This documentary explores the history of Australian military aircraft manufacturing. Australia had just completed its industrialisation in 1939, becoming a full war economy very rapidly.Read More
Reading time: 5 minutes
More a mutiny than a battle, it led to the death of Private William Crossland in nearby Mounsey Road, and four other injuries to black American soldiers in a five-hour confrontation which spread from the thatched Olde Hob Inn at one end of the town to the Adams Hall army camp, where from early 1943 the US Eighth Army Quartermaster Truck Company, a black company apart from a few white officers, had been based. The event was officially downplayed, in order not to undermine morale on the home front, but the events of that night led to the conviction of 27 black American soldiers.
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.Read More
Reading time: 8 minutes
Today (August 5) marks the 81st anniversary of Australia’s largest prison escape: the Cowra breakout, in New South Wales, during the second world war. In fact, it is one of the largest prison escapes in world history, but unless you are a keen war historian you may have never heard about it. A small farming community was forever changed in 1944, when the sound of a bugle cut through the crisp night air at the Cowra Prisoner of War camp.
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.Read More
Reading time: 4 minutes
What defence forces should Australia maintain at a time of strategic uncertainty and rapid technological change? This is the fundamental question currently facing Stephen Smith and Angus Houston, the authors of the defence strategic review. Much has been made of the critical nature of this review and the fact it represents a ‘huge moment in Australian defence history’. Recently, however, I was going through a previous review conducted in similarly uncertain times (although for different reasons) and it was difficult not to be struck by the enduring nature of the key issues at stake.
USAAF 49TH Fighter Group P-40 Kittyhawk Fighters. Darwin, 1942 The prelude to the campaign of the...Read More
Reading time: 6 minutes
In October 2022, Spain’s current progressive government approved a new law – called the Democratic Memory Law – that recognizes Spaniards who suffered and died at the hands of the Nazis.
Among other measures, the law will create a census and a national DNA bank to help people identify the thousands of Spaniards who were killed during World War II.Read More
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.Read More
Reading time: 13 minutes
In August 1943, a timber merchant from Bendzin, Poland, arrived at Auschwitz. He was among a group of 400 inmates, mostly Jews. First, a doctor examined him briefly to determine his fitness for work. His physical information was noted on a medical record. Second, his full prisoner registration was completed with all personal details. Third, his name was checked against the indices of the Political Section to see if he would be subjected to special punishment. Finally, he was registered in the Labor Assignment Office and assigned a characteristic five-digit IBM Hollerith number, 44673.
Reading time: 4 minutes
When Allied troops stormed the beaches at Normandy, France on June 6, 1944 – a bold invasion of Nazi-held territory that helped tip the balance of World War II – they were using a remarkable and entirely untested technology: artificial ports.
To stage what was then the largest seaborne assault in history, the American, British and Canadian armies needed to get at least 150,000 soldiers, military personnel and all their equipment ashore on day one of the invasion.Read More
Reading time: 7 minutes
Before World War II, soldiers died more often of disease than of battle injuries. The ratio of disease-to-battle casualties was approximately 5-to-1 in the Spanish-American War and 2-to-1 in the Civil War. Improved sanitation reduced disease casualties in World War I, but it could not protect troops from the 1918 influenza pandemic. During the outbreak, flu accounted for roughly half of US military casualties in Europe.