From the bookshelf: ‘The Scrap Iron Flotilla’

Reading time: 4 minutes
Mike Carlton has emerged as a gifted historian of Australia’s outstanding naval contributions in two world wars. He polishes this reputation in his new book, The Scrap Iron Flotilla: five valiant destroyers and the Australian war in the Mediterranean. Carlton has always been persuasive in print. His earlier books, Cruiser on the wartime record of HMAS Perth, and First victory 1914, detailing HMAS Sydney’s destruction of the German raider Emden, suggested both the enthusiasm for and appreciation of Australian naval history which the author has in abundance.

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A TALE OF REMEMBRANCE, ADMONITION, AND DESPAIR: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT

Reading time: 6 minutes
The vivid and graphic imagery of the First World War has indeed become a potent symbol of the need for everlasting commemoration, and a continuous reminder of armed conflict’s futility. Yet with the inevitable passing of time, direct links to the “War to end all Wars” have regretfully vanished, with all veterans who served in the trenches now gone. This most special group of soldiers may now be physically silent, but their haunting messages of warning remain.

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Battle of Stonne, France 1940

Reading time: 5 minutes
The battle for France in 1940 is often portrayed as a rout: the German Wehrmacht simply trounced the French forces within a few weeks, crushing them with military might and tactical ingenuity. However, a few episodes debunk this image and the Battle of Stonne, where a small town in the Ardennes changed hands 17 times in three days, is one of the most prominent.

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How the Peace of Westphalia Shaped Europe

Reading time: 5 minutes
The Peace of Westphalia, sometimes known as the treaty of Westphalia, is the collective name for three important treaties signed in 1648 that would shape the destiny of Europe. One ended the Dutch Revolt, creating a powerful, independent Dutch Republic, while the other two ended the Thirty Years’ War and gave a measure of peace to Germany and surrounding countries.

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How the Thirty Years War Affected Germany

Reading time: 4 minutes
The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) was a brutal conflict that saw most major European powers use Germany as a battleground to sort out their assorted dynastic, religious, economic and territorial issues. The toll this took on the country was massive, and reverberated for long after; let’s take a look at some of the damage it did.

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Vital Hasson, the Jew who worked for the Nazis, hunted down refugees and tore apart families in WWII Greece

Reading time: 7 minutes
I learned a lesson when conducting research for my book, “Family Papers: a Sephardic Journey Through the Twentieth Century.” I had discovered the story of a young Jewish man forgotten to history until now, a story that taught me that neither cultural affiliation nor family history is a reliable predictor of future behaviour. In short, identity is not destiny, and all of us can fall prey to the tides of history.

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How the Thirty Years’ War Weakened Spain

Reading time: 5 minutes
The Thirty Years War (1618-1648) wasn’t a conflict as much as a vortex that sucked every major European power into it only to spit them out battered and bruised a few years later. We have talked about how it started in Prague and how Sweden got involved; in this article, it’s Spain’s turn.

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The Scrap Iron Flotilla – Speaker: Mike Carlton via Zoom

Live Presentation via Zoom August 17 @ 7:00 pm – 8:00 pm AEST (UTC+10)
When war broke out in the Northern Hemisphere in 1939, the British called upon their Australian allies for support. The Australian government responded by sending five navy destroyers – HMAS Stuart, Vendetta, Vampire, Voyager and Waterhen.

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Blimp Vs U-Boat, WW2 – Video

In July 1943 one of the most remarkable duels of the battle of the Atlantic took place between US Navy Airship K-74 and U-134 off the coast of Florida. Thanks to declassified documents and eye witness accounts we are able to relive this truly one of a kind engagement.

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Broodseinde Ridge – Podcast

On the back of the victories of Menin Road and Polygon Wood, the 1st Anzac Corps pushed on towards the dominating feature of Broodseinde Ridge. This time though, they would have the men of the 2nd Anzac Corps fighting alongside them. The Battle would see the Allied troops looking down upon green pastures for the first time in three years, bringing hope that the war may soon be over.

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Polygon Wood – Podcast

Following on from the success of the Battle of Menin Road, the 4th and 5th Australian Divisions took over from the 1st and 2nd Divisions to launch the attack at Polygon Wood. But the day before the battle is to commence, a strong German counter attack seized the ground which elements of the 15th Brigade were to attack from. It was a precarious situation which needed to be rectified immediately or else the whole attack could be thrown into confusion.

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Menin Road – Podcast

In 1917, General Haig began what would become known as the Third Battle of Ypres, with the intention of capturing the village of Passchendaele. But getting to the village would require a series of bite-and-hold battles. In September, the 1st and 2nd Australian Divisions, along with British and South African Divisions, launched the third in the series of assaults, at Menin Road. For the first time in history, two Australian divisions would be fighting side-by-side. If they were to ever have this chance again, they would have to prove just how formidable they could be.

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Australians in the Mediterranean during WW2 eBook

Thousands of Australian soldiers saw combat in a series of battles in the Mediterranean and North Africa. Their service is less well known as it has tended to be overshadowed by the later battles in New Guinea and the Pacific. History Guild has created and published this eBook which tells the stories of the determination, resilience, bravery and sacrifice of the Australians who served in the Mediterranean theatre of the Second World War. It is available as a free download below.

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X Troop – The Secret Jewish Commandos of WWII

Reading time: 8 minutes
When we hear ‘Jewish’ and ‘World War II’ in the same sentence, our minds often lead directly to the Holocaust. The extent of Jewish resistance to the brutal treatment on their own was limited due to the extent of their persecution by Nazi or Nazi aligned governments. These governments generally had the broad support of the populace, making it hard for small groups of Jews within these societies to fight back. One exception to this were the Jews of Poland, the X Troop commandos were another.

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The Battle of Crete, WW2 – Video

The Battle of Crete saw around 40,000 Allied troops, including over 6,500 Australians, defending against a German airborne invasion. The Allies fought valiantly, but were eventually overcome by the German paratroopers. However, they inflicted such severe casualties on the Germans that they never again used their airborne forces on a large scale.

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Ruin Ridge – Podcast

During the 1st Battle of El Alamein the 9th Australian Division was tasked with the capture of Ruin Ridge. Despite heavy fighting during the opening stages they achieved some of their objectives, but their successes obliged General Rommel to divert large numbers of troops to contain the Australian advance. The fighting then became desperate, leading to heavy casualties and the near decimation of one battalion.

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Cretan Resistance During WW2

Reading time: 8 minutes
One of the more impressive feats of arms during the second World War was the way in which the people of Crete fought a guerrilla campaign against the German occupation force. With help from the allies, the Cretans — men, women and even children — fought a brutal and bloody campaign against the invader. In this article, we look at what happened through the eyes of some of the people who participated, Cretan, British and Australian.

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Australian VC’s in the Mediterranean, WW2 – Video

There were six Australian VC recipients during the Mediterranean and North African Campaigns of the second world war. From the heroics of Lt. Roden Cutler in Damour, Corporal Edmondson of the Desert Rats defending Tobruk in 1941 to Sgt. Kibby with his tommy-gun in El Alamein. Learn more about Australian gallantry in the Deserts of North Africa.

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Fort Khiam, Syria. Australian troops

When Australia Fought France, WW2 – Video

Operation Exporter was a little known, but very important campaign for the Australian military. It involved Australian’s fighting a strange war against confused Frenchmen who were not supposed to be our enemy. France had been defeated and subjugated by the Germans. The new French government, installed at Vichy, was answerable to the Führer. With France vanquished, the fate of their territories in Syria and Lebanon became uncertain.

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3 Squadron RAAF – Podcast

As the Allied armies fought across North Africa, first against the Italians and then the Vichy French and Rommel’s Afrika Korps, one squadron of the RAAF was there from the beginning. No. 3 Squadron was the first RAAF squadron to leave Australia and played an important part in many of the important battles from 1940 to 1943 across North Africa, Tunisia and Sicily.

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