Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 06:50 am
While searching for Rommel quotes on Google, I cam across a page here: http://www.able2know.com/forums/about15150.html

Now, the thread starter, Acacia, was quite correct in stating that Australia had almost a million people serving in WW2. We had soldiers throughout Asia and Europe, and of course all over North Africa. My grandfather was one of them. When the uneducated and ignorant scoff at these figures, it is an insult to those who fought for your right to voice such opinions. Rather than scoff and argue from ignorance, I suggest such people read and learn. The Australian War Memorial's website is a great place to begin: http://www.awm.gov.au/atwar/ww2.htm
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Acquiunk
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 06:55 am
Australians made major contributions in WWII particularly in New Guinea and North Africa. Where did you get the idea that they were ignored?
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Scaramouche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 07:06 am
In the thread to which I linked.
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 08:33 am
What exactly is this enormous bug that some Australians have up their collective butts about the Australian military in the Second World War?

Scaramouche, look at that linked discussion again and tell me where anyone minimized or insulted or ignored the Australian contribution to the war effort? Like Acacia, it seems like you're trying to pick a fight instead of discuss the issues. If that's the case, then I suggest you go to a "pick-a-fight board" rather than a "discussion board." Who knows, you might find Acacia waiting for you there.
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Scaramouche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:20 am
Wow, that was a rather uncivil and violent response. A whopping great logical fallacy from the first.

As stated, read the thread to which I linked:
Quote:

But I'd have to guess that it's rather unlikely Rommel said "if I had the Australian army I would take the world!" One reason is that Australia didn't have an army in the European/North African theater of operations. At most, it had two infantry divisions. And the British tended to parcel out Commonwealth forces among various higher-level organizations, which explains why there also wasn't a Canadian "army" either (even though more Canadian soldiers served in the European theater than Australians). There was, consequently, nothing Rommel could point to and say "that's the Australian army."

The fact is, Australia operated independently, although under British command, in nearly all areas of WW2. Rommel said that if he had two divisions of Australian troops, he could take the world.
Quote:

Joe is correct that there were few Australians in Europe.

This, too, is wrong.
Quote:

At the time of the fall of Corrigedor, when McArthur went to Australia, they had no army at all at home, and very likely, the most of their army at that time were POW's in the hands of the Germans or the Japanese.

Wrong.

Then we have the childish ad hominem:
Quote:

What a putz.

When Acacia was in fact entirely correct.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:54 am
The following is from the Australian War Memorial site, linked by Acacia in the original thread:

AWM wrote:
Japan entered the war in December 1941and swiftly achieved a series of victories which resulted in the occupation of most of south-east Asia and large areas of the Pacific by the end of March 1942. Singapore fell in February, with the loss of an entire Australian division. After the bombing of Darwin that same month, all RAN ships in the Mediterranean theatre, as well as the 6th and 7th Divisions, returned to defend Australia. In response to the heightened threat, the Australian government also expanded the army and air force and called for an overhaul of economic, domestic and industrial policies to give the government special powers with which to mount a total war effort at home.

In March 1942, after the defeat of the Netherlands East Indies, Japan's southward advance began to lose strength, easing Australian fears that an invasion was imminent. Further relief came when the first AIF veterans of the Mediterranean campaigns began to come home, and when the United States assumed responsibility for the country's defence and provided reinforcements and equipment. The threat of invasion receded further as the Allies won a series of decisive battles: in the Coral Sea, at Midway, on Imita Ridge and the Kokoda Track, and at Milne Bay and Buna.


The post of mine to which you object has the following: "At the time of the fall of Corrigedor, when McArthur went to Australia, they had no army at all at home, and very likely, the most of their army at that time were POW's in the hands of the Germans or the Japanese." According to the AWM site, one division had been surrendered to the Japanese at Singapore by Perceval. Australia had sent six brigades to North Africa, many of whom were eventually made prisoners by the Germans when Tobruk fell. The AWM site shows two divisions returning to Asutralia in March, 1942, and states that the government then expanded the armed forces. It is neither a slur against Australia nor an inaccuracy to point out that almost all of the Australian military were serving elsewhere, or had been made prisoners of war. The furtherest i would go is to revise my line is to write: " . . . they had almost no army at all at home . . ." although i would be sceptical at the suggestion that any substantial forces were actually in Australia in March, 1942, before the North African veterans came home. I also did not state categorically that most of their army were then prisoners of war, i used the expression "very likely," and even if it were not most, certainly it approached half of available Australian forces--more than a division captured at Tobruk, and a division captured at Singapore.

I referred to Acacia as a putz because of what Joe has correctly identified as a "chip on the shoulder" attitude he brought to this site. He asked a series of questions, and when he didn't like the answers, he responded negatively, denying what others had written, and suggesting we look at the site he linked before we wrote incorrect statements. Therefore, he got an understandable response to the effect that if he had all the answers, why was he asking the questions? Something you also don't know is that Acacia sent me a private message to say that he had re-read my post, and considered that it was not incorrect. He offered an apology, and i returned his gracious sentiments. I then went back to the thread, and publicly apologized to him in a post which can still be read there.

Very few Australians served in Europe. North Africa is not Europe, and after the fall of the Phillipines, only one division remained in the European Theater of operations, the 9th. You can verify this by reference to the AWM site. Given the size of the United Nations army in Italy, it is neither unfair nor slanderous to characterize a single division as "few troops," which is the expression which i used. Nothing in that thread, nor in this, constitutes a slur against the Australians, and i find nothing at the AWM site which supports your contentions that the statements made here were wrong.

Acacia came here looking for a quote from Rommel about what he could do if he had Australian troops. He (Rommel) may well have made the remark--but i don't have a source, Acacia did not provide a source, you have stated without attribution that Rommel made the remark--what is your source?

No one has slandered the Australians here. So why the anger and hostility on your part?
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Scaramouche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:56 am
Quote:

Very few Australians served in Europe.

1) This remains incorrect.

2) I have no anger, and have displayed no hostility. I have simply pointed out errors.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 10:26 am
Scaramouche, you and Acacia are similar in that you both wade into a new forum(for you) with two fists swinging and a chip on your soldier. Who knows, you might be one and the same.

"When the uneducated and ignorant scoff at these figures.."

If you stick around for a while you'll find that Joe and Setanta are the antithesis of your quote.

"Rather than scoff and argue from ignorance,"

I'd bet they were doing it from knowledge

"My grandfather was one of them"

So what?

My father was a Dunera Boy at camp Hay, worked like a pack animal for three years, solely for being a Jewish refugee. I draw no inference from his experience. Nor any opinions.

My suggestion, for your jingoistic aspersions? Get over it!
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 10:31 am
Scaramouche wrote:
Quote:

Very few Australians served in Europe.

1) This remains incorrect.


Go to the Australian War Memorial site. I've posted the relevant excerpt above, but you don't have to take my word for it. I wrote that six brigades were sent to North Africa--bingo, the AWM site states the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions were sent. The AWM site then states that the 6th and 7th returned to Australia after the fall of Singapore. That left only the 9th Division, in North Africa, not Europe. The 9th did participate in the invasion of Italy. There is nothing wrong with pointing out that in the grand scheme of things, one division is "a few" troops, when that division forms a part of an army which eventually comprised more than 30 divisions. So, in fact you are incorrect.

Quote:
2) I have no anger, and have displayed no hostility. I have simply pointed out errors.


No, you have alleged errors, which you have not substantiated, and you are in fact contradicted by the AWM site. I won't even grace this one with "nice try."
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joefromchicago
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 11:21 am
Scaramouche wrote:
Wow, that was a rather uncivil and violent response.

This from someone who called the participants in the linked discussion "uneducated and ignorant." Mr. Pot, meet Mr. Kettle.

Scaramouche wrote:
The fact is, Australia operated independently, although under British command, in nearly all areas of WW2. Rommel said that if he had two divisions of Australian troops, he could take the world.

There's no question that Australia fielded division-sized units. But Acacia's initial question dealt with Rommel's purported quotation about the Australian army. There was, I asserted, no such thing as an Australian "army" -- defined as a permanent or semi-permanent organizational unit composed of two or more corps and having a dedicated command structure -- during World War II.

Now, if Rommel said that if he wished he had some Australian divisions, there wouldn't have been any need to comment. Australia had divisions, it didn't have an army.

For the rest of your remarks, I urge you to read Setanta's comments and learn a thing or two.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 04:45 pm
Interesting - I thought lots of Australians served in Europe - prolly cos my uncle flew bombers from England up to and after D Day - must go and look at the history.

Scaramouche - I think it would be helpful if you perhaps settled down a bit and looked around before getting too excited.

Oh, and welcome - there are a number of we Aussies here - we like to think of ourselves as a civilizing influence......























(heehee - that oughta get some action.....!)
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 06:52 pm
You know, Miss Wabbit, it has not been my intention to defame the Oztralians in either this thread or the other to which this refers. The Australians were crucial to the "island hopping" which McArthur did in the Southwest Pacific theater. As for "very few" Australians in Europe, if one considers how many Australians served in the war, and how many actually served in Europe (as opposed to the European Theatrer of Operations, which would include North Africa, which is not, of course, a part of Europe), then the term seems obvious to me. One division of Australians remained in the ETO after the 6th and 7th Divisions returned home. In terms of the participation, More than half a million American GI's were in the ETO in combat service at the height of their participation. The Brits and commonwealth contributed almost half that many, mostly Brit. Canada provided the equivalent of two corps, and although not organized as a separate Army (roughly half in Italy, where Farley Mowat served--he's a marvelous Canajun author--and the other half in France and Holland). Poland provided at first two divisions and an armored brigade, and then, adding a third division, produced their own army corps. India provided several divisions, and armored brigades and regiments, at any given time, the equivalent of two small corps. The French, currently the target of much invidious comment, provided the largest contingent after the Brits, and brought many colonial troops as well.

The role of those providing troops in Europe is: of a divion sized unit, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Brazil, Algeria/Morroco (French Colonials), West Africa (mostly Senegalese, and once again French Colonials); of a brigade sized unit, Belgium and the Palestinian Jews (and one might also say, Japanese Americans--the 442nd Regimental Combat Team [west coast nisei]/100th Infantry Battalion [Hawaiian nisei] served in Italy, Southern France and Germany under their own officers).

Pointing out that as many Brazilians fought on the European continent as did Australians is no slight. The "Diggers" provided 40,000 and more men at all times in the early stages of the North African campaign. They sustained heavy losses in some of the most desparate actions in those campaigns. They held Tobruk against the first German assault. They finally lost it to the Afrika Korps in the following year, due the failure of Eighth Army to break through the German-Italian line at Bardia. As i have already noted, when the majority of the Australians returned home from North Africa in 1942, after the fall of the Phillipines, their arrival was crucial to the Southwest Pacific Theater of Operations. McArthur had a few American divisions, green troops, and got precious little assistance form a hostile U.S. Navy. What naval power he did dispose of came from an experienced and excellent small Australian cruiser division. The Japanese had already taken the northern coast of New Guinea, from Hollandia to Buna. They were pushing over the mountains in the attempt to take Port Moresby. The Americans learned combat here, at a fearful cost. Had not veteran Australian troops been available, it is doubtful that Australia could have provided the essential troops for that desparate fight. It is by no means certain that the Americans could by themselves have held Port Moresby.

The problem which arose in this thread, as with the other, is that the two authors of the respective threads have been too, too ready to take for a slight what is in fact, simple observation.
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dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 08:05 pm
Set - weren't accusing you of nothing.

Just interested.

I'm not into jingoism, anyways.

I am curious, now, to know if me uncle was one of the fellas who went to England and joined the RAF independently.

We went to war with Germany at the same instant Great Britain did.

I have a wee letter from me uncle written on D Day - waiting to fly his bomber on its first run for the day - impatient to get at it, he was - they could hear the guns from where they were stationed.

The letters were photographed, in miniature, to be shipped back to Oz - so they took up less room - perfectly legible, though.

I also have lots of photos from my mother's boyfriends stationed overseas. One is a group of fellas in Bethlehem - in the snow! Very odd.

My uncle killed himself after the war - about 20 years after D Day - said to be partly because of the trauma of knowing they were killing Allied troops on bombing raids on German lines after D Day - because of the changing nature of the frontline all the time - and the problems with intelligence.

Sad to think about that.
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 08:10 pm
On one particular day, Set correct me if I'm wrong, near the Falaise pocket a bombing error killed a huge number of Allied troops.
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Setanta
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 08:54 pm
Our Dear Cunning Coney, a great many men from all over the world rushed to England to volunteer in late 1939, and in 1940. Those with flight experience or willing to undergo flight training were soon badly needed. During the A\aerial campaign commonly referred to as the "Battle of Britain," about 40% of the Royal Airforce fighter groups which defended the home counties were Polish, and an additional 20% were Canajun, American, Australian, Belgian, Norwegian--you get the picture. During this critical time, the RAF did not transfer in additional fighter wings--instead, the used the large pool of foreign volunteers and the production of the aircraft factories they were producing. In many cases, Supermarine Spitfires and Hawker Hurricanes were in the air defending against the Germans they day after they left the assembly line. I would imagine your relation was one in that category.

The so-called "friendly fire" incidents were bad enough, but your uncle may have been depressed for having taken part in one of two operations: the Transportation Plan, or Operation Cobra. Late in 1943, the USAAF were depressed about heavy losses in the bomber groups (eventually, more Americans were killed in the air above France and Germany than there were Australians serving in Italy) due to the lack of an escort fighter which could make it all the way to the target with the bombers. So Eisenhower's staff came up with the transportation plan. This was vetted first with the French résistance, and many Frenchmen knew what was coming. The Transportation Plan diverted all of the 8th and 9th Army Air Forces resources, and much of the RAF's to bomging roads, bridges, raiway bridges, railway yards, airfields--the French in the resistance cells knew it was coming, and there are stories that many a resistance fighter who was also in the railway union would knowingly delay German trains, despite sacrificing their own lives, so that the train would be in the yard when the Allies bombed.

In The Rommel Papers, writing before the invasion, Rommel categorically said, having looked at the reports of the bomginds, that the invasion would be in Normandy. The rest of the Germans reacted as though he had gotten too much sun in Africa. They wanted to believe that the Allies would land in the Pas de Calais, where they were best prepared. The Brits and the Americans encouraged the belief.

But after the successful landings in Normandy, there were no targets left to bomb, and meanwhile, the air resources were still under the control of Eisenhower's staff. So they bombed every road intersection in Normandy not behind Allied lines. Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands, of Normans died--likely the full toll will never be known, alhtough i'm sure someone will be willing to say they know how many died.

Or, he may have participated in Operation Cobra, which is what i feel certain Pan is referring to. The Allied took about eleven weeks to completely clear Normandy (in large measure, because the Brits stalled at Caen). The plan for a breakout, which was essential before bringing in Patton's Third Army, depended upon breaking through the German line decisively and not becoming bogged down in fighting for each position, as had been the case in the Norman hedge rows. The Germans were heavily dug in, as they had been throughout Normandy. But if the allies could breach the German line, the Germans would collapse, and they would be obliged to fall back many, many miles to repair their lines. (In fact, the result was a "foot-race" to Paris and beyond, as the Germans were constantly reeling and unable to stop long enough to fully organize--when eventually they did break through). Operation Cobra, which i believe was initiated on July 25, 1944, had the USAAF and RAF "carpet bombing" an area about half-a-mile wide and about two miles long, in which was located a key German defensive unit--Panzer Lehrer. This was a huge armored division, almost twice the size of a normal panzer division. But Panzer Lehrer had been badly cut up in Normandy, and represented a handful of tanks--and just about the only armor the German Seventh Army had left at that point. They were obliterated. More than 2000 GI's were killed as well, because this had never been done before in tactical support on that scale, and the assembly areas were too close to the "killing box." The Germans got one break--the area which Panzer Lehrer had previously occupied was so torn up, it took the Americans three days to cross the ground, for which the original plan allotted them one day.

Pan, the Falaise Gap refers to events in the month following Operation Cobra, when the Brits, Canadians and Poles finally broke into Caen, and then out again on the south side pushing the Germans before them. They threatened to encircle the Seventh Army, which was reeling back at the opposite end of its line from the American offensive. The failure to close the Falaise gap allowed the survivors of the Seventh Army to escape.

(Edit: I am not characterizing the Allied efforts as inept or ill-conceived. Rather, the obstacles were enourmous, and the Allies depended heavily on artillery and air power in a situation in which they were in fact outnumbered, but their air power prevented the Germans from bringing their forces to bear. When the Polish First Armored tried to close the Falaise gap, the Gemans fought like wild men to break out. Nevertheless, they left more than fifty thousand dead behind, and about a quarter of a million prisoners.)
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panzade
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:04 pm
I knew you'd know it. Operation Cobra was what I was referring to and I used Falaise to indicate that it was after the landings but before the rush to Paris
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Craven de Kere
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:20 pm
Setanta wrote:
Pointing out that as many Brazilians fought on the European continent as did Australians is no slight.


In a roundabout way it is. Brazilians tend to have a similar chip on their shoulder about WW2.

It's the small-great countries resenting what they perceive as insufficient national recognition.

"Yeah? But my nation's penis is enormous! Positively massive!"
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Scaramouche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:45 pm
Quote:

Scaramouche, you and Acacia are similar in that you both wade into a new forum(for you) with two fists swinging and a chip on your soldier. Who knows, you might be one and the same.

It is considered "having a chip on your shoulder" to point out errors? Wow. I guess you'd never get near the truth then.
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Scaramouche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 09:57 pm
Australians serving in Europe in WW2:
2/1st Battalion
2/2nd Battalion
2/3rd Battalion
2/4th Battalion
2/5th Battalion
2/6th Battalion
2/7th Battalion
2/8th Battalion
2/11th Battalion

This is only the infantry fighting as full battalions, and does not count the otehr services there. Nor does it include the many fighting directly under the command or allied forces. This information is also at the AWM website.
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Scaramouche
 
  1  
Reply Mon 26 Apr, 2004 10:03 pm
joefromchicago wrote:

There's no question that Australia fielded division-sized units. But Acacia's initial question dealt with Rommel's purported quotation about the Australian army. There was, I asserted, no such thing as an Australian "army" -- defined as a permanent or semi-permanent organizational unit composed of two or more corps and having a dedicated command structure -- during World War II.

Actually we had an Australia army at that time, and earlier. The Australian Army was established on 1st March 1901.
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