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Before the Main Game: Australia’s Citizen Infantry Battalion Commanders before the First World War

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image of International Journal of Military History and Historiography
For more content, see International Bibliography of Military History (Vol 1–35).

This article explores officer capability and culture of the Australian army before the First World War, in particular those officers who held infantry battalion commands. Although the men who served in Australia’s part-time citizen army as infantry battalion commanders showed dedication and enthusiasm for soldiering, they were under-developed as infantry commanders, owing to time constraints and general under-investment in officer education and training. Officers who became battalion commanders were also relatively old, and their rise through the ranks was facilitated more by social position, rather than competence or experience. As a result, those Citizen Forces battalion commanders who enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force largely failed to carry out commands effectively in wartime, an indictment on the state of the Australian Army before the First World War.

Affiliations: 1: UNSW Canberra


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