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Chapter 3 - The AIF’s commanders

Learning on the job

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  08 October 2021

David Horner
Affiliation:
Australian National University, Canberra
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Summary

It was inevitable that the commanders of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) would be learning on the job. This was not just because the nature of the war could not have been anticipated and proved an overwhelming challenge for the commanders of all the armies involved; it was also because at the outbreak of the First World War the Australian Army was still in its infancy and relied heavily on the British Army for its ideas and direction. As Australia was a member of the British Empire, the AIF operated as part of the British Army. Further, the Australian forces were deployed by the British high command without consulting the Australian Government, and the commander of the AIF did not believe that it was his role to become involved in higher level questions of strategy. Even at the lower operational levels, senior Australian commanders were not willing, at first, to challenge the orders issued by their British superiors. Much of this would change during the war.

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Chapter
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Strategy and Command
Issues in Australia's Twentieth-century Wars
, pp. 45 - 68
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2021

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  • The AIF’s commanders
  • David Horner, Australian National University, Canberra
  • Book: Strategy and Command
  • Online publication: 08 October 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009067041.005
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  • The AIF’s commanders
  • David Horner, Australian National University, Canberra
  • Book: Strategy and Command
  • Online publication: 08 October 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009067041.005
Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

  • The AIF’s commanders
  • David Horner, Australian National University, Canberra
  • Book: Strategy and Command
  • Online publication: 08 October 2021
  • Chapter DOI: https://doi.org/10.1017/9781009067041.005
Available formats
×