Reading time: 4 minutes
Archaeologists from the University of the Ryukyus in Japan have discovered part of a 13th century ship that apparently belonged to Mongolian warlord Kublai Khan. The ship is believed to be a remnant of a fleet that took part in one of Kublai Khan’s failed attempts to invade Japan, in 1274 or 1281.
Australian Coastwatchers brought the tide of Japanese invasive successes to a shuddering halt when two coastwatchers spotted and reported an invasion fleet of 5,500 Japanese troops sailing south. The Coastwatchers’ observation was pivotal as it precipitated the Battle of the Coral Sea in May 1942 and thwarted the Japanese invasion of Port Moresby.
Reading time: 6 minutes
Between Aug. 7, 1942, and Feb. 9, 1943, U.S. forces sought to capture – and then defend – the Pacific island of Guadalcanal from the Japanese military. What started as an amphibious landing quickly turned into a series of massive air and naval battles. The campaign marked a major turning point in the Pacific theater of World War II. It also revealed important lessons about the nature of warfare itself – ones that are particularly relevant when planning for conflict in the 21st century.
Just before midnight on 7 December 1941, Flying Officer Peter Gibbes stepped off the train at Kota Bharu on the coast of northeast Malaya after a long, tiring journey up the peninsula from Singapore. Gibbes, an airline pilot in peacetime, had been newly posted to the Royal Australian Air Force’s 1 Squadron, which in the ensuing hours would become the first Australian military unit to see action in the Pacific War.
A skilled and determined soldier, Reg Saunders rose through the ranks to become Australia’s first Aboriginal commissioned officer. This podcast tells his story.
By late 1942, the Allies had pushed the Japanese forces back along the Kokoda Track and were now down on the coastal plains of northern New Guinea. The Japanese may have been retreating, but they intended to hold the vital beachheads from Gona down through Sanananda to Buna. The fight to take the beachheads would be bloody and brutal, but first the Australians and their American comrades had to get there.
Reading time: 6 minutes
Gough Whitlam’s visit to China in 1971 is an iconic moment in the history of Australia-China relations. As prime minister, he officially recognised the People’s Republic of China the following year, heralding a new era of engagement with China.
But Whitlam’s visit overshadows an earlier and equally significant moment in Australia’s relationship with China.
On October 28 1941, Australia opened its first diplomatic mission in China, a legation in the wartime capital of Chungking (Chongqing) in central Szechwan (Sichuan) province.
This podcast episode was commissioned by History Guild as part of our support of THE BLOODY BEACHHEADS: THE BATTLES OF GONA, BUNA AND SANANANDA – ONE DAY CONFERENCE. Angus Wallace, creator of the fantastic WW2 Podcast is joined by Peter Williams, author of Japan’s Pacific War: Personal Accounts of the Emperor’s Warriors.
The Battle of the Beachheads was the bloodiest of all the Papuan campaigns. The resolve and tenacity of the Japanese defenders was, to Allied perceptions, unprecedented to the point of being “fanatical”, and had not previously been encountered. Please join a group of well-qualified speakers as we examine the Battle of the Beachheads in a one-day conference.
Reading time: 7 minutes
It was estimated by Force 136 that they recruited around 20,000 indigenous personnel for operations in Burma. A few hundred of them are on my Men of SOE Burma page, compiled by going through several files of training cards. While the research for that page has provided excellent insight into a cross section of the many Burmese peoples who served with SOE, most of the 20,000 will remain unaccounted for because there is no record of them. Sadly, this means that their service will never be recognised outside of their own families.
Reading time: 10 minutes
After the retreat from Kokoda, the battered survivors of B Company, 39th Battalion regrouped at the small village of Deniki. Major Allan Cameron, a 30th Brigade staff officer, arrived shortly after at Deniki on 4th August. Disgusted by the apparently ‘unsoldierly’ appearance of B Company, he jumped to the conclusion that these men must have run away from the fighting and had abandoned Kokoda for no reason. He sent them further back to Isurava in disgrace, depriving the remainder of the 39th of the only troops with battle experience. This wouldn’t be the last time that a textbook tactical withdrawal would be mistaken for cowardice. Cameron then decided that Kokoda must be recaptured.
Reading time: 6 minutes
Today’s biggest companies are considered young, especially when compared to some of the oldest companies in the world. While companies like Microsoft and Apple are well on their way to reaching five decades old, that doesn’t come close to the more than 200 years some others have been around for. Several companies have stood the test of time for hundreds of years, the oldest of which dates to 563 CE.
The Final Campaign: Marines in the Victory on Okinawa By Joseph H. Alexander (1938 – 2014) The three-month-long battle of Okinawa covered a 700-mile arc from Formosa to Kyushu and involved a million combatants–Americans, Japanese, British, and native Okinawans. With a magnitude that rivaled the Normandy invasion the previous June, the battle of Okinawa was […]
Closing In: Marines in the Seizure of Iwo Jima – AUDIOBOOK By Joseph H. Alexander (1938 – 2014) Sunday, 4 March 1945, marked the end of the second week of the U.S. invasion of Iwo Jima. By this point the assault elements of the 3d, 4th, and 5th Marine Divisions were exhausted, their combat efficiency […]
ACROSS THE REEF: THE MARINE ASSAULT OF TARAWA – AUDIOBOOK By Joseph H. Alexander (1938 – 2014) “Tarawa Atoll is 2085 miles southwest of Pearl Harbor and 540 miles southeast of Kwajalein in the Marshalls. Betio is the principal island in the atoll. The Japanese seized Tarawa from the British within the first three days after […]
A SHORT HISTORY OF THE WORLD – AUDIOBOOK By H. G. Wells (1866 – 1946) A Short History of the World is a non-fictional historic work by English author H. G. Wells, largely inspired by Wells’s earlier 1919 work The Outline of History. The book summarises the scientific knowledge of the time regarding the history of […]
THE FALL OF SINGAPORE The Land Campaign Nothing in history is inevitable but the fall of Singapore Island after the defeat of British forces in Malaya came close to it. In December 1941 the Japanese established complete air and naval dominance in the region, sinking the British capital ships the Prince of Wales and the Repulse on 8 December […]
With ANZUS in the news at the moment, this book is a good way to understand where it all started. In early 1942, America needed Australia’s location linking the Pacific and Indian Oceans as a base from which to project power into Southeast Asia. Australia, seriously unprepared for war, needed American combat power. The relationship later formalised as […]
THE CORAL SEA, 1942: A NATION-SAVING BATTLE The Battle of the Coral Sea isn’t as iconic in our national consciousness as Gallipoli, Kokoda, or even El Alamein, Villers-Bretonneux, Amiens or Beersheba. Those battles and others in the two world wars played into our evolving sense of what we were, and are, as a people, and […]