By the end of the war the Eighteenth Army had been forced into what it had designated its 'last stand' area which was under attack from the 6th Division.
The goals of this campaign were to capture Borneo's oilfields and Brunei Bay to support the US-led invasion of Japan and British-led liberation of Malaya which were planned to take place later in The campaign opened on 1 May when the 26th Brigade Group landed on the small island of Tarakan off the east coast of Borneo.
The goal of this operation was to secure the island's airstrip as a base to support the planned landings at Brunei and Balikpapan. While it had been expected that it would take only a few weeks to secure Tarakan and re-open the airstrip, intensive fighting on the island lasted until 19 June and the airstrip was not opened until 28 June. As a result, the operation is generally considered to have not been worthwhile. The second phase of the Borneo Campaign began on 10 June when the 9th Division conducted simultaneous assaults on the north-west on the island of Labuan and the coast of Brunei.
While Brunei was quickly secured, the Japanese garrison on Labuan held out for over a week. After the Brunei Bay region was secured the 24th Brigade was landed in North Borneo and the 20th Brigade advanced along the western coast of Borneo south from Brunei. Both brigades rapidly advanced against weak Japanese resistance, and most of north-west Borneo was liberated by the end of the war.
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The third and final stage of the Borneo Campaign was the capture of Balikpapan on the central east coast of the island. This operation had been opposed by General Blamey, who believed that it was unnecessary, but went ahead on the orders of Macarthur. After a day preliminary air and naval bombardment the 7th Division landed near the town on 1 July. Balikpapan and its surrounds were secured after some heavy fighting on 21 July but mopping up continued until the end of the war.
Australia's leadership changed again during the Borneo Campaign. Curtin died on 5 July and Forde was sworn in as Prime Minister. Forde did not have the support of his party, however, and was replaced by Chifley after a leadership ballot was held on 13 July.
Australia developed large intelligence services during the war. Prior the outbreak of war the Australian military possessed almost no intelligence gathering facilities and was reliant on information passed on by the British intelligence services. Several small signals intelligence units were established in and , which had some success intercepting and deciphering Japanese transmissions before the outbreak of the Pacific War. MacArthur began organising large scale intelligence services shortly after his arrival in Australia.
Central Bureau broke a number of Japanese codes and the intelligence gained from these decryptions and radio direction finding greatly assisted Allied forces in the SWPA. Australian special forces played a significant role in the Pacific War. Following the outbreak of war commando companies were deployed to Timor, the Solomon and Bismarck islands and New Caledonia.
Australia also formed small-scale raiding and reconnaissance forces, most of which were grouped together as the Allied Intelligence Bureau. Z Special Unit conducted raids far behind the front line, including a successful raid on Singapore in September AIB missions in Timor and Dutch New Guinea were also hampered by being placed under the command of unpopular Dutch colonial administrators. Australia played a minor role in the Japan campaign in the last months of the war and was preparing to participate in the invasion of Japan at the time the war ended.
Several Australian warships operated with the British Pacific Fleet BPF during the Battle of Okinawa and Australian destroyers later escorted British aircraft carriers and battleships during attacks on targets in the Japanese home islands. Australia's participation in the planned invasion of Japan would have involved elements of all three services fighting as part of Commonwealth forces. Australian forces accepted the surrender of their Japanese opponents at ceremonies conducted at Morotai, several locations in Borneo, Timor, Wewak, Rabaul, Bougainville and Nauru.
In addition to the major deployments, Australian military units and service men and women served in other theatres of the war, typically as part of British-led Commonwealth forces. Australia played a minor role in the British-led campaigns against Vichy French colonial possessions in Africa. In late September , the heavy cruiser Australia took part in the unsuccessful British and Free French attempt to capture Dakar in which she sank a Vichy French destroyer. The Australian Government was not informed of the cruiser's involvement in this operation prior to the battle and complained to the British Government.
Australian warships served in the Red Sea and Persian Gulf through much of the war. The majority of the deaths in captivity were due to malnutrition and disease. As the war neared its end the Germans moved many prisoners towards the interior of the country to prevent them from being liberated by the advancing Allied armies. These movements were often made through forced marches in harsh weather and resulted in many deaths.
Like the other Allied personnel captured by the Japanese, most of the thousands of Australians captured in the first months of during the conquest of Malaya and Singapore, the NEI and New Britain were held in harsh conditions. Australians were held in camps across the Asia-Pacific region and many endured long voyages in grossly overcrowded ships. While most of the Australian POWs who died in Japanese captivity were the victim of deliberate malnutrition and disease, hundreds were deliberately killed by their guards. These prisoners were housed in purpose-built camps and were treated in accordance with the Geneva Convention.
During the war the Australian Government greatly expanded its powers in order to better direct the war effort, and Australia's industrial and human resources were focused on supporting the Allied armed forces. The expansion of the government's powers began on 9 September when the National Security Act became law.
This act enabled the government to introduce industrial conscription, and both men and women were ordered into essential industries. Rationing was first introduced in and was greatly expanded during The Government also strongly encouraged austerity and war bonds as a means of reducing demand for scarce resources. Government policies to develop war-related industries were successful in increasing the sophistication of Australia's industrial sector and self-sufficiency in most categories of weapons.
In the decades leading up to the war successive Australian governments had provided subsidies, tariffs and other incentives encourage the development of military-related manufacturing sectors such as the production of aircraft, automobiles, electronics and chemicals. The massive expansion of the military led to a critical shortage of male workers and increased female participation in the labour force.
The number of Australian women in paid employment increased from , in to , in Thousands more served with the civilian Australian Women's Land Army or undertook voluntary war work. Manpower shortages became an increasingly significant economic issue towards the end of the war, and the Australian military was reduced in size from to free up personnel for war industries and the civilian economy.
Industrial conscription and the drive to increase productivity led to an increasing degree of industrial unrest over time. Many workers were required to work long hours in poor conditions and were not able to change their employment due to the manpower laws. Poor work conditions were exacerbated by the Government's austerity measures reducing workers' standards of living.
As a result, strikes and other forms of protest disrupted Australian production, especially from onwards. These protests attracted considerable criticism from other civilians and members of the military. The war greatly increased the size and importance of the Australian manufacturing sector and stimulated the development of more technologically advanced industries. As part of this trend many workers acquired relatively high skill levels and female labour force participation rates greatly increased.
Many women were forced out of traditionally male-dominated industries after the war, however. Of these, 9, were killed in the war against Germany and Italy and 17, in the war against Japan. Prisoners of war held by the Japanese made up nearly half of Australia's deaths in the Pacific. In the months after the war, Australian authorities were responsible for administering all of Borneo and the NEI east of Lombok until the British and Dutch colonial governments were re-established.
While British and Indian forces in the west of the NEI became caught up in the Indonesian National Revolution , the Australians were able to avoid clashes with local nationalists. The Australian military was rapidly demobilised after the Japanese surrender. Demobilisation planning had begun at the end of with the final scheme being approved by the Government in March General demobilisation started on 1 October and was completed in February The process generally ran smoothly, though there were protests over delays at Morotai and Bougainville.
Personnel were provided with training while they waited to be demobilised and the government provided post-demobilisation assistance with employment, loans, education and other benefits. Economically, the war accelerated the development of Australia's manufacturing industry and led to a large fall in unemployment. The war also resulted in a greater maturity in Australia's approach to international affairs, as demonstrated by the development of a more independent foreign policy and the encouragement of mass immigration after the war.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Battle of Malaya and Battle of Singapore. Main article: Axis naval activity in Australian waters.
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Main article: North Western Area Campaign. See "Australian War Casualties". Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 15 March Retrieved 4 April Bloomsbury Publishing. Retrieved 19 February Australia's War — Government of Australia. Retrieved 12 December Retrieved 15 March RAAF Museum. Archived from the original on 24 August Retrieved 16 December Retrieved 9 July Archived from the original PDF on 3 September Retrieved 25 January Retrieved 26 January Remembering the War in New Guinea. Australia-Japan Research Project. Retrieved 19 October Chapter 10— Retrieved 2 March Archived from the original on 31 August Retrieved 7 November Retrieved 13 July Air Power Development Centre.
Retrieved 3 June Royal Australian Navy. Archived from the original on 21 November Retrieved 13 March Retrieved 1 January Allies in adversity. Retrieved 4 November Retrieved 15 January Archived from the original on 14 August Retrieved 23 February Retrieved 15 September Retrieved 2 December Journal of the Australian War Memorial. Canberra: Australian War Memorial 10 : 11— Retrieved 17 August Retrieved 22 March National Archives of Australia.
Retrieved 4 January Australian War Memorial Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 27 July Australian War Memorial Online Encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 22 July Adam-Smith, Patsy Australian Women at War. Melbourne: Thomas Nelson Australia. Beaumont, Joan In Beaumont, Joan ed. Australia's War, — Beaumont, Joan a. Australian Defence: Sources and Statistics. The Australian Centenary History of Defence. Volume VI. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. Bullard, Steven translator Canberra: Australian War Memorial. Butlin, S. War Economy, — Australia in the War of — Clark, Chris Archived from the original on 10 March Retrieved 22 December Canberra: The Australian War Memorial Coates, John An Atlas of Australia's Wars.
Cooper, Alastair Remembering Archived from the original on 20 May Retrieved 19 September Coulthard-Clark, Chris The Encyclopaedia of Australia's Battles. Darian-Smith, Kate Day, David New York: Oxford University Press. John Curtin. A life. Sydney: HarperCollins Publishers. The Politics of War. Frame, Tom No Pleasure Cruise.
The Story of the Royal Australian Navy. Gill, G. Hermon Royal Australian Navy — Gin, Ooi Keat Retrieved 4 June Grey, Jeffrey A Military History of Australia Second ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. The Australian Army. The Australian centenary history of defence First ed. A Military History of Australia Third ed. Port Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. The third and final stage of the campaign was the capture of Balikpapan on the central east coast of Borneo.
This operation had been opposed by Blamey, who believed that it was unnecessary, but went ahead on the orders of MacArthur. Prior to the end of the war on 15 August , the Australian military was preparing to contribute forces to the invasion of Japan. Australia's participation in this operation would have involved elements of all three services fighting as part of Commonwealth forces.
Australian Army units were deployed as occupation forces following the Japanese surrender. The Australian forces in Borneo and the NEI were to remain in place only until they were relieved by British and Dutch units in late Volunteers for this force were recruited in late , with most being assigned to three new infantry battalions: the 65th Battalion was formed from volunteers from the 7th Division, the 66th Battalion by men from the 6th Division and the 67th from 9th Division personnel.
The brigade's departure for Japan was delayed until February by inter-Allied negotiations, but it eventually took over responsibility for enforcing the terms of the Japanese surrender in Hiroshima Prefecture. From that time the Australian Army contribution to the occupation of Japan was reduced to a single under-strength battalion. Australian forces remained until September when the BCOF ceased operations, although by the time the majority of units had been committed to the fighting on the Korean peninsula following the outbreak of the Korean War on 25 June When the war began the Army was on the cusp of a generational change.
At the time, the senior officers on the active list were Major Generals Gordon Bennett and Thomas Blamey, although Bennett had not held an appointment for seven years and Blamey for the last two. All were over 50 years of age and all except Bennett, Drake-Brockman and Mackay were serving or former regular soldiers. Both Blamey and Lavarack were promoted to lieutenant general on 13 October These officers held senior commands throughout the war, but seldom active ones. Below them were a distinct group of regular officers, graduates of the Royal Military College, Duntroon , which had opened in These officers had fought in World War I and reached the rank of major, but their promotion prospects were restricted and they remained majors for twenty years.
As a group, they had become embittered and resentful, and determined to prove that they could lead troops in battle. Between the wars, the reservists enjoyed much better promotion prospects. While Alan Vasey, a major in the First AIF, was not promoted to the rank of lieutenant colonel until , Kenneth Eather , a reservist who was too young to serve in World War I, was commissioned in and promoted to lieutenant colonel in Menzies ordered that all commands in the 6th Division be given to reservists rather than regular officers,  who had become political adversaries through their outspoken opposition to the Singapore strategy.
The distinguished records of officers like Heathcote Hammer ,  Ivan Dougherty ,  David Whitehead , Victor Windeyer and Selwyn Porter would challenge the regular officers' contention that they had a special claim to senior command ability. At the start of the war, the majority of battalion commands went to older reservists, many of whom had commanded battalions or served in the First AIF.
As the war went on, the average age of battalion commanders declined from They remained under-represented in unit commands,  and, as in , there was still only one infantry battalion commanded by a regular officer. With a limited number of senior appointments and more senior officers than required, Blamey faced public and political criticism after he "shelved" several senior officers. Of the 52 officers promoted to the substantive rank of lieutenant colonel in the last six months of only five were infantrymen, while two were engineers, and 45 were from the supporting arms.
Yet although Australian forces made up the bulk of the Allied forces in SWPA until in practice for political reasons MacArthur ensured that Blamey only commanded Australian forces, while he also limited the number of Australian staff officers posted to General Headquarters , and they remained underrepresented for the remainder of the war.
Most equipment was obsolescent and had to be replaced, and new factories were required to produce the latest weapons, equipment and motor vehicles. Some 2, motor vehicles and motorcycles suitable for military use were purchased in for the Militia and another for the 6th Division, but since a division's war establishment was around 3,, this was only enough for training. In February , the Treasury urged the War Cabinet to slow orders of motor vehicles to save the shipping space used for sending them to the Middle East for wheat cargoes.
Throughout the war, Australian infantry units were largely equipped with British-designed but Australian-made small arms and support weapons. Small quantities of the Lee—Enfield No. Direct fire support was provided by a mixture of machine guns, including the Vickers machine gun which was produced at Lithgow from , which were utilised by specialised machine-gun battalions and, later, also medium machine-gun platoons within infantry battalions.
Their manufacture in Australia started in The Boys anti-tank rifle was the standard infantry anti-tank weapon at the start of the war, but was replaced with the PIAT in The heavier support weapons used by infantry battalions the war included the 2-inch mortar and Stokes 3-inch mortar. Infantry battalions were also equipped with Universal Carriers until being converted to the tropical warfare establishment in , when the organic carrier platoons were consolidated into companies assigned at divisional level. The old 4. A collection of captured Italian guns, known as the "Bush Artillery", were also employed.
Eventually, 1, were manufactured in Australia. The American 75 mm Pack Howitzer M1 was also employed. The need for tanks to equip armoured units led the War Cabinet to approve the manufacture of the Sentinel tank in A quantity of M3 Stuart light tanks were received in September , while the first shipment of British Matilda II tanks arrived in July , and these proved to be the most suitable type for jungle warfare. A flame-thrower variant was produced and eventually saw action in the Borneo campaign. The most numerous tank used by the Australian Army was the M3 Lee. Several hundred of these equipped the armoured divisions, but unlike the Stuarts and Matildas, they did not see action.
The Australian Army also operated some amphibious tractors. The Australian Army developed its own landing craft. Prototypes were constructed by sappers and launched on the Brisbane River. Only four were delivered before the end of the war, but they arrived in time to see service in New Guinea. By , due to a shrinking number of operational units and stepped up production, equipment shortages were a thing of the past. Indeed, the Army had more equipment that it actually needed.
Similar surpluses existed with small arms such as the Bren, of which 9, were required, but there were 21, in the system. The situation in relation to Bren gun carriers was even more marked with only of the 3, vehicles actually being required, due to the decreased requirements for mobility vehicles in jungle warfare. The Australian Army's pre-war doctrine was focused on conventional warfare in a European environment.
This doctrine and the supporting training manuals were common to those of all Commonwealth countries. Following the outbreak of war the Army continued to focus on preparing its units to fight in Europe and North Africa. The decision to form the 1st Armoured Division created a requirement for large numbers of highly skilled personnel,  but there were few officers and men with the required skills in the small pre-war Army and many of them were already serving in the AIF's divisional mechanised cavalry regiments.
Another problem for the Militia was a lack of continuity in the training. When the war began, men were called up for only one month's additional training. This was then increased to three months' additional training. In —41, officers and non-commissioned officers were intensively trained for 18 to 24 days, after which there was a camp for 70 days.
Meanwhile, soldiers who had been through the day training regimen in —40 were given 12 days' additional training, while those who had not completed this training undertook 70 days. This allowed for individual training, but prevented proper unit training. In July , fully trained soldiers who had completed 90 days' training became liable for three months' additional training per year while new recruits were liable for six months. At the same time, the War Cabinet provided for more intensive training for the full-time cadre of Militia units, which were not to exceed 25 percent of the unit's strength.
Although the Army's focus was on conventional warfare, in late Lieutenant Colonel J. Mawhood, a British officer, arrived in Australia with a small specialist staff to conduct training in unconventional warfare. A school, known as No. After the outbreak of the war with Japan, the school was reopened as the Guerrilla Warfare School, the training of the fourth company was completed.
The Australian Army did not have any doctrine for jungle warfare prior to AIF units that returned from North Africa undertook some training in jungle tactics before going into action,  but the Militia units which initially faced the Japanese in New Guinea suffered from inadequate training, and this led to them suffering heavy casualties. In order to be able to move troops to the front in New Guinea more rapidly, to acclimatise them during the process, and to allow more realistic training of large formations in jungle and mountainous but malaria -free terrain, Blamey decided to establish a training and staging area on the Atherton Tableland in November Eventually, accommodation was provided there for 70, troops.
As divisions returned from tours of duty in New Guinea in and , they were sent to Atherton for anti-malaria treatment. The men then went on leave, after which they returned to Atherton where training was conducted before staging and departing again. In early the Army developed a jungle warfare doctrine by adapting the pre-war field service regulations to meet the conditions in the South-West Pacific. The Army's front-line combat formations were reorganised and trained in accordance with this doctrine during the year.
With the establishment of Canungra the Independent Company training centre on Wilsons Promontory was closed. Over time, training programs included greater cooperation between the Army's combat arms and with the other services. The Australian Army began training paratroops in December as an offshoot of the training of Independent Companies. The 1st Parachute Battalion was subsequently formed in March It reached full strength by January , but, although it was warned for action a number of times, including the possible rescue of prisoners of war held at Sandakan in , it did not see any fighting.
After the war it participated in the reoccupation of Singapore. By the Army possessed a comprehensive schools system, with 40 schools of various kinds.
Between and 96, training courses were conducted. Soldiers who were selected to become officers were trained at various Officer Cadet Training Units around the country, and by the end of the war these units had produced 7, officers. Recruit training was now thorough and exacting, and for infantrymen culminated in a jungle training course at Canungra, where the Jungle Warfare School turned out 4, reinforcements a month. Of these men, 3, were captured at Crete and 2, on the mainland of Greece.
Most of the other POWs were members of the 9th Division captured during the retreat from Cyrenaica in early , the siege of Tobruk or the fighting near El Alamein in mid As the war neared its end the Germans moved many prisoners towards the interior of the country to prevent them from being liberated by the advancing Allied armies. These movements were often made through forced marches in harsh weather and resulted in many deaths. More than 21, members of the AIF were captured by the Japanese during the first months of Most of these men were members of the 8th Division captured at Singapore, the NEI and Rabaul, but about 2, members of the I Corps party sent to Java in early were taken prisoner there.
Australians were held in camps across the Asia-Pacific region and many endured long voyages in grossly overcrowded ships. While most of the Australian POWs who died in Japanese captivity were the victim of deliberate malnutrition and disease, hundreds were murdered by their guards. The majority of these deaths were caused by malnutrition and disease. The process of demobilisation began immediately after the end of hostilities, although it had partially commenced as early as At the end of the war the strength of the Australian Army was , men, approximately half of which were serving overseas in the South West Pacific Area.
Undertaken in four phases, it was finally completed on 15 February by which time a total of , soldiers had been discharged. Although the Second AIF was not disbanded until 30 June a temporary organisation known as the Interim Army was established at the end of the war and included all members of the Army on full-time duty. In the course of the fighting the Australian Army sustained approximately 61, battle casualties, the bulk of them from the Second AIF.
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Australian War Memorial. Archived from the original on 6 October Retrieved 27 December Marmon-Herrington Military Vehicles. Retrieved 28 December Canberra Times. Retrieved 29 September Retrieved 22 March National Archives of Australia.
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