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Portal:Military history of Australia

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The Military history of Australia Portal

The RAN Ensign
The flag of Australia
The RAAF Ensign

The military history of Australia spans the nation's 230-year modern history, from the early Australian frontier wars between Aboriginals and Europeans to the ongoing conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan in the early 21st century. Although this history is short when compared to that of many other nations, Australia has been involved in numerous conflicts and wars, and war and military service have been significant influences on Australian society and national identity, including the Anzac spirit. The relationship between war and Australian society has also been shaped by the enduring themes of Australian strategic culture and its unique security dilemma.

As British offshoots, the Australian colonies participated in Britain's small wars of the 19th century, while later as a federated dominion, and then an independent nation, Australia fought in the First World War and Second World War, as well as in the wars in Korea, Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam during the Cold War. In the Post-Vietnam era Australian forces have been involved in numerous international peacekeeping missions, through the United Nations and other agencies, including in the Sinai, Persian Gulf, Rwanda, Somalia, East Timor and the Solomon Islands, as well as many overseas humanitarian relief operations, while more recently they have also fought as part of multi-lateral forces in Iraq and Afghanistan. In total, nearly 103,000 Australians died during the course of these conflicts. Read more...

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The Battle of Greece was an important World War II battle which occurred on the Greek mainland and in southern Albania. The battle was fought between the Allies (Greece and the British Commonwealth) and the Axis (Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy) forces. The battle of Greece began on October 28, 1940, when Fascist Italy invaded Greece, and ended with the fall of Kalamata in the Peloponnese. With the Battle of Crete and several naval actions it is considered part of the wider Aegean component of the Balkans Campaign of World War II. The British Commonwealth troops were sourced mainly from the Australian 6th Division which played a key role in the battle, while units of the Royal Australian Air Force and Royal Australian Navy also took part in the battle.

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"Australian troops had, at Milne Bay, inflicted on the Japanese their first undoubted defeat on land. Some of us may forget that, of all the allies, it was the Australians who first broke the invincibility of the Japanese army."
Field Marshal Sir William Slim.

Selected anniversaries

August 20

Did you know

AV2767 Crusader in 1945

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28 May 2019 – Australia–China relations, South China Sea dispute
Australian helicopters, from the Royal Australian Navy flagship HMAS Canberra, are forced to make an emergency landing after being targeted by lasers from fishing boats in the South China Sea. The Canberra was being trailed by a Chinese warship. (AP via

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Clare Grant Stevenson, AM, MBE (18 July 1903 – 22 October 1988) was the inaugural Director of the Women's Auxiliary Australian Air Force (WAAAF). Formed as a branch of the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) in March 1941, the WAAAF was the first and largest Australian uniformed women's service during World War II, numbering more than 18,000 members by late 1944 and making up over thirty per cent of the RAAF's ground staff. Initially ranked squadron officer when appointed in May 1941, she rose to become group officer by April 1942. After her discharge in 1946, Stevenson resumed her civilian career at Berlei and was active in adult education and social welfare, helping to form several aid organisations including the Carers Association of New South Wales after retiring from her business career in 1960. In 2001, she was described as "the most significant woman in the history of the Air Force".

Daily unit

The 3rd Armoured Division's formation sign

The 3rd Armoured Division was an Australian Army division of World War II. The division was established in November 1942 by redesignating the 1st Motor Division (which was previously the 1st Cavalry Division). As an armoured formation the division was equipped with M3 Grant medium tanks and M3 Stuart light tanks. As large armoured units were not suitable for the jungle warfare the Army was engaged in, the 3rd Armoured Division was not deployed outside of Australia. The division's 3rd Motor Brigade was gradually disbanded between March to August 1943 and the 3rd Armoured Division was disbanded in Queensland in October 1943 to provide manpower for operational units.

Selected equipment


Scout Car S1 (American), was an armoured car produced in Australia for the US Army during the Second World War.The vehicle was based on a Ford F15 4x2 chassis (a single 4x4 vehicle was built). The open-topped armoured hull was similar to that of the M3 Scout Car. The armament consisted of one .50 inch heavy machine gun and two .30 inch machine guns on a skate rails, operated by the crew of five. About 40 vehicles were produced by Ford Australia.


Major topics

RAN • History
Admiral of the Fleet, Bases, Cadets, Clearance Divers, Current Ships, Fleet Air Arm, Future, Historic ships, HMAS, Memorial, Patrol Boat Group, Persian Gulf Operations, RANVR, Reserve, Ship classes, Silent Service, WRANS

Army • History
Armoured Units, Army Aviation, Corps, First Australian Imperial Force, Second Australian Imperial Force, Brigades, Cadets, Royal Military College, Enlisted Ranks, Memorial, Officer Ranks, RAR, Regiments, Senior Officers, Regional Surveillance Units, Structure, VC Recipients, Weapons

RAAF • History
Aircraft, Airfield Defence Guards, Bases, Chief of Air Force, Flights, First Tactical Air Force, Ranks, Roulettes, Squadrons, Structure

Special Forces
1st Commando Regiment, 2nd Commando Regiment, 171st Squadron, 200 Flight, Coastwatchers, Special Operations Engineer Regiment, SASR, SOCOMD, Tactical Assault Group, WWII Commando companies, Z Special Unit, M Special Unit

Featured, A-Class and Good content

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Featured articles: 1940 Brocklesby mid-air collisionAdmiralty Islands campaignAdrian Cole (RAAF officer)AHS CentaurAlan McNicollAlfred ShoutAlister MurdochAllan WaltersArthur Henry CobbyAttack on Sydney HarbourAustralian Air CorpsAustralian contribution to the Battle of NormandyAustralian Defence ForceAvenue Range Station massacreAxis naval activity in Australian watersBattle of AraweBattle of Arras (1917)Battle of BardiaBattle of the Bismarck SeaBattle of Cape EsperanceBattle of GreeceBattle of Milne BayBattle of KaiapitBattle of MorotaiBattle of Rennell IslandBattle of Savo IslandBattle of SioBattle of TassafarongaBattle of Tulagi and Gavutu-TanambogoBattle of the Eastern SolomonsBill DennyBill McCannBlack Friday (1945)Blair Anderson WarkBobby GibbesBoeing C-17 Globemaster III in Australian serviceBrian EatonBruce KingsburyCedric HowellCharles Eaton (RAAF officer)Clare StevensonColin HannahConvoy GP55David Evans (RAAF officer)Dick CresswellDonald HardmanEastern Area Command (RAAF)Edgar TownerEdmund HerringEllis WackettElwyn Roy KingFirst Battle of DernancourtFrank BerrymanFrank BladinFrank HeadlamFrank Hubert McNamaraFrederick SchergerGarnet MalleyGeorge Jones (RAAF officer)Guadalcanal CampaignHarry ChauvelHarry MurrayHector WallerHenry Burrell (admiral)Henry PetreHenry Wells (general)Henry WrigleyHMAS Melbourne (R21)HMS Nairana (1917)Ian Dougald McLachlanInvasion of Tulagi (May 1942)Issy SmithIven MackayJames NewlandJames Park WoodsJames Rowland (RAAF officer)James Whiteside McCayJerry PentlandJoe Hewitt (RAAF officer)John BalmerJohn Francis JacksonJohn LerewJohn Lloyd WaddyJohn McCauleyJohn Treloar (museum administrator)John Wilton (general)John WhittleJørgen Jensen (soldier)Landing at NadzabLawrence WeathersLes HoldenLester BrainList of Australian George Cross recipientsList of Australian Victoria Cross recipientsLockheed C-130 Hercules in Australian serviceLou SpenceMaurice Wilder-NeliganMcDonnell Douglas A-4G SkyhawkMcDonnell Douglas F/A-18 Hornet in Australian serviceMcDonnell Douglas F-4 Phantom II in Australian serviceMichael WoodruffMilitary history of Australia during World War IIMorotai MutinyNaval Battle of GuadalcanalNeil Hamilton FairleyNicky BarrNo. 1 Aircraft Depot RAAFNo. 1 Flying Training School RAAFNo. 1 Squadron RAAFNo. 1 Wing RAAFNo. 2 Operational Conversion Unit RAAFNo. 33 Squadron RAAFNo. 34 Squadron RAAFNo. 36 Squadron RAAFNo. 37 Squadron RAAFNo. 38 Squadron RAAFNo. 450 Squadron RAAFNo. 77 Squadron RAAFNo. 79 Squadron RAAFNo. 90 Wing RAAFNo. 91 Wing RAAFNorth-Eastern Area Command (RAAF)North-Western Area Command (RAAF)Operation KitaOswald WattOtto BecherPaterson Clarence HughesPeter Drummond (RAF officer)Peter Jeffrey (RAAF officer)Phillip DaveyRAAF area commandsRagnar GarrettRaymond BrownellRaymond LeaneReg Pollard (general)Reg SaundersRichard Williams (RAAF officer)Roderic DallasRoy DowlingRoy PhillippsSingapore strategyShrine of RemembranceStanley GobleStanley Price WeirStanley SavigeThomas Baker (aviator)Thomas BlameyTom DerrickValston HancockVance DrummondVictoria Cross for AustraliaWalter PeelerWaterloo Bay massacreWestern Area Command (RAAF)William BostockWilliam BrillWilliam Ellis NewtonWilliam Hely

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A Class:

1st Armoured Brigade (Australia)2/1st Machine Gun Battalion (Australia)2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion (Australia)2/3rd Battalion (Australia)2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion (Australia)2/4th Machine Gun Battalion (Australia)2/5th Battalion (Australia)2/7th Battalion (Australia)2/9th Battalion (Australia)12th Light Horse Regiment (Australia)2/14th Battalion (Australia)15th Battalion (Australia)2/15th Battalion (Australia)2/17th Battalion (Australia)2/18th Battalion (Australia)2/43rd Battalion (Australia)2/48th Battalion (Australia)4th Armoured Brigade (Australia)Admiralty Islands campaignAir Board (Australia)Air Combat Group RAAFAlan CharlesworthAlan RawlinsonAustralian Army during World War IIAustralian light destroyer projectBattle of Bita PakaBattle of Goodenough IslandBattle of the Hongorai RiverBattle of IsuravaBattle of KaiapitBattle of KapyongBattle of Porton PlantationBattle of Slater's KnollBattle of Tsimba RidgeBattle of WauBill KibbyCentral Flying School RAAFClarence Smith JeffriesEric Harrison (RAAF officer)First Battle of Maryang SanFrank BerrymanFrank LukisGeorge Alan VaseyGeorge Julian HowellGeorge IngramGeorge MackinoltyGordon SteegeHippolyte De La RueHorace RobertsonJohn LeakJohn NorthcottJoseph MaxwellLanding at Jacquinot BayLanding at SaidorLeslie MorsheadLewis McGeeLionel MatthewsMary Bell (aviator)New Britain campaignNo. 78 Wing RAAFNo. 81 Wing RAAFNo. 82 Wing RAAFNo. 84 Wing RAAFNo. 86 Wing RAAFOperation BrevityOperation CoburgOperation CrimpOrdnance QF 25-pounder ShortPercy Herbert CherryPercy StattonPeter BadcoeRoy BurstonRoy InwoodRupert DownesSamuel BurstonSouth Australian Mounted RiflesSouth West Pacific Area (command)Sydney RowellTeddy SheeanTet OffensiveThomas White (Australian politician)Vernon SturdeeWilbur DartnellWilfred ArthurWilliam Anderson (RAAF officer)William McAloney

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Good articles:12th Light Horse Regiment (Australia)14th/32nd Battalion (Australia)1st Armoured Brigade (Australia)1st Armoured Regiment (Australia)1st Parachute Battalion (Australia)2nd Armoured Brigade (Australia)2/6th Battalion (Australia)2/10th Battalion (Australia)2/14th Battalion (Australia)2/18th Battalion (Australia)2/31st Battalion (Australia)2/33rd Battalion (Australia)2/48th Battalion (Australia)2/9th Battalion (Australia)23rd Battalion (Australia)27th Battalion (Australia)29th Battalion (Australia)2nd Battalion (Australia)31st/51st Battalion (Australia)3rd Division (Australia)6th Battalion (Australia)6th Division (Australia)61st Battalion (Australia)7th Battalion (Australia)Arthur BlackburnArthur Sullivan (Australian soldier)Arthur William MurphyAustralian Army ReserveAustralian Army ship Crusader (AV 2767)Battle of AmiensBattle of Chongju (1950)Battle of Coral–BalmoralBattle of FranceBattle of Gang ToiBattle of the Hongorai RiverBattle of KranjiBattle of KujinBattle of Lone PineBattle of Long KhanhBattle of PakchonBattle of Porton PlantationBattle of RatsuaBattle of the Samichon RiverBattle of SattelbergBattle of Sungei KoembaBattle of Suoi Bong TrangBattle of Suoi Chau PhaBattle of YongjuBritish nuclear tests at MaralingaCharles CrombieCharles Read (RAAF officer)Charles ScherfDave ShannonDemobilisation of the Australian military after World War IIErnest Albert CoreyFirst Australian Imperial ForceFrederick BirksGeneral Dynamics F-111CGeorge GosseGerman attacks on NauruHistory of the Royal Australian NavyHMAS Sydney (1934)Hobart coastal defencesHughie EdwardsHuon Peninsula campaignIvor McIntyreJohn Hines (Australian soldier)Len WatersLes ClisbyLeslie Douglas JacksonMilitary history of AustraliaMilitary history of Australia during World War INeville McNamaraNew Guinea Volunteer RiflesNew Zealand and Australian DivisionNigel CullenNo. 1 Basic Flying Training School RAAFNo. 1 Long Range Flight RAAFNo. 1 Operational Conversion Unit RAAFNo. 2 Service Flying Training School RAAFNo. 285 Squadron RAAFNo. 4 Operational Training Unit RAAFNo. 457 Squadron RAAFNo. 5 Airfield Construction Squadron RAAFNo. 6 Squadron RAAFNo. 71 Wing RAAFNo. 72 Wing RAAFNo. 73 Wing RAAFNo. 75 Squadron RAAFNo. 75 Wing RAAFNo. 76 Wing RAAFNo. 77 Wing RAAFNo. 78 Squadron RAAFNo. 79 Wing RAAFNo. 8 Service Flying Training School RAAFNo. 80 Wing RAAFNorthern Command (RAAF)Operation BribiePeter Edwards (historian)Peter IsaacsonPeter RawPeter Turnbull (RAAF officer)RAAF Transport Flight (Japan)Richard MinifieRobert A. LittleRussell FoskettSecond Battle of PasschendaeleSelarang Barracks IncidentStuart Clarence GrahamVirgil BrennanWilfrid Kent HughesAustralian contribution to the Allied Intervention in Russia 1918–1919


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