Author Topic: 1943 and Australian Nationalism  (Read 1869 times)

Offline Volkodav

  • Counts rivits with his abacus...
  • Much older now...but procrastinating about it
1943 and Australian Nationalism
« on: April 17, 2014, 10:18:26 AM »
Through the dark days of 1942 with Australia under direct threat the 2nd AIF, the Militia, the RAAF, the RAN and the population as a whole had sacrificed much to meet the challenges of the day.  A full half of the RANs proud cruisers had been lost along with many smaller vessels to stem the tide, the RAAF had thrown its self into the breach with often inadequate equipment and a great many soldiers had fought the Japanese to a standstill in New Guinea before driving them back.  The nation had mobilized for the first time in its history.  Many things to be proud of, many things to be saddened by and to grieve for.  Australian continued to serve in other theatres, in particular RAAF and RAN in Europe and the Mediterranean.  Yet all was not good, something was not quite right.

Now fully mobilized the United States were taking the lead and very much calling the shots.  Australian forces were pretty much fully integrated into the US command structure with General Douglas Macarthur as commander in chief.  Australian forces found themselves in unfamiliar territory in that they were no longer seen as elite as they had been through WWI and the early years of WWII, they were no longer sought after, no longer in the limelight but rather being seen as ancillary, bit players, unimportant.  Australia had become a warehouse to support the US war effort and by 1943 there was a feeling of tokenism amongst the Australian service personnel and population.

It was at this point a choice was offered, an olive branch extended, Montgomery wanted the Australians back, not just the 2nd AIF Infantry divisions, he wanted new airborne and armoured divisions too, he wanted Diggers to fill out and strengthen the tiring Commonwealth forces in the Mediterranean and more importantly he wanted them at the forefront of the invasion of Europe.  The carrot to get the AIF back was an Australian Squadron within the proposed British Pacific Fleet, pride in place going to the transferred battle cruiser Renown, the new armoured fleet carriers Implacable and Indefatigable, the incomplete battleship Vanguard was also promised and many destroyers, including several already Australian manned were gifted to Australia to make good war losses.  Overnight the RAN was to be returned to its pre WWI glory and be set to take the war and Australia's revenge to the shores of Japan.  In exchange Montgomery got his Australian Corps of two Infantry and one Armoured Division plus a third division converted to airborne. 

Land forces remaining in Australia and the Pacific were converted into to marines to better be able to mop up the remaining Japanese presence behind the American advance.  Australian forces were slowly de-integrated from the US structure, reorganised, re-equipped and reassigned.  No longer a bit player in Macarthur's opus Australia reclaimed her destiny and status reforging the ANZAC legend throughout Europe and the Pacific through 1944 and 45.
« Last Edit: April 17, 2014, 10:23:01 AM by Volkodav »