Ladies and Gentlemen,
Since I joined this most interesting discussion list a few weeks ago I have (when I have time) pottered throught the various listings. In regard to this one, which has had a fair bit of discussion re the Australian Army I though I would put in my five bob worth.
The Australian Defence Force web sites are pretty pathetic in regard to actually telling you what the ADF is composed of. They are very informative re multiculturalisim,gender awareness, sexual orientation, and the other 'normalities' that modern govenment systems like.
The Royal Australian Corps of Infantry consists of:
Full time soldiers (not allowed to use the term Regular because it is denegrading to Reservists, univesally disliked), and Part Time soldiers (Reservists, of various types)
Full Time Units being
1. The Royal Australian Regiment (RAR):
a. 1st Bn, Lt Inf
b. 2nd Bn, Lt Inf.
c. 3rd (Parachute) Bn, reduced establishment unit This allied with the 2nd PPCLI, being alongside each other at Kapyon (Korea).
d. 4th (Commando) Bn, two coy Bn, no spt wpns.
e. 5th/7th Bn Mech Inf.
f. 6th Bn Lt Inf, its future status uncertain.
g. 8th/9th Bn in suspended animation (attempts being made to reform)
2. The Special Air Service Regiment (3 sabre sqns).
Part Time Units being:
a. The Royal Queensland Regiment, 3 Bns.
b. The Royal New South Wales Regiment, 4 Bns.
c. The Royal Victorian Regiment, 2 Bns.
d. The Royal Tasmanian Regiment, 1 Bn.
e. The Royal South Australian REgiment, 1 Bn.
f. The Royal West Australian Regiment, 2 Bns.
As can be seen these are all State (Province) based units. The Bns are all small (430 the average establishment), and have a very high turnover of personnel, limited military effectiveness.
2. 1st Commando Regiment, 2 coys, 1 each in Sydney and Melbourne, plus a signals sqn(with a large full time element).
3. Regional Force Surviellance Units.
a. Northern Australia Observor Unit (commonly known as NORFORCE) (based in Darwin, Northern Territory).
b. The Kimberley Regiment (based in West Australia)
c. The 51st Battalion, Far North Queensland Regiment.
These units have a large full time cadre and have 3 sqns/coys each. Having recently seen them at work, not overly impressed.
During the Viet Nam era, the RA Inf had nine regular bns, two Bns of the Pacific Islands Regiment (the indigenous troops of Papua New Guinea) with a large Australian component, the SASR (plus a demostration coy, and a parachute pl), 24 reserve bns of the Citizens Military Forces (as per the state regts shown above), two Cdo Coys. They were based upon National Service Men (conscripts) on two years regular service, or five years reserve service. When NS finished in Dec 1972, needless to say these units just about all vanished (let alone the rest of the Army).
The Corps Manning staff had a terrible job of moving people around to fill slots, as a single corps looking after so many units, and with a limited manpower pool of regulars to fill it. Just before I went to SVN we had a chap join 4RAR in Townsville North Queensland from Perth Western Australia, on arrival he was reposted to 3RAR in South Australia (like travelling by train from Vancouver to Halifax, then down to New Orleans) due to manning problems.
Serious discussion was given over these years to forming four regular components of the RAInf, keeping three bns with the RAR, and the three most populous states (Qld, NSW, Vict) acquiring two regular Bns each they looking after the reserve in their state and the RAR looking after the other three. Never came to anything.
Even today manning is still a problem. The regimental spirit, is still however extremly strong in the regular (slap my wrist) Bns of the RAR.
Having seen a few armies over the years, the regimental system of the British Commonwealth armies, takes a lot to beat. Especially if you look at the attempts the Americans have made over the years.
Jock in Sydney