|Part of||First Army (from 1942)|
|Engagements||World War II|
| Thomas Blamey |
I Corps was an Australian Army corps, one of three that were raised by the Army during World War II. It was the main Australian operational corps for much of the war. Various Australian and other Allied divisions came under its control at different times. In 1940–1942, the corps was based in the Mediterranean and Middle Eastern theatres, and controlled forces in action against the Germans, Italians and later the Vichy French in North Africa, Greece and Syria–Lebanon.
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. 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.
Corps is a term used for several different kinds of organisation. A military innovation by Napoleon, the formation was first named as such in 1805.
World War II, also known as the Second World War, was a global war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. The vast majority of the world's countries—including all the great powers—eventually formed two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis. A state of total war emerged, directly involving more than 100 million people from over 30 countries. The major participants threw their entire economic, industrial, and scientific capabilities behind the war effort, blurring the distinction between civilian and military resources. World War II was the deadliest conflict in human history, marked by 50 to 85 million fatalities, most of whom were civilians in the Soviet Union and China. It included massacres, the genocide of the Holocaust, strategic bombing, premeditated death from starvation and disease, and the only use of nuclear weapons in war.
In 1942, following Japan's entry into the war, I Corps was transferred to the South West Pacific Area. Forces assigned to the corps undertook garrison duties in Ceylon, and briefly deployed to the ill-fated defence of Java in 1942, before returning to Australia. Between late 1942 and 1945, the corps oversaw Allied frontline units fighting against the Japanese in New Guinea and then Borneo in 1945.
South West Pacific Area (SWPA) was the name given to the Allied supreme military command in the South West Pacific Theatre of World War II. It was one of four major Allied commands in the Pacific War. SWPA included the Philippines, Borneo, the Dutch East Indies, East Timor, Australia, the Territories of Papua and New Guinea, and the western part of the Solomon Islands. It primarily consisted of United States and Australian forces, although Dutch, Filipino, British and other Allied forces also served in the SWPA.
Sri Lanka, officially the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka, is an island country in South Asia, located in the Indian Ocean to the southwest of the Bay of Bengal and to the southeast of the Arabian Sea. The island is geographically separated from the Indian subcontinent by the Gulf of Mannar and the Palk Strait. The legislative capital, Sri Jayawardenepura Kotte, is a suburb of the commercial capital and largest city, Colombo.
The New Guinea campaign of the Pacific War lasted from January 1942 until the end of the war in August 1945. During the initial phase in early 1942, the Empire of Japan invaded the Australian-administered territories of the New Guinea Mandate and Papua and overran western New Guinea, which was a part of the Netherlands East Indies. During the second phase, lasting from late 1942 until the Japanese surrender, the Allies—consisting primarily of Australian and US forces—cleared the Japanese first from Papua, then the Mandate and finally from the Dutch colony.
At the outbreak of the Second World War, the Australian government decided to raise the Second Australian Imperial Force, an all volunteer force for overseas service that was separate to the previously existing part-time Militia.Initially, this force consisted of a single division – the 6th Infantry Division – as well as some base and support troops. On 25 February 1940, the decision was made to expand the 2nd AIF to a corps, consisting of two infantry divisions – the 6th and 7th – and throughout March and into April work began to start forming the new units, and establish a corps headquarters, in Melbourne. This formation would be responsible for the AIF units forming in Australia. On 11 April 1940, the establishment of I Corps was gazetted, and by the middle of the month the headquarters' strength was reported as 12 officers and 45 other ranks. Lieutenant General Thomas Blamey was appointed General Officer Commanding (GOC).
The Second Australian Imperial Force was the name given to the volunteer personnel of the Australian Army in World War II. Under the Defence Act (1903), neither the part-time Militia nor the full-time Permanent Military Force (PMF) could serve outside Australia or its territories unless they volunteered to do so. The Second AIF fought against Nazi Germany, Italy, Vichy France and Japan. After the war, Australia's wartime military structures were demobilised and the 2nd AIF was disbanded, although a small cadre of its personnel became part of the Interim Army that was established in 1947, and from which the Australian Regular Army was formed in 1948.
The Australian Army Reserve is a collective name given to the reserve units of the Australian Army. Since the Federation of Australia in 1901, the reserve military force has been known by many names, including the Citizens Forces, the Citizen Military Forces, the Militia and, unofficially, the Australian Military Forces. In 1980, however, the current name—Australian Army Reserve—was officially adopted, and it now consists of a number of components based around the level of commitment and training obligation that its members are required to meet.
A division is a large military unit or formation, usually consisting of between 10,000 and 20,000 soldiers. Infantry divisions during the World Wars ranged between 8,000 and 30,000 in nominal strength.
In late May 1940, approval was provided for the 2nd AIF to raise a third division – the 8th – although it would ultimately not serve with I Corps. Preparations also commenced for I Corps headquarters personnel to begin moving overseas. A small rear corps headquarters was to remain in Australia, although the responsibility for command of troops in Australia would be devolved to the 7th Division until it also deployed. The initial deployment of staff began in May, but the majority of draft made it only as far as Fremantle, Western Australia, before disembarking and returning to Melbourne, when the decision was made to divert this convoy to the United Kingdom, rather than the main corps-area in the Middle East. The personnel who reached the UK were subsequently used to form HQ Australforce.Meanwhile, the main element of the corps headquarters, including Blamey, reached Palestine in mid-June 1940. They arrived amidst fighting in the Western Desert, and it was considered that the AIF troops could soon be committed to battle.
The 8th Division was an infantry division of the Australian Army, formed during World War II as part of the all-volunteer Second Australian Imperial Force. The 8th Division was raised from volunteers for overseas service from July 1940 onwards. Consisting of three infantry brigades, the intention had been to deploy the division to the Middle East to join the other Australian divisions, but as war with Japan loomed in 1941, the division was divided into four separate forces, which were deployed in different parts of the Asia-Pacific region. All of these formations were destroyed as fighting forces by the end of February 1942 during the fighting for Singapore, and in Rabaul, Ambon, and Timor. Most members of the division became prisoners of war, waiting until the war ended in late 1945 to be liberated. One in three died in captivity.
Elements of the Second Australian Imperial Force (AIF) were located in the United Kingdom (UK) throughout World War II. For most of the war these comprised only a small number of liaison officers. However, between June and December 1940 around 8,000 Australian soldiers organised into two infantry brigades and supporting units were stationed in the country. Several small engineer units were also sent to the UK, and up to 600 forestry troops were active there between July 1940 and mid-1943. A prisoner of war (POW) repatriation unit arrived in the UK in August 1944, and over 5,600 released AIF prisoners eventually passed through the country. Following the war small numbers of Australian soldiers formed part of a military cricket team which toured England, and the Army contributed most members of the Australian contingent to the June 1946 victory parade in London.
Mandatory Palestine was a geopolitical entity established between 1920 and 1923 in the Middle East roughly corresponding to the region of Palestine, as part of the Partition of the Ottoman Empire under the terms of the "Mandate for Palestine".
Initially, when I Corps headquarters arrived there was only one Australian infantry division in the Middle East – the 6th, which was completing its training – however between October and December the 7th arrived, followed by the 9th by January 1941.During this time, the brigades assigned to each division were shuffled between superior headquarters as a result of several reorganisations to provide the better trained brigades to the formations likely to see combat first. At this time, the main elements of the corps headquarters moved forward towards the combat zone, leaving the administrative staff in Gaza and establishing themselves in Ikingi Maryut, in Egypt. Here they began preparations for operations. The 6th Infantry Division was the first to go into action, capturing Bardia in early January 1941. This was followed by further actions at Tobruk, Derna, Barce, and Benghazi, as the Italians were forced to withdraw across Libya by the Allies.
The 9th Division was a division of the Australian Army that served during World War II. It was the fourth division raised for the Second Australian Imperial Force. The distinctions of the division include it being:
Gaza, also referred to as Gaza City, is a Palestinian city in the Gaza Strip, with a population of 515,556, making it the largest city in the State of Palestine. Inhabited since at least the 15th century BCE, Gaza has been dominated by several different peoples and empires throughout its history. The Philistines made it a part of their pentapolis after the Ancient Egyptians had ruled it for nearly 350 years.
Ikingi Maryut is an area in the Western Desert, outside Alexandria, Egypt. It was the site of an Allied staging camp during World War II. Ikingi Maryout also contains a rest house for the king
In February, I Corps took over control of Cyrenaica in Libya, replacing the British XIII Corps, and briefly adopting the designation of HQ Cyrenaica Force.This deployment lasted only a month, before I Corps headquarters was withdrawn back to Egypt to prepare for deployment to Greece for the campaign there, which began in April 1941. Initially, it had been planned for the 7th Division to deploy to Greece, but they were not considered fully trained, and as a result the 6th Division was dispatched. In their place, the newly arrived 9th Division replaced the 6th Division in the Western Desert, and they would subsequently take part in the Siege of Tobruk in mid- to late- 1941 when the Axis forces counter-attacked in the Western Desert.
Cyrenaica is the eastern coastal region of Libya. Also known as Pentapolis in antiquity, it formed part of the Roman province of Crete and Cyrenaica, later divided into Libya Pentapolis and Libya Sicca. During the Islamic period, the area came to be known as Barqa, after the city of Barca.
Libya, officially the State of Libya, is a country in the Maghreb region in North Africa, bordered by the Mediterranean Sea to the north, Egypt to the east, Sudan to the southeast, Chad to the south, Niger to the southwest, Algeria to the west, and Tunisia to the northwest. The sovereign state is made of three historical regions: Tripolitania, Fezzan and Cyrenaica. With an area of almost 1.8 million square kilometres (700,000 sq mi), Libya is the fourth largest country in Africa, and is the 16th largest country in the world. Libya has the 10th-largest proven oil reserves of any country in the world. The largest city and capital, Tripoli, is located in western Libya and contains over one million of Libya's six million people. The second-largest city is Benghazi, which is located in eastern Libya.
XIII Corps was a corps-sized formation of the British Army that fought on the Western Front during the First World War and was reformed for service during the Second World War, serving in the Mediterranean and Middle East throughout its service.
Meanwhile, in Greece, the corps controlled the Australian 6th Division, the New Zealand 2nd Division, and the British 1st Armoured Brigade, as well as several ad hoc forces charged with the defence of northern Greece. On 12 April, it was officially renamed the Anzac Corps, a reference to the combined Australian-New Zealand formations of World War I.This was short-lived, though, as the Allied forces in Greece were quickly overcome by the German advance and after withdrawing from Gerania through Elasson, Larissa and Levadia, I Corps HQ left Greece on 23–24 April, and were subsequently evacuated to Egypt, although elements of the 6th Division were landed on Crete where they fought another short and unsuccessful campaign in May.
The corps re-formed in Deir Suneid, in Palestine, during which time the previous I Corps designation was assumed. In June 1941, as part of the initial plan for the invasion of Lebanon and Syria, held by Vichy French forces, I Corps was to take command of operations after Commonwealth forces reached their first objective,the Beirut–Damascus road. However, on 18 June, prior to that objective being reached, I Corps headquarters – based at Nazareth – took charge, to improve command and control of the Allied forces. From this date all Allied troops in the theatre came under the command of Lieutenant General John Lavarack, who took over from Blamey when he became deputy commander-in-chief in the Middle East. The forces under I Corps' command around this time included: 7th Division (less the 18th Infantry Brigade), the British 6th Infantry Division, the 1st (Free French) Light Division and the 5th Indian Infantry Brigade Group. The corps directed operations that captured Damascus and Damour before the armistice took effect on 12 July. Following the armistice in July, I Corps headquarters was established at Aley, near Beirut, and assumed responsibility for occupying all of Lebanon and Syria north of the Beirut–Damascus road. Eventually, the Australian 6th Infantry Division arrived to relieve the British 6th.
Following the outbreak of the Pacific War, I Corps headquarters, along with the 6th and 7th Divisions, were released from service in the Middle East to meet the threat posed by the Japanese advance through the Pacific.The divisions departed Egypt by sea in several convoys between January and March 1942. The 9th Division would remain in the Middle East, though, upon request, and would see further action in the First and Second Battles of El Alamein, where they would be assigned to the British XXX Corps.
As the situation in the Pacific grew desperate for the Allies, plans were made to deploy I Corps headquarters, and the 6th and 7th Divisions, to Sumatra, Java,or possibly to Burma to help stem the tide of the Japanese advance on Rangoon. An advanced party, including the corps commander, Lavarack, flew to Java ahead of the landing and advised against deploying the force there, advising that they should be sent to Burma instead. The Australian government ultimately rejected the request to divert the 7th Division to Rangoon, and although most of the force returned to Australia, Lavarack was not able to prevent some elements from landing in Java – mainly the troops on the transport Orcades consisting of a machine gun battalion (the 2/3rd) and a pioneer battalion (the 2/2nd), as well as engineers, transport and medical personnel, who became part of Blackforce under Brigadier Arthur Blackburn. This force fought briefly alongside US and Dutch forces before being overwhelmed and taken into captivity.
I Corps HQ was subsequently relocated to Australia, reaching Adelaide in March 1942 and then moving to Melbourne. The 7th Division deployed to northern New South Wales,while the 6th Division (less the 19th Infantry Brigade which was sent to garrison Darwin) was detached to Ceylon to provide a garrison to defend against a possible Japanese invasion. The invasion did not eventuate, and the Australians remained on the island until July 1942, and finally reached Australia the following month.
While the 16th and 17th Brigades were in Ceylon, the Army in Australia had undergone a significant reorganisation to meet the threat of a possible Japanese invasion. In April 1942, I Corps headquarters was used to raise an army level formation, the First Army, and a new I Corps headquarters was raised from Headquarters Southern Command (previously the 3rd Military District.I Corps came under the command of Lieutenant General Sydney Rowell around this time. Assigned to the defence of southern Queensland, the new I Corps moved to Esk, Queensland, where it became part of the First Army and commanded troops in northern New South Wales and Queensland, including the 25th Infantry Brigade, the Brisbane Covering Force, the 7th Infantry Brigade, the 1st Motor Brigade and the remainder of the 7th Division, which was held back in reserve around Glen Innes, New South Wales. In this assignment, it joined II Corps, one of the two other corps (the other being III Corps) raised at this time. In May 1942, the corps was bolstered with the remainder of the 3rd Infantry Division, although they were transferred to II Corps in July, and moved further north, and were replaced within I Corps by the US 32nd Infantry Division.
As the fighting in New Guinea intensified and the Japanese advanced beyond Kokoda, plans were made to reinforce the troops along the Kokoda Track. As a result, in August 1942, I Corps headquarters deployed to Port Moresby where they took over from the existing headquarters New Guinea Force, becoming Headquarters I Corps & New Guinea Force, although for all intents and purposes it was referred to as New Guinea Force. The formation subsequently commanded the troops around Milne Bay, which subsequently repulsed a Japanese landing, as well as the 7th Division troops deploying along the Track, the 6th Division troops around Port Moresby, and Kanga Force around Wau.
In late September, following the withdrawal from Ioribaiwa Blamey decided to replace Rowell as corps commander with Lieutenant General Edmund Herring, who had previously commanded II Corps.In October and November, the Japanese began to withdraw and the Australians – with elements from both the 6th and 7th Divisions – undertook counter-offensive that saw them reoccupy Kokoda, and then advance north towards the Japanese beachheads around Buna and Gona. These beachheads were eventually captured in December 1942 and January 1943 by Australian and US forces from the 7th and 32nd Infantry Divisions, after heavy fighting. During this time, between November 1942 and January 1943, New Guinea Force deployed an advanced headquarters forward to control the fighting.
Following the capture of northern Papua, New Guinea Force was reorganised, and new formations began arriving. Meanwhile, throughout the first half of 1943, Australian operations focused upon the capture of Salamaua, which saw a series of battles aimed at securing Salamaua prior to the drive on Lae. In August 1943, a new I Corps headquarters was raised from the New Guinea Force headquarters staff, and the corps headquarters established itself at Dobdura, where it was assigned to New Guinea Force as an army-level headquarters. Assigned the role of capturing Lae, I Corps was provided with the 7th Infantry Division, which in early September 1943 was flown in to Nadzab and attacked overland from there and the 9th Infantry Division, which carried out and amphibious landing to the east of Lae, before assaulting along the coast.Lae was captured more quickly than had been expected, and later in the month, this was followed up by elements of the 9th Division which carried out a landing at Scarlet Beach, as part of operations to secure the Huon Peninsula, while the 7th Division began operations to secure the Markham and Ramu Valleys. The following month, however, I Corps headquarters was relieved by II Corps, as its personnel were in need of rest, and they subsequently returned to Australia. II Corps and New Guinea Force would subsequently command the conclusion of the operations commenced by I Corps, culminating in the capture of Madang in April 1944.
Meanwhile, in Australia, I Corps headquarters was re-established at Barrine, Queensland, where it took command of units resting and training prior to their commitment for further operations. At this time, the corps was assigned the 3rd and 6th Infantry Divisions, based at Kairi and Wondecla respectively. In early 1944, the corps was also assigned the 9th Infantry Division, at Ravenshoe, following its return from New Guinea for rest.In February 1944, Herring retired and command of I Corps temporarily passed to Lieutenant General Stanley Savige. In April 1944, I Corps headquarters provided individual staff reinforcements for the II Corps headquarters, although there was no name change at this time, and I Corps remained in Australia in order to command the 2nd AIF divisions, while II Corps took over the deployed Militia divisions: the 3rd, 5th and 11th. As a result, Lieutenant General Frank Berryman assumed command of I Corps. In line with this, the 7th Infantry Division was transferred to I Corps at this time as they returned from New Guinea for rest, although they were based further south than the other elements, around Strathpine. Meanwhile, the 3rd Infantry Division re-deployed to New Guinea, and the 7th Infantry Division moved to Kairi, to concentrate nearer to the other I Corps formations.
Throughout 1944, plans were made for I Corps to be used in the Philippines and Ambon. General MacArthur had initially responded to Australia's offer of I Corps in the Philippines by suggesting that two Australian divisions be employed, attached to two separate US Army corps - this was rejected by the Australian authorities, who wanted to maintain an area of local operational control rather than be purely subordinated to the USA.By October 1944, Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead had assumed command of the corps. Finally, it was decided that the force would be committed to the operation to re-take Borneo in mid-1945, in order to secure important air and naval bases to allow further operations elsewhere in Borneo and then later Java.
For the operation, the corps was placed directly under General Douglas MacArthur's command, rather than being assigned to the US Eighth Army.Advanced elements of I Corps headquarters subsequently moved to Morotai Island in March 1945, followed by the remainder of the headquarters the following month. From there, they directed a series of amphibious landings that were carried out by the 7th and 9th Divisions at Tarakan, North Borneo and Balikpapan through May, June and July. In all locations, the objectives were captured, albeit against stronger-than-expected resistance in some cases, with commensurately heavy casualties, after which the Australians pushed further inland, carrying out mopping up operations. On Tarakan, the airfield was captured five days after the landing, but it was badly damaged and ultimately filled no role in subsequent operations. Meanwhile, in North Borneo, after operations to secure Labuan and Brunei had proved successful, a follow up landing was made around Weston, with a subsequent advance towards Beaufort, which was captured after heavy engagement resulted in over 100 Japanese killed. By mid-July, the main resistance around Balkipapan and the coastal areas had been overcome, and the defending Japanese had withdrawn into the hills further inland.
Following the cessation of hostilities in August, the corps assumed responsibility for facilitating the Japanese surrender on Borneo and in making preparations for returning the area to Dutch colonial control in the post war period.This included undertaking local and protective patrols to maintain law and order and to secure Japanese soldiers who had not yet surrendered. As part of the demobilisation process, I Corps headquarters closed on 15 September 1945, at which time its constituent divisions were transferred to the direct command of Advanced Land Headquarters. In the post war period, no corps-level formations have been raised by the Australian Army.
In early 1941, when I Corps commenced operations in the Middle East, it consisted of the following formations:
In July – September 1943, I Corps consisted of the following formations:
In the final stages of World War II, I Corps consisted of the following units:
The following officers served as commander of I Corps:
I Corps is a corps of the United States Army headquartered in Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. It is a major formation of United States Army Forces Command and its current mission involves administrative oversight of Army units in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Pacific Pathways program.
The First Australian Army was a field army of the Australian Army, during World War II. The formation's headquarters was raised in April 1942 from the existing 1st Australian Corps headquarters, assuming command of all Allied troops in Queensland. Initially, the formation was assigned a defensive role in anticipation of a possible Japanese invasion; however, this threat subsided and eventually the army was deployed to Lae, in New Guinea, in late 1944, where it co-ordinated Australian offensives around Aitape, in New Guinea, on New Britain and Bougainville, and around Madang. The formation was disbanded in February 1946, when it was redesignated as the 8th Military District.
The 10th Division was a division of the Australian Army, which served briefly during World War II. It was initially formed on 15 April 1942 from the Militia units of the Newcastle Covering Force. However, personnel shortages led to the division being disbanded in August that year.
Maroubra Force was the name given to the ad hoc Australian infantry force that defended Port Moresby, Papua New Guinea from the Japanese, and was involved in the Kokoda Track Campaign of the Pacific War, World War II. The force was established by the Allies under the codename "Maroubra", referring to the troops in the forward area, it was one of many units forming the body of the New Guinea Force, the main Allied army formation in the South West Pacific Area during 1942.
III Corps was an Australian Army unit during World War II. It was responsible for the defence of Western Australia in 1942–1944. The corps was formed in April 1942 from Western Command, which had been established in October 1939. Throughout the war, the formation's size expanded and contracted as available manpower, and the strategic situation, dictated. At its height, the corps consisted of two infantry divisions and one armoured division, which were deployed to defend against a Japanese invasion threat, which ultimately never eventuated. The corps ceased to exist in June 1944 when it was converted back into Western Command, which remained until the end of the war in 1945.
The 16th Brigade was an infantry brigade in the Australian Army. First raised in 1912 as a Militia formation to provide training under the compulsory training scheme, the brigade was later re-raised as part of the First Australian Imperial Force during World War I. Its existence was short lived, as it was disbanded after about six months, before it could be committed to the fighting on the Western Front. Raised again in 1939 for service during World War II, the brigade was deployed to the Middle East in early 1940 and subsequently saw action in the Western Desert and in Greece in 1941. In 1942, it returned to Australia in response to Japan's entry into the war, and later the brigade played a prominent role in the Kokoda Track campaign and at Buna–Gona in Papua. Withdrawn to Australia in early 1943, the 16th Brigade was re-organised and received a large number of replacements from disbanding formations, but it was not recommitted to combat operations until late in the war. In 1944–1945, the brigade was committed to the Aitape–Wewak campaign in New Guinea. After the war, the brigade was disbanded in 1946. Today, its name is perpetuated by the 16th Aviation Brigade which was raised on 2 April 2002.
II Corps was an Australian Army corps, one of three that were raised by the Army during the Second World War. Formed in mid-1942 as part of defensive measures to protect the eastern coast of Australia from invasion, the corps was initially composed mainly of home defence troops drawn from the Militia. For a brief period in 1942, a US infantry division was also assigned to the corps prior to its dispatch to fight the Japanese in New Guinea.
Unit Colour Patches identify the wearer as belonging to a military formation or unit.
Northern Territory Force was an Australian Army force responsible for protecting the Northern Territory during World War II. Most units assigned to the Northern Territory Force were based near Darwin and were responsible for defending the important naval and air bases in and around the town against a feared Japanese invasion. Northern Territory Force was briefly re-named the 12th Division in late 1942 but this was short-lived. Australian Army units were rotated through northern Australia during the war and six infantry brigades served as part of Northern Territory Force between 1942 and 1945. The formation was reduced over the course of the war as the strategic situation in the Pacific turned in the Allies' favour, although remnants remained until the end of the war. In early 1946, it was converted back to the 7th Military District.
The 5th Division was an infantry division of the Australian Army which served during the First and Second World Wars. The division was formed in February 1916 as part of the expansion of the Australian Imperial Force infantry brigades. In addition to the existing 8th Brigade were added the new 14th and 15th Brigades, which had been raised from the battalions of the 1st and 2nd Brigades respectively. From Egypt the division was sent to France and then Belgium, where they served in the trenches along the Western Front until the end of the war in November 1918. After the war ended, the division was demobilised in 1919.
The Second Army was a field army of the Australian Army, during World War II. Raised in April 1942 from the existing HQ Home Forces, the formation remained in Australia throughout the war and was responsible for commanding forces in the Australian eastern states. Initially, the formation controlled several divisions, including several US formations; however, as the focus of the Allied war effort shifted north the formation was reduced in size over 1943. Throughout 1944 and 1945, the formation's combat forces were greatly reduced and eventually it became a largely training and line of communications headquarters. The war ended in August 1945, and the formation ceased to exist in early 1946.
The 2/4th Armoured Regiment was an armoured regiment of the Australian Army, which served during World War II. The regiment was formed in November 1942 as part of the Second Australian Imperial Force by amalgamating a number of previously existing armoured units and was disbanded in September 1946 after seeing action in New Guinea and Bougainville Island, where it provided individual squadron-group sized elements which operated in support of infantry operations against the Japanese. During its service the regiment received 10 battle honours.
The 2/12th Field Ambulance was an Australian military unit of the Second Australian Imperial Force, serving during World War II. During their six years of service, over 200 soldiers were killed, the highest figure for a non-combatant unit in Australian history. The majority of the unit's casualties were suffered during the sinking of the hospital ship Centaur in May 1943. During the war, the 2/12th deployed personnel in support of Australian combat operations against the Japanese on Ambon, Timor and in Borneo before being disbanded in 1946.
Merauke Force was an Australian-led military force of World War II which was responsible for defending Merauke in Dutch New Guinea from Japanese attack amidst the Pacific War. The force was established in late 1942 and was disbanded at the end of the war, having never seen combat. The Japanese attack did not eventuate and from mid-1944 the force was progressively drawn down and its assigned units redeployed to Australia or elsewhere in the Pacific. At its height, Merauke Force included troops from Australia, the Netherlands East Indies and the United States, as well as several squadrons of aircraft, including a joint Australian-Dutch fighter unit.
New Guinea Force was a military command unit for Australian and native troops from the Territories of Papua and New Guinea serving in the New Guinea campaign during World War II. Formed in April 1942, when the Australian First Army was formed from the Australian I Corps after it returned from the Middle East, it was responsible for planning and directing all operations within the territory up until October 1944. General Headquarters Southwest Pacific Area Operational Instruction No.7 of 25 May 1942, issued by Commander-Allied-Forces, General Douglas MacArthur, placed all Australian and US Army, Air Force and Navy Forces in the Port Moresby Area under the control of New Guinea Force. Over the course of its existence, New Guinea Force was commanded by some of the Australian Army's most notable commanders, including Sydney Rowell, Sir Edmund Herring and Sir Leslie Morshead.
Lieutenant General Sir Henry Wells, was a senior officer in the Australian Army. Serving as Chief of the General Staff from 1954 to 1958, Wells' career culminated with his appointment as the first Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee, a position marking him as the professional head of the Australian Military. He served in this capacity from March 1958 until March 1959, when he retired from the army.
Lieutenant General Henry Douglas Wynter, was an Australian Army officer who rose to the rank of lieutenant general during the Second World War. Official Historian Gavin Long described him as "perhaps the clearest and most profound thinker the Australian Army of his generation had produced."
The 25th Brigade was a brigade-sized infantry unit of the Australian Army that served during the Second World War. Raised in July 1940 and consisting of three infantry battalions, the 25th Brigade initially served in the United Kingdom, where it formed part of the garrison tasked with defending against a possible German invasion. In 1941, the brigade was redeployed to the Middle East where it took part in the Syria–Lebanon campaign fighting several actions around Merdjayoun and Jezzine.
The 11th Division was an Australian Army unit formed during World War II by the renaming of Milne Force in December 1942. Predominately a Militia formation, the division's main role during the war was as a base command headquarters, although elements saw action in New Guinea against Japanese forces during the Finisterre Range campaign and in New Britain. It was disbanded in July 1946.
The 23rd Brigade was a brigade of the Australian Army. It was briefly raised in 1912 as a Militia formation providing training as part of the compulsory training scheme. Later, it was re-formed in July 1940 for service during the Second World War, the brigade was initially a formation of the Second Australian Imperial Force assigned to the 8th Division; however, after its sub units were captured by the Japanese in 1942 it was reformed with Militia battalions and was mainly used in a garrison role around Darwin, in the Northern Territory, until late in the war when it was committed to the fighting against the Japanese on Bougainville. It was disbanded in 1946.