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Portal:Military history of Australia

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The Military history of Australia Portal

The RAN Ensign
The flag of Australia
The RAAF Ensign

The military history of Australia spans the nation's 230-year modern history, from the early Australian frontier wars between Aboriginals and Europeans to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 21st century. Although this history is short when compared to that of many other nations, Australia has been involved in numerous conflicts and wars, and war and military service have been significant influences on Australian society and national identity, including the Anzac spirit. The relationship between war and Australian society has also been shaped by the enduring themes of Australian strategic culture and its unique security dilemma.

The six British colonies in Australia participated in some of Britain's wars of the 19th century. In the early 20th century, as a federated dominion and later as an independent nation, Australia fought in the First World War and Second World War, as well as in the wars in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam during the Cold War. In the Post-Vietnam era Australian forces have been involved in numerous international peacekeeping missions, through the United Nations and other agencies, including in the Sinai, Persian Gulf, Rwanda, Somalia, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, as well as many overseas humanitarian relief operations, while more recently they have also fought as part of multi-lateral forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In total, nearly 103,000 Australians died during these conflicts. (Full article...)

Selected article

RAR Vietnam.jpg

The 1st Australian Task Force (1 ATF) was a brigade-sized formation which commanded Australian and New Zealand Army units deployed to South Vietnam during the Vietnam War between 1966 and 1972. 1 ATF was based in a rubber plantation at Nui Dat, 8 kilometres (5.0 mi) north of Ba Ria in Phuoc Tuy Province and initially consisted of two (and later three) infantry battalions, with armour, aviation, engineers and artillery support. During the Battle of Long Tan, fought on 18 August 1966, units of 1 ATF defeated a Viet Cong force of at least regimental strength. While the task force was primarily responsible for securing Phuoc Tuy Province, its units, and the Task Force Headquarters itself, occasionally deployed outside its Tactical Area of Responsibility including during Operation Coburg and the Battle of Coral–Balmoral in 1968. Other significant actions included Hat Dich in late-December 1968 and early 1969, Binh Ba in June 1969, and Long Khanh in June 1971. 1 ATF was withdrawn in late 1971.

Selected picture

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Photo credit: User:Peter Ellis
The Australian War Memorial in Canberra showing floral tributes laid on Anzac Day, 25 April 2005.

Selected quote

Without any inhibitions of any kind I make it quite clear that Australia looks to America, free of any pangs as to our traditional links or kinship with the United Kingdom
Prime Minister John Curtin, 27 December 1941

Selected anniversaries

October 19

Did you know

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Selected biography

William Birdwood near Hill 60.jpg

Field Marshal Lord William Riddell Birdwood (13 September 1865 – 17 May 1951) was a World War I general who is best known as the commander of the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps. From 1899 to 1902, during the Second Boer War, Birdwood served as a military secretary on the staff of Lord Kitchener an association that continued in India until the outbreak of World War I. In November 1914, Birdwood was instructed to form an army corps of Australian and New Zealand troops training in Egypt. Birdwood lead these men during the landing at Anzac Cove on 25 April 1915. After the evacuation from Gallipoli, Birdwood took command of the newly formed II Anzac Corps. When the I Anzac Corps become the first corp to departed for France as senior commander Birdwood swapped with General Alexander Godley. On the 31 May 1918, Birdwood attained command of the British Fifth Army, with command of the Australian Corps passing to Lieutenant General John Monash.

Daily unit

Members of the 1st Armoured Car Squadron in Tokyo in late 1947

The Australian 1st Armoured Car Squadron was an Australian Army unit formed in 1946 as part of Australia's contribution to the occupation of Japan. The Squadron arrived in Japan in April 1946 and conducted uneventful patrols throughout the Australian 34th Brigade's area of responsibility until late 1948 when it returned to Australia. In July 1949 the Squadron was expanded and re-equipped with Churchill tanks to form the 1st Armoured Regiment.

Selected equipment

HMAS Leeuwin

The Leeuwin class are two Australian-built survey vessels, which currently form part of the Royal Australian Navy. Both ships were built by NQEA in Cairns, Queensland, and entered service in 2000. The ships are equipped with advanced surveying technology, have a helicopter flight deck and hangar and carry three 9-tonne survey motor boats.

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RAN • History
Admiral of the Fleet, Bases, Cadets, Clearance Divers, Current Ships, Fleet Air Arm, Future, Historic ships, HMAS, Memorial, Patrol Boat Group, Persian Gulf Operations, RANVR, Reserve, Ship classes, Silent Service, WRANS

Army • History
Armoured Units, Army Aviation, Corps, First Australian Imperial Force, Second Australian Imperial Force, Brigades, Cadets, Royal Military College, Enlisted Ranks, Memorial, Officer Ranks, RAR, Regiments, Senior Officers, Regional Surveillance Units, Structure, VC Recipients, Weapons

RAAF • History
Aircraft, Airfield Defence Guards, Bases, Chief of Air Force, Flights, First Tactical Air Force, Ranks, Roulettes, Squadrons, Structure

Special Forces
1st Commando Regiment, 2nd Commando Regiment, 171st Squadron, 200 Flight, Coastwatchers, Special Operations Engineer Regiment, SASR, SOCOMD, Tactical Assault Group, WWII Commando companies, Z Special Unit, M Special Unit

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Featured articles: 1940 Brocklesby mid-air collisionAdmiralty Islands campaignAdrian Cole (RAAF officer)AHS CentaurAlan McNicollAlfred ShoutAlister MurdochAllan WaltersArthur Henry CobbyAttack on Sydney HarbourAustralian Air CorpsAustralian contribution to the Battle of NormandyAustralian Defence ForceAvenue Range Station massacreAxis naval activity in Australian watersBattle of AraweBattle of Arras (1917)Battle of BardiaBattle of the Bismarck SeaBattle of Cape EsperanceBattle of GreeceBattle of Milne BayBattle of KaiapitBattle of MorotaiBattle of Rennell IslandBattle of Savo IslandBattle of SioBattle of TassafarongaBattle of Tulagi and Gavutu-TanambogoBattle of the Eastern SolomonsBill DennyBill McCannBlack Friday (1945)Blair Anderson WarkBobby GibbesBoeing C-17 Globemaster III in Australian serviceBrian EatonBruce KingsburyCedric HowellCharles Eaton (RAAF officer)Clare StevensonColin HannahConvoy GP55David Evans (RAAF officer)Dick CresswellDonald HardmanEastern Area Command (RAAF)Edgar TownerEdmund HerringEllis WackettElwyn Roy KingFirst Battle of DernancourtFrank BerrymanFrank BladinFrank HeadlamFrank Hubert McNamaraFrederick SchergerGarnet MalleyGeorge GosseGeorge Jones (RAAF officer)Guadalcanal CampaignHarry ChauvelHarry MurrayHector WallerHenry Burrell (admiral)Henry PetreHenry Wells (general)Henry WrigleyHMAS Melbourne (R21)HMS Nairana (1917)Ian Dougald McLachlanInvasion of Tulagi (May 1942)Issy SmithIven MackayJames NewlandJames Park WoodsJames Rowland (RAAF officer)James Whiteside McCayJerry PentlandJoe Hewitt (RAAF officer)John BalmerJohn Francis JacksonJohn LeakJohn LerewJohn Lloyd WaddyJohn McCauleyJohn Treloar (museum administrator)John Wilton (general)John WhittleJørgen Jensen (soldier)Landing at NadzabLawrence WeathersLes HoldenLester BrainLionel MatthewsList of Australian George Cross recipientsList of Australian Victoria Cross recipientsLockheed C-130 Hercules in Australian serviceLou SpenceMaurice Wilder-NeliganMcDonnell Douglas A-4G SkyhawkMcDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet in Australian serviceMcDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II in Australian serviceMichael WoodruffMilitary history of Australia during World War IIMorotai MutinyNaval Battle of GuadalcanalNeil Hamilton FairleyNicky BarrNo. 1 Aircraft Depot RAAFNo. 1 Flying Training School RAAFNo. 1 Squadron RAAFNo. 1 Wing RAAFNo. 2 Operational Conversion Unit RAAFNo. 33 Squadron RAAFNo. 34 Squadron RAAFNo. 36 Squadron RAAFNo. 37 Squadron RAAFNo. 38 Squadron RAAFNo. 450 Squadron RAAFNo. 77 Squadron RAAFNo. 79 Squadron RAAFNo. 90 Wing RAAFNo. 91 Wing RAAFNorth-Eastern Area Command (RAAF)North-Western Area Command (RAAF)Operation KitaOswald WattOtto BecherPaterson Clarence HughesPeter BadcoePeter Drummond (RAF officer)Peter Jeffrey (RAAF officer)Phillip DaveyRAAF area commandsRagnar GarrettRaymond BrownellRaymond LeaneReg Pollard (general)Reg SaundersRichard Williams (RAAF officer)Roderic DallasRoy DowlingRoy InwoodRoy PhillippsSingapore strategyShrine of RemembranceStanley GobleStanley Price WeirStanley SavigeThomas Baker (aviator)Thomas BlameyTom DerrickValston HancockVance DrummondVictoria Cross for AustraliaWalter PeelerWaterloo Bay massacreWestern Area Command (RAAF)William BostockWilliam BrillWilliam Ellis NewtonWilliam Hely

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A Class: 1st Armoured Brigade (Australia)2/1st Machine Gun Battalion (Australia)2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion (Australia)2/3rd Battalion (Australia)2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion (Australia)2/4th Machine Gun Battalion (Australia)2/5th Battalion (Australia)2/7th Battalion (Australia)2/9th Battalion (Australia)10th Battalion (Australia)2/10th Battalion (Australia)12th Light Horse Regiment (Australia)2/14th Battalion (Australia)15th Battalion (Australia)2/15th Battalion (Australia)2/17th Battalion (Australia)2/18th Battalion (Australia)2/43rd Battalion (Australia)2/48th Battalion (Australia)4th Armoured Brigade (Australia)Admiralty Islands campaignAir Board (Australia)Air Combat Group RAAFAlan CharlesworthAlan RawlinsonArthur BlackburnAustralian Army during World War IIAustralian light destroyer projectBattle of Bita PakaBattle of Goodenough IslandBattle of the Hongorai RiverBattle of IsuravaBattle of KaiapitBattle of KapyongBattle of Porton PlantationBattle of Slater's KnollBattle of Tsimba RidgeBattle of WauBill KibbyCentral Flying School RAAFClarence Smith JeffriesEric Harrison (RAAF officer)First Battle of Maryang SanFrank BerrymanFrank LukisGeorge Alan VaseyGeorge Julian HowellGeorge IngramGeorge MackinoltyGordon SteegeHippolyte De La RueHorace RobertsonJohn NorthcottJoseph MaxwellLanding at Jacquinot BayLanding at SaidorLeslie MorsheadLewis McGeeMary Bell (aviator)New Britain campaignNo. 78 Wing RAAFNo. 81 Wing RAAFNo. 82 Wing RAAFNo. 84 Wing RAAFNo. 86 Wing RAAFOperation BrevityOperation CoburgOperation CrimpOrdnance QF 25-pounder ShortPercy Herbert CherryPercy StattonRoy BurstonRupert DownesSamuel BurstonSouth Australian Mounted RiflesSouth West Pacific Area (command)Sydney RowellTeddy SheeanTet OffensiveThomas White (Australian politician)Vernon SturdeeWilbur DartnellWilfred ArthurWilliam Anderson (RAAF officer)William McAloney

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Good articles: 1st Armoured Brigade (Australia)1st Armoured Regiment (Australia)1st Parachute Battalion (Australia)2nd Armoured Brigade (Australia)2nd Battalion (Australia)3rd Division (Australia)6th Battalion (Australia)2/6th Battalion (Australia)6th Division (Australia)7th Battalion (Australia)2/9th Battalion (Australia)2/10th Battalion (Australia)12th Light Horse Regiment (Australia)2/14th Battalion (Australia)14th/32nd Battalion (Australia)2/18th Battalion (Australia)23rd Battalion (Australia)27th Battalion (Australia)29th Battalion (Australia)2/31st Battalion (Australia)31st/51st Battalion (Australia)2/33rd Battalion (Australia)2/48th Battalion (Australia)61st Battalion (Australia)Arthur Sullivan (Australian soldier)Arthur William MurphyAustralian Army ReserveAustralian Army ship Crusader (AV 2767)Battle of AmiensBattle of Balikpapan (1945)Battle of Chongju (1950)Battle of Coral–BalmoralBattle of FranceBattle of Gang ToiBattle of the Hongorai RiverBattle of KranjiBattle of KujinBattle of Lone PineBattle of Long KhanhBattle of PakchonBattle of Porton PlantationBattle of RatsuaBattle of the Samichon RiverBattle of SattelbergBattle of Sungei KoembaBattle of Suoi Bong TrangBattle of Suoi Chau PhaBattle of YongjuBorneo campaign (1945)British nuclear tests at MaralingaCharles CrombieCharles Read (RAAF officer)Charles ScherfDave ShannonDemobilisation of the Australian military after World War IIErnest Albert CoreyFirst Australian Imperial ForceFrederick BirksGeneral Dynamics F-111CGerman attacks on NauruHistory of the Royal Australian NavyHMAS Sydney (1934)Hobart coastal defencesHughie EdwardsHuon Peninsula campaignIvor McIntyreJohn Hines (Australian soldier)Len WatersLes ClisbyLeslie Douglas JacksonMilitary history of AustraliaMilitary history of Australia during World War INeville McNamaraNew Guinea Volunteer RiflesNew Zealand and Australian DivisionNigel CullenNo. 1 Basic Flying Training School RAAFNo. 1 Long Range Flight RAAFNo. 1 Operational Conversion Unit RAAFNo. 2 Service Flying Training School RAAFNo. 285 Squadron RAAFNo. 4 Operational Training Unit RAAFNo. 457 Squadron RAAFNo. 5 Airfield Construction Squadron RAAFNo. 6 Squadron RAAFNo. 71 Wing RAAFNo. 72 Wing RAAFNo. 73 Wing RAAFNo. 75 Squadron RAAFNo. 75 Wing RAAFNo. 76 Wing RAAFNo. 77 Wing RAAFNo. 78 Squadron RAAFNo. 79 Wing RAAFNo. 8 Service Flying Training School RAAFNo. 80 Wing RAAFNorthern Command (RAAF)Operation BribiePeter Edwards (historian)Peter IsaacsonPeter RawPeter Turnbull (RAAF officer)RAAF Transport Flight (Japan)Richard MinifieRobert A. LittleRussell FoskettSecond Battle of PasschendaeleSelarang Barracks IncidentStuart Clarence GrahamVirgil BrennanWilfrid Kent HughesAustralian contribution to the Allied Intervention in Russia 1918–1919

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2nd Infantry Brigade (New Zealand)Australian Mounted DivisionAustralian Army Veterinary CorpsAustralian and New Zealand Army CorpsMilitary history of Australia during the Malayan Emergency32nd Small Ship Squadron, Royal Australian Engineers1st Aviation Regiment (Australia)1st Combat Engineer Regiment (Australia)II Anzac CorpsAustralian military involvement in peacekeepingEmile DechaineuxHarold FarncombHistory of the Australian ArmyHistory of the Royal Australian Air ForceJohn BakerJohn RoystonJohn Ryan (Australian soldier)Lark ForceNew Guinea campaignRobert William RankinCorps of Royal New Zealand EngineersHMNZS Resolution (A-14)Military history of New Zealand in MalaysiaNew Zealand Mounted Rifles BrigadeNew Zealand Rifle BrigadeSurvey Motor BoatList of Australian generals and brigadiersAir Lift GroupSurveillance and Response GroupCombat Support Group RAAFAerospace Operational Support Group RAAF41 WingNo. 26 Squadron RAAFNo. 29 Squadron RAAFAir Movements Training and Development Unit RAAFSurveillance and Control Training Unit RAAFNo. 386 Expeditionary Combat Support Squadron RAAFNo. 322 Combat Support Squadron RAAFNo. 323 Combat Support Squadron RAAFNo. 324 Combat Support Squadron RAAFNo. 1 Combat Logistics Squadron RAAFNo. 1 Air Terminal Squadron RAAFNo. 3 Airfield Defence Squadron RAAFNew South Wales Mounted RiflesCombat Reserve Wing RAAFNew Zealand Women's Land Armymore...
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List of Australian Army artillery units in World War IAustralian New Guinea Administrative UnitAustralian occupation of German New GuineaBombing of Rabaul (November 1943)FCU UNTACGeoffrey FiskenHenry Arthur GoddardMilitary history of OceaniaNew Zealand ArmyImperial Service Club
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