Today is Australia Day, a national public holiday for our friends down under commemorating the founding of New South Wales on 26 January 1788. It is a celebration of everything that is great about Australia and being Australian, and here at Osprey we thought we’d chip in with a bit of Australian military history.
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Still haunted by the losses of World War I, it was with much less enthusiasm that Australia marched to war again some 20 years later. However, the memory of that brutal conflict did not stop Australians from volunteering to fight in World War II. Over the course of the war more than 730,000 Australians enlisted in the army, fighting alongside the Allies in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East and the Pacific.
Artwork by Carlos Chagas
Extract from Elite 153: The Australian Army in World War II by Mark Johnston
7th DIVISION, SYRIA, 1941 - Light machine gun No.1, infantry
This soldier wears a hessian-covered helmet, KD shirt and long trousers; few men wore issue anklets with these. In the great heat of the day the men wore shirts and shorts or trousers, but at night in the mountains they sometimes faced bitter cold. He holds his section’s Bren Mk I LMG, a weapon beloved among its Australian users, and has the tool-andspares wallet slung to hang at his side.
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