Australia's citizen soldiers, 1919-1939 : a study of organisation, command, recruiting, training and equipment

by Claude Neumann

Institution: University of New South Wales
Department: Dept. of History
Year: 1978
Keywords: Citizen soldiers; soldier; command; organization; recruitment; retention; equipment; Citizen Military Forces; CMF; training; social composition
Record ID: 1493242
Full text PDF: http://handle.unsw.edu.au/1959.4/38754


The main problem investigated is how successful Australia’s citizen soldiers would have been in fulfilling either their anti-invasion or their anti-raid roles between 1919 and 1939. The organization, command, training, equipment, social composition, recruitment and retention of Australia’s citizen soldiers are examined in an effort to discover the solution to this problem. The conclusion reached is that Australia’s citizen soldiers could not have fulfilled their roles, the nature of which was widely debated by British and Australian defence planners because of their differing threat perceptions. Inter-Service rivalry over money also encouraged this debate. Basically, the A.M.F. did not have the equipment and trained troops to enable it to concentrate in time to repel a Japanese raid or invasion. Motor vehicles could have provided this mobility but their expense was prohibitive. However, in other respects the Military Board failed to make the best use of its resources. Slight changes in organization and the command structure might have made the C.M.F., once concentrated, more efficient and better able to fight the Japanese. More attention paid to ensuring that training was imaginative and interesting then might have led to higher retention rates, thereby eliminating the expensive and wasteful requirement for constant recruiting campaigns.