Military History

This Week in History | Week 46

By The Cove November 9, 2020

Week 46 | 9 - 15 November


10 November 1942 | Japanese forced from Oivi

Japanese troops doggedly contested the Australian pursuit down the northern face of the Owen Stanley Range after the uncontested capture of Kokoda village the week prior. Several hours drive to the west along the Popondetta-Kokoda road is the battlefield of Oivi-Gorari. This, the largest battle of the Kokoda period of the fighting, is not actually in the Owen Stanley Range but rather in the valley of the Mambare River.

Australia lost 121 dead and 225 wounded. While at least 430 Japanese were killed and about the same number wounded, this is not the only measure of the magnitude of the Japanese defeat. All 15 Japanese artillery pieces were lost as, in the chaos of retreat, none could be taken back across the Kumusi river. These guns had given the Japanese a great advantage in the fighting in the Owen Stanley Range and were to be sorely missed by the Japanese in the fighting to come at Buna-Gona.


10 November 1964 | Selective conscription introduced

Australian government introduces selective conscription of 20-year- old males by ballot under the National Service Act. The National Service Scheme saw 15,381 young men serve in Vietnam.


11 November 1918 | Germany signs armistice

After several months of hard fighting on the Western Front, the Allies finally broke through the Hindenburg Line on 29 September 1918. The German army was beaten and within weeks came the Armistice.

The Armistice of Compiègne between the Allies and Germany came into effect at 11am on 11 November 1918. The guns fell silent on the Western Front and after more than four years of unimaginable bloodshed and destruction, the war was finally over. 

At home in Australia, large crowds gathered in capital cities to celebrate the end of conflict.

The Armistice paved the way for the signing of a formal peace treaty, the Treaty of Versailles, and the end of the war six months later. On 28 June 1919, the treaty was signed in the Hall of Mirrors at the Palace of Versailles, with Australian Prime Minister William Morris (Billy) Hughes and Deputy Prime Minister Joseph Cook adding their signatures on Australia’s behalf.

After the Second World War, Armistice Day became Remembrance Day, a time to commemorate war dead from all conflicts. Learn more about the Origins of Remembrance Day.


11 November 1941 | Opening of the Australian War Memorial

By the time a memorial to the dead of the First World War was ready to open, Australia had been involved in the Second World War for over two years.


14 November 1917 | End of third battle of Ypres

Australian troops had been involved in the third battle of Ypres for three and a half months and suffered heavy losses at such places as Menin Road, Glencorse Wood, Polygon Wood, Broodseinde Ridge and Passchendaele.

The eventual capture of Passchendaele, by Canadian and British troops, on 06 November 1917, allowed Field Marshal Haig to finally call off the offensive, claiming victory, despite some 310,000 British casualties, as opposed to 260,000 on the German side, and a failure to create any substantial breakthrough, or change of momentum on the Western Front. Given its outcome, the Third Battle of Ypres remains one of the most costly and controversial offensives of World War I, representing (at least for the British) the epitome of the wasteful and futile nature of trench warfare.





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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