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ANZUK was a tripartite force formed by Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom to defend the Asian Pacific region after the United Kingdom withdrew forces from the east of Suez in the early 1970s. The ANZUK force was formed in 1971 and disbanded in 1974.
ANZUK was not large compared with the peak of the British presence in the area of about 70,000 service personnel and civilians. ANZUK’s main task was simply to be there. It was not to fight the CTs, nor was it likely that we would be called on to fight any one else. The contributing governments and the governments of Singapore and Malaysia considered that simply by being there it would forestall the possibility of anyone upsetting the political and military balance in the Malay Peninsula and allow the governments of Singapore and Malaysia to get on with the job of developing their economies, and building up their armed forces.
ANZUK was not an international organisation, like NATO, to which governments belong. ANZUK was merely a shorthand name for the forces of Australia, New Zealand and the U.K. which, for the sake of convenience, the three governments had decided to place under the one commander, and to support through an integrated, tri-national logistics organisation.
ANZUK Force Units
When ANZUK officially came into being on 1 November 1971 the first Force Commander, Rear Admiral David Wells, RAN, had under command the following major units:
ANZUK Force HQ
- 9 ANZUK Signal Regiment
Under command of the Royal Australian Corps of Signals, 9th(ANZUK) Signal Regiment task was to support the ANZUK Force in 1970, which had replaced the British Forces Headquarters and Installations in Singapore. this joint service, multi national Regiment took over, as going concerns, the Royal Navy Transmitter Stations at Suara, and the Royal Navy Receiver Station Kranji. The Regiment employed New Zealand and British Army, Navy and Air Force Personnel together with locally enlisted Singaporean, British, New Zealand and Australian civilian technicians and communication specialists. In addition thefre was operational contro of a group of Malaysian nNavy communicators, which were to interface the Force with the malaysian navy.
- ANZUK Traffic Management Agency (ATMA),
- ANZUK Intelligence and Security Unit, and
- 65 Ground Liaison Section
- Two RN frigates
- RAN Frigate
- RNZN Frigate
- RN or RAN submarine
- 28th ANZUK Brigade
- 6 RAR
- 1 RNZIR
- 1 Battalion Royal Highland Fusiliers
- 28th ANZUK Field Regiment,
- 28 ANZUK Field Squadron, engineer support
- 28 ANZUK Aviation Squadron
- 182 Reconnaissance Flight RAAF (two helicopters),
- No. 656 Squadron AAC (two flights)
- 28 ANZUK Brigade Hq & Signal Sqn
- No. 3 Squadron RAAF - Mirages
- No. 41 Squadron RNZAF - Bristol freighters and Iroquois helicopters
- No. 75 Squadron RAAF - Mirages
- No. 103 Squadron RAF - Whirlwind (later Wessex) helicopters
- No. 205 Squadron RAF - Shackletons
ANZUK Support Group
- Commander Royal Australian Army Service Corps (CRAASC) and staff
- ANZUK Base Transport Unit
- Field Platoon
- 90 Tpt Pl RAASC
- one RCT troop
- Base Platoon
- Workshop Component
- ANZUK Supply Depot
- ANZUK Postal and Courier Unit.
- ANZUK Ordnance Depot
To support the Land Army component of the ANZUK Force, the ANZUK Ordnance Depot was established in the premises vacated by the Royal Navy Victualling Depot on the dockside at Sembawang Naval Base. Ordnance support to ANZUK Force was based upon an integrated supply service manned by service personnel from the RAOC, RAAOC and RNZAOC with locally employed civilians (LEC) performing the basic clerical, warehousing and driving tasks. Ordnance within ANZUK Force comprised of:
- Stores Sub Depot
- Vehicle Sub Depot
- Ammunition Sub Depot
- Barrack Services Unit
- ANZUK Area Workshops
When ANZUK was established it was not expected to last forever and the end came a lot quicker than initially expected. The first Force Commander, Rear Admiral Wells, had a task which must be unique: in little over two years he first established the Force then, with the establishment phase barely complete, he was directed to plan the run-down phase which his successor, Air-Vice-Marshal Wakeford, was to execute.
The decision to disband ANZUK, like the decision to establish it, was primarily due to an election. In this case however the election was in Australia not the U.K. When the new Australian Government set a ceiling of 600 Australian servicemen in Singapore by 28 February 1974, and no more than 150 by April 1975 it was quite obvious that ANZUK could not continue to exist in its original form. Many Australians were needed to keep the integrated logistics systems functioning and without that there would not be much point in having an integrated command.
On 30 January 1974 the New Zealand Government established the New Zealand Force South East Asia (NZFORSEA) which took under command all the New Zealand units formerly part of ANZUK. The British units remained under ANZUK, but preparations were put in hand for Britain also to "go national". The integrated units which made up the ANZUK Support Group were gradually disbanded during 1974 and replaced by national units. ANZUK was visibly fading away.
On 16 December the Naval and Air HQs disbanded and the ships and aircraft assigned to them reverted to national command. 28 (UK) Inf Bde, which succeeded 28 ANZUK Bde in January that year, came under national command on this date.
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