History Essay - Australia's Involvement on the European Front in WWII
Though Australia's involvement in the Pacific War against the Empire of Japan is usually emphasized during WWII, an important chapter is often overlooked. Australia's involvement on the Western European Front was also substantial and greatly contributed to the Allies' success.
Overall, about one million Australians served in the military during World War II and were a formidable force in Europe as well. Around 13,000 Australian airmen completed service in the Royal Air Force Bomber Command and took part in all of its key offenses. Overall, Australians made up 10% of the Bomber Command and were instrumental in a number of key battles throughout the winter of 1943-44, including the Battle of Berlin. Moreover, Australians serving in Bomber Command dropped 6% of all bombs during the war on the Western Front. As a result, they accounted for nearly 20% of all Australian fatalities during the war though they only comprised 2% of the enlisted men serving in Bomber Command. Nearly 3,500 men were killed while hundreds of others were taken as prisoners of war.
In addition to their extensive participation in the war effort before 1944, Australians were key players in the liberation of Europe as well. There were 10 Royal Australian Air Force Squadrons, hundreds of Australians who served in Royal Air Force Units, as well as 500 Australian sailors serving in the Royal Navy during the Invasion of Normandy in 1944. Together, there were 3,000 Australian service men that fought in one of World War II's key moments. Though history typically praises only the efforts of the American and British forces during the war on the Western Front, the Australian soldiers, sailors, and pilots made a substantial mark on the liberation of Europe as well.