Vale - Lt. Col Bill Braithwaite

Discussion in 'Australia' started by beagleboy, Sep 1, 2011.

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  1. Charming!

    'The top brass was so convinced the new SAS squadron being deployed to Vietnam was facing annihilation that they forced Lt-Col Brathwaite, the architect behind those unconventionally small patrols, to sign a secret document saying he would take "full responsibility" for the slaughter of his men.'

    Bit of a failure of integrity on his superiors' part, wasn't it?Still, not only did he know where he stood, he even had it in writing; 'G'day Bill, if this goes wrong we'll throw you to the wolves. Sign here, please' I wonder if any of them could look him in the eye afterwards?
  2. You gotta remember MtC that the Aust. Army had no real appreciation of SF, or rather in the time period unconventional warfare. Although, you could say from WW2 there were Commando's, but their role would be classed more in the operational role of light infantry.

    Once again, we see a style of leadership, which we will never see again, mores the pity.
  3. It certainly paid off for those concerned. That would be the 'Special' in 'Special Forces', no doubt.

    Edit; that reminds me of Signaller Johnstone's Secret War, in which the author's OC (Norm Winning?) was constantly fighting to get the Sqn assigned suitable roles and tasks, largely because command didn't know what the hell to do with them.
  4. Bollocks! The Australian Army didn't spend all of the second world war sunbathing with the 8th Army. The really hard fighting was done in South East Asia and as for not having any commando experience . . . The Aussies didn't raid Norwegian Islands defended by a Corporal's guard, stay ashore for three hours, set a couple of oil tanks alight and then flee over the horizon singing Rule Brittania. By 1943 The Australian Army had more special forces experience under its belt than the entire British Army gained during the entire war.

    "Amid fears of a Japanese advance towards mainland Australia, the 2nd Independent Company was sent to Timor, as part of Sparrow Force, along with the 2/40th Battalion and a small force of artillery.

    Upon arriving at Dili on 17 December 1941, most of the 2nd Independent Company moved to protect Dili airfield in east Timor, whilst other elements took up positions in the nearby mountains. The Japanese invaded Timor on 20 February 1942, attacking both east and west Timor at the same time, quickly overwhelming the small force of Australian and Dutch defenders. Hopelessly outnumbered the 2nd Independent Company was unable to hold the airfield and was forced retreat into to the mountains, from where they would wage a guerrilla campaign against the Japanese for over a year.

    After the fall of the island, it was believed that the 2nd Independent Company had been captured along with the 2/40th Battalion, and for almost three months the unit was officially listed as missing by the Australian Army. On 19/20 April 1942, however, members of the unit were able to make contact with Darwin, using a wireless transmitter nicknamed Winnie the War Winner. After this, at great risk the Royal Australian Navy was able to bring in supplies for the company on the south coast of east Timor in late May, allowing the guerilla campaign to continue. During August, the Japanese launched a major offensive against the guerrillas and carried out a series of reprisals against the civilian population of east Timor in order to reduce their support for the Australians.

    This campaign was ultimately unsuccessful, although the local Timorese paid a high price for the assistance they provided the Australians. In September, in an effort to maintain the pressure on the Japanese, the 2nd Independent Company was reinforced with the landing of the 2/4th Australian Independent Company. By late-November 1942 however, it was abundantly clear that the Australians could not sustain their campaign due to extreme ill-health amongst all the men, and the ever-increasing number of Japanese reinforcements as well as reduced food supplies. Furthermore, the Japanese used increasing numbers of Dutch Timorese to wreak havoc among the Portuguese Timorese who then found it impossible to keep helping the Australians.

    Both the 2/2 and 2/4 were withdrawn from Timor between mid-December 1942 and January 1943, along with Portuguese civilians, some Dutch troops and Timorese who would later serve with Z Special Unit.

    On return the 2nd Independent Company was redesignated as the 2/2 Independent Company, and then later the 2/2nd Commando Squadron and was one of only two of the original Independent Companies to remain operationally independent, outside a regimental structure. By the end of the war the 2/2nd Commando Squadron could "...claim to have spent longer in contact with the enemy than any other unit of the Australian Army."
  5. Most of the above is fairly accurate the Australians were operating a rather cheeky number in the south east asia region.........

    The 1st Commando Regiment whose forebearers are the aforementioned independent Commando Companies continue to be fiercely proud of their WW2 heritage and for good reason....
  6. Utter cock! Typical Aussie blow-hard.
  7. You might want to look at this:

  8. Yes, I am well aware of the various unconventional warfare units that the Australian Army raised. The Australian history of Commandos goes back as far as World War 2 when Lt. Col. Mawhood arrived in 1940 from Britain and introduced the concept to the Australian Army. Whilst the Commando and Independent Companies of World War 2 served with some distinction in the war against the Japanese in the South Pacific, all of these units, including Special Operations Australia, Inter Allied Services Department, "M" and "Z" Special Units were disbanded at the end of the war in 1945.

    Then in 1948 The Citizen Military Forces (CMF) were formed. However it was not until 1955 that the two Commando Companies. This unit was composed entirely of volunteers and specialised in the training of members for unconventional warfare, with emphasis on long-range penetration raids by small parties.

    I was trying to elude to the concept in the 50's and early 60's with the Army that the mindset of the Chiefs of Staff did not want anything to do with SF or as said at the time - unconventional warfare within the Regular Army. If for the sake of clarity I have erred so be it, it was not the intent.

    As the OT states: Vale - Lt. Col Bill Braithwaite.