Episodes
What was RAAF Leadership like in No. 75 Squadron at Port Moresby.  We look at the career and Leadership of Squadron Leader John Jackson, a great RAAF pilot who lead from the front.  We look at the tactics that he developed to fight the more agile Japanese Zeroes and what was it that caused him to ignore his own tactics on the day that he was shot down and killed. This is Part 17 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, focusing on the combat performance of battalions on the Kokoda Track...
Published 06/13/24
How did the P-40E compare against the Japanese Zero?  We look at how Australia was prepared for the war in the air over Port Moresby.  How well were the pilots prepared and how well was the squadron bought up to operational standard?  This is Part 16 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, focusing on the combat performance of battalions on the Kokoda Track and how the militia were prepared for combat at the tactical, operational and strategic level. This episode looks at the first...
Published 05/06/24
It was 900 days from the declaration of war against Germany in 1939 to the bombing of Darwin.  When Darwin was bombed, there were no RAAF fighters to defend, and it was three weeks before Darwin was had fighter coverage (and they were US fighters).  We look at how the RAAF was prepared for war, prepared for war for Japan and prepared to defend Australia. This is Part 15 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, focusing on the combat performance of battalions on the Kokoda Track and how...
Published 04/24/24
This is Part 14 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, focusing on the combat performance of battalions on the Kokoda Track and how the militia were prepared for combat at the tactical, operational and strategic level. This episode looks at how the Australians and the Japanese generated combined arms on the Kokoda Track. Check out the  show notes for the podcast for all of the information that we cover in this episode as well as the images and other details that didn't make it into...
Published 04/17/24
This is Part 13 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, focusing on the combat performance of the 53rd Battalion and how the militia were prepared for combat at the tactical, operational and strategic level. This episode looks at the tragic friendly fire incident that occured during the Battle of Isurava, where the 2/14th C Company attacked into the Battalion Headquarters.  What were the factors in this and how could it have been avoided? Check out the  show notes for the podcast for...
Published 03/28/24
This is Part 12 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, focusing on the combat performance of the 53rd Battalion and how the militia were prepared for combat at the tactical, operational and strategic level. The Kokoda Campaign for the Japanese is a manifestation of the effects of the manourvrist approach. We then discuss MAJGEN Basil Morris - at the time he took over command of the 8th Military District he was a substantive Colonel.  We look at the Joint Intelligence Preparation of...
Published 03/08/24
This is Part 11 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, focusing on the combat performance of the 53rd Battalion and how the militia were prepared for combat at the tactical, operational and strategic level. This episode commences our assessment of the operational level, but before we start, we will look at the psychiatric cost of training and fighting in the jungle.  David Woolley has done an excellent job in documenting issues on the Kokoda Track and suggests some solutions to...
Published 02/18/24
This is the third episode in a three part interview with Dr Robert Lyman about 'Victory to Defeat: The British Army 1918-40', a book he co-wrote with Lord Dannatt, who served as the Chief of the General Staff from 2006 to 2009. This episode looks at how lessons are learnt from victories and defeats and the difficulties in developing doctrine when not in combat.   We discuss the lessons from logistics doctrine development along with why it took so long for doctrine to be combat ready - for...
Published 02/09/24
This is the second in a three part interview with Dr Robert Lyman about 'Victory to Defeat: The British Army 1918-40', a book he co-wrote with Lord Dannatt, who served as the Chief of the General Staff from 2006 to 2009. This episode looks at how the lessons learnt in the victories of 1918 with Combined Arms were forgotten in the interwar period.  Robert discusses the impact of the desire to avoid another Second World War, the resistance to creating an Expeditionary Army for continental...
Published 01/29/24
This is the first in a three part interview with Dr Robert Lyman about 'Victory to Defeat: The British Army 1918-40', a book he cowrote with Lord Dannatt, who served as the Chief of the General Staff from 2006 to 2009. This episode looks at the doctrine development that occurred in the First World War as the British Army developed it's skills in Combined Arms, culminating in the ability to fight and win the battles of the 100 days. We look to answer the question - how does an Army learn to...
Published 12/11/23
This is Part 10 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, looking at the combat performance of the 39th Battalion. The 39th Battalion was one of Australia's best Battalions.  Formed in Victoria, it's story is similar to that of the 53rd Battalion- but with some key differences.  We look at those differences with Dr David Cameron, an expert on the Battles of the Kokoda campaign. Have a listed Dr David Cameron, an expert on the Kookoda Campaign as he discusses the history and performance...
Published 11/27/23
This is Part 9 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, looking at the combat performance of the 39th Battalion. This episode discusses the formation of the 39th Battalion, it's preparation for combat and how it performed on the Kokoda Trail.  The 39th Battalion is one of the Australian Army's most famous Battalion, a militia battalion that bore the brunt of the Japanese attacks down the Kokoda track.  What enabled it to fight so well? Have a listed Dr David Cameron, an expert on the...
Published 10/25/23
This is Part 8 of our series looking at the Kokoda Campaign, Battle of Isurava, the 53rd Battalion, how they fought and how they were prepared to fight. This episode looks at the Principles of Training and how they were(n't) applied by New Guinea Force.  We compare it with the preparation of the 6th Division in preparation for it's first battle at Bardia.  Bardia illustrates what right looks like for preparing troops for combat. Check out the show notes for the podcast for all of the...
Published 10/15/23
This is Part 7 of our series looking at the Battle of Isurava, the 53rd Battalion, how they fought and how they were prepared to fight. This episode looks at the arrival of both the 39th and 53rd Battalions to Port Moresby, the conditions that they encountered and how that impacted their preparation for combat. What was a day in the life of the soldiers like? How well were the soldiers trained?  What were their weapon handling skills like? How well prepared were they for combat in the...
Published 10/10/23
This is the fifth episode in our Kokoda Track series looking at the performance of the 53rd Battalion. The 53rd, a militia Battalion, had some incredibly brave men. Virtually untrained, poorly equipped, with inexperienced leaders, they fought a battle-hardened enemy in some of the worst terrain in the world. This episode looks at the fall of Isurava. Japanese troops in increasing numbers, with increasing persistence and increasing ferocity forced Australian troops to withdraw. Australian...
Published 09/18/23
This is the sixth episode in our Kokoda Track series looking at the performance of the 53rd Battalion.  The 53rd, a militia Battalion, had some incredibly brave men.  Virtually untrained, poorly equipped and with inexperienced leaders, they fought a battle-hardened enemy in some of the worst terrain in the world.  This episode looks at the mistakes in mobilisation that we made that sowed the seeds for the performance of the Battalion on the Kokoda Track at the Battle of Isurava. What are...
Published 09/18/23
This is the fourth episode in our Kokoda Track series looking at the performance of the 53rd Battalion.  The 53rd, a militia Battalion, had some incredibly brave men.  Virtually untrained, poorly equipped, with inexperienced leaders, they fought a battle hardened enemy in some of the worst terrain in the world.  This episode looks at the events on the 27th of August, 1942.  We discuss how the CO, LT COL Kenneth Ward was killed and the impact it had on the 53rd Battalion and Maroubra Force as...
Published 04/05/23
 This is part 2 of our interview with Dr Jim Storr, the author of Something Rotten: Land Command in the 21st Century. We discuss the correct size for a Headquarters. We discuss the selection and training of officers within the Wehrmacht. How do we affect cultural and doctrinal change within Armies to support the effective use of Mission Command? Jim Storr was an infantry officer in the British Army for 25 years.  He served in the British Army of the Rhine for five years in the 1980s.  A...
Published 03/16/23
This episode is with Dr Jim Storr, the author of Something Rotten. Preparing a set of orders is a core function of a Headquarters.  Why have today's procedures changed from the what was done in WW2, what have we learnt and are modern HQs fit for purpose? We discuss the form and functioning of Headquarters, looking at people, processes, products and purpose, comparing WW2 doctrine with what is happening today. Jim Storr was an infantry officer in the British Army for 25 years.  He served in...
Published 02/13/23
This is the third  episode in our Kokoda Track series looking at the performance of the 53rd Battalion.  The 53rd, a militia Battalion, had some incredibly brave men.  Virtually untrained, poorly equipped, with inexperienced leaders, they fought a battle hardened enemy in some of the worst terrain in the world.  This episode continues to story of the 53rd Battalion as they start patrolling the jungle around Isurava. Check out the show notes for the podcast for all of the information that...
Published 02/06/23
This is the second episode in our Kokoda Track series looking at the performance of the 53rd Battalion.  The 53rd, a militia Battalion, had some incredibly brave men.  Virtually untrained, poorly equipped, with inexperienced leaders, they fought a battle hardened enemy in some of the worst terrain in the world.  This episodes looks at just 4 weeks in the history of the Battalion, from when the started up the track, during their contact with the Japanese and through till the time the were...
Published 01/27/23
This episodes starts a new series looking at the Kokoda Track at the tactical, operational and strategic levels.  This series will look for lessons from the experience of the 53rd Battalion.  The 53rd is a sister Battalion to the 49th and the excellent 39th Battalions.  There is a marked difference between the 39th and 53rd.  Despite incredible bravery, the 53rd struggled to achieve some of that tasks assigned to it (through no fault of their own.)  Indeed, many of the men went on to fight...
Published 01/09/23
This episodes looks at PLA doctrine in 1950 and how it was used to surprise the UN forces on the Yalu River as well as looking at how deception is employed in contemporary PLA doctrine. Check out the show notes for the podcast for all of the information that we cover in this episode as well as the images and other details that didn't make it into the podcast.  
Published 08/29/22
Stunning intelligence failures, rigidity of mind and excellent Chinese tactical camouflage led to a stunning reversal of fortunes for the UN forces in late 1950 on the Yalu River? What deception measures did the Chinese use? How did MacArthur contribute to the surprise? A fascinating look at Chinese military deception and American intelligence failings. Check out the show notes for the podcast for all of the information that we cover in this episode as well as the images and other...
Published 08/15/22