|Australia and WWII
Military forces compared to population, you get the following
As for military deaths/population, you get:
Where Did the Aussies Fight ?
Ever heard about Tobruk? The soldiers known as the "Rats of Tobruk"? We were told to hold it for eight weeks - we held it for five months.
The Battles of El Alamein?
The Pacific campaigns, especially the first ten weeks of war with Japan.
The Kokoda Trail
10,000 Australians flew with Bomber Command....
The north African campaign began in 1940, when small British forces in Egypt turned back an Italian advance from Libya. This advance was stopped in 1941 when German forces under Erwin Rommel landed in Libya. Thus began a seesaw campaign that culminated in the two Battles of El Alamein. In addition, In June 1941 the Australian Army and allied forces invaded Syria and Lebanon, capturing Damascus on June 17.
Due to geographical location, most Aussies fought in the Pacific and Asian areas.
The following site (which is one of the great "free" ww2 sites) is a diary of WW2 day by day. I will start you off on Feb 8 1942, a week before Singapore was captured by the Japs. A lot of material on Aussies defending Singapore here. The site is easily navigated by clicking on "Yesterday" to go back one day and "Tomorrow" to advance one day. If you start from here this is where Aussies get a lot of action in the pacific.
In the end:
The Malayan campaign lasted 70-days during which the Japanese had advanced 650 miles (1046 kilometres). The Allied defenders numbered 138,708: 67,340 Indians; 38,496 British; 18,490 Australians; and 14,382 local volunteer troops. More than 130,000 troops become POWs.
As for RAAF pilots, at the Ardennes, out of about 30-40 Commonwealth graves which I , 2 of them were RAAF pilots.
And no less than 10% of the men who flew on the Dams Raid were Australian, including 4 pilots who won three DSOs.....
...and don't forget the 6,500 Australians who fought on Crete in 1941.....
The Kokoda trail
The siege of Tobruk
‘The siege was only a couple of months old when the renegade Lord Haw Haw, broadcasting from Berlin, said they were "caught like rats in a trap" and applied it to the garrison because most of its men could find shelter only underground while the bombers were overhead. Our men accepted the title with relish.
To one another, they were "the rats." To the Axis they were rats with razor-sharp teeth. They became "The Rats of Tobruk" ‘
The following Australian Army units were in the UK at the beginning of the war:
18th Infantry Brigade (originally 6th Australian Div., then the 9th)-sent to Egypt
25th Infantry Brigade (originally 9th Australian Div., then the 7th).sent to Palestine
RAN (Royal Australian Navy).
The RAN took a part in the Battle of the Atlantic and is credited with sinking one U-boat. They hunted the Bismarck and took also part in the D-Day landings.
In 1939 its strength was a mere 7 ships —1 heavy cruiser, 3 light cruisers, 1 destroyer and 2 sloops— and one destroyer in reserve. When the war ended they had a fleet of 1 heavy cruiser, 3 light cruisers, 11 destroyers, 6 frigates, 2 sloops, 53 corvettes, 1 minelayer and 73 other vessels.
The RAN lost 2,176 men and women during the war. This was 5.5% of its peak strength on 30th June 1945 of 39.650 personnel.
Among the ships lost were HMAS Canberra, HMAS Sydney, HMAS Voyager, HMAS Yarra and HMS Perth.
The sloop Parramatta was sunk by U-559 on 27th November 1941 with the loss of 139 lives.
The destroyer HMAS Nestor sank the U-127 on 14th December 1941.
HMAS Wollongong also helped sinking the U-617 on 12th September 1943.
RAN forces also sank 2 Italian and 3 Japanese submarines.
Don 'Pathfinder' Bennett,
AOC 8 Group and one of the war's most skilled airmen, born in Toowoomba, Australia..
R.A.N AGAINST ITALIAN NAVY, GERMAN NAVY, IMPERIAL JAPANESE NAVY
R.A.A.F BOMBERS OVER GERMANY, OVER JAPAN
THE ATTACKS ON DARWIN, SYDNEY AND NEWCASTLE
POW’S IMPRISONED FOR YEARS IN CAMPS LIKE CHANGI
Book, 'Australia's Dambusters' by Colin Burgess (2003 ).
In it appears the following comment from Leonard Cheshire VC,DSO,DFC from a letter written to the author shortly before his death in 1992.
'Lots of other chaps in 617 deserved (the VC) more than I did. Your fellow countrymen Mick Martin and Dave Shannon for example. I learned all I know of the low-flying game from Mick. He had a complete genius for low-level attack and I never saw him make a mistake. In my opinion he was the finest and most determined operational low-flyer in Bomber Command. You see, blokes like Shannon and Martin pace you ; you've got to keep up with them.
But Mick and Dave were not the only ones from Aussie land to give us Poms an example and a prod. Partly, I think it was that they were proud of being Australian and perhaps had a sense of National identity in a deeper way than we had in Britain. That's important when you are in an emergency.
617 was composed of men from a number of countries, each with their own unique contribution, but I think it is fair to say that it could not have been the squadron it was without its Australian contingent.'
Half of the forces involved in fighting the Japanese at New Guinea were Aussies. And that air and naval support in the New Guinea and Salomon campaigns were provided by the RAAF and the RAN.
Actually at the battle of Savo Island the Aussies lost the heavy cruiser HMAS Canberra to vice admiral Mizawa's attacking force.
WWII multimedia data base – very good information for each year
Australia joined with the United Kingdom in declaring war on September 3, 1939 on Germany. New Zealand did so also, preferring to send a separate letter to demonstrate independence. New Zealand and Australian units served in North Africa, Italy, and Greece and rendered good service. When the Japanese attacked around Asia and the Pacific in December 1941, the overseas units were rushed home as part of the agreement Australia and New Zealand signed with England
at the start of the war. Some were sent to Singapore, where they were surrendered on February 17, 1942. Two days later, the Japanese bombed Darwin, sinking 26 ships.
Australia joined with the United Kingdom in declaring war on September 3, 1939 on Germany. New Zealand did so also, preferring to send a separate letter to demonstrate independence. New Zealand and Australian units served in North Africa, Italy, and Greece and rendered good service.
When the Japanese attacked around Asia and the Pacific in December 1941, the overseas units were rushed home as part of the agreement Australia and New Zealand signed with England at the start of the war.
Some were sent to Singapore, where they were surrendered on February 17, 1942. Two days later, the Japanese bombed Darwin, sinking 26 ships.