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Thread: Who is Left? Australia in the Great War

  1. #1
    Wizzaard Estonianzulu's Avatar
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    Who is Left? Australia in the Great War

    When I was a young man I carried my pack
    And I lived the free life of the rover.
    From the Murray's green basin to the dusty outback
    I waltzed my Matilda all over.
    Then in nineteen fifteen the country said, "Son,
    It's time to stop rambling, there's work to be done."
    And they gave me a tin hat and they gave me a gun,
    And they marched me away to the war.
    And the band played Waltzing Matilda.
    -"The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" by Eric Bogle



    ~~~~~
    “Once a jolly swagman camped by a Billabong
    Under the shade of a Coolabah tree
    And he sang as he watched and waited till his billy boiled
    You’ll come a waltzing matilda with me.”

    “Yeah, yeah I know the song. We’ve all heard it before, so stop singing it.” William said, as the singer paused to breathe.

    “Listen to ‘im John. Or else I’ll help him shut you up.”

    John shut up. The room went back to silence. It was a room full of engineers, of soldiers and above all else, Australians. Outside the metallic crate they called their room, the HMAS Encounter rocked back and forth. The rocky waves pushed the cruiser around, and the soldiers who were a little less familiar with the ocean felt it. William was one of them. The constant singing of his crewmate was not helping.

    “Thank you Frank, I was going to kill the man.” William said, leaning over the side of his chair. So far he had kept in the rather pitiful lunch they had been given before their journey. It was just a drill, not even a real deployment. They were preparing for the war, but everyone knew it would be over before the Anzacs got into it. No matter though, because here they were, floating around in the South Pacific.

    “Oh come on, don’t you all get it? We are going to be heroes! The pride of Australia. Don’t you all want to join in for a verse?” John said, eagerness pouring out of every word. He was just a bit too young for the rest of the men aboard. He claimed to be 18, but everyone knew he wasn’t. He was the youngest engineer of the battalion. Most of the men had joined up when the empire called for men, all part of the reserve forces. The First Corp of the First Division. Some of the lads had taken to calling themselves the ‘fighting first’. As though they would ever see any fighting.

    “No John, I’m tired of that song. Heard it when the war started, heard it when the first weapons went off, heard it when they called us up, heard it when we set sail. I’m tired of “Waltzing Matilda.” I’m tired of training, and most of all I am tired of this damn boat!” William said, drawing attention from the other engineers. Most of them were tired of the boat ride as well. They wanted action; it was why they signed up. Now they were just wasting time.
    Last edited by Estonianzulu; 11-12-2004 at 16:45.
    LibrAARian of the EU1 LibrAARy and the EU1 LibrAARy updates
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  2. #2
    Wizzaard Estonianzulu's Avatar
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    Ok, so, here I am again.

    I've decided that the fates of the AAR realm will only allow me to do AAR's on specific wars. And since I enjoyed my last one on World War One, I figured I would do another one. This one will be a bit different however.

    So, to explain. I listened to the song "The Band Played Waltzing Matilda" shortly after playing this game. And so, I became inspired. Anyone who has read the song will know it isn't happy, so don't expect an upbeat story here. The title of the AAR- Who is left? Comes from the Bertrand Russel quote "War does not determine who is right - only who is left."

    So, with that out of the way, expect updates randomly as I edit and put them up.
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  3. #3
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    Wow!

    From what I've seen so far, this is going to be very good.
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  4. #4
    Alternate Historian Machiavellian's Avatar
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    Looks to be interesting, if I remember correctly the Austrailian/new zealand Anzacs had quite a tale to them in the Great War. Good luck and i'll be keeping an eye out for this one.
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  5. #5
    Wizzaard Estonianzulu's Avatar
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    “Calm down will ya Billy? We’ve just got to float around for a few more hours, then we are off. Parades, crowds and all the food we could want. Not to mention the young girls, oh how they do love soldiers…”

    “Charlie cut it out, we’re all good clean men here. Plus I’ve got a sweetheart back home. You know that.” John said, growing red in the face. He was so young, William just laughed to himself as Charles let out a grin.

    “Don’t call me Charles, that’s my dad. I’m Hammer!” The apparently insulted Charlie replied. He wasn’t much older than John, and brought himself all kinds of laughs by demanding his nickname be used. None of the engineers knew where he got it, but Charles used it. “And it’s ok if your Catholic, you can just be unprotected.” He concluded with another cocky grin.

    “Cause any of you really care about the girls anyway…” muttered Frank. This got some angry looks. Frank had always been a bit unpopular with the group. He had a tendency to be moral. He didn’t drink with the rest of them, or play cards. And when they went out on the town, he stayed back.

    “Easy for you to say Frank, you stinking For…”

    “Shut up, the lot of you. We may be different religions, but we are all Australians. Remember that. And once we get out there and help the pommie bastards fight Jerry we’ve got to stay together.” A sergeant across the room interrupted. William was glad for it as well. He knew Frank well enough to know that he didn’t take comments like that lightly. Insulting the English was something they could all do.

    “Proddy dog…” William heard Frank scowl under his breath, and gave him a look.

    The conversation halted as the door to the little room swung open. Standing there was a colonel; beside him was his assistant, a major. The colonel, originally from England, swung his head around at the group.

    “Alright, up you criminals. Time to get off the boat.” The English colonel said, leaving the door open and walking away from the room of Australian engineers. They ignored the insult and jumped at the opportunity to get off the boat, and back onto dry land. They had finally arrived. Two days in that tin can, and they were back in Melbourne.

    “Damn it, I thought we were going somewhere…” one of the engineers muttered, as they made their way off the boat, and onto the dock. William just shrugged. He was sure they weren’t. England would probably assign them some out of the way location to fight. Probably in Turkey, or Italy. Either way, he doubted they would do anything more than rebuild bridges and stand around. Still, it beat going hungry.

    John’s eyes went wide as the band on deck struck up a song. William, and quiet a few others, groaned as “Waltzing Matilda” began once again. They all heard John start singing.

    “Waltzing Matilda, waltzing Matilda,
    You’ll come waltzing Matilda with me
    And he sang as he sat and waited by the billabong
    You’ll come a waltzing Matilda with me.”
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  6. #6
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    I couldn't help but laugh to myself when I read the end of this most recent update and what the on deck band was playing. I am curious who they Austrailians will go up against first though.
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  7. #7
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    The autralians will no doubt play 'Walzing Matilda' for the germans. It will be more effective tahn a creeping barrage, the hun will run!

  8. #8
    Good luck, there aren't too many Aussie AARs.

    However, It was Eric Bogle who first played "And the Band Played Waltzing Matilda", not the Pogues, they just covered it.

    http://www.fortunecity.com/tinpan/parton/2/matilda.html

  9. #9
    Wizzaard Estonianzulu's Avatar
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    Aha, thank you. That has been edited.
    Zucker: If only, if only.
    And thank you all for taking interest, one more post on the introduction, then we get into the action.
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  10. #10
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    Their major turned and stared down the excited boy. He was not happy with the outburst. When that didn’t quiet John, a few of the soldiers around him, give him a sharp jab with their elbows as they climbed onto the deck. All around people were cheering. Women threw flowers and waved flags, a few Union Jacks, but most were the red and white flags of Australia.

    “I told you mate, the uniforms…” Charles whispered into William’s ear. William just rolled his eyes and fell into the line that the major was trying, miserably, to form.

    “Listen men, I am your commanding officer, and you will listen to me. Line up, formations now! Come on you fools, do you not understand orders?”

    Someone down the line snickered, and drew the ire of the officer. “Lieutenant!” the colonel shouted. A stumbling lieutenant ran up to him and saluted.

    “Sir?” The lieutenant was not an impressive man. He was short, stocky, and confused. His glasses slid down his nose as he ran forward. The men knew about him. His father had been some important general in the War Staff, and so he got himself a commission. That didn’t stop him from looking ridiculous however. It took all the willpower they had to keep the men of the ‘fighting first’ from breaking out in laughter.

    “Get these men into formation, immediately.” The Major said, staring at the officer as he waddled back to the lines. A few non commissioned officers were ordered up front, and lines were eventually formed. The major stepped forward and began to shout at one of the unlucky sergeants. He was interrupted by his lieutenant; who pointed him back towards the boat. The English colonel from earlier walked off the boat, with another officer in tow. The angered major saluted stiffly as his commander strode off the vessel.

    “At ease major…” the colonel leaned forward to try and read the name of his subordinate.

    “Hacker sir, Major Hacker. We met on the boat.” The major said, giving a brief look of hope before snapping back to attention. The colonel looked him over for a moment in confusion. The major two his right leaned to him and spoke in whispered terms.

    “Ah yes, Hater, right of course. Excellent work on these lines my good man. Now, lets get these men back on board.” The colonel said and turned away from the bewildered major.

    “Um, sir, did you say back on the boat?” The major’s question stopped the colonel in his step. As the fat lieutenant returned to his commander’s side, the colonel turned.

    “Did you question my orders?” The Englishman shouted, suddenly turning from jovial to anger. “Do you realize that there is a war on? There is fighting on all fronts man! The Germans are fighting in Paris as we speak. And you question my orders? I ought to report you to General Bridges, would you like that major?”

    The major said nothing, but began to shake. “Didn’t think so, now get these men back on the boat.” As soon as the colonel left, the major turned his ire back to the grinning soldiers.

    “Lieutenant Rowentree, Lieutenant Packe, get these men back on the boat!” He said, his voice cracking. The two lieutenants began moving the men back on the vessel. A groan spread as the soldiers climbed back aboard the ship, but a car that drove rapidly up the boardwalk interrupted them.

    The major turned to see a young soldier leap from the vehicle.

    “Sir” he said, saluting. The major returned the salute and looked questionably at the private.

    “Yes?”

    “Sir, I have been ordered to give you these.” The private returned to the vehicle and handed the major an envelope. “And inform you that you and your division are to set sail immediately.” The private quickly saluted and returned to the vehicle, which sped back down the boardwalk.

    “Major? Your orders?” The fat lieutenant, Rowntree, asked after a few moments of silence. The major turned to his officer.

    “Er, take this to Colonel Duncan, and get us moving.” The major said quietly, watching the car as it vanished into the distance. They were going to war.
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  12. #12
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    The shells weren’t firing, and it angered William to no end. Here they were, surrounding an island with warships, but not a gun was firing. Instead, he and his comrades were in the ocean, floating slowly towards the sandy beaches, leading up to the jungle. Already sweat was building on the brim of his hat and dripping down in front of his eyes. It did not help that he was packed in a boat with most of the other engineers. And none of them knew what was to come.

    But above all that, William was excited. They would finally get to prove their skill, and teach the Germans a thing or two about what it means to be Australian. He gripped his rifle close, and look around the boat. Everyone else shared his expression, one of excitement. Before them was the opportunity they had all been awaiting, the chance to fight, for King and country.

    Colonel Duncan, no Brigadier Duncan now, had been assigned to lead the first division, the Australian Imperial Force, against German positions on the pacific islands. It was the perfect way to get the AIF’s feet wet, in more ways than one. And to observe, Major General Bridges stood on the deck, watching the ships sail forward. The Major-General was a tough man, and even William could tell that General Duncan did not like him. No one seemed to, but they all respected him. He kept a vigilant watch on their approach.

    The landing went smoothly, no one doubted it would go differently. The soldiers filed out of the boats and onto the land, and their officers formed the lines. Duncan, standing beside Bridges, led the way forward. They left the beach behind them, but that is when things went wrong. William turned to joke with Frank about the Germans, when all hell broke loose. A soldier shouted something down the line, and an explosion shot up on the front line, stopping their advance. It was the sound of ammunition cooking off, and it scarred the men to no end. The officers scurried back to keep their men in order, but they failed.

    Men scattered as a fire spread to some bushes nearby. Someone’s ammunition had been poorly packed and ignited, but no one knew that yet. It was chaos, men and horses scattered across the disrupted front lines, while General Duncan ran back to keep order. Bridges stood watching the tree line. He shouted something, but William couldn’t hear. Slowly order began to reform, as the soldiers realized they had nothing to fear from the fire. But Bridges kept shouting, then, looking around, dove behind a rock not far from the line of trees.

    William stared at the general for a moment, wondering what had come over him. He turned to look at the tree line. Then he saw what the general had feared. The Germans. They opened fire at once, even as William dropped to the dirt. Shots flew out, and smashed into the confused Australian line. Men and horsed dropped, most silently, but many screaming in pain. William felt something warm and wet drop beside him, but refused to open his eyes to look. It felt like an eternity, lying there on the sand as shot rained out. Eventually the firing died down, and quiet returned. The only sounds were the moans of wounded men, and the occasional shot as a dieing horse was put out of its misery.
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  13. #13
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    That doesn't sound like a good start to the war!! hope they aussies can pull through!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sesame Street
    That doesn't sound like a good start to the war!! hope they aussies can pull through!
    Oh you can trust me on this one. Things don't go well for our heroes through most of this.
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  15. #15
    ...as we sailed away from the quay.
    And amidst all the tears
    And the shouts and the cheers,
    We sailed off to Gallipoli...


    Oh you can trust me on this one. Things don't go well for our heroes through most of this.
    I can imagine!

  16. #16
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    William felt himself lifted by his collar. Someone picked him up and dusted him off.

    “Hey mate, how you doing?” The man said to him. William didn’t recognize him from the boat, and suddenly wondered what had happened to Frank. “We have to get moving up the ridge and dig in, orders are orders you know.” He said, and pulled Will away from his ditch. A glance back told Will what it was he had felt during the battle. Some unlucky soldier had lost his head, literally. Will lost control at the site of it. He was sick, and looking at the mess behind him did not help. After a few moments, the man picked him back up again.

    “I know, just try not to look mate, we have to get back before the Jerries return.” Will let himself be dragged up the ridge, and down into the steadily growing pit that the men were digging along the beach. The small ridge, which Will had missed earlier, spanned the coast, and the Australians were slowly filling it out to make a temporary line of defenses. Gunfire in the distance drew his eyes away from the lines.

    “What happened?” He asked the man who had pulled him out of the carnage.

    “Matthew.” The man answered. Will gave him a puzzled look. Then caught on/ “And I don’t know. From what I have gathered, the Jerries saw the fire, and sent out some troops to find out what had happened, they surprised us, and got away. I bet they will be back though, next time with more men.” Matthew answered, digging into the sand. Will climbed down into the trench.

    “You going to give us a hand, or just stand there?” Another soldier asked. “Cause we would love to dig you defense, your majesty.” He said, sarcasm dripping out of every word. He, and his fellows stopped their digging to stare at the confused engineer.

    “Get back to work.” Matthew ordered the men, who just stared at him.

    “Or what, you aren’t an officer.” The man replied, and got some laughs from his friends who were waiting behind him.

    “Get back to work or I’ll bust your jaw? How does that sound Anthony? You know I can, and your friends there can’t stop me.” Matthew said, throwing down his shovel and rolling up his sleeves.” Anthony and his cohorts stopped their laughing and stared for a moment.

    “Alright big guy, I guess we will get back to work, since his Majesty wants it.” He said, laughing alone this time. The lot of them returned to their work, shoveling away at the sand.

    “Come on down mate, and tell me your name.” Matthew said, helping William down.

    “Will.” He said, “My name is Will. I don’t know if this is my unit, I’m with the engineers, do you know where they are?” Matthew shook his head.

    “Afraid not, all I know is you are here, and the Germans will be too. So I’d advise you to get up a shovel and start digging.” Will nodded, and started helping them dig their trench. A few hours passed, they had finished their work and sat panting from the long day’s work. Will was ready to collapse into sleep, but he would be interrupted. An officer walked down the line towards where they were positioned.

    “Listen up men!” He stopped and looked around. “Where is your sergeant?” No one answered. “Well?”

    Matthew spoke up. “He fell during the attack sir.”

    “Fine, then you are promoted, listen up. We are attacking in echelon.” The officer stopped as Matthew gave him a look of confusion. “Hmm, I see. Just get your men armed, and when you hear a whistle, lead them up out of the trench and into the woods. Ok?” The officer didn’t wait for a response, but kept moving.

    “You, in charge? Great…” one of Anthony’s cronies answered.

    “Quiet Barber.” Anthony muttered. He was unhappy. “We had to dig this damned ditch, just so we could get out of it? How's that. I’m going to give those Jerries a piece of my mind, we all are. Give them hell right?”

    Will just nodded, and Matthew smiled. A few minutes later, a shrill whistle sounded. Will turned and looked across the open beach. Men were up and moving, and now it was their turn. Looking to his adopted unit, he moved forward, and climbed out of the trench.
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  17. #17
    Oh, thingds don't look good. How many of them ... die?

  18. #18
    Wizzaard Estonianzulu's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gjerg Kastrioti
    Oh, thingds don't look good. How many of them ... die?
    In reality, this was probably the worst battle Ive ever led. 24,000 Australians with Engineers, naval superiority, and relatively good leadership versus 10,000 Germans, recently reinforced, no leader, no supply outside the island.

    In the end, 6,500 Australians to 200 Germans and then I legged it.
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  19. #19
    Wizzaard Estonianzulu's Avatar
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    It was quiet, a bit too quiet for William. No one said a word as they advanced, one line a few yards behind the next, into the jungle. They just marched forward, almost in step. They passed what had been the battlefield a few hours earlier. Birds scattered as the troops marched past, forced to stop their feast on the bodies that had not yet been buried. The sight made Will sick to his stomach once again. This time he did his best to keep moving. Collapsing now would simply give Anthony and his cronies more fuel.

    They reached the jungle without incident, and began through the lightwood. It had looked much thicker from the outside, but a great deal had already been trampled down. Paths were carved across the beach, and some men were sent ahead to scout. Will wondered once again where his fellow engineers had gotten. It would be their job to cut the paths for supplies, and check for traps. The Germans did not have much invested in the islands, but that wouldn’t stop them from fighting for them.

    William once again wondered about the silence. There was nothing but the sound of the brush being crushed under the heels of the soldiers. The occasional swear of a tripping soldier cut through the calm like a knife. Everyone was uneasy. Not even the animals of the island seemed to be out. The sun was setting behind them, and it was growing darker as they marched forward. William felt uneasy.

    An hour of marching brought them well into the center of the island. Still, they had met nothing more than a few scared animals, and what looked like the remnants of a camp. Some civilians had fled as they approached, not being able to recognize their language; the Australians had let them go. One empty hut replaced another as they continued their trudge through the darkening woods. Will heard some men begin to mutter complaints as it grew later in the evening, but they would soon be quiet.

    A scout came rushing back down one of the paths, shouting something about a clearing up ahead. One of the lieutenants rushed forward to meet him, but regretted the decision. A shot rang out, crushing the silence. As the scout reached the officer, he collapsed in a flailing convulsion. The bullet ripped into his back and sent him sprawling into the lieutenant. The officer collapsed back as the body slammed into him. They had reached the Germans.

    Another whistle sounded, and so did men.

    “Charge!” William turned and saw a familiar face. Lieutenant Packe, one of Major Hacker’s officers was a short distance away. His order was soon joined by other shouts of the same. And men moved forward.

    “Bayonets!” A second shout went around, and Will reached to attach his bayonet to the end of his rifle. The line closest to the Germans picked up their speed, and some fired as they moved. The sounds of battle soon rose from far to Williams left. The front lines had met the Germans; Will wondered how they were doing.

    He did not have to wonder long, as the clearing was rapidly approaching. Will turned his head and saw Anthony smiling, and Matthew moving his lips silently.

    “What are you doing?” He shouted as they continued their run. But Matthew couldn’t hear him. William shook his head, and turned back to face the direction he was running. But he missed the log that shot out of the ground. Will toppled over the fallen tree, and got a face full of dirt. He felt a few men step on him, and heard many more rush by him. His ankle suddenly hurt a great deal, and the division passed by. He popped his head up and looked back over the log, he was not alone. About a dozen others had tripped or fallen in their charge. He suddenly didn’t feel as bad.
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  20. #20
    Banned Wilhelm VI's Avatar

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    Maybe we could see a map of the world how the Entente is doing ?

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