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Pre WWII What If - Partial mechanisation and motorisation of the Australian Army

Discussion in 'What If - Pacific and CBI' started by JCFalkenbergIII, Jan 6, 2009.

  1. JCFalkenbergIII

    JCFalkenbergIII Expert

    Jan 23, 2008
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    Found this on another forum and thought I would post here. :)

    "Been thinking on this one for a while.

    Post WWI Australia had one of the best militaries, man for man in the world. Our leaders, in particular Monash and Chauvel, were amoung the best. Even our soliders were well above average with many examples of individuals joining as Privates and ending up as Majors and Colonels (Percy Black and Harry Murray come to mind).

    The AIF was already well on the way to becoming motorised with Service Corps posessing thousands of vehicles and combined arms operations well and truely proven during 1918 in battles such as Hamel.

    Post war Chauvel pushed for mechanisation but instead it was decided, by polititians, that the true lesson of the Great War was that Australians were natural solidiers and as such there was no need to have a standing army. The assumption was than in the event of another war our citizens would simply take up arms and win the day. So instead of a Regular Army with Tanks, mechanised Infantry and Cavalry combat elements and motorised support echelons our army was gutted, the AIF disbanded and the greatest stupidity of all, Service Corps was forced to leave their vehicles in Europe and the hand full of units remaining in existance, reverted to horse drawn transport.

    Considering the known threats of Japanese Imperialism and Communist Expansionism my what if is that common sense applied instead of jingoism and expediency.

    -The RAR was formed in 1920 as motorised infantry using trucks as section vehicles and with Tankettes as support vehicles and all terrain tractors.
    -An Australian Tank Regiment with a number of battalions was formed to provide organic armoured support to each Motor Brigade.
    -The Cavalry was both motorised and mechanised with some units used as mounted infantry with armed trucks they could ride into battle and others were equiped with armoured cars to serve in the recc role.
    -above all Service Corps would have retained and even upgraded their vehicles.

    The other big change would be to dramatically increase the number of RAAF sqn's assigned to Army Cooperation.

    Pre WWII What If - Partial mechanisation and motorisation of the Australian Army
  2. Tomcat

    Tomcat The One From Down Under

    Feb 8, 2008
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    A good find mate and an interesting idea, but the Australian's have really been known for there inventions except for say the telescopic rifle in ww1 and the owens sub machine gun in ww2. They also lacked the industrial make up to achieve full mechanization(although when saying that the Australian army at the time only fielded a few divisions). Now seeing as much of the fighting that the Australians did was in the pacific islands, all these mechanized units would all be dismounted before the battle even began in the jungle areas especially in the kokoda trail, you wouldn't even be able to get a horse through there without trouble.

    The other main area of operations was North Africa. Now mechanization would certainly have been helpful in the large desert areas, but the Australians were few and the British army in the desert comprised many different national armies such as the scottish, south african, polish and the New Zealanders.

    It would certainly give the army an edge and make those fighting men even more vicious and feared, but even today the army still relies on light and fast combat units over large armies of battle tanks, but it is of course the ADF(Australian Defence Force) and not a standing army.

    I think for mechanization of the army and a more modern navy with possiibly carriers? I don't think will ever be possible for Australia.
  3. Lost Watchdog

    Lost Watchdog Member

    Jun 6, 2008
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    As Tomcat said, big tank formations are not much good in the jungles of the SW Pacific. But tanks and motorised infantry might have made an impact (but probably not a big difference) in the battle of Malaya. But seen as the Middle East was a priority before Dec 1941 it was unlikely anyway the best and most modern equipment would be sent to Malaya.

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