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BACKGROUND OF THE COMMANDO - Section II. Independent (Commando) Companies in Australia and New Zealand

BACKGROUND OF THE COMMANDO - Section II. Independent (Commando) Companies in Australia and New Zealand

Military Intelligence Service, Special Series No. 1, August 9, 1942

[DISCLAIMER: The following text is taken from a WWII U.S. War Department Special Series publication. As with all wartime intelligence information, data may be incomplete or inaccurate. No attempt has been made to update or correct the text. Any views or opinions expressed do not necessarily represent those of the website.]

The Australian and New Zealand Armies have several units which are the equivalent of commandos but are designated as independent companies, organized on a platoon instead of a troop basis. The total strength of each company is 267 officers and enlisted men. The primary purpose of the independent companies is to educate remote and undefended communities to cooperate in striking back at any enemy that might land on Australia, New Zealand, and other nearby islands of the British Empire. These companies will also be used in the warfare of the southwest Pacific for manning new bases and for reconnoitering.

Eventually they will also operate against the enemy in his own as well as in friendly territory.

In general, the same high standards are required for personnel in the independent units as are demanded of the British commando members. Trained soldiers, single and without dependents, between 20 and 40 years of age, are selected. They must be of good physique and health and have courage, determination, intelligence, and individuality; and they must be amenable to strict discipline. Other requirements are unassailable loyalty and reliability.

As in Great Britain, the independent companies receive special training at an infantry training center that was organized for this purpose. The basic course of instruction takes 6 weeks, but this is followed by combined training with units of the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force in places suitable for amphibious air operations.


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Frank Walker (2015) Commandos: Heroic and Deadly ANZAC Raids in World War II, ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0733631535

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