The Australian campaign to seize German New Guinea in 1914 is one of the forgotten episodes of the First World War. Preceding the Gallipoli landings by seven months, this remarkably successful amphibious operation was the very first of its kind undertaken by the Royal Australian Navy and the Australian Army. The campaign was also everything the Gallipoli campaign was not: the New Guinea operations were planned and executed by Australian officers, the fighting was short, sharp and successful, and it was a highly effective use of military force, achieving its operational objectives at a remarkably low cost and serving Australian strategic interests in a direct and tangible way.
This volume of the Army History Unit’s Campaign Series describes how a novice navy and army planned, mounted and launched a complex joint operation over 3300 kilometres from their mounting base and defeated or forced the withdrawal of German naval and land forces posing a direct threat to Australia and New Zealand.
Australia’s First Campaign presents a fresh examination of the evidence from a range of participants, providing a thoroughly researched and readable account of the Australian military’s first joint operation. The volume is supported by more than 100 illustrations and includes a useful guide for those wishing to visit the battlefield today.
Dr Robert Stevenson is a consultant historian who served in the Australian Regular Army before joining the staff at the University of New South Wales, Canberra, and later working with the Official History project at the Australian War Memorial. His doctoral thesis was a joint winner of the Australian Army History Unit’s CEW Bean Prize in 2011. His most recent major publication, The War with Germany, was published as part of The Centenary History of Australia and the Great War and was shortlisted for the Australian History Prize in the Prime Minister’s Literary Awards for 2016.