The Commanders Australian Military Leadership in the Twentieth Century
Originally published in 1984, this book tells the story of sixteen of Australia’s most eminent military men, as they performed under the stress of strategy-making and in the heat of battle.
In scrutinising critical periods in the careers of such men as Brudenell White, Chauvel, Monash, Gordon Bennett, Blamey and Scherger, it addresses a number of fascinating questions:
- Is there an Australian style of command?
- How well have Australian officers been prepared for high command?
- How have Australian commanders handled the problems of coalition way or co-operation with allies?
- How have political direction, organisational structures and entrenched defence policy affected the performance of commanders in the field?
Each re-evaluation compares performance with reputation. Some of the figures examined are familiar (What was the real basis of Monash’s reputation as a commander? Was Blamey worthy of the field-marshal’s baton?); some are given an appraisal long denied them.
This roll-call of some of Australia’s greatest warriors presents a fascinating picture of the realities of war at the top. Each of the sixteen lives examined presents a revealing account of the conditions under which crucial military decisions are made and carried out – on the battlefield, at headquarters, in victory and defeat.
The Commanders will appeal not only to students of military affairs but to everyone interested in Australian history and biography.
Acknowledgements. Illustrations. Maps. Contributors. Guide to Army Ranks and Command Structure. Approximate Equivalent Ranks. Abbreviations. 1. Introduction D.M. Horner Part 1: The First World War 2. Major-General Sir William Bridges: Australia’s First Field Commander Chris Coulthard-Clark 3. General Sir Brudenell White: The Staff Officer as Commander Guy Verney 4. Vice-Admiral Sir William Creswell: First Naval Member of the Australian Naval Board, 1911-19 Stephen D. Webster 5. General Sir Harry Chauvel: Australia’s First Corps Commander A. J. Hill 6. General Sir John Monash: Corps Commander on the Western Front P.A. Pedersen Part 2: The Second World War 7. Lieutenant-General Sir John Lavarack: From Chief of the General Staff to Corps Commander A. B. Lodge 8. Lieutenant-General Sir Vernon Sturdee: The Chief of the General Staff as Commander D. M. Horner 9. Lieutenant-General Henry Gordon Bennett: A Model Major-General? A. B. Lodge 10. Lieutenant-General Sir Leslie Morshead: Commander, 9th Australian Division A. J. Hill 11. Field Marshal Sir Thomas Blamey: Commander-in-Chief, Australian Military Forces D. M. Horner 12. Lieutenant-General Sir Sydney Rowell: Dismissal of a Corps Commander D. M. Horner 13. Lieutenant-General the Honourable Sir Edmund Herring: Joint and Allied Commander Stuart Sayers 14. Major-General George Alan Vasey: Commander, 7th Australian Division D. M. Horner Part 3: Post-Second World War 15. Lieutenant-General Sir Horace Robertson: Commander-in-Chief British Commonwealth Occupation Force Ronald Hopkins 16. Air Chief Marshal Sir Frederick Scherger: Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee Harry Rayner 17. General Sir John Wilton: A Commander for his Time Ian McNeill. Notes. Index.