Book Review
Australian Army 1976-2016
The Australian Army at War 1976-2016
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by: Paul Truhe [ PTRUHE ]


The Australian Army has long participated in global conflicts in part due to being a colony in the British Empire and later as a member of the Commonwealth. Australia is not only a regional power in the South Pacific but as a partner of NATO it is often involved in conflicts outside of its close geographic area. This NATO partnership, as a contact country, follows its membership in the Southeast Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) and the Australia, New Zealand and United States Security Treaty, or ANZUS Treaty.

Even though closely modeled after the British Army in structure, the Australian Army differs greatly in the weapons and equipment they operate. After WWII, British equipment like the L1A1 SLR rifle and Centurion tank were fielded but later equipment is a mix of global products modified for the rough Australian terrain and locally produced items like the Bushmaster and the M113AS4.


The book, from the Men-at-Arms series, is a soft cover portrait format 48 in the standard Osprey size of about 7x10". Offering mostly color photographs with some artwork as well. The author, Leigh Neville, lives in Australia and has written several books on conventional and special operations forces.

The introduction, 'The Diggers' - A Brief History, gives a good summary of the Australian Army from inception to the present day. The subsequent chapters cover peacekeeping operations, which weren't always peaceful, and involvement in the Afghanistan and Iraq conflicts:
The Long Peace -
- Small-scale peacekeeping and training deployments
- UNAMIC/UNTAC: Cambodia, 1991-93
- Operation 'Solace': Somalia, 1992-94
- Operation 'Tama': Rwanda, 1994-95
- Consequences of the 1994 Defence White Paper

Turning-Point: East Timor, 1999-2005
- Operations "Spitfire', 'Warden' & 'Stabilise'
- Contacts in 1999
- Consequences
- Operation 'Anode': Solomon Islands, 2003-05
- Operation 'Astute': Timor-Leste, since 2006

Afghanistan, 2001-2014
- Operation 'Slipper'
- Reconstruction
- The IED War
- 2008: 'Mentoring & Liaison' with the ANA
- Special Operations Task Group
- cost and recognition

Iraq, 2003-2008
- Contingencies: Operation 'Bastille'
- Operation 'Falconer'
- Operation 'Catalyst'

Operations Since 2014
- Operation 'Highroad', Afghanistan
- Operation 'Okra', Iraq

Current & Future Operational Structures
- Formations
- Units and equipment


It's good book on the Australian Army since Vietnam. As much detail as you could fit in a standard Osprey book covering 40 years. You'll find yourself making good use of the helpful abbreviations and acronyms table at the start of the book.I found the soldier pictures to very informative. There is less coverage of the vehicles during this time period but enough to stir the interest for more research.
The Plate Commentaries section at the end gives some great details on the figures in the color plates interspersed with some additional pictures of troops in varying dress and equipment. But the color plate drawings are certainly not the high point of the book.
Highs: Good pictures of Australian troops and vehicles with details Great summary of Australian Army operations since Vietnam.
Lows: The color plates don't seem to be up to the standards of Osprey books.
Verdict: It's a good read to see what the Australian Army has done since Vietnam. Nice historical context and good start for more in depth research on the subject.
Percentage Rating
  Scale: N/A
  Mfg. ID: 526
  PUBLISHED: Apr 26, 2020
  NATIONALITY: Australia

About Paul Truhe (ptruhe)

Built military models in my youth but didn't pick it up again until a few years out of college. Served in a mortar platoon in the 2nd Armored Division from 1986-1990 at the end of the Cold War. I only build armor now with primary interests being M113s, CVR(t)s and Leopards.

Copyright 2021 text by Paul Truhe [ PTRUHE ]. All rights reserved.


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