Sir Max Hastings is a pommie with a knighthood so that automatically means that he knows more than any colonial could ever hope to. He has a new book coming out soon Nemesis: The Battle for Japan 1944-45. Let's find some errors in the excerpts.
- Two divisions of volunteers were sent to the Middle East, and a third was lost at Singapore in 1942
Close. Three divisions were sent to the Middle East, the 6th, 7th and 9th
- When the Middle East divisions, returned home they were committed to action in Papua-New Guinea
The 7th Division was sent to Papua in mid-1942; part of the 6th followed but it was not sent into action as a division until 1944. The 9th Division arrived back in 1943 and was sent into action later that year.
- The government responded to the unpopularity of military service by cutting the army's size by 22% in the last two years of war but its bloated officer corps meanwhile grew by 14%
As if. These discharges were to rebalance manpower between the needs of industry to support and feed the population (and those of other countries) and the needs of the Army. With a population of 7 million, Australia's remaining six divisions (twelve had been active in 1942) still represented almost twice the number of divisions per head of population as the UK. Notably, all were in action in mid-1945. Within the Army itself, the Australian Army had a division "slice" of 57,000, whereas the British Army required 86,000 men per division. The promotions to officer rank were mainly technical specialists. In he general officer grades, for example, the "bloated" Australian Army had one general for every 15,741 men and women. The British Army had 1 for every 9,090.
- Over the war, 691,000 men were conscripted into the Army. In 1944, almost all of these languished in barracks at home
This actually includes all enlistments, not just those who were conscripted. (The Army also included 35,000 women - Hastings doesn't count them.) In any case, about 20,000 of these were in prisoner of war camps. The actual strength of the Army in mid-1944 was 307,000 AIF and 91,000 Militia. Some 66,000 soldiers were still in Papua-New Guinea. The others were in Australia, resting after the campaigns of 1943-44 and preparing for those of 1944-45
- MacArthur... had no desire to make his major thrust at the Philippines with any save American soldiers. Australian militia units... were plainly unreliable
MacArthur's initial plans for return to the Philippines included Australian troops. Later, for a variety of reasons, the Australians were switched to Borneo.
MacArthur did not regard the Militia as unreliable and he did rely on them in certain critical situations, as at Buna in 1942. He could not use the Militia in the Philippines because there was a legal restriction on the areas where they could operate
- MacArthur's solution was to employ Australian troops to replace American troops "mopping up" surviving Japanese garrisons
In doing so, he was following the express wishes of the Prime Minister, who wanted Australian troops to participate in the elimination of Japanese garrisons in areas which were Australian responsibility under the League of Nations mandate.
- The Americans had pursued a passive strategy towards the surviving Japanese
General MacArthur would dispute that his strategy was passive. How active operations were against the bypassed Japanese garrisons depended on the area; some American units were very active.
- Blamey started life as a teacher and lay preacher, then found his way into World War I through service in cadet and Militia units
Blamey started life as a baby like the rest of us I think. He served in the cadets at school. He joined the regular army (PMF) in 1906. When World War I began, he was in the UK on assignment with the British Army having graduated from its Staff College at Quetta, India.
- [Blamey] was appointed commander-in-chief in 1939
He was appointed commander-in-chief in 1942.