WWII COMMANDO UNITS
In late 1940 the Australian Army began considering the issue of raising independent companies or commando units for the conduct of irregular warfare. Based upon proposals and advice from the British Military Mission in Australia, in February 1941 the Army began training company-sized units (appx. 280 men) that would act independently of higher command to carry out tasks such as raiding, sabotage, and guerrilla warfare.
Initially, they were intended to be sent to the Middle East as part of the 2nd AIF, however, prior to Japan's entry into the war, several of these units were hastily deployed to the islands to the north of Australia the country to act first as an observation and early warning force and then following the arrival of Japanese forces to carry out delaying, harassment and demolition operations. Several of these early companies having initially engaged with overpowering Japanese forces became stay-behind forces conducting a guerrilla warfare campaign. Most of these commando units went through numerous role and name changes and restructures as the war in the South-West Pacific Area (SWPA) evolved. Below is a brief history of each of the WWII Army and Naval Commando units as well as additional information, photographs and videos.