Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

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Leo Niehorster
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Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by Leo Niehorster » 02 Mar 2020 11:28

General T.A. Blamey was appointed C-i-C of the 2AIF on 13.10.1939. When the Ist Corps departed for the Middle East, he went with it as GOC AIF (Middle East) and of the Ist Corps. He then was appointed on 23.04.1941 — while still in Egypt — Deputy C-i-C in the Middle East, while general Laverack took over the Ist Corps, while still remaining GOC AIF (ME).

My question is, was there an over-all commander of the 2AIF during Blamey's period in Egypt? Still Blamey, even if he is in the Middle East? How can he be in charge of units in Malaya, New Guinea/Papua, and Australia at the same time? If not, who was in charge of Australian Imperial Force formations not in the Middle East ?

Am I overthinking this? :?

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archiveruk
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Re: Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by archiveruk » 02 Mar 2020 22:56

It was Lt-Gen I G Mackay who was appointed GOC Home forces on 01/09/1941. The troops in Malaya were under British control.

A good source of Australian military appointments as well as OOB if you can't get hold of all the official histories is 'A Chronology of Australian Armed Forces 1939-1945' by Bruce Swain. Also interesting is The Australian Army: A History of Its Organisation 1901-2001 by Albert Palazzo.

Lee

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Leo Niehorster
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Re: Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by Leo Niehorster » 03 Mar 2020 00:48

Hi Lee,
Many thanks.

The AIF was a separate entity, supposedly reporting directly to Curtin (Minister of Defence), not to Mackay.
Did it have a headquarters, staff, etc.?
The AIF (Malaya) was under British control — But did Bennett, report to Curtin, or was there an intermediate headquarters?
And what about the AIF units in Australia proper, or PNG?

Or, did the AIF become part of the Home Forces as of 01.09.1941?
Home Forces = Australian Military Forces?

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reedwh52
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Re: Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by reedwh52 » 05 Mar 2020 00:27

Leo:

The 2 AIF represented the only part of the Australian ground forces that could serve outside Australia. It was intended to be used and kept intact as an Australian force. To make sure that this occurred, the Commander 2 AIF had direct access to the Prime Minister of Australia

The 8th Division was intended to go to the Middle East to join 6, 7, & 9 Divisions. Instead, it was diverted "temporarily" to Malaya. While still a 2 AIF formation, it did not report to 2 AIF (Blamey) . Problems which 2 AIF in the Mid East that Blamey could take to the Prime Minister were instead directed to the Army Headquarters in Melbourne. The Directive to the Australian commander in Malaya stated (From Official History) was clear on this:

(a) The Force will retain its identity as an Australian force;
(b) No part of the Force is to be employed apart from the whole without your consent;
(c) Should the G.O.C. Malaya in certain circumstances of emergency insist on an extensive operational dispersal of your Force you will, after registering such protest as you deem essential, comply with the order of the G .O.C. Malaya and immediately report the full circumstances to Army Headquarters , Melbourne.

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Re: Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by Leo Niehorster » 06 Mar 2020 09:35

Hi,
Frankly, I am still confused. :?

However, I am now reading "The Australian Army: A History of Its Organisation 1901-2001" by Albert Palazzo, and hope this will clarify the situation (somewhat?).

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Leo Niehorster
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Re: Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by Leo Niehorster » 07 Mar 2020 09:41

Well, the above-mentioned book does provide the answer. many thanks to Lee Sharp for your assistance.
AMF.gif
Corrected diagram at 21:00, 07.03.2020. Note changes and additions made in red.

Note, the Northern, Southern, and Eastern Commands were under the CMF operationally. Administratively, they were under the Military Board.
The Western Command, as well as the 7th and 8th Military Districts were both operationally and administratively under the Military Board.

Mind you, this was all completely changed in 1942. :P

Thanks, again, fellas. :thumbsup:
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reedwh52
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Re: Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by reedwh52 » 07 Mar 2020 20:31

Leo:

Just one comment on the diagram: It doesn't clearly reflect that the formations under the area commands were not PMF units but CMF units. As I understand it, the units of the Australian ground forces were either CMF (militia) or 2 AIF. I'm not aware of any PMF units. (of course, I'm awake, so I could be mistaken :)

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Re: Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by Leo Niehorster » 07 Mar 2020 21:21

Thanks. See corrected post #6.
Maybe you were are awake, but apparently I was asleep. 8O

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reedwh52
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Re: Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by reedwh52 » 07 Mar 2020 22:41

You are welcome.
I have (and continue to) appreciated your site for quite some time (pre-2000.) t is the best overall organizational site (in my opinion) of WW2.

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Re: Commander of the Second Australian Imperial Force

Post by Leo Niehorster » 10 Mar 2020 14:01

Uploaded the 7 December 1941 Australian Army. Still unlocated are the complete 1939 and 1941 coast defences, and service units in Australia proper.

Also done the 7 December 1941 RAAF. Again, units and aircraft missing, including of independent flights, training establishments, on-hand number and types of aircraft thereof, and advanced operating bases.
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