Author Topic: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period  (Read 541 times)

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Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« on: November 28, 2021, 02:23:16 AM »
A complex title (perhaps) for a basically simple concept.  During WW1 and especially the Battle of Hamel , the Australians under General Sir John Monash showed the way for what would later become standard combined arms doctrine.  Monash was a noted advocate of the co-ordinated use of infantry, aircraft, artillery and tanks and indeed wrote:

Quote
... the true role of infantry was not to expend itself upon heroic physical effort, not to wither away under merciless machine-gun fire, not to impale itself on hostile bayonets, nor to tear itself to pieces in hostile entanglements—(I am thinking of Pozières and Stormy Trench and Bullecourt, and other bloody fields)—but on the contrary, to advance under the maximum possible protection of the maximum possible array of mechanical resources, in the form of guns, machine-guns, tanks, mortars and aeroplanes; to advance with as little impediment as possible; to be relieved as far as possible of the obligation to fight their way forward; to march, resolutely, regardless of the din and tumult of battle, to the appointed goal; and there to hold and defend the territory gained; and to gather in the form of prisoners, guns and stores, the fruits of victory.

In reality, post WW1, the Australian Army did seek to obtain tanks, however, due to post-war economic measures this was slow in occurring with the first (4 British Vickers Medium Mark IIs) not being until 1927.  However, what if this did not get hampered.  What if instead, the Australian Government/Defence Force took to heart the lessons from the Battle of Hamel and similar and in a step towards avoiding future unnecessary loss of infantry took to heart the concept of combined arms approach to warfare and thus plan on/equip/train for highing integrated forces?  This would perhaps include:

  • Armour:  Perhaps early adoption of tanks in 1919/20 starting perhaps with a mix of Male/Female Mark V tanks or even Medium Mark C plus Mark IX armoured personnel carrier (APCs) and maybe even the UK/US Mark VIII 'heavy' tank.  Smaller Medium Mark A Whippets might also be used.  Note that I have stayed with the UK designs for the most part initially though that would not preclude others being acquired or even indigenous designs being developed.  Maybe also more could happen on the self propelled gun/mortar front - for instance Gun Carrier Mark Is did operate with Australians during the war.
  • Aircraft:  Probably not much here differing from reality, though perhaps greater use of ground attack types - for instance, maybe the Bristol F.2 Fighter is kept in service post war in the army cooperation role much like it did with the RAF.  Perhaps also see use of variants equipped with 'tropical' radiators.  These would eventually be replaced with Westland Wapiti much as in the real world.  There might also be developments such as paratroops earlier and other aerial resupply developments leading on from those initiated in WW1

Other thoughts?
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #1 on: November 29, 2021, 04:19:34 PM »
Interestingly not only Monash, but also Chauvell and Blamey, well pretty much every general we had wanted a motorized regular army, supported by tanks artillery and aircraft.  The political classes and a minority or militia officers were in favor of a citizen army i.e. the continuation of the status quo, seeing WWI as an aberration and small conflicts such as the Sudan, South Africa (Boer War), etc. as more likely (not to mention more affordable).

Blamey, despite his bad reputation was a master planner and responsible for most of the detail planning as Monash's Chief of Staff, in WWII he was even trying to get early helicopter deployed operationally to PNG to support troops in their fight against Japan.

As for the Bisfit, the RAAF wanted them but was gifted DH-9As instead.  I will happily stand corrected, but I believe the RAAF did a much better job of working with the army than the RAF did in the interwar period, they knew their very existence depended on being useful.

The AIF in France was actually one of the most heavily motorised armies in the world at the end of WWI, they however were required to leave their vehicles in France as no need was seen for them back home by the political classes, well not enough use to justify transporting them back.  Sadly all Australia was left to show for what they were in 1918, was a massive war debt and none of the materiel the debt was run up to pay for.

Offline apophenia

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #2 on: November 30, 2021, 08:24:00 AM »
Along with the DH.9As, the Imperial Gift also included the problematic Puma-powered DH.9s. Perhaps the latter were substituted for the RAAF's preferred Bristol F.2s?

Anyway, here is my take on Greg's postwar RAAF 'Brisfits' ...

Top RAAF Bristol F.2b Fighter of 'C' Flight, 3 Squadron, Richmond, NSW. This aircraft is shown with exercise markings applied - 'Red 4' and a 3 Sqn crest on the fin - in late August of 1925.

'Brisfit' A5-14 was originally 'White 1', the personal mount of 3 Squadron C/O, Sqn Ldr FWF Lukis - hence her 'Flyer' motif. Note the newly-adopted Matthews & Hassell auxiliary radiator beneath the engine.

Bottom RAAF Bristol F.2J Brisbaine (aka 'Jupiter Fighter') with 'B' Flt, 1 Flying Training School RAAF, Point Cook, Victoria. Although not dual-controlled, this aircraft was employed as a flight trainer in late 1929. Yellow recognition markings were distinct to 1 FTS.

Note that the RAAF's F.2J Brisbaine was a local modification, differing from Bristol's Jupiter Fighter in detail - one being the use of a cowling similar to that of the RAAF's Bulldog II fighters.
__________________________

BTW: These sideviews are based on Ronny Bar's 'Brisfit' profile for Wingnut Wings.
__________________________

I've also played with a possible substitute for the Whippet but thought was maybe a bit too nutty to mount here ...
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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #3 on: December 01, 2021, 01:31:19 AM »
 :smiley:
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Offline Rickshaw

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #4 on: December 01, 2021, 07:21:10 PM »
These plans are wonderful.  Pity they cost so much.  Money which none of the armed services could afford. 

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #5 on: December 02, 2021, 01:59:14 AM »
Ah, but in the whiffverse... ;)
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #6 on: December 02, 2021, 07:37:19 PM »
The AFC was operating Snipes in 1918 as well which 4 sqn continued to fly until they returned home.  1 Sqn was very involved in army cooperation in the Middle East.  Armored cars and regular cars were used when available in conjunction with the Mounted Infantry, which indecently, post Beersheba, became more traditional Cavalry like with the issue of swords.

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #7 on: December 03, 2021, 02:29:40 AM »
Maybe also some armoured cars...?



Might be justification to buy something like this:

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2021, 02:32:37 AM »
And interestingly enough, a number of armoured cars were operated in the Middle East and the Western Desert by the Australian Light Car Patrol in WW1 so there was some experience.

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #9 on: December 03, 2021, 02:41:56 AM »
Maybe also something like the Lanchester 6×4 armoured car:



I don't think there is a kit though

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #10 on: December 03, 2021, 03:59:14 AM »
Further to the last, this could easily have been Australian troops rather than British:



More
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Offline Buzzbomb

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #11 on: December 03, 2021, 04:22:20 AM »
A bit of a fan of the Indian Pattern Carrier Concept


So an earlier iteration of an Armoured Truck body is not out of the question. Australia was using very capable trucks in the 1930's from both US and UK sources.

Offline apophenia

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #12 on: December 03, 2021, 12:10:40 PM »
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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #13 on: December 04, 2021, 01:19:52 AM »
All hail the God of Frustration!!!

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Offline apophenia

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #14 on: December 12, 2021, 05:58:51 AM »
And another one ... the Holden-Kégresse Armoured Car Mk.II halftrack.

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #15 on: December 13, 2021, 12:51:42 AM »
 :smiley:
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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #16 on: December 13, 2021, 01:40:08 AM »
Turning to the APC, I mentioned the Mark IX tank/APC earlier:




This could carry up to 30 troops in addition to its 4 man crew.

There was even a amphibious version trialed:





I'm not sure if/how troops were supposed to exist though.

Maybe a basis for an Australian Marine Corp variant though...

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #17 on: December 13, 2021, 01:43:28 AM »
Also, here's the Mark VIII tank I also mentioned - this was also known as the International and intended to have joint UK-US production (add in theoretical Australian and we get an early AUKUS... ;)):


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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #18 on: December 14, 2021, 03:02:26 AM »
Interestingly enough Australia did have some Vickers Medium Mark IIs it would appear:



http://tank-photographs.s3-website-eu-west-1.amazonaws.com/vickers-medium-mkI-tank.html
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Offline Volkodav

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Re: Australian Combined Arms Capability in Interwar Period
« Reply #19 on: December 14, 2021, 11:12:09 AM »
There were acquired between the wars for training and doctrine development.  There were used for training leading up to and during the early years of WWII.