Click to escape
Category: Search & Help

Click to go up one level

 This is #5 of 7 pages of FAQ

Frequently Asked Questions, 201 to 250

Frequently asked questions 201 to 250

  1. What is the difference between Exercise and Operation?
  2. What was a "bomber"?
  3. Which is correct; Vietnam or Viet Nam?
  4. Explain "bought his commission"
  5. Is overwhelming fire power always a good thing?
  6. Who took part in the Viet Nam war?
  7. Did the Armalite rifle have a tumbling bullet when it was released?
  8. Why was the Red Baron's Unit called a Flying Circus?
  9. Why are NCO stripes called "chevrons"?
  10. What was the "Brisbane Line"?
  11. What was the "Battle of Brisbane"?
  12. What is the meaning of AMR&O?
  13. What is the meaning of CARO?
  14. How many National Servicemen went to Viet Nam?
  15. Were any men conscripted in WW1?
  16. What is Australia's rarest medal?
  17. What is the world's rarest medal?
  18. What details can I get on the web about a WW2 service-person relative?
  19. What is it like to be in the Infantry?
  20. Were all Japanese POW Camps equally bad?
  21. What happened to the horses from the Light Horse?
  22. How many horses were sent overseas for the Light Horse?
  23. Why is there a crack when a rifle bullet goes past?
  24. Which battalions were disbanded in France in 1918?
  25. What is the difference between a bar and a clasp on a medal?
  26. What is a "Bird Colonel"?
  27. What is the superstition about 3 lights off 1 match being bad luck?
  28. Are the Corps of the Army still "Arms" and "Services"?
  29. Is "Swy" the same as "Two-up"?
  30. What is/was "The Scrap of Paper"?
  31. What is a pull through?
  32. What is fourby?
  33. What was Lend/Lease?
  34. What is the military meaning of "Cash & Carry"?
  35. What is a "pam"?
  36. What is the meaning of IA?
  37. What is the goose-step or goose-stepping?
  38. What was Japan's goal in WW2?
  39. Why were the Anzacs landed at the wrong place?
  40. How many Anzacs were executed in WW1?
  41. How big was the ANZAC area at Gallipoli?
  42. What is a lackie band?
  43. Does the Australian Army have a war cry?
  44. Was Gallipoli fairly blamed on Winston Churchill?
  45. I've heard the Anzacs went ashore at Anzac Cove without ammunition. True or false?
  46. What did the troops carry when they landed at Anzac Cove?
  47. I have heard that Aussies elect their Officers. Is that true?
  48. In WW1 who were "The Allies" and when did they enter the war?
  49. Could you please tell me the meaning of "Cadre".
  50. What are Army braces?

What is the difference between Exercise and Operation?

An Exercise is a training program. An Operation is the real thing in a war zone. Click to go to top of list

What was a "bomber"?

Hand held bombs were called grenades. They were not on issue to every soldier until later in WW1. The soldiers who trained to use them were called 'grenadiers' until the Grenadier Guards complained that that usage would reflect badly on them and their name. So King George V "requested" a change and the grenades became 'bombs' and the soldiers that used them were referred to as 'bombers'.

Undoubtedly the greatest grenade battle of the war occurred on the Pozieres Heights on the night of 26-27 July 1916. Lasting for twelve-and-a-half hours without a break the Australians, with British support, exchanged grenades with their German foes (who threw multiple types of grenade: sticks, cricket balls, egg bombs and rifle grenades). The allied contingent alone threw some 15,000 Mills bombs during the night. Many grenadiers were killed that night, while many others simply fell down due to complete exhaustion.Click to go to top of list

Which is correct; Vietnam or Viet Nam?

Either. Both. The Vietnamese tend to break their words up so they would tend to say (and spell )Viet Nam or Ba Ria, Sai Gon where we tend to run words together (howyagoinmateorite?) so we tend to use Vietnam or Baria or Saigon. You say potato I say ...... Click to go to top of list

Explain "bought his commission"

This never happened in the Australian Army.

It was common in the British Army (pre WW1) for commissions to be bought and sold. A rich man could advance very quickly, with almost no training or experience, to high command by buying his way up. It was legal and common. There was no retirement benefits or pensions for retired officers so poor men who had earned their ranks could sell them to rich men, openly and above board.

James Thomas Brudenell, 7th Earl of Cardigan  (Lord Cardigan) ( 1797/1868) had a private annual income of 40,000 pounds. That was about what a Digger in WW1 would earn in 366 years. Cardigan bought his way to the near top. He lavished money on his troops equipment and uniforms. They were very pretty. They were also  brave. So was he, or stupid. He led the Charge of the Light Brigade after completely missing the point of his orders: he got to the guns, bravely; and left before his troops, stupidly. The bloke who did not stop him from mistaking his orders was his brother in law, who disliked him, and who had purchased his own commission. 

     Buying a commission. From the birth of the regular army to 1871 two thirds of officers’ commissions were obtained by purchase. The aspiring officer paid the government an agreed sum, often adding a non-regulation premium to the holder of the post he sought to occupy. The system was initially open to abuse, with children gaining commissions, and inexperienced officers buying their way over the heads of seasoned campaigners. But a series of reforms, many associated with the Duke of York, commander-in-chief 1798-1809 and 1811-27, laid down 16 as the youngest age for commissioning and established minimum times which an officer had to spend in each rank.

Officers who lacked money could make their way by seniority, for vacancies which arose when an officer was killed were filled by the promotion of the next senior, often creating vacancies further down the regimental list.

Interest – the support of an influential politician or senior officer – was also important, especially for young men who sought to make their way as gentleman volunteers, serving as private soldiers but messing with the officers and hoping to gain a free commission. Captain Thomas Brotherton, who served with the 16th Light Dragoons in the Peninsular War, recalled that these volunteers:

‘...always recklessly exposed themselves in order to make themselves conspicuous, as their object was to get commissions given to them without purchase. The largest proportion of these volunteers were killed, but those who escaped were well rewarded for their adventurous spirit.’

During major wars there were far more vacancies than young men wishing to buy commissions, and most officers commissioned during the Napoleonic Wars gained their rank without purchase. Over the past twenty years a growing volume of research has testified to the importance of this group of officers. Some of them enjoyed remarkable careers. Robert Cureton was commissioned into the militia in 1806 but ran into financial difficulties and faked his suicide. He enlisted into the Regular army under an assumed name, was commissioned from the ranks, and rose to the rank of brigadier general before he was killed by the Sikhs in 1849.

The Royal Military Academy

Artillery and engineer officers could purchase neither first commissions nor subsequent promotion. All had to pass out from the Royal Military Academy at Woolwich, and then advanced by seniority. The Royal Military Academy, which finished up at Sandhurst, was established in 1801, but potential officers were not obliged to attend it and there was no guarantee that those who did would receive free commissions.

...the end of purchase did not open an officer’s career to all, for until World War One it was difficult for an officer to survive without private means.

The purchase system had advantages, enabling competent young officers to gain higher rank more quickly than would be the case today, and helping ensure the army’s loyalty because its officers were men with ‘a stake in the country’. And even those officers who did not attend formal training at Sandhurst were prepared by their regiments, being obliged to train with the recruits until they were thoroughly proficient in individual drill and understood how to drill a company.

If purchase fitted comfortably into the fabric of Georgian England, with its emphasis on place and patronage, it came under increasing attack in the 19th Century and vanished in Cardwell’s reforms. These obliged officers, with few exceptions, to attend Woolwich or Sandhurst, which merged after World War Two to form the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst. However, the end of purchase did not open an officer’s career to all, for until World War One it was difficult for an officer to survive without private means.

The fact that most officers came from a relatively narrow social spectrum did not matter much in peacetime, but when the army expanded for World War One many surviving pre-war regulars received promotion beyond their normal expectation. Britain’s first citizen army was commanded, at its higher levels, by officers from the old army. 

From Click to go to top of list

Is overwhelming fire power a good thing?

No, not always. Viet Nam, 1970. 8 RAR are in the Long Hai hills, a notorious NVA/VC hidey hole. They were making good progress. 34 members of D445 have been killed.  All of D445 are in the area. Normal Australian procedure is close with the enemy and engage him. Beat him where he is. Not to be. 8RAR are pulled back 3,000 meters and all the local hamlet leaders are advised that a B52 strike is about to happen. Guess what. By the time (24 hours later) that all the paper-work and red tape had been attended to D445 were long gone. Instead of being bottled up and mauled they were allowed to slip away in the name of "concentrating massive firepower"Click to go to top of list

Who took part in the Viet Nam war?

  • Many countries lent their token support, mainly in the form of medical supplies. 

    • Britain sent a printing press for the Saigon government's propaganda machine. 

    • The Swiss sent microscopes for Saigon University. 

    • Morocco sent 10,000 cans of sardines! 

But only seven countries, Australia, New Zealand, South Korea, Thailand, The Philippines, The Republic of China (Taiwan) and Spain, sent men.

The biggest contingent was the Koreans, who numbered 48,000 in 1967. But they did not come cheap. America had to agree to modernize the Korean armed forces and grant Korea several lucrative military contracts, making the ARVN's uniforms, for example. (Australia and New Zealand paid for everything that their own troops used or that was used in their support).

The now disgraced President Marcos of the Philippines sent 2000 troops in 1966. In return, the Americans turned a blind eye as he turned his country into a virtual dictatorship.

If South Vietnam fell, nearby Thailand would almost certainly be threatened by the spread of communism in the area. As well as sending 11,568 troops, the Thais allowed B52s, Phantoms and reconnaissance aircraft , along with the Infiltration Surveillance Centre, on their soil.

The Republic of China (Taiwan) which, like Korea, had its own beef against communism and its own reasons for keeping in with the US, sent 31 men. Franco's Fascist Spain sent a 13-man medical team. And there are rumours that members of the British SAS had some covert involvement in Vietnam.

The peak Australian strength was 7,672 and New Zealand's 552. Both governments felt they had good reason to fight. They had seen communist insurgency in Malaya and were convinced that it would spread further south if Vietnam fell. Click to go to top of list

Did the Armalite rifle have a tumbling bullet when it was released?

No. Never. This was a piece of nonsense dreamed up by our friends in the media who got half a story and then embellished it. The reports said that a tumbling bullet caused "massive damage". Some even suggested it was as bad as using dum dum bullets. No bullet that tumbles could ever be aimed accurately. The fact is this. The 5.56mm round used by the Colt AR15 Armalite (M16) is high velocity. Because it strikes it's target at supersonic speed it does do more damage that the same sized round at a lower muzzle velocity. Were it not for this increase in "stopping power" NATO and the US would have stayed with the 7.62mm round then, and now, in common use throughout the world. If I had to be shot I would rather be hit by a 5.56mm than a 7.62mm. Click to go to top of list

Why was the Red Baron's Unit called a Flying Circus?

In order to be close to the front, and as mobile as possible to avoid Allied bombing, Jasta 11 (men and planes) were quartered in tents, giving rise to a nickname for the squadron: “the Flying Circus.” Click to go to top of list

Why are NCO stripes called "chevrons"?

"Chevron" is an architectural term denoting the rafters of a roof meeting an angle at the upper apex. The chevron in heraldry was employed as a badge of honour to mark the main supporters of the head of the clan or "top of the house" and it came to be used in various forms as an emblem of rank for knights and men-at-arms in feudal days. One legend is that the chevron was awarded to a knight to show he had taken part in capturing a castle, town, or other building, of which the chevron resembled the roofs. It is believed from this resulted its use as an insignia of grade by the military. Click to go to top of list

What was the "Brisbane Line"?

This term gained currency during the invasion scare of 1942. It was the line of defence against an invading Japanese force. When Queenslanders discovered that, for sound military reasons it was in fact south of Brisbane, along the Lamington mountain range which forms the Queensland-New South Wales border, their enthusiasms declined sharply. for details Click to go to top of list

What was the "Battle of Brisbane"?

It was a fight between American MP's and Aussie diggers. The MPs opened fire and killed 1 Aussie and wounded a couple of others. for detailsClick to go to top of list

What is the meaning of AMR&O?

Australian Military Regulations and Orders. The book that lays down the how and when of nearly everything the Army does. Click to go to top of list

What is the meaning of CARO?

Central Army Records Office. The big filing cabinet that gobbles up every piece of paper the Army ever produces (and then loses it) Click to go to top of list

How many National Servicemen went to Viet Nam? 

Australians registered for National Service 804,286
Australians called up for National Service 62,342
Australian National Servicemen posted to serve in Vietnam 15,381
Australian National Servicemen KIA in Viet Nam 85
Australian National Servicemen Killed in SVN (non battle)  15
Australian National Servicemen WIA in SVN 1,009
Australian National Servicemen injured in SVN (non battle) 39
  • These figures indicate that the average person who registered for National Service had a 0.01% (or approx 1 in ten thousand) chance of being Killed in Action. His chances of being killed in a car accident in that same 12 month period were higher.

Click to go to top of list

Were any men conscripted in WW1?

Yes. Although conscription was defeated at the referenda the Government was so convinced that they would be successful they actually proceeded with the initial call ups.

Studio portrait of new recruits Corporals Arthur Gray, Richard E. A. Gray and David J. Denny at "Billy Hughes" Training Camp at the Goulburn showground, in Goldsmith Street.

Note their soft cloth jackets. The Billy Hughes training camp was a second camp started for those compulsorily called up, as the Federal Government was certain its conscription referendum would be passed.

 The AIF drilled in blue dungarees and the "Hughesiliers", as they were facetiously called, in yellow [probably light khaki]. 

When the referendum was defeated most of the Hughesiliers went back to civilian life and some enlisted. (Original print housed in the AWM Archive Store) (Donor E. Bridge)

 Click to go to top of list

What is Australia's rarest medal?

It is a toss up between the Military Medal (MM) with 3 bars awarded to Pte Corey in WW1 or the Albert Medal in Gold awarded to Sgt Coyne in WW1. Both are unique as the only one of their type ever awarded to an Aussie. The MM and 3 bars probably wins out because it is the only combination of that sort ever awarded to anyone. Click to go to top of list

What is the world's rarest medal?

Only one of the NAZI Knight's Cross with Gold Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds was ever awarded and it was always envisaged that only 12 would ever be struck. That would make it the rarest. Click to go to top of list

What details can I get on the web about a WW2 service-person relative?

  • Service Record example
  • Certificate example          Click to go to top of list

What is it like to be in the Infantry?

Dig a hole in your back garden while it is raining. Sit in the hole while the water climbs up round your ankles. Pour cold mud down your shirt collar. Sit there for forty-eight hours, and, so there is no danger of your dozing off, imagine that a guy is sneaking round waiting for a chance to club you on the head, cut your throat or set your house on fire. Get out of the hole, fill a suitcase full of rocks, pick it up, put a shotgun in your other hand, and walk down the muddiest road you can find. Fall flat on your face every few minutes, as you imagine big meteors streaking down to sock you ... Snoop around until you find a bull. Try to figure a way to sneak around him without letting him see you. When he does see you, run like hell all the way back to your hole in the back yard, drop the suitcase and shotgun, and get in. If you repeat this performance every three days for several months you may begin to understand why an infantryman gets out of breath.  Click to go to top of list

Click to go to top of list

Were all Japanese POW Camps equally bad?

No. Many forget that a large number of Canadians were held as prisoners of war in the Pacific. The biggest blow to Canadian troops in that region came on Christmas Day, 1941, when Hong Kong fell. On that one day 1,689 Canadians were captured by the Japanese. It's thought that 1,405 survived the camps in Hong Kong and Japan. Click to go to top of list

What happened to the horses from the Light Horse?

At the end of the First World War Australian Units had 13,000 surplus horses which could not return home for quarantine reasons. Of these 11,000 were sold, the majority as remounts for the British Army in India. Two thousand were cast (selected for disposal) for age or infirmity. About 200–250 were destroyed (without permission) by their Lighthorse owners.
Click to go to top of list
Extensive research by Robert Thomas BA shows the following facts and figures.

The horses were categorised by veterinary officers by age and condition, into A B C & D. Those of no further use and those over 14 years of age were destroyed (although Bourne records in 2nd LH History that those over 8 years of age were destroyed, this is contradicted by the regimental war diary) Some smaller horses were sold locally or in some cases given away (100 horses were presented to the King of the Hejaz)

Generally the horses that were destroyed were destroyed at the Remounts by Brigade shooting parties making it unlikely that men shot their own horses. They were then skinned and buried. 7pounds (approx 3kgs) of salt was allowed per hide to preserve them for shipment to the tannery. The AWM reports a figure of 250 unauthorised destructions.
Click to go to top of list

How many horses were sent overseas for the Light Horse?

  • 16,357 Australian horses, all around 15 hands and selected for good build and the appearance of being well-bred, were used in the Boer War. 
    • During the first World War 121,324 Walers were sent to the Middle East  for the Light Horse and they created a legend. As well there were many horses sent for pack animals in artillery and supply units as well as medical units.
    • Nearly 500,000 horses were exported between 1861 and 1931. See table below.

Waler Exports to Market Zones 1861 to 1931

  India Africa Sth East Asia  East Asia
N.S.W. 52,284  19,791 10,919 8,216
Vic.    152,742 22,108 16,636 2,400
Qld.  121,519 21,432  4,045 10,733
S.A. 22,667 908 513 90
W.A. 4,723 5,697 7,248 1,357
Tas. 2 282   0 0
Total  No. 353,937 70,218 39,361 22,796

Total Exported    486,312

Total value   8,171,278 (Pounds)

Figures from A T Harwood's " Walers; Australian horses abroad"

The toll on horses in World War 1 was horrific. A monument in Sturt Street, Ballarat, commemorates the 958,600 killed "including 196.000 that left these shores and never returned". Click to go to top of list



The only one of the 169,000 horses that left Australia for WW1 war service to return was " Sandy," General Bridges' favourite charger. 

He was brought back with his master's mortal remains and, after the funeral procession, turned out to grass. 

A few years later, becoming blind and debilitated, he was mercifully destroyed. 

His head is mounted in a show case originally displayed at the 1st Australian War Memorial Museum in Sydney and later in Canberra at the AWM. Click to go to top of list

Why is there a crack when a rifle bullet goes past?

The cordite rounds used in the First World War tend to be slower than nitrocellulose or current propellant rounds. This means that, after travelling a short distance, say 400m, they are sub-sonic and did not give the wicked ‘crack’ (sonic barrier shockwave) of modern ammunition projectiles. Click to go to top of list

Which battalions were disbanded in France in 1918?

  • These AIF Battalions were disbanded, often in the face of fierce opposition:
    19th Battalion,  5th Brigade,  2nd Division  (into 17th 18th & 20th)
    21st Battalion, 6th Brigade, 2nd Division  (into 23rd 24th & 25th)
    25th Battalion, 7th Brigade, 2nd Division  (into 26th Bn)
    29th Battalion,  8th Brigade,  5th Division  (into 30th 31st & 32nd)
    36th Battalion, 9th Brigade, 3rd Division (into 33rd 34th & 35th)
    37th Battalion, 10th Brigade,  3rd Division (into 38th 39th & 40th)
    42nd Battalion, 11th Brigade, 3rd Division (into 41st Bn as B Coy)
    47th Battalion, 12th Brigade,  4th Division  (into 45th Bn)
    52nd Battalion, 13th Brigade, 4th Division (into 51st)
    54th Battalion, 14th Brigade, 5th Division  (mostly to 56th, some to 53rd & 55th)
    60th Battalion, 15th Brigade, 5th Division (into 57th 58th & 59th)
    Click to go to top of list

What is the difference between a bar and a clasp on a medal?

  • A bar represents the award of another medal of the same type. As wearing 2 or more identical medals would look silly a bar is worn on the riband of the medal to indicate the second award.

    • The "bars" discussed here have nothing to do with the suspension bar that some medals have as part of their design. Suspension bars sometimes carry a name or date.

  •  Bars are appropriate only on gallantry or distinguished service medals.

  • A clasp is a metal bar across the riband that carries a date or campaign or battle name. It was in the past common to issue only 1 medal for a war but to issue clasps for each significant action. 

  • Clasps are appropriate on campaign medals. 

  • Clasps are sometimes used on long service medals to indicate a further period of service, after the original qualifying period. Click to go to top of list

What is a "Bird Colonel"?

This is a nickname given to the rank (in the US Army) of full colonel as opposed to Lieutenant Colonel. It is so called because of the rank insignia worn. See photos

What is the superstition about 3 lights off 1 match being bad luck?

There is a superstition in the Army about lighting 3 cigarettes from one match (or from one burning of a cigarette lighter). That started in WW1 where the theory was that enemy snipers were drawn, at night time, to the flash of light of striking a match and lighting of the first cigarette, lighting the second cigarette allowed the sniper to get set and if a third was lit it gave time for the sniper to aim and to shoot.

Many people (myself included) will still not light 3 cigarettes from 1 match or 1 burn of a lighter, even though the risk of being sniped by a German marksman has reduced considerably since 1918. It is still considered "bad luck" to do so.  Click to go to top of list

Are the Corps of the Army still "Arms" and "Services"?

No. The Corps of the Army are no longer categorised as fighting arms  and service corps.  I'm not sure when this terminology went out of date, but know that for certain it was prior to 1995 In 1995, it was being taught that the Corps of the Army were all classified as either combat, combat support or service support corps.  Of these, only RAINF and RAAC were classified as combat corps, as closing with and engaging the enemy was the key component of their corps role.  Under this classification, RASigs was grouped along with RAA, AAVN, ENGRs and AAMC as the combat support corps as while their role was not to seek out and engage the enemy, it was common for them to be called upon to carry out their corps responsibilities while in contact with the enemy.  All the others such as RAEME, RAAOC, RACT etc were grouped as the service support corps.

The reference for this categorisation was the MLW called "The Arms and Services".  Unfortunately, after sifting through the Army doctrine library and querying Land Warfare Development Centre, The School of Signals and RMC Duntroon, it appears this reference has been declared obsolete and I can't provide any further detail on it other than the title.  However, this was still the accepted categorisation for the corps of the Army when I was instructing at the School of Signals in 1999, so it is certainly more current that the old "fighting arm" and "service corps" terminology you referred to in your original email.

Current doctrine on the subject is covered in Land Warfare Doctrine 1 - The Fundamentals of Land Warfare dated 01 Jan 02.  Chap 4 of this reference covers the combined arms team (CAT) and refers to categorisation based on battlespace operating systems (BOS) rather than corps.  This reflects a greater emphasis on battlefield effects and capabilities of units and sub-units rather than the corps to which they belong.   Under LWD1, the corps are not categorised like they have been previously, rather they are tasked to contribute to the various BOS as part of an effective combined arms team.  In the case of RASigs, we are primarily concerned with the Command and Control BOS, but also contribute to the Information Operations and Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance BOS'.

So in summary, under current doctrine there is no categorisation of Army Corps into combat or fighting arms.  Therefore, it is not correct to state that RASigs is either.  However, when such categorisation systems were in place under The Arms and Services MLW, RASigs was classified as a Combat Support corps.  Infantry and Armour were the only combat arms, at least between 1995 and 2000. (by a serving Officer 2003) Click to go to top of list

Is "Swy" the same as "Two-up"?

No. Two up is played with 2 pennies (coins). Swy is played with 3. This means that there is always a result. It is sometimes called "sudden death two up". Details at Two Up (Swy) the Digger's gambling game. Click to go to top of list

What is/was "The Scrap of Paper"?

There are 2 "scraps of paper", one from each of the World Wars.

Click to enlarge Before WW1 the British, Germany & France and 2 other countries had signed a treaty or agreement with Belgium guaranteeing that if she were attacked they would come to her aid. 

The Kaiser knew that but decided in his "wisdom" that no one would go to war over a "scrap of paper" and invaded Belgium to make it easy for his troops to get to attack France. 

As we know, he was wrong. Britain did honour her word.

Before WW2 the then British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain in a last ditch effort to appease Hitler signed with him an agreement that supposedly guaranteed "peace in our time". Chamberlain made big political noise about it. Hitler referred to it, disparagingly, as "a scrap of paper that he gave to Chamberlain because he seemed like a nice little man".Click to go to top of list

What is a pull through?

A pull through is a piece of equipment necessary for the correct maintenance of a rifle. It is a weight connected to a strong cord with a loop at the end of the cord. The weight is dropped down the barrel of the rifle from the breech end. A piece of oiled cloth (fourby) is inserted in the loop and pulled through the rifle several times to clean and oil the barrel. Click to go to top of list

A .303 pull through for the Lee Enfield rifle, rolled for storage.

In the SLR the pull through could be stored in the stock.

  • A Lee Enfield .303 pull through (rolled for storage) and an oil can as supplied to each soldier.

What is fourby?

Forby is a slang term to describe the felt cloth used to clean and oil a rifle. It is used in conjunction with a pull through (see above). It is so called because it was 4 inches wide and one could tear off what ever length was required. The resulting piece as therefore 4 by ??? (fourby) Click to go to top of list

What was Lend/Lease?

The Lend-lease Act of March 11, 1941 permitted the President of the United States to "sell, transfer title to, exchange, lease, lend, or otherwise dispose of, to any such government [whose defense the President deems vital to the defense of the United States] any defense article". It thus extended Cash and Carry and obliterated any sense of neutrality. The value of the items to be lent were not to exceed $1,300,000,000 in total. US President Franklin Delano Roosevelt approved US$1 billion in Lend-lease aid to the Soviet Union on October 30, 1941.

The act is generally known as lend-lease in the US but lease-lend in the UK. In fact neither term appears in the true title of the act, which is "Further to promote the defense of the United States, and for other purposes."

Churchill called the Lend-Lease Bill the "most un-sordid act in all of recorded history"

Lend-lease was a critical factor in the eventual success of the Allies in World War II, particularly in the early years when the United States was not directly involved and the entire burden of the fighting fell on other nations, notably those of the British Commonwealth. Although Pearl Harbor brought the US into the war in December 1941, the task of recruiting, training, and equipping US forces, and then transporting them to the war zones could not be completed overnight: through 1942, and to a lesser extent 1943, the other Allies continued to be responsible for most of the fighting, and the supply of military equipment under lend-lease was a major part of their success.

Even after the United States forces in Europe and the Pacific began to reach full-strength in 1943-1944, lend-lease continued. Most remaining belligerents were largely self-sufficient in front-line equipment (such as tanks, escort aircraft carriers and fighter aircraft) by this stage, but lend-lease provided a useful supplement in this category even so, and lend-lease logistical supplies (including trucks, jeeps, landing craft, and above all the Douglas DC-3 transport aircraft) were of enormous assistance. Click to go to top of list

What is the military meaning of "Cash & Carry"?

Originally, cash and carry simply designates a method of making purchases where the customer pays the purchased goods immediately and takes them away himself -- as opposed to having the goods delivered and paying a bill later. In that sense, most retail shops are "cash and carry".

Cash and carry also has more specific meanings in certain fields:

  • in history: The policy of Cash and Carry established at the onset of World War II in 1939 revised the Neutrality Acts so any ship could come to United States ports and carry away anything they could buy. This policy aided the United Kingdom and France. Click to go to top of list

What is a "pam"?

Pam is the nickname for a Training Pamphlet as used by Army to ensure a standard level of training for Drill, Weapons handling and various other matters that EVERY soldier needs to be taught. Click to go to top of list

What is the meaning of IA?

IA is the "Immediate Action" that a soldier is trained to take when his weapon fails to operate. The most common reason for weapon stoppage is lack of ammunition. The "First IA" addresses that. If the weapon still fails to operate another, the "Second IA" takes further steps to remedy the situation. These are drilled into every soldier endlessly so that in the heat of battle he responds instinctively.  Click to go to top of list

What is the goose-step or goose-stepping?

It is a form of marching. Surprisingly it is favoured most often in hard left or hard right totalitarian regimes. The British, Australian, US style of march is a form of controlled and regimented walking. The knees bend, the arms swing to a natural degree and the head is held erect but not stiff. The soldier stays upright but not stiff. On the other hand goose stepping involves locking the head position a little higher than natural, the legs are kept stiff with no bend in the knees at all, the back is kept artificially stiffened and the arms are swung artificially high to shoulder level or kept motionless by the side. The German Army used to goose step with the left arm motionless and the right arm raised in the "Hitler" salute. The NAZI regime is the best known of the goose steppers but the USSR and North Korea are another 2 countries that have or do favour it.

Some dictionaries describe it as a symbolic stomping of the enemy. Norman Davies, author of Europe: A History, traces the origins of the march back to the Prussian army in the 17th century. The body language of goose-stepping, he wrote,

"transmitted a clear set of messages. To Prussia's generals, it said that the discipline and athleticism of their men would withstand all orders, no matter how painful or ludicrous. To Prussian civilians, it said that all insubordination would be ruthlessly crushed. To Prussia's enemies it said that the Prussian army was not made up just of lads in uniform, but regimented supermen. To the world at large, it announced that Prussia was not just strong, but arrogant".

After WWII, the goose-step was outlawed in West Germany, making it the only human gesture to be officially banned by a state.  

Click to go to top of list

What was Japan's goal in WW2?

Japan knew from the beginning that she could not beat the USA and that only a slim chance of NAZI Germany beating the British Commonwealth and then turning on USA existed. Japan hoped to force the USA to the negotiating table with 1 massive strike and success elsewhere. As we know all they did was to get the Yanks cranky. (Osama, Saddam etc  will you never learn?)

Japan planned a "Sphere of Living" for the "Greater East Asia New Order". The countries and territories to be invaded and made part of this grand plan were:

Manchuria China
The former mandated German Islands ... French Indochina
French Pacific Islands Thailand
Malaya Borneo
Dutch East Indies Burma
Australia inc PNG New Zealand
India Click to go to top of list

Why were the Anzacs landed at the wrong place?

While it is both well known and true that the original landings at what we now call Anzac Cove were over a mile north of where they were supposed to be nobody knows for sure how or why it happened. The most common theory is that a strong current pushed the boats north. Remember that the landing boats were under the control of Royal Navy Midshipmen as young as 14. However that theory may well be incorrect. for details  Click to go to top of list

How many Anzacs were executed in WW1?

Five (5), all New Zealanders. Australia had 170 men convicted of offences that could lead to execution but as they were all volunteers the Governor-General refused to sign the orders. 1 Aussie was convicted of murder of a British civilian, in a civil court and executed.

  • Desertion and the Death Penalty; According to Section 98 of the Commonwealth Defence Act 1903, no member of the Defence Force shall be sentenced to death by any court martial except for four offences: 
    • mutiny; 
    • desertion to the enemy; or 
    • traitorously delivering up to the enemy any garrison, fortress, post, guard, or ship, vessel, or boat, or aircraft; or 
    • traitorous correspondence with the enemy. 
  • Significantly, this sentence could not be carried out until it was confirmed by the Governor-General.

Military Executions First World War:

France: 600 Including one Unit that was "decimated", (i.e. every tenth man was shot), for failing to hold a position.
Italy   500 estimated
British:  346 [Includes Commonwealth troops]
German:    48
Canada:    25
Belgium      13
USA:  10  [For non-military offences - e.g. murder and rape]
NZ:   5 [all now officially pardoned]

Frank Hughes  25 Aug 1916  No 24/1521 (desertion)
John Joseph Sweeney 2 Oct 1916 (born Tasmania)  No 24/2008 (desertion)
John Braithwaite 29 Oct 1916  No 6/1598 (mutiny)
John King  19 Aug 1917 (born Australia)  No 8/2733 (desertion)
Victor Manson Spencer  24 Feb 1918  No 5/1384 (desertion)

Australia:  Nil for military offences. At least 1 maybe more (by civilian authorities) for civilian crimes inc murder of civilians in UK.

None known or recorded Click to go to top of list

How big was the ANZAC area at Gallipoli?

It varied over the time they were there but about 400 acres is acceptable as a generalisation. That is about the total area of 2,000 houses in a modern housing estate. The suburb I live in has over 4,000 houses. Click to go to top of list

What is a lackie band?

It is Aussie slang for an elastic band used to hold the bottom of the trouser leg tightly bloused over the top of the boot. When I joined the army in 1965 they were technically illegal, frowned upon in some units and allowed in others. (Of course the Officers who thought it was "character building" for a Digger to have to keep his trousers ballooned properly by just poking the bottom of the trouser legs into the top of a pair of gaiters didn't have to wear them. They wore slacks.) As the years have gone by the "brass" have relented and now "lackie (or lacky) bands are in full use.

A pair of  elastic bands with quick release clips as currently used .   Click to go to top of list

Does the Australian Army have a war cry?

"Imshee" is the Arabic for go away." The Australasian Corps, which had so far employed it only to street hawkers in Cairo, used this war cry on April 25, 1915. Other than that I don't know of any that were used on a regular basis. Click to go to top of list

Was Gallipoli fairly blamed on Winston Churchill?

In my opinion, NO. Winston Churchill has been vilified over the years by some (not all) people with a small understanding of the real situation. Here are the facts.

Churchill was the original architect of the "Mediterranean Campaign" and remained it's staunch supporter even after it went wrong.

His vision was for a NAVAL action to force the Dardanelles. He did not originally suggest an armed landing at Gallipoli or anywhere else. He was First Lord of the Admiralty. He saw it as a campaign that the Royal Navy could handle.

Churchill had no say in the appointment of Kitchener, who appointed Hamilton, who stuffed up the whole campaign from the word go and who appointed men who were not capable of doing the job. Men like Stopford ( who was quite old and  in his first ever command of troops at war) and Hunter-Weston who was a butcher of Divisions equaled only (later) by Haig. 

The Dardanelles Campaign might not have started without Churchill but there is no evidence to suggest that he had any hand in it's flawed execution. Click to go to top of list

I've heard the Anzacs went ashore at Anzac Cove without ammunition. True or false?

Totally false. Each man carried 200 rounds. In the normal Army tradition the rifles were not loaded while the landing was taking place and the troops had been told not to indulge in rifle fire until dawn. Both of those practices make sense. The first prevents accidental discharge while clambering over the side of a boat into a pinnace and the second because firing blind at night time reveals your position without damaging the enemy. Keep in mind that it was planned as a "surprise attack". Click to go to top of list

What did the troops carry when they landed at Anzac Cove ?

The men were heavily loaded. Each had 200 rounds of .303 ammunition, rifle and bayonet, an entrenching tool with two empty sandbags wrapped around it, a heavy backpack and two white bags containing two days' extra rations, which included can of bully beef, biscuits, tea and sugar. The rifles were unloaded. There was to be no shooting before daybreak. Warfare had been turned back a couple of centuries. Before the sun was up the enemy could die only from stab wounds. Click to go to top of list

I have heard that Aussies elect their Officers. Is that true?

No. Australian military Officers have to go through a long and involved training program equal to any in the world. However before Australia became a nation some of the Colonies had volunteer units. They were unpaid, got almost no Government support and in a lot of cases supplied their own horse, rifle and time and paid for their own uniforms. Those Units often elected their Officers. Click to go to top of list

Who were "The Allies" and when did they enter the war?







Great Britain
New Zealand
South Africa





Costa Rica

The major brunt of the war effort on the Allied side was borne by France, Great Britain and her four Dominion nations, Russia, Serbia and Belgium. These five nations alone of the twenty-six Allies accounted for over 91% of the 16.2 million Allied military casualties. While fifteen more nations joined the Allied cause during the course of the war, the only two additions that had substantive military impact on the ultimate Allied victory were the entry of the Kingdom of Italy in May 1915 and the United States in April 1917. Click to go to top of list  

These details & 2 following postcards from 

British propaganda postcard. One of the few that recognize the Dominions. Mostly Australia, Canada, New Zealand (& South Africa) get lumped in with Great Britain.

German propaganda postcard showing first use of Welt-Kreig (World War)

Could you please tell me the meaning of "Cadre".

In it's most common usage it refers to a (usually small) group of trained men sent to or posted to a unit where the current training level  is not high. For example all through the 1950s, 60 and 70s all Citizens Military Forces (CMF) units had an Australian Regular Army (ARA) cadre. They acted as advisors and worked WITH the CMF but not as part of the unit. More or less overseers.  In other situations the Cadre would be the full time trainers as other troops came and went from the training establishment. In that case the word cadre could probably be replaced with "staff" but the Army don't talk English, they talk Army. Click to go to top of list

What are Army braces?

Braces are an old fashioned way of keeping your trousers up. (See photo). The single strap attached to the inside back of the trousers. The straps went over the shoulders and attached to the inside left and right hand side. They were worn over the shirt and under the jacket. They were issued in WW1 and were still on issue when I was in the Army in the mid 1960s. Our RSM had a habit of doing a dress inspection just before leave. Anyone not wearing braces had his leave cancelled.  Click to go to top of list

Copyright © 2003  Ted Harris. All rights reserved as per Legal page.
Revised: February 12, 2013 .



Statistics : Over 35 million page visitors since  11 Nov 2002  



 Search   Help     Guestbook   Get Updates   Last Post    The Ode      FAQ     Digger Forum

Click for news

Digger History:  an unofficial history of the Australian & New Zealand Armed Forces