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Australians in World War 2 By Sea, Land and Air. Arenas of War Europe Europe Nth Africa, Mediterranean and Middle East Nth Africa, Mediterranean and Middle.

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Presentation on theme: "Australians in World War 2 By Sea, Land and Air. Arenas of War Europe Europe Nth Africa, Mediterranean and Middle East Nth Africa, Mediterranean and Middle."— Presentation transcript:

1 Australians in World War 2 By Sea, Land and Air

2 Arenas of War Europe Europe Nth Africa, Mediterranean and Middle East Nth Africa, Mediterranean and Middle East Pacific Pacific

3 War in Europe War in Europe In the summer of 1940, German forces quickly overran much of Europe. By mid 1940, England was the only European nation still fighting against Germany. In the Battle of Britain, Germany’s Luftwaffe tried to control the skies so it could launch a sea-borne invasion of Britain. However this tactic failed. Germany concentrated on bombing British cities, while the British attacked German supply centres. In the summer of 1940, German forces quickly overran much of Europe. By mid 1940, England was the only European nation still fighting against Germany. In the Battle of Britain, Germany’s Luftwaffe tried to control the skies so it could launch a sea-borne invasion of Britain. However this tactic failed. Germany concentrated on bombing British cities, while the British attacked German supply centres.

4 Binbrook, Lincolnshire, England, May Members of the ground crews of No 460 Squadron RAAF at their RAF Station, in front of "G for George" the squadron's famous Avro Lancaster bomber, after the aircraft had been taken off operational flying in April A total of 90 operational missions had been flown.

5 Australian RAAF volunteers were sent to Britain in large numbers, mostly as bomber and fighter crews. These men flew hundreds of dangerous missions eventually striking at the heart of Germany itself. When Russia and the USA entered the war during 1941, Germany faced overwhelming opposition. On D Day, 6 June 1944, the Allies launched an invasion of Europe from the west. At the same time Russia pushed towards Germany from the east. Germany finally surrendered on 8 May 1945 Australian RAAF volunteers were sent to Britain in large numbers, mostly as bomber and fighter crews. These men flew hundreds of dangerous missions eventually striking at the heart of Germany itself. When Russia and the USA entered the war during 1941, Germany faced overwhelming opposition. On D Day, 6 June 1944, the Allies launched an invasion of Europe from the west. At the same time Russia pushed towards Germany from the east. Germany finally surrendered on 8 May 1945

6 Nth Africa, Mediterranean and Middle East Australians played an important role in North Africa, the Mediterranean area and the Middle East between 1940 and 1942 Australians played an important role in North Africa, the Mediterranean area and the Middle East between 1940 and 1942 Royal Australian Navy ships were active in the Mediterranean against the Italian navy from 1940, and supported Australian troops at Tobruk. The ships took supplies to the besieged troops by night, frequently under heavy attack from the German Luftwaffe. Royal Australian Navy ships were active in the Mediterranean against the Italian navy from 1940, and supported Australian troops at Tobruk. The ships took supplies to the besieged troops by night, frequently under heavy attack from the German Luftwaffe.

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8 Australian troops had been sent to the Middle East early in They were very successful in defeating Italian troops at Benghazi, and Vichy French forces in Syria. The biggest test came against the German troops who were trying to take the port of Tobruk, a strategically important area. Allied troops, including many thousands of Australians, dug in and were able to hold off repeated and determined attacks. The Germans had contemptuously referred to the defenders as 'rats' in their holes - the Australians took on this title with pride, and called themselves the 'Rats of Tobruk'. Australians were prominent also in defeating the Germans at the Battle of El Alamein in 1942 Australian troops had been sent to the Middle East early in They were very successful in defeating Italian troops at Benghazi, and Vichy French forces in Syria. The biggest test came against the German troops who were trying to take the port of Tobruk, a strategically important area. Allied troops, including many thousands of Australians, dug in and were able to hold off repeated and determined attacks. The Germans had contemptuously referred to the defenders as 'rats' in their holes - the Australians took on this title with pride, and called themselves the 'Rats of Tobruk'. Australians were prominent also in defeating the Germans at the Battle of El Alamein in 1942

9 Rats of Tobruk

10 Australian troops were sent to defend Greece and Crete in 1941, but in a disastrous campaign they were forced to retreat, with the loss of many dead and thousands taken prisoner. Australian troops were sent to defend Greece and Crete in 1941, but in a disastrous campaign they were forced to retreat, with the loss of many dead and thousands taken prisoner.

11 9 th Division While perhaps too much has been made of the battle of El Alamein – including such clearly jingoistic assessments that it was the turning point in the war – the battle was very important for a number of reasons. It was the battle that reignited Bernard Montgomery’s career, with him eventually rising to the highest rank in the British Army and to command Allied land forces in the D-Day landings. It was an early rehearsal for the type of joint operations that were to become standard allied operating procedures in north west Europe following the D-Day invasion. Furthermore, it was the first large-scale battle fought by a British Army in the desert in which all elements in the Army fought to the same plan and same timetable, as a co-ordinated force.

12 Asia and the Pacific The Pacific War began because Japan was trying to obtain supplies of raw materials - such as rubber and tin - which were vital to its industrial expansion. It was also seeking to create a great Empire in Asia. It launched invasions of Thailand and Malaya, and attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. The United States was the only country with sufficient naval power to oppose Japan in the Pacific - but the Japanese missed their most vital target in the Pearl Harbour attack, the American aircraft carriers. The Pacific War began because Japan was trying to obtain supplies of raw materials - such as rubber and tin - which were vital to its industrial expansion. It was also seeking to create a great Empire in Asia. It launched invasions of Thailand and Malaya, and attacked the American naval base at Pearl Harbour in Hawaii. The United States was the only country with sufficient naval power to oppose Japan in the Pacific - but the Japanese missed their most vital target in the Pearl Harbour attack, the American aircraft carriers. The Japanese soon fought their way down the Malayan Peninsula to Singapore, the supposedly mighty British fortress which would stop them. Singapore fell in February 1942 and thousands of Allied troops, including over 15,000 Australians, became prisoners of the Japanese. The Japanese advance towards Australia was eventually stopped in New Guinea, first by our own soldiers and then with the help of American forces The Japanese soon fought their way down the Malayan Peninsula to Singapore, the supposedly mighty British fortress which would stop them. Singapore fell in February 1942 and thousands of Allied troops, including over 15,000 Australians, became prisoners of the Japanese. The Japanese advance towards Australia was eventually stopped in New Guinea, first by our own soldiers and then with the help of American forces

13 Timeline of the Pacific 1941 December 7- Pearl Harbor attacked 1941 December 7- Pearl Harbor attacked 1942 January 11-Japanese capture Kuala Lumpur, Malaya 1942 January 11-Japanese capture Kuala Lumpur, Malaya February 15-Singapore surrenders February 15-Singapore surrenders February 29-Japanese land on Java February 29-Japanese land on Java January/February-Continuing Japanese attacks at Bataan, Philippines January/February-Continuing Japanese attacks at Bataan, Philippines May3-, Battle of Coral Sea May3-, Battle of Coral Sea June 4-Naval battle of Midway June 4-Naval battle of Midway July 21-Japanese land at Buna, New Guinea July 21-Japanese land at Buna, New Guinea September 11-Australians stop Japanese offensive against Port Moresby, New Guinea September 11-Australians stop Japanese offensive against Port Moresby, New Guinea 1943 September 15-Australians capture Lae, New Guinea 1943 September 15-Australians capture Lae, New Guinea 1945August 6-Atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan 1945August 6-Atomic bombing of Hiroshima, Japan 1945August 9-bombing of Nagasaki, Japan 1945August 9-bombing of Nagasaki, Japan August 15-Emperor Hirohito announces surrender of Japan August 15-Emperor Hirohito announces surrender of Japan

14 Pearl Harbour

15 On 7 December 1941, the Japanese launched an attack on the United States Pacific Fleet at its Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii. The attack was not preceded by a declaration of war, and took place while Japanese diplomats were in Washington discussing American concerns about continuing Japanese military aggression in East Asia. These diplomatic discussions were intended by the Japanese to distract the attention of Americans while Japan secretly positioned a powerful aircraft carrier striking force off the Hawaiian islands. On 7 December 1941, the Japanese launched an attack on the United States Pacific Fleet at its Pearl Harbor base in Hawaii. The attack was not preceded by a declaration of war, and took place while Japanese diplomats were in Washington discussing American concerns about continuing Japanese military aggression in East Asia. These diplomatic discussions were intended by the Japanese to distract the attention of Americans while Japan secretly positioned a powerful aircraft carrier striking force off the Hawaiian islands.

16 Spirit of the Digger “There were countless acts of unrecognised courage as the young Diggers held on grimly. They ignored their lack of sleep, their hunger and their fear as they waited for the next assault. Some positions rebuffed as many as ten human-wave assaults in a day. The Japanese dead piled up around their perimeters like sacks of grain. But they kept on coming.” (from The Spirit of The Digger) “There were countless acts of unrecognised courage as the young Diggers held on grimly. They ignored their lack of sleep, their hunger and their fear as they waited for the next assault. Some positions rebuffed as many as ten human-wave assaults in a day. The Japanese dead piled up around their perimeters like sacks of grain. But they kept on coming.” (from The Spirit of The Digger) Balikpapan, Borneo, Australian artillerymen of 8th Battery, 2/4th Australian Field Regiment, in action at the landing at Balikpapan, pounding Japanese positions 6000 yards away

17 General Douglas Macarthur Having been abandoned by Britain to a likely Japanese invasion, Australia turned to the United States for help, and it was generously given. Having been abandoned by Britain to a likely Japanese invasion, Australia turned to the United States for help, and it was generously given. On 22 February 1942, President Roosevelt reluctantly ordered General Douglas MacArthur to abandon his hard-pressed army in the Philippines and assume the office of Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area (SWPA) with headquarters in Australia On 22 February 1942, President Roosevelt reluctantly ordered General Douglas MacArthur to abandon his hard-pressed army in the Philippines and assume the office of Supreme Commander, South West Pacific Area (SWPA) with headquarters in Australia

18 Battle of the Coral Sea

19 Turning Point in the Pacific The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought between the Japanese and Allied navies from May 4 through May 8, 1942 in the Coral Sea, about 500 miles northeast of Australia. Occurring only six months after the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, it was one of the first naval battles fought in the Pacific during World War II. The Battle of the Coral Sea was fought between the Japanese and Allied navies from May 4 through May 8, 1942 in the Coral Sea, about 500 miles northeast of Australia. Occurring only six months after the surprise attack at Pearl Harbor, it was one of the first naval battles fought in the Pacific during World War II. In the spring of 1942, Japanese forces planned to invade southern New Guinea, a move designed to knock Australia and New Zealand out of the war. The Allies, including the U.S., Australia, and Great Britain, gathered a large fleet to thwart the invasion In the spring of 1942, Japanese forces planned to invade southern New Guinea, a move designed to knock Australia and New Zealand out of the war. The Allies, including the U.S., Australia, and Great Britain, gathered a large fleet to thwart the invasion With the battle roughly a draw, both sides retreated but would meet again a month later at the decisive Battle of Midway, 3,000 miles away in the Hawaiian Islands. With the battle roughly a draw, both sides retreated but would meet again a month later at the decisive Battle of Midway, 3,000 miles away in the Hawaiian Islands. The Battle of the Coral Sea was important for several reasons. It was the first pure carrier-vs-carrier battle in history. Though only a draw, it was also an important turning point in the war in the Pacific because, for the first time, the Allies had stopped the Japanese advance. Before the battle, the Japanese had enjoyed a continual string of victories while afterwards, it suffered an almost continual series of defeats, including at Midway, a major American victory The Battle of the Coral Sea was important for several reasons. It was the first pure carrier-vs-carrier battle in history. Though only a draw, it was also an important turning point in the war in the Pacific because, for the first time, the Allies had stopped the Japanese advance. Before the battle, the Japanese had enjoyed a continual string of victories while afterwards, it suffered an almost continual series of defeats, including at Midway, a major American victory

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21 Macarthur vs Blamey Despite the fact that the Diggers were outnumbered by up to ten to one, the Supreme Commander of the South Pacific Area, the American General Douglas MacArthur was portraying the Diggers as failures who were retreating before inferior forces. Despite the fact that the Diggers were outnumbered by up to ten to one, the Supreme Commander of the South Pacific Area, the American General Douglas MacArthur was portraying the Diggers as failures who were retreating before inferior forces. Even when the Australians were fighting for their lives at Brigade Hill, under siege from a massively superior force, MacArthur sent this message to Washington (and made similar public announcements): Even when the Australians were fighting for their lives at Brigade Hill, under siege from a massively superior force, MacArthur sent this message to Washington (and made similar public announcements): “The Australians have proved themselves unable to match the enemy in jungle fighting. Aggressive leadership is lacking.” “The Australians have proved themselves unable to match the enemy in jungle fighting. Aggressive leadership is lacking.” Later in the Kokoda campaign, it was General Blamey, the Australian Army Commander, who reported back to MacArthur the real truth (after the Americans joined the Diggers in the final stages of the campaign when the Japanese had been forced back to the beachheads at Buna-Gona): ‘It is a very sorry story. It has revealed the fact that the American troops cannot be classified as attack troops. They are definitely not equal to the Australian militia and from the moment they met opposition they sat down and have hardly gone forward a yard.’ Later in the Kokoda campaign, it was General Blamey, the Australian Army Commander, who reported back to MacArthur the real truth (after the Americans joined the Diggers in the final stages of the campaign when the Japanese had been forced back to the beachheads at Buna-Gona): ‘It is a very sorry story. It has revealed the fact that the American troops cannot be classified as attack troops. They are definitely not equal to the Australian militia and from the moment they met opposition they sat down and have hardly gone forward a yard.’

22 Changing Friends While the Japanese Imperial Navy was striking at Pearl Harbor, Japanese troops were invading British Malaya and being resisted by British, Australian and Indian forces. On 23 January 1942, Japanese troops landed at Rabaul in the Australian Territory of New Guinea and overwhelmed the heavily outnumbered Australian garrison While the Japanese Imperial Navy was striking at Pearl Harbor, Japanese troops were invading British Malaya and being resisted by British, Australian and Indian forces. On 23 January 1942, Japanese troops landed at Rabaul in the Australian Territory of New Guinea and overwhelmed the heavily outnumbered Australian garrison. When Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, the British government was not prepared to assist Australia to resist a Japanese invasion, preferring instead to allocate all available British and Australian military resources to the defence of India. The British Government even resisted the return of Australian troops from the Middle East to defend their own country.. When Singapore fell to the Japanese on 15 February 1942, the British government was not prepared to assist Australia to resist a Japanese invasion, preferring instead to allocate all available British and Australian military resources to the defence of India. The British Government even resisted the return of Australian troops from the Middle East to defend their own country.

23 The Japanese invasion fleet was defeated in the naval Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway; their army suffered its first major defeats at Buna and Gona early in 1943; throughout the remainder of the war they suffered defeats in New Guinea and Borneo; yet it was not until 15 August 1945 before the tenacious Japanese surrendered after atomic bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. The Japanese invasion fleet was defeated in the naval Battles of the Coral Sea and Midway; their army suffered its first major defeats at Buna and Gona early in 1943; throughout the remainder of the war they suffered defeats in New Guinea and Borneo; yet it was not until 15 August 1945 before the tenacious Japanese surrendered after atomic bombs were dropped on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

24 Port Moresby: key to the Pacific Australia was a key to Japanese war plans in the Pacific, because it was a base for land, air and sea operations against them. In turn a key to controlling Australia was New Guinea. Australia was a key to Japanese war plans in the Pacific, because it was a base for land, air and sea operations against them. In turn a key to controlling Australia was New Guinea. If Japan could control Port Moresby in New Guinea, then it could constantly attack Australia's land, sea and air forces. So, whoever controlled New Guinea, controlled Australia as a supply base. If Japan could control Port Moresby in New Guinea, then it could constantly attack Australia's land, sea and air forces. So, whoever controlled New Guinea, controlled Australia as a supply base. From the Japanese entry in the war in December 1941, they had been an unstoppable military power in the Pacific. In May they were ready to land an invasion force by sea to capture Port Moresby. They had two fleets ready - the invasion fleet, and a naval fleet to protect the soldiers, and to fight the American warships in the area. From the Japanese entry in the war in December 1941, they had been an unstoppable military power in the Pacific. In May they were ready to land an invasion force by sea to capture Port Moresby. They had two fleets ready - the invasion fleet, and a naval fleet to protect the soldiers, and to fight the American warships in the area. Between 5 and 8 May 1942 the Battle of the Coral Sea was fought. The fighting was done by aircraft against ships. Allied land- and carrier-based aircraft flew against the Japanese ships, and the Japanese carrier-based planes tried to destroy the American fleet. Between 5 and 8 May 1942 the Battle of the Coral Sea was fought. The fighting was done by aircraft against ships. Allied land- and carrier-based aircraft flew against the Japanese ships, and the Japanese carrier-based planes tried to destroy the American fleet.

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26 Kokoda Kokoda After the battle, the Japanese ordered their invasion fleet to withdraw. The attack on Port Moresby would have to be by the troops going overland from the Buna area, across the Owen Stanley Mountain range, to Port Moresby. The mountainous terrain was very difficult for the troops, and Japanese supplies were not able to get to the men as they moved forward. Eventually, the Japanese were defeated on the Kokoda Track by Australian troops, and Port Moresby was safe After the battle, the Japanese ordered their invasion fleet to withdraw. The attack on Port Moresby would have to be by the troops going overland from the Buna area, across the Owen Stanley Mountain range, to Port Moresby. The mountainous terrain was very difficult for the troops, and Japanese supplies were not able to get to the men as they moved forward. Eventually, the Japanese were defeated on the Kokoda Track by Australian troops, and Port Moresby was safe

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28 Mud Sweat and Tears The second 39th Australian Infantry Battalion, Australian Military Forces (39th BN) was raised on 1st of October Manned by 18 and 19 year old volunteers, and designated for garrison duty at Port Moresby (Fortress Moresby), Papua. By August 1942, against a tenacious and battle hardened foe of 7000, this poorly equipped, poorly trained and poorly supported group of 409 men, under deplorable odds and conditions on the Kokoda Trail, provided extraordinary courage, tenacity, devotion and results. The second 39th Australian Infantry Battalion, Australian Military Forces (39th BN) was raised on 1st of October Manned by 18 and 19 year old volunteers, and designated for garrison duty at Port Moresby (Fortress Moresby), Papua. By August 1942, against a tenacious and battle hardened foe of 7000, this poorly equipped, poorly trained and poorly supported group of 409 men, under deplorable odds and conditions on the Kokoda Trail, provided extraordinary courage, tenacity, devotion and results.

29 Kokoda Today

30 Conditions on Kokoda; MUD

31 Kokoda Veteran describes “Imagine an area of approximately 100 miles long, crumple and fold this into a series of ridges, each rising higher and higher until 7,000 feet is reached, then declining again to 3,000 feet. Cover this thickly with jungle, short trees and tall trees tangled with great entwining savage vines; then through the oppression of this density cut a little native track two to three feet wide, up the ridges, over the spurs, around gorges and down across swiftly flowing happy mountain streams. “Imagine an area of approximately 100 miles long, crumple and fold this into a series of ridges, each rising higher and higher until 7,000 feet is reached, then declining again to 3,000 feet. Cover this thickly with jungle, short trees and tall trees tangled with great entwining savage vines; then through the oppression of this density cut a little native track two to three feet wide, up the ridges, over the spurs, around gorges and down across swiftly flowing happy mountain streams. About midday and through the night, pour water over the forest, so that the steps become broken and a continual yellow stream flows downwards, and the few level areas become pools and puddles of putrid mud. In the high ridges about Myola, drip this water day and night softly over the track through a fetid forest grotesque with moss and growing phosphorescent fungi.” About midday and through the night, pour water over the forest, so that the steps become broken and a continual yellow stream flows downwards, and the few level areas become pools and puddles of putrid mud. In the high ridges about Myola, drip this water day and night softly over the track through a fetid forest grotesque with moss and growing phosphorescent fungi.”

32 Problems of Supply

33 . Mules, horses and their attendants ready to set off down the mule track on the first stage of the journey to the small village of Uberi, on the Kokoda trail.

34 Moving Heavy Artillery through thick jungle

35 Conditions on Kokoda; Transporting the Wounded over Rough terrain

36 Conditions on Kokoda; angels and steep terrain

37 Resting from weariness. Golden Stairs near Imita Ridge

38 1944 oil painting of Kokoda Trail; steep terrain

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40 Problems of geography

41 Fuzzy Wuzzy Angels Thanks to the 39th BN and the local Papuans (fuzzy-wuzzy angels) early resistance, they provided the first proof to the Allies, that the Imperial Japanese Army soldier on land was not invincible, this action helped turn a threat on Australia into a victory. Thanks to the 39th BN and the local Papuans (fuzzy-wuzzy angels) early resistance, they provided the first proof to the Allies, that the Imperial Japanese Army soldier on land was not invincible, this action helped turn a threat on Australia into a victory. That no known live casualty was abandoned, that of the many hundreds brought out during these weeks only four died subsequently in hospital, is a magnificent tribute to the fitness and the fortitude of these men. That no known live casualty was abandoned, that of the many hundreds brought out during these weeks only four died subsequently in hospital, is a magnificent tribute to the fitness and the fortitude of these men.

42 Statistics on Kokoda On 25 September the Japanese abandoned their attempt to reach Port Moresby. On 25 September the Japanese abandoned their attempt to reach Port Moresby. Out of a force of about 20,000 the Japanese had lost 13,000, most of whom had fought to the death rather than surrender. Tropical diseases, as much as the fighting, had taken their toll on both armies. Out of a force of about 20,000 the Japanese had lost 13,000, most of whom had fought to the death rather than surrender. Tropical diseases, as much as the fighting, had taken their toll on both armies. More than 600 Australians were killed and some 1680 wounded during perhaps the most significant battle fought by Australians in World War II. More than 600 Australians were killed and some 1680 wounded during perhaps the most significant battle fought by Australians in World War II.

43 Signing of the Japanese Surrender on the USS Missouri


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