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    Thread: Remember them, a breif history of the ANZAC's

    1. #1
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      DRZdeano's Avatar
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      24 Sep 2013

      Remember them, a breif history of the ANZAC's

      As time passes it and it becomes more distant, it becomes hard to remember the sacrifices and courage that created the ANZAC spirit. ANZAC day , which date is chosen as the day Australia landed at Gallipoli. it is not to celebrate that failed attack,or any other of our numerous military victories and defeats. It is to remember and commemorate those that have fallen, those that served, and those that are currently serving.

      As i have an interest in military history to a small degree i decided to investigate the different conflicts the ANZAC's have been involved in. Quite a few i had not heard of before, so i have written, or plagiarized, however you call it, a brief(ish) history of Australian military conflicts and actions, so that we may all remember.

      A fairly common theme seems to show our ANZAC troops are well trained, disciplined, skilled and effective soldiers. however not many of our commanders seem to enjoy such a reputation. Not that i can find anyway!

      From the first official engagement of Australian soldiers being sent to help pacify the Maori tribes in New Zealand, to our pre- WW1 deployments to Sudan ,South Africa(2nd Boer War) and China(Boxer rebellion). To the various countries and regions Australians fought in WW1. The Sinai and Palestine Campaign, the Senussi Uprising in the Libyan Desert and the Nile Valley, Gaza, Beersheeba, Jerusalem, Egypt were some of the regions Australians fought in the middle east. On the Western Front, Australians fought in France and Belgium and Germany. Even while sustaining high casualties the Australians always kept up the offensive earning commendations from the commanding British generals, and even praise from capture German troops.

      After WW1 , Australians assisted in the Allied Intervention in Russia. And small numbers of volunteers took part in the Spanish Civil War preceding WW2, however these volunteers where not recognized by the nuetral Australian government and were never officially honored.

      Wold War 2
      During WW2, Australians served in North Africa, notably Tobruk, Greece, Crete, Syria, Lebanon, El Alamein. The majority of Australian units in the Mediterranean returned to Australia in early 1942, after the outbreak of the Pacific War. One aspect that is not as well know is the RAAF's role in the strategic air offensive in Europe. This formed Australia's main contribution to the defeat of Germany. Approximately 13,000 Australian airmen served in dozens of British and five Australian squadrons in RAF Bomber Command between 1940 and the end of the war. Australians took part in all of Bomber Command's major offensives and suffered heavy losses during raids on German cities and targets in France. Australian aircrew in Bomber Command had one of the highest casualty rates of any part of the Australian military during the Second World War and sustained almost 20 percent of all Australian deaths in combat; 3,486 were killed and hundreds more were taken prisoner.

      The Pacific
      The Australian military suffered a series of defeats during the early months of the Pacific War. The Commonwealth force withdrew to Singapore at the end of January, but was forced to surrender on 15 February. Smaller Australian forces were also defeated during early 1942 in the Battle of Rabaul, Battle of Ambon, Battle of Timor, and Battle of Java. Over 22,000 Australians were taken prisoner in early 1942, 8,296 of those prisoners died in captivity.

      Australia's role in the Pacific War declined from 1944. The increasing size of the US forces in the Pacific rendered the Australian military superfluous and labour shortages forced the Government to reduce the size of the armed forces in order to boost war production. Nevertheless, the Government wanted the Australian military to remain active, and agreed to MacArthur's proposals that it be used in relatively unimportant campaigns. In late 1944, Australian troops and RAAF squadrons replaced US garrisons in eastern New Guinea, New Britain, and Bougainville, and launched offensives aimed at destroying or containing the remaining Japanese forces there.

      Peacekeeping operations

      Since WW2, Australia has still been involved in combat operations around the world, mostly involving peacekeeping duties and supporting existing countries governments and armed forces. Australia has assisted and provided military support and peacekeeping duties in the Malayan Emergency, Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation, the first Gulf War, Somalia, East Timor and Iraq.

      However, Australia has not been limited to police work, Australia has also seen major combat in the Korean War, where a battalion(soon followed by a second) stationed in Japan following WW2 was called to support South Korea and the US in repelling the North Korean and Chinese Military.

      The Vietnam War was the first time since WW2 Australia mobilized a brigade size force consisting of 2 battalions and support ,including armour, artillery and aircraft. This was marked a change in Australia/US co-operation, Australia was given its own area of operations and more independence to operate separately from the US units. After a successful defense at the Battle of Long Tan, the Australian sector remained relatively unchallenged. This allowed Australian units to more conduct combat operations further away. Leading to the Battle of Coral–Balmoral where Australian units clashed with regular North Vietnamese Army and Viet Cong units operating in battalion strength for the first time. Australia began to withdraw in 1970 and last Australian forces were finally withdrawn in 1973.

      After September 11 2001, Australian forces were committed to the US-led coalition against terrorism. The ADF's most visible contribution—codenamed Operation Slipper—has been a special forces task group operating in Afghanistan from 2001 to 2002 and again from mid-2005 to fight against the Taliban. Over time the Australian commitment has grown, with the addition of further ground forces from 2006 to provide security, reconstruction and to mentor and train the Afghan National Army.

      In 2012 a modest Australian force numbering 1,550 personnel was stationed in Afghanistan where they were involved in counter-insurgency operations in Uruzgan province in conjunction with coalition forces. The force consists of motorized infantry, special forces, engineers, cavalry, artillery and aviation elements. This includes a battalion-sized battle group known as the Mentoring Task Force, and the Special Operations Task Group, both based at Forward Operation Base Ripley outside of Tarin Kowt. Australian forces have at times been involved in heavy fighting, and significant battles have included Operation Anaconda in 2002 and Operation Perth in 2006, as well as actions in Chora in 2007, Kakarak in 2009, the Shah Wali Kot and Derapet in 2010, and Doan in 2011; although others have yet to be publicly acknowledged due to operational security requirements.

      On a more personal note. I attended the ANZAC day service for the unveiling of 2 plaques for my great-grandfather and great-granduncle in their hometown of Flowerdale. Having never heard any thing about that part of my family i was quite surprised and proud to hear of their service. They may not have been great leaders or well known hero's, but every man's service in such wars no matter how seemingly insignificant should be respected. The risk and sacrifice they took, should never be forgotten. As such i felt like i should share their stories.

      John Collins, laborer, enlisted at Seymour on the 19th of October 1914 in the 8th Light Horse Regiment at 22 years of ages.

      On the 1st of February 1915 his unit shipped out of Melbourne bound for Egypt. John landed at Gallipoli on the 15th of October 1915. He was at ANZAC cove for around 66 days before being part of the successful evacuation and retreat.

      On Christmas day 1915 he departed the island of Lemnos to return to Egypt. After re-organization of ANZAC forces in Egypt, he was shipped across the Mediterranean to Marseilles, France. Arriving on the 10th of June 1916 he was attached to the 12th brigade Australian field artillery on the 3.7.16

      On the 2nd of November 1917, John was wounded in a poisonous gas attack in Belgium.

      John returned to France on the 30th April 1918, rejoining his unit on 9.5.18 and was appointed Lance Bombardier on 7th of June 1918. John was wounded again on 6.8.18, in the right hand thigh, and with a head wound behind the right ear.

      John suffered influenza on the voyage home and returned on the 16.4.19.

      James Collins , laborer, the older brother of John , enlisted 2 months later at Yea on 30.12.14. James was 25 years old, he had been a member of the Strath Creek Rifle Club for 2 years. He joined up with the 4th Light Horse Regiment, he arrived at Gallipoli 2 weeks before his brother on the 2nd of October 1915.

      After the Egypt re-organization his squadron was sent to France in March 1916 to merge with the 2nd ANZAC mounted regiment. Other squadrons of the 4th light horse went on to the famed cavalry charge at Beersheba in Palestine. James Collins was destined to end up as a driver with the 8th Australian Field artillery brigade which saw action in Belgium and France. On the 9th of June 1917 he was wounded in the next and rejoined his unit 5 weeks later.

      James returned to Australia in early May 1919.

      Both my grandfathers are still with us, they both served in WW2 , one as a RAAF airman, the other as part of the Australian Militias that were deployed to Papua New Guinea. Neither of them will talk much or at all about their service, as much as i am curious i am cautious of asking them to remember those darker days, it does saddens me to know that i will probably not hear of their contributions until too late

      Lest We Forget

      I encourage anyone who has family members who served in any conflict to speak up and remember their stories in the tradition of ANZAC day.

      Sources: Wikipedia
      Captured German letter from WW1
      Last edited by DRZdeano; 25-04-2015 at 08:23 PM.

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    3. #2
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      Vizion's Avatar
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      05 Apr 2014
      My great grandfather fought in WW1 in France along with his best mate, my great grandfather survived the war but his mate did not. Hearing stories from my grandfather that his dad told him about his time in the war and visiting Gallipoli and the WW1 and WW2 battlegrounds in France, give me a different look of what the war was like to the soldiers that had been in it. It made me gain a greater respect for the people that fought in the wars and the sacrifice they made so we could live the lives that we live today. On this ANZAC day i am proud to be Australia and will hope that people will never forget what our troops did so that we could have the things we do today

      Lest We Forget

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