Wednesday 15 May 2024

Australian's Under Fire in 1942


Time to take a step back in time to 1942, as I continue my series about Australia Under Fire in 1942.

Many Aussies came under fire in 1942 while at sea, cruisers, destroyers, and corvettes of the RAN played vital roles. Such as supply and rescue and relief roles as well participated in battles in the Mediterrian and the waters to the north of Australia, far too many to mention them all here.

                  THE HMAS PERTH

Allied ships delayed the Japanese landing on Java on 27 February, then on the 1 March in the battle of Sunda Strait the cruiser HMAS Perth was sunk. Costing the lives of 352 men and another 320 taken prisoner.

In November the newly commissioned corvette Armidale came under fire off Timor while trying to recuse refuges, it was sunk taking the life of 87 men.

                       A WW11 CORVETTE 

For those like me who don’t know what a corvette was or is, it’s described as easily built escort vessel with a shallow draft and three masts with full rigging which made them fast and allowed them to enter shallow coastal waters.

There was room for up to 130 men but usually had a grew of around 120. It was much in demand as a courier and scouting ship but was also suitable for small-scale naval actions.

Australia’s largest fighting force during World War 11 was the Army, Australian forces were known as the Australian Imperial Force (AIF).

In 1939 the first division of the re-formed AIF was the 6th division with a strength of 14,500 men. The 6th and 7th divisions served initially in the Middle East and North Africa, then later in Papua New Guinea.

Each infantry division was divided into three infantry brigades which was then further divided into three infantry battalions. A battalion was 800 men.

Next week we will look at the bombing of Darwin.


  1. The only corvette I knew of was a car in the US, so this was really interesting and thanks for adding a photo. So many lives lost in war. :(

    1. Same here, I knew there was a corvette car but not a ship

  2. I don't remember hearing about the Battle of the Sunda Strait , nor about the sinking of the HMAS Perth. Was it to be kept a secret back then?

  3. I learned something new today. Thanks for sharing!

  4. War is terrible, any way you look at it.

  5. I never knew before today that a corvette was anything but a car. Thanks for the history lesson, Jo-Anne!

  6. While I could have told you a corvette was a ship, I had no clue what kind. Nice job!


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