Military History

This Week in History | Week 18

By The Cove April 27, 2020

27 April - 03 May
28 April 1952 | Australia ratifies peace treaty with Japan and official ending of the British Commonwealth Occupation Force

From the end of 1948 Australia had taken on the largest role in the British Commonwealth Occupation Force (BCOF). When the state of occupation ended, the Commonwealth organisation in Japan was redesignated British Commonwealth Forces Korea and continued supplying and administering Commonwealth forces then fighting in Korea. (AWM)

Additional Resource: Book | Japan and the British Commonwealth Occupation Force 1946-52 by Peter Bates


29 April 1965 | Australia commits an infantry battalion to Vietnam

On 29 April 1965, Prime Minister Menzies announced the commitment of an infantry battalion to Vietnam. Australia's involvement in Vietnam was a gradual process. By April 1965 there were 100 members of the Australian Army Training Team Vietnam in Vietnam. The commitment of a battalion represented a major step-up in Australia's involvement and precipitated further increases in the number of Australians serving in Vietnam until reductions began in 1970.

Additional Resource: Book | Australia and the Vietnam War by Peter Edwards


30 April 1941 | Last evacuation ship leaves Greece

In April 1941, Australian and New Zealand troops fought alongside soldiers from Greece and Britain in the ill-fated Greece campaign. Unable to stem the German advance, General Blamey conducted a skillful evacuation of the ANZAC Corps from southern Greece at the end of the campaign.


30 April 1941 | Battle of the Salient (Tobruk)

Between April and August 1941, around 14,000 Australian soldiers were besieged in Tobruk by a German–Italian army commanded by General Erwin Rommel. The garrison, commanded by Lieutenant General Leslie Morshead, consisted of the 9th Division (20th, 24th, and 26th Brigades), the 18th Brigade of the 7th Division, along with four regiments of British artillery and some Indian troops.

While the Battle of the Salient was the second attempt by the Germans to take Tobruk, it was the first planned deliberate attack by Rommel. The attacking forces took some forward posts, however they were successfully held off by the Australians. 


01 May 1945 | 26th Brigade, 9th Division, troops invade Tarakan

General MacArthur instructed Lieutenant General Sir Leslie Morshead, commander of I Corps, to seize and hold Tarakan Island and destroy the enemy forces there. The Netherlands East Indies Government was to be re-established, Tarakan's oil producing capacity was to be conserved, and the island's airfields put into use. The operation was codenamed Oboe 1, and the invasion began on 1 May 1945. Within five days the town and airstrip had been secured.(AWM)

Additional Resource: Book | Tarakan: An Australian Tragedy by Peter Stanley


03 May 1917 | Second battle of Bullecourt

Operations against the Hindenburg line at Bullecourt were aimed at protecting the British flank during operations at Arras. After a disastrous first attempt on 11 April, a second involving the 2nd Australian Division was made. That attack succeeded, but fighting continued over the following two weeks, drawing in troops from the 1st and 5th Australian Divisions. Bullecourt was finally captured at a cost of about 7,000 British and Australian casualties.

Additional Resource: Book | Battles of Bullecourt 1917 by  David Coombes.



The Cove

The home of the Australian Profession of Arms.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of the Australian Army, the Department of Defence or the Australian Government.

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