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By the end of the First World War the combat formations of the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) in both France and the Middle East were considered among the British Empire’s most effective troops. While sometimes a source of pride and not a little boasting, how the force came to be so was not due to any inherent national prowess or trait. Instead it was the culmination of years of training, organisational change, battlefield experimentation and hard-won experience—a process that included not just the Australians, but the wider British imperial armies as well.
This book brings together some of Australia’s foremost military historians to outline how the military neophytes that left Australia’s shores in 1914 became the battle winning troops of 1918. It will trace the evolution of several of the key arms of the AIF, including the infantry, the light horse, the artillery, and the flying corps, and also consider how the various arms worked together alongside other troops of the British Empire to achieve a remarkably high level of battlefield effectiveness.