Australian Army

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Australian Army
250pg
Badge of the Australian Army
Active 1 March 1901 – present
Country  Australia
Type Army
Size 30,235 (Regular)
16,900 (Active Reserve)
12,496 (Standby Reserve)
Part of Australian Defence Force
Engagements
Commanders
Chief of the Defence Force Air Chief Marshal Mark Binskin
Chief of Army Lieutenant General David Morrison
Deputy Chief of Army Major General Gus Gilmore
Commander Forces Command Major General Mick Slater
Insignia
Australian Army flag
Flag of Australia (converted).svg
Army Roundel Roundel of Australian Army aviation.svg

The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force (ADF) along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of the Defence Force (CDF) commands the ADF, the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army (CA). The CA is therefore subordinate to the CDF, but is also directly responsible to the Minister for Defence.[1] Although Australian soldiers have been involved in a number of minor and major conflicts throughout its history, only in World War II has Australian territory come under direct attack.

History[edit]

The history of the Australian Army can be divided into two periods:

  • 1901–1947, when limits were set on the size of the regular Army, the vast majority of peacetime soldiers were in reserve units of the Citizens Military Force (also known as the CMF or Militia), and Australian Imperial Forces were formed to serve overseas,[2][3] and
  • Post-1947, when a standing peacetime regular infantry force was formed and the CMF (known as the Army Reserve after 1980) began to decline in importance.[4][3]
Soldiers of the Australian 39th Battalion in September 1942
Two Australian soldiers during the Shah Wali Kot Offensive in Afghanistan
Australian Cavalry Scout in Iraq, 2007

During its history the Australian Army has fought a large number of major wars, including: Second Boer War (1899–1902), First World War (1914–1918), the Second World War (1939–1945), Korea War (1950–1953), Malayan Emergency (1950–1960), Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation (1962–1966), Vietnam War (1962–1973),[5] and more recently in Afghanistan (2001 – present) and Iraq (2003–2009).[6] Since 1947 the Australian Army has also been involved in many peacekeeping operations, usually under the auspices of the United Nations, however the non United Nations sponsored Multinational Force and Observers in the Sinai is a notable exception. Australia's largest peacekeeping deployment began in 1999 in East Timor, while other ongoing operations include peacekeeping on Bougainville, in the Sinai, and in the Solomon Islands. Humanitarian relief after 2004 Indian Ocean earthquake in Aceh Province, Indonesia, Operation Sumatra Assist, ended on 24 March 2005.[7]

Current organisation[edit]

The Australian Army's structure in 2012

The 1st Division comprises a deployable headquarters, while 2nd Division under the command of Forces Command is the main home-defence formation, containing Army Reserve units. 2nd Division's headquarters only performs administrative functions. The Australian Army has not deployed a divisional-sized formation since 1945 and does not expect to do so in the future.[8]

1st Division[edit]

1st Division carries out high-level training activities and deploys to command large-scale ground operations. It does not have any combat units permanently assigned.

3rd Brigade, 1RAR machine gun team training in Hawaii during RIMPAC 2012

Forces Command[edit]

Forces Command controls for administrative purposes all non-special-forces assets of the Australian Army. It is neither an operational nor a deployable command.

Additionally, Forces Command includes the following training establishments:

Australian special forces in Afghanistan, 2009

Special Forces[edit]

Special Operations Command comprises a command formation of equal status to the other commands in the ADF. It is a brigade-sized formation responsible for all of Australia's special-forces assets.

Planned restructuring[edit]

Under a restructuring program known as Plan Beersheba announced in late 2011, the 1st, 3rd and 7th Brigades will be re-formed as combined-arms multi-role manoeuvre brigades with the 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (part of the 3rd Brigade) forming the core of a future amphibious force[10] The force will be known as an Amphibious Ready Element and will utilise the former Royal Navy 16,000-tonne auxiliary Bay class landing ship RFA Largs Bay (L3006), bought for $100 million to become HMAS Choules.[11]

Colours, standards and guidons[edit]

All colours of the Army were on parade for the centenary of the Army, 10 March 2001.
Australian soldiers wearing the Disruptive Pattern Combat Uniform alongside Afghan National Army soldiers in Afghanistan

Infantry, and some other combat units of the Australian Army carry flags called the Queen's Colour and the Regimental Colour, known as "the Colours".[12] Armoured units carry Standards and Guidons – flags smaller than Colours and traditionally carried by Cavalry, Lancer, Light Horse and Mounted Infantry units. The 1st Armoured Regiment is the only unit in the Australian Army to carry a Standard, in the tradition of heavy armoured units. Artillery units' guns are considered to be their Colours, and on parade are provided with the same respect.[13] Non-combat units (combat service support corps) do not have Colours, as Colours are battle flags and so are only available to combat units. As a substitute, many have Standards or Banners.[14] Units awarded battle honours have them emblazoned on their Colours, Standards and Guidons. They are a link to the unit's past and a memorial to the fallen. Artillery do not have Battle Honours – their single Honour is "Ubique" which means "Everywhere" – although they can received Honour Titles.[15]

The Army is the guardian of the National Flag and as such, unlike the Royal Australian Air Force, does not have a flag or Colours. The Army, instead, has a banner, known as the Army Banner. To commemorate the centenary of the Army, the Governor General Sir William Deane, presented the Army with a new Banner at a parade in front of the Australian War Memorial on 10 March 2001. The Banner was presented to the Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army (RSM-A), Warrant Officer Peter Rosemond.

The Army Banner bears the Australian Coat of Arms on the obverse, with the dates "1901–2001" in gold in the upper hoist. The reverse bears the "rising sun" badge of the Australian Army, flanked by seven campaign honours on small gold-edged scrolls: South Africa, World War I, World War II, Korea, Malaya-Borneo, South Vietnam, and Peacekeeping. The banner is trimmed with gold fringe, has gold and crimson cords and tassels, and is mounted on a pike with the usual British royal crest finial.[16]

Personnel[edit]

Strength[edit]

In the 2010–11 financial year the Army had an average strength of 47,135 personnel: 30,235 permanent (regular) and 16,900 active reservists (part-time).[17] In addition there are another 12,496 members of the Standby Reserve.[18] The regular Army is targeted to expand to 31,000 personnel by 2014–15.[17]

Rank and insignia[edit]

The ranks of the Australian Army are based on the ranks of the British Army, and carry mostly the same actual insignia. For officers the ranks are identical except for the shoulder title "Australia". The Non-Commissioned Officer insignia are the same up until Warrant Officer ranks, where they are stylised for Australia (for example, using the Australian, rather than the British coat of arms). The ranks of the Australian Army are as follows:

  1. Private (PTE) – OR-1
  2. Private Proficient (PTE(P)) Also used within the Private equivalent ranks – OR-2
  3. Lance Corporal or Lance Bombardier (LCPL or LBDR) – OR-3
  4. Corporal or Bombardier (CPL or BDR) – OR-4
  5. Sergeant (SGT) – OR-5
  6. Staff Sergeant (SSGT) – OR-6 (SSGT is being phased out of the Australian Army)
  7. Warrant Officer Class Two (WO2) – OR-7
  8. Warrant Officer Class One (WO1) – OR-9
  9. Regimental Sergeant Major of the Army (RSM-A) – OR-9 (This is an appointment rather than a rank)
  10. Second Lieutenant (2LT) – OF-1
  11. Lieutenant (LT) – OF-1
  12. Captain (CAPT) – OF-2
  13. Major (MAJ) – OF-3
  14. Lieutenant Colonel (LTCOL) – OF-4
  15. Colonel (COL) – OF-5
  16. Brigadier (BRIG) – OF-6. Like the United Kingdom, prior to 1922 Australia used the rank Brigadier General
  17. Major General (MAJGEN) – OF-7
  18. Lieutenant General (LTGEN) – OF-8
  19. General (GEN) – OF-9
  20. Field Marshal (FM) – OF-10. This rank is generally reserved for wartime and ceremonial purposes; there are no regular appointments to the rank. Sir Thomas Blamey is the only Australian-born officer promoted to the rank. Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, is currently the only living holder of the rank of Field Marshal in the Australian Army. The Duke, however, does not have any active role in the Australian command structure.

Equipment[edit]

SR-25 rifle, Heckler & Koch USP sidearm
An Australian M1 Abrams, the main battle tank used by the army
Further information: Weaponry of the Australian Army
Small arms F88 Austeyr (service rifle), F89 Minimi (support weapon), Browning Hi-Power (sidearm), MAG-58 (general purpose machine gun), SR-25 (sniper rifle), SR-98 (sniper rifle), HK417 (Designated Marksman rifle), Mk48 Maximi, AW50F
Special forces M4 carbine, Heckler & Koch USP, SR-25, F89 Minimi, MP5, SR-98, Mk48, HK416, HK417, Blaser R93 Tactical, Barrett M82, Mk14 EBR
Main battle tanks 59 M1A1 Abrams
Infantry fighting vehicles 257 ASLAV
Armoured Personnel Carriers 431 M113 Armored Vehicles upgraded to M113AS3/4 standard (around 100 of these will be placed in reserve)
Infantry Mobility Vehicles 838 Bushmaster PMVs,[19][20] 214 more on order as of July 2012 [21] 31 Nary HMT 400 vehicles
Light Utility Vehicles 1,200 G-Wagon 4 × 4 and 6x6, 10,000 Land Rover FFR and GS, 1,295 Unimog 1700L
Artillery 112 L118/L119 105 mm Hamel Guns, 120 M2A2 105 mm Howitzer, 36 M198 155 mm Howitzer, 35 M777A2 155 mm Howitzer, 36 RBS-70 surface to air missile systems.[22][23]
Radar AN/TPQ-36 Firefinder radar, AMSTAR Ground Surveillance RADAR, AN/TPQ-48 Lightweight Counter Mortar Radar, GIRAFFE FOC, Portable Search and Target Acquisition Radar – Extended Range.
Unmanned Aerial Vehicles Insitu Aerosonde, Elbit Systems Skylark and Boeing ScanEagle[24]
Aircraft Type Versions Number in service[25] Notes
Helicopters
OH-58 Kiowa OH-58A Scout helicopter 206B 27 of 56 still in service To be replaced by the Eurocopter Tiger.
Boeing CH-47 Chinook Transport helicopter CH-47D 7 One lost in Afghanistan on 30 May 2011. From an initial fleet of six; two additional CH-47Ds were ordered in December 2011 as attrition replacement and to boost heavy lift capabilities until the delivery of seven CH-47Fs, which will replace the CH-47Ds.[26]
Eurocopter Tiger Attack helicopter Tiger ARH 22 Delivery completed early July 2011
Sikorsky S-70 Blackhawk Utility helicopter S-70A-9 35 To be eventually replaced by the MRH 90
MRH 90 Utility helicopter TTH: Tactical Transport Helicopter 15(40) As of 2011, used for testing and training purposes. Total of 46 on order (including 6 for Royal Australian Navy)
Australian Army Sikorsky S-70 Blackhawk 
A NH90 in Australian Army colours 
Australian Army Tiger ARH 

Army bases[edit]

The Army's operational headquarters, Forces Command, is located at Victoria Barracks in Sydney. The Australian Army's three regular brigades are based at Robertson Barracks near Darwin, Lavarack Barracks in Townsville and Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane. The Deployable Joint Force Headquarters is also located at Gallipoli Barracks.

Other important Army bases include the Army Aviation Centre near Oakey, Queensland, Holsworthy Barracks near Sydney, Lone Pine Barracks in Singleton, New South Wales and Woodside Barracks near Adelaide, South Australia. The SASR is based at Campbell Barracks Swanbourne, a suburb of Perth, Western Australia.

Puckapunyal north of Melbourne houses the Australian Army's Combined Arms Training Centre, Land Warfare Development Centre, and three of the five principal Combat Arms schools. Further barracks include Steele Barracks in Sydney, Keswick Barracks in Adelaide, and Irwin Barracks at Karrakatta in Perth. Dozens of Australian Army Reserve depots are located across Australia.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Defence Act (1903) – SECT 9 Command of Defence Force and arms of Defence Force". Australasian Legal Information Institute. Retrieved 19 October 2010. 
  2. ^ Grey 2008, pp. 88 & 147.
  3. ^ a b Odgers 1988, p. 5.
  4. ^ Grey 2008, pp. 200–201.
  5. ^ Odgers 1988.
  6. ^ Grey 2008, pp. 284–285.
  7. ^ "Australian War Memorial Official History of Peacekeeping, Humanitarian and Post-Cold War Operations". Retrieved 4 April 2009. 
  8. ^ Horner 2001, p. 195.
  9. ^ "Forces Command". Australian Army. Retrieved 11 September 2013. 
  10. ^ "Defence announces major Army restructure". ABC Online. 12 December 2011. 
  11. ^ "Specialist force trained for East Timor-style operations". Herald Sun (Australia). 12 December 2012. 
  12. ^ Jobson 2009, p. 53.
  13. ^ Jobson 2009, pp. 55–56.
  14. ^ "National Flags, Military Flags, & Queens and Regimental Colours". Digger History. Archived from the original on 5 April 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007. 
  15. ^ Jobson 2009, p. 58.
  16. ^ "Army Flags (Australia)". Flags of the World. Archived from the original on 3 April 2007. Retrieved 3 April 2007. 
  17. ^ a b Department of Defence (2011). Portfolio Budget Statements 2011–12: Defence Portfolio. Canberra: Commonwealth of Australia. p. 39. ISBN 978-0-642-29739-6. 
  18. ^ Australian National Audit Office (2009). Army Reserve Forces. Audit Report No.31 2008–09. Canberra: Australian National Audit Office. ISBN 0-642-81063-X. 
  19. ^ "Contract Signed for Additional Bushmasters" (Press release). The Hon. Joel Fitzgibbon MP, Minister for Defence. 29 October 2008. Retrieved 29 October 2008. 
  20. ^ "More vehicles on the way". Army News (Canberra: Australian Department of Defence). 26 May 2011. p. 16. 
  21. ^ "Australian Army orders additional Bushmasters from Thales". Retrieved 2 November 2012. 
  22. ^ "Australian Military Strength". Globalfirepower.org. Retrieved 14 March 2008. 
  23. ^ 57 M777A2 and an as yet unannounced self-propelled gun are set to replace both 105 mm and 155 mm systems used by the artillery units of the Australian Regular Army.
  24. ^ "Army Technology". Defence Jobs. Retrieved 31 January 2011. 
  25. ^ "2009 World Military Aircraft Inventory – Australia". Aviation Week & Space Technology. 26 January 2009. Retrieved 25 February 2010. [dead link]
  26. ^ "Defence to buy two more Chinook choppers". ninemsn. 12 December 2011. Retrieved 11 December 2011. 

Sources[edit]

External links[edit]

Media related to Australian Army at Wikimedia Commons