ISSUE 190 : Mar/Apr - 2013 - Australian Defence Force Journal

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ISSUE 190 : Mar/Apr - 2013 - Australian Defence Force Journal

One shortfall is a sometimes minor treatment of the non-operational history of the Brigade.This is true in terms of both the wartime years covered as well as the interwar periods. Periodswhere the Brigade was ‘off the line’ tend to be treated with a one or two sentence descriptionof the men enjoying their down time and a wash, and the interwar years of 1920 to 1940 aregiven just three short pages. Despite this being a period of downsizing and tight funding, thistreatment seems inadequate. That said, these criticisms are relatively minor ones. Belham’sdetailed account of the peacetime activities and extensive restructuring of the Brigade and itsunits since the 1980s is far better, and perhaps suggests a simple and seemingly likely lack ofsources to cover earlier non-operational periods in any sort of depth.Coverage of contemporary operations is comprehensive, recording the involvement of Brigadeunits in operations as wide as Timor, Afghanistan, SUMATRA ASSIST and assistance to the 2002Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. However, one gripe is that the often intricatedetail included in the account of Brigade operations in the World Wars is lacking in Belham’scoverage of recent operations. This appears to be an opportunity missed, given the far greateravailability of documentary sources and potential for extensive input from the officers andsoldiers involved, especially in light of the publication’s stated goal of recording a long-lastingand up-to-date history of the formation.This is not a book for the casual reader of Australian military history and one feels that BrigadierDay’s glowing foreword may go just one step too far in commending it ‘to all with even aslightest interest in military history’. It seems a far too detailed and technical treatment of itssubject matter to attract such a readership. Rather, the great value of Belham and Denham’scontribution is as a worthwhile read for those with a close and professional interest in thehistory of the Australian Army and, of course, those in search of a close treatment of the7 th Brigade itself. While at times inconsistent in its provision of detail, it achieves its aim ofproviding an up-to-date chronology of the Brigade.One False Move:bravest of the brave,the Australian mine defusers in World War 2Robert MacklinHachette: Sydney, 2012ISBN: 978-0-7336-2794-1Reviewed by Jim TruscottThis book is an accident of history, as no-one could have thought that a small group ofAustralians from the Royal Naval Volunteer Reserve scheme would have such an impact on theground war among the civilian population in the UK.I certainly had no appreciation of the impact that the German parachute mines and bomb mines(dropped without parachutes) had on the psychological war in the UK and later in Europe,when ports were denied until the mines—which had a large amount of high explosive—couldbe defused or destroyed in place with substantial damage to surrounds. A ton of explosivegoing off 300-400 yards away was more or less commonplace to them.133

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