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Australian Order of Battle

Note: The order of battle pages in the Pacific War Online Encyclopedia are still under construction. The initial order of battle is thought to be accurate, but reinforcements below division level are incomplete.

We present here the Australian order of battle from 7 December 1941 on. Units that deployed as part of a higher echelon (such as brigades assigned to divisions) are not listed separately. Also, units redesignated from other units are not included. The intent is to give a reasonable reinforcement schedule for war games.

Tabulated information

Unit. This is the name of the unit.

Commander. This is the commander of the unit at the time of its activation. For units already active when war broke out, it is the commander of the unit on 7 December 1941. In general, we do not display commanders below flag or general rank. Ships showing a commander are the flagship of that commander.

Start. This gives the date and location of the unit's activation. For units already active when war broke out, only the location is given (at 8:00 AM on 7 December 1941, Hawaii time). If no location is given, a unit should be assumed to be at the same location as its operational headquarters (or administrative headquarters if no operational assignment is given.) Naval headquarters are located on the flagship of their commander unless otherwise specified.

Administrative Assignment. The administrative assignments in this table represent the formal organizational structure. The table is sorted by administrative assignment, such that every unit appears after the unit to which it is administratively assigned.

Operational Assignment. The operational assignment, if one is given, represents temporary attachment to another unit for a single operation. For example, an aircraft carrier might be administratively assigned to a carrier division, but be operationally assigned to a task force for a particular mission.

Notes. Miscellaneous information about a unit, such as its manpower and equipment, where it was raised, what its initial orders were, and how well it performed in battle.

Organization of the tables

The order of battle tables are laid out for maximum readability by software tools while retaining some semblance of human readability. In addition to the displayed text and associated links, each unit has an HTML anchor with a unique identifier based on the unit name. For example, the entry for Australian Squadron includes the anchor Australian_Squadron, which appears immediately before the unit name in the table. These anchors are used to cross-reference the tables but may also be of use to software tools scanning the tables.

We are considering offering the complete orders of battle as SQL files or as C++ code. Users of the Encyclopedia who desire these or other formats may write to trollingshallows@msn.com and make their desires know.

The order of battle

Unit
Commander
Start
Administrative
Assignment
Operational
Assignment
Notes
Australian Military Forces Vernon A.H. Sturdee Melbourne

The commander-in-chief of all Commonwealth forces was formally King George VI, but His Majesty was a constitutional monarch with very limited actual powers. The political leadership of Australia was in the hands of the Cabinet, and Curtin as Prime Minister was the de facto leader of the nation and its armed forces. Cabinet war policy was acted on by Sturdee, the Commander-in-Chief, Australian Military Forces.
2 Australian Imperial Force Thomas A. Blamey
Australian Military Forces
In the Middle East when war broke out, but swiftly recalled.
8 Division Henry Gordon Bennett Johore 2 Australian Imperial Force Malaya Command
Training for the Middle East, but diverted (less 23 Brigade) to Malaya when war appeared imminent. Was accused of poor morale and indiscipline by British officers and Singapore, but Roberts (2011) calls this 'slander' and points out that half the Japanese casualties in the Malaya campaign were suffered while fighting primarily against the Australians.
22 Brigade
Mersing 8 Division

23 Brigade
Darwin 8 Division

Gull Force
Darwin 23 Brigade
1700 men; built around 21 Battalion.  Preparing to deploy to Ambon.
Lark Force
Rabaul 23 Brigade
1390 men; built around 22 Battalion.
Sparrow Force
Darwin 23 Brigade
1700 men; built around 40 Battalion.  Preparing to deploy to Kupang.
27 Brigade
Kluang 8 Division

1 Armored Division
Melbourne 2 Australian Imperial Force
A training cadre preparing for deployment to the Middle East, where it would receive its tanks.
Citizen's Military Forces

Australian Military Forces
A militia force which, by law, could not be deployed outside Australia. As the war progressed, this restriction was gradually lifted, to the point where CMF forces were used throughout southeast Asia. Judging from its performance, it was closer in quality to a reserve than a militia.
Northern Command James M.A. Durrant
Brisbane Citizen's Military Forces

2 Cavalry Regiment

Northern Command

1 Brigade
Toowoomba
Northern Command

7 Brigade
Toowoomba
Northern Command
One of the better militia brigades.  Saw service at Milne Bay.
11 Brigade
Townsville Northern Command

51 Battalion
Cairns 11 Brigade

29 Brigade
Rockhampton Northern Command

Eastern Command Henry D. Wynter
Sydney Citizen's Military Forces

1 Cavalry Division

Eastern Command

1 Division

Eastern Command

2 Division
Newcastle Eastern Command

3 ATC
Sydney Eastern Command
Tank training unit
53 Battalion

Eastern Command
Embarking for New Guinea
Southern Command
Melbourne Citizen's Military Forces

13 Light Horse
Sale Southern Command

19 MG Battalion
Warrnambool Southern Command

39 Battalion
Darly Camp Southern Command
Embarking for New Guinea.  Would form the core of the initial defense along the Kokoda Trail.
2 Cavalry Division

Southern Command

3 Division

Southern Command
Included 17 Brigade and possibly 15 Brigade.
Committed to combat 1943-4
4 Division

Southern Command

6 Cavalry Regiment
Adelaide Southern Command

3 Brigade
Adelaide Southern Command

12 Brigade
Launceston Southern Command

Western Command Robert E. Jackson
Perth Citizen's Military Forces

13 Brigade

Western Command

10 Cavalry Squadron

Western Command

25 MG Battalion

Western Command

44 Battalion

Western Command

7 Military District David V.J. Blake
Darwin Citizen's Military Forces

19 Battalion

7 Military District

Darwin Mobile Force

7 Military District

8 Military District Basil M. Morris
Rabaul Citizen's Military Forces

New Guinea Volunteer Rifles
Wau
8 Military District
Also known as Kanga Force
Papuan Infantry Battalion
Port Moresby 8 Military District

49 Battalion
Port Moresby 8 Military District

Royal Australian Navy Guy Royle Sydney Australian Military Forces

AO Falkefjell


Royal Australian Navy
7927 tons, 11.5 knots. A Norwegian tanker on the Sumatra-Australia line that went into RAN service on the fall of Norway.
AO Bishopdale


Royal Australian Navy
17,357 tons, 11.5 knots.
AO Kurumba


Royal Australian Navy
7806 tons standard displacement, 10 knots. Cargo capacity 2548 tons.
Australian Squadron Sir John Crace Fremantle Royal Australian Navy

CA Australia
Sydney Australian Squadron

CA Canberra
Sydney Australian Squadron

CL Perth
Auckland Australian Squadron

CL Hobart
Suez Canal
Australian Squadron

CX Kanimbla
George Town Australian Squadron
History. Converted to LSI 1943-6-4.
CX Westralia
Darwin Australian Squadron
History. Converted to LSI 1943-6-25.
CX Manoora
Changi Australian Squadron
History. Converted to LSI 1943-2-2.
ACM Bungaree

Australian Squadron

GS Moresby
Townsville Australian Squadron
History
Minesweeping Flotilla 20

Sydney
Australian Squadron

AMA Ballarat
Darwin Minesweeping Flotilla 20

History
AMA Deloraine


Minesweeping Flotilla 20
History
AMA Lithgow


Minesweeping Flotilla 20
History
AMA Mildura


Minesweeping Flotilla 20
History
Sloop Swan

Port Moresby
Minesweeping Flotilla 20
History
AMA Towoomba

Minesweeping Flotilla 20

History
Sloop Warrego

Melbourne
Minesweeping Flotilla 20
History
AMA Warrnambool
Darwin Minesweeping Flotilla 20

History
AMA Wollongong

Minesweeping Flotilla 20

History
Minesweeping Flotilla 21

Singapore
Australian Squadron

AMA Bendigo


Minesweeping Flotilla 21
History
AMA Burnie


Minesweeping Flotilla 21
History
AMA Goulburn


Minesweeping Flotilla 21
History
AMA Mayborough


Minesweeping Flotilla 21
History
Australian Destroyer Flotilla
Singapore Australian Squadron

DD Vampire


Australian Destroyer Flotilla
History
DD Voyager
Sydney
Australian Destroyer Flotilla
History
Base Staff Queensland
Brisbane Royal Australian Navy

AMA Tambar

Base Staff Queensland

AMA Coolebar

Base Staff Queensland
History
Base Staff Western Australia
Fremantle Royal Australian Navy

AMA Alfie

Base Staff Western Australia

AMA Olive Cam

Base Staff Western Australia

Base Staff Victoria
Melbourne Royal Australian Navy

AMA Marrawa

Base Staff Victoria

AMA Uki

Base Staff Victoria

AMA Orara

Base Staff Victoria

AMA Doomba

Base Staff Victoria

AMA Korowa

Base Staff Victoria

AMA Beryl II

Base Staff Victoria

AMA Tongkoi

Base Staff Victoria

AMA Durraween

Base Staff Victoria

Base Staff Newcastle
Newcastle Royal Australian Navy

AMA Bermagui

Base Staff Newcastle

AMA Narani
Sydney Base Staff Newcastle

Base Staff Northern Territory
Darwin Royal Australian Navy

AMA Karangi

Base Staff Northern Territory

AN Kangaroo

Base Staff Northern Territory

AN Koala

Base Staff Northern Territory

AMA Tolka

Base Staff Northern Territory

AMA Terka

Base Staff Northern Territory
History
AMA Gunbar
Fremantle
Base Staff Northern Territory

AN Kookaburra

Base Staff Northern Territory

Base Staff South Australia
Adelaide Royal Australian Navy

AMA Nambucca

Base Staff South Australia

AMA Toorie

Base Staff South Australia

AMA Warrawee

Base Staff South Australia

AMA Gawler

Base Staff South Australia

Royal Australian Air Force Charles Burnett
Sydney Australian Military Forces

2 Squadron
Darwin Royal Australian Air Force
Darwin: 8 Hudson II
Penofi: 4 Hudson II
4 Squadron
Canberra Royal Australian Air Force
12 Wirraway
5 Squadron
Laverton Royal Australian Air Force
12 Wirraway
6 Squadron
Laverton Royal Australian Air Force
Laverton: 6 Hudson II
Richmond: 6 Hudson II
9 Squadron
Richmond Royal Australian Air Force
5 Seagull
11 Squadron
Port Moresby Royal Australian Air Force
6 PBY Catalina
12 Squadron

Royal Australian Air Force
12 Wirraway
13 Squadron

Royal Australian Air Force
Sydney: 6 Hudson II
Pattimura: 6 Hudson II
14 Squadron
Pearce Royal Australian Air Force
12 Hudson II
20 Squadron
Port Moresby Royal Australian Air Force
6 PBY Catalina
22 Squadron
Richmond Royal Australian Air Force
17 Wirraway
23 Squadron
Archerfield Royal Australian Air Force
12 Wirraway
24 Squadron
Rabaul Royal Australian Air Force
10 Wirraway and 4 Hudson II.
25 Squadron
Pearce Royal Australian Air Force
18 Wirraway
Sloop Yarra

Arrived 1941-12-9
Royal Australian Navy
Sunk 1942-3-3 by Atago, Takao, and Maya off Tjitatjap
11 Division

Activated 1941-12 (Port Moresby)
Citizen's Military Forces
Organized from militia units at Port Moresby
AMA Townsville

Completed 1941-12-19 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Bathurst

Arrived 1941-12-29 (Colombo) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Lismore

Arrived 1941-12-29 (Colombo) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Katoomba

Completed 1941-12-31 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
12 Division
Jack E. Stevens
Activated 1942
Citizen's Military Forces
Did not see combat
DD Napier

Arrived 1942-1 (Colombo)   Royal Australian Navy
History. Withdrawn to eastern Mediterranean 1942-5 but returned late 1943.

DD Nepal

Arrived 1942-1 (Colombo)   Royal Australian Navy
History. Withdrawn to eastern Mediterranean 1942-5 but returned late 1943.

DD Nestor

Arrived 1942-1 (Colombo)   Royal Australian Navy
History. Withdrawn to eastern Mediterranean 1942-5.

DD Nizam

Arrived 1942-1 (Colombo)   Royal Australian Navy
History. Withdrawn to eastern Mediterranean 1942-5 but returned late 1943.

DD Norman

Arrived 1942-1 (Colombo)   Royal Australian Navy
History. Withdrawn to eastern Mediterranean 1942-5 but returned late 1943.

AMA Colac

Completed 1942-1-6 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Whyalla

Completed 1942-1-8 (Whyalla) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Geelong

Completed 1942-1-16 (Melbourne) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Rockhampton

Completed 1942-1-21 (Maryborough)      Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Cessnock

Completed 1942-1-26 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
I Corps
John D. Lavarack
Arrived 1942-2 2 Australian Imperial Force
Arrived from Middle East embarked, with 7 Division, on the troopships Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth
6 Division
Edmund F. Herring
Arrived 1942-2
I Corps

Arrived from Middle East embarked, with 7 Division, on the troopships Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth
7 Division
Arthur S. Allen
Arrived 1942-2
I Corps


Arrived from Middle East embarked, with 6 Division, on the troopships Queen Mary and Queen Elizabeth. Composed of 18, 21, and 25 Brigades.
DD Arunta

Completed 1942-3-3 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
1 Army
John D. Lavarack Activated 1942-4
Australian Military Forces
Originally an administrative command. Became a combat headquarters in 1944-10.
2 Army
Mackay
Activated 1942-4 Australian Military Forces
An administrative command.
9 Group

<1942-3
Royal Australian Air Force

71 Wing

<1942-3
9 Group


75 Squadron

<1942-3-20
71 Wing

P-40 Warhawk
AMA Geraldton

Completed 1942-4-6 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Kalgoorlie

Completed 1942-4-7 (Whyalla) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Launceston

Completed 1942-4-9 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Cairns

Completed 1942-5-11 (Maryborough)      Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Gladstone

Completed 1942-5-11 (Maryborough)    
Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Armidale

Completed 1942-6-11 (Sydney Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Ipswich

Completed 1942-6-13 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Castlemaine

Completed 1942-6-17 (Melbourne) Royal Australian Navy
History
14 Brigade

<1942-7
Citizen's Military Forces

16 Brigade

<1942-7
Citizen's Military Forces

30 Brigade

<1942-7
Citizen's Military Forces

AMA Wallaroo

Completed 1942-7-15 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Broome

Completed 1942-7-29 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Dubbo

Completed 1942-7-31 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Tamworth

Completed 1942-8-8 (Maryborough)      Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Gawler

Completed 1942-8-14 (Whyalla) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Echuca

Completed 1942-9-7 (Melbourne) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Bundaberg

Completed 1942-9-12 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Inverell

Completed 1942-9-17 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
DD Vendetta

Completed 1942-9-29 (Melbourne) Royal Australian Navy
History. Was actually laid up at Singapore when war broke out; towed to Melbourne in an epic voyage in early 1942.
AMA Pirie

Completed 1942-10-10 (Whyalla) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Kapunda

Completed 1942-10-21 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Gympie

Completed 1942-11-4 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Latrobe

Completed 1942-11-6 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Bowen

Completed 1942-11-9 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Glenelg

Completed 1942-11-16 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Horsham

Completed 1942-11-18 (Melbourne) Royal Australian Navy
History
DD Warramunga

Completed 1942-11-23 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Wagga

Completed 1942-12-18 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Bunbury

Completed 1943-1-3 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Shepparton

Completed 1943-2-1 (Melbourne) Royal Australian Navy
History
77 Squadron

<1943-3
71 Wing

P-40 Warhawk
7 Squadron

<1943-3
71 Wing

Beaufort
30 Squadron

<1943-3
71 Wing

Beaufighter
100 Squadron

<1943-3
71 Wing

Beaufort
AMA Fremantle

Completed 1943-3-24 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
3 Armored Brigade

<1943-4
2 Australian Imperial Force

1 Armored Brigade

Activated 1943-4
2 Australian Imperial Force

4 Armored Brigade

Activated 1943-4
2 Australian Imperial Force

AMA Benalla

Completed 1943-4-27 (Melbourne) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Cootamundra

Completed 1943-4-30 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Ararat

Completed 1943-6-16 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
5 Division

Arrived 1943-8
Citizen's Military Forces

43 Squadron

Activated 1943-8 (Karumba: 140.844E 17.497S)
Royal Australian Air Force

PBY Catalina
AMA Stawell

Completed 1943-8-7 (Melbourne) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Cowra

Completed 1943-10-8 Royal Australian Navy
History
PF Balmain

Completed 1943-11-18 (Sydney)   Royal Australian Navy

9 Division
George Wootten
Arrived 1943-12
2 Australian Imperial Force
Composed of 20, 24, and 26 Brigades. Possibly the best Australian division to fight in the Pacific.
19 Brigade

Arrived <1944-12
Citizen's Military Forces

PF Barcoo

Completed 1944-1-17 (Sydney)      Royal Australian Navy

AMA Kiama

Completed 1944-1-26 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Strahan

Completed 1944-3-14 (Newcastle) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Junee

Completed 1944-4-11 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History
AMA Parkes

Completed 1944-5-25 (Brisbane) Royal Australian Navy
History
PF Burdekin
Completed 1944-6-27 (Maryborough)      Royal Australian Navy

PF Hawkesbury
Completed 1944-7-5 (Sydney)   Royal Australian Navy

PF Lachlan
Completed 1945-2-14 (Sydney)   Royal Australian Navy

PF Diamantina
Completed 1945-4-27 (Maryborough) Royal Australian Navy

DD Bataan

Completed 1945-5-25 (Sydney) Royal Australian Navy
History


Replacements

The air and ground replacement schedule is difficult to work out for any power. The replacement model for the influential Pacific War (Victory Games 1985) called for an accumulation of one replacement battalion per month through February 1942, 3 per month through January 1943, 4 per month through December 1943, and 5 per month thereafter. These replacements could be applied to any land unit of any service. This was obviously a crude model, but it is hard to know how one could do better.

The Pacific War model for air reinforcements and replacements did not distinguish the two, nor did it distinguish services or aircraft type. It used a single pool of air replacement/reinforcement squadrons for all Allied nations. This is further described in the U.S. order of battle. However, it is known that Australia trained 3,033 pilots, 1375 navigators, and 2280 other aircrew in 1942 and 3869 pilots, 1662 navigators, and 3838 other aircrew in 1943. There were 31 squadrons serving in the Pacific by August 1943.

References

Ellis (1995)

Marston (2005)

Morison (1950)

Roberts (2011)

Victory Games (1985)

Willmott (1982)



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