Australian and New Zealand Army Corps

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An ANZAC soldier gives water to a wounded Turk

The Australian and New Zealand Army Corps (popularly abbreviated as ANZAC) was originally an army corps of Australian and New Zealand troops who fought in World War I at Gallipoli, in the Middle East and on the Western Front.

Within Australasia the Anzacs came to stand not just for the troops in World War I, but for Australian and New Zealand soldiers in time of war more generally. Anzac Day is annually observed in memory of those soldiers who died in war. It is commemorated each year by both countries on April 25, the date of the first landing at Gallipoli in 1915 on a beach which was subsequently to become known as Anzac Cove. (It is similar to days such as Veterans Day, Armistice Day or V-E Day celebrated in other countries.)

Anzac Formations

The original formation (the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps), which served at Gallipoli, was commanded by General William Birdwood and comprised the Australian 1st Division and the New Zealand and Australian Division. The three Australian and one New Zealand mounted brigades were employed as infantry with ANZAC during the Gallipoli campaign. The Australian 2nd Division began to arrive from Australia in August 1915 and some battalions saw action on Gallipoli in the final months of the campaign.

Following the evacuation of Gallipoli in November 1915 the Australian and New Zealand units reassembled in Egypt. The New Zealand contingent expanded to form their own division; the New Zealand Division. The Australian Imperial Force underwent a major reorganization resulting in the formation of two new divisions; the 4th and 5th divisions. (The Australian 3rd Division was forming in Australia and would be sent directly to England and then to France.)

These divisions were reformed into two corps; I Anzac Corps and II Anzac Corps. By this time "Anzac" had ceased to be an acronym and had begun to be used as a term to describe any formation containing Australian or New Zealand units. I Anzac Corps, under the command of General Birdwood, departed for France in early 1916. II Anzac Corps, commanded by General Alexander Godley, followed soon after.

The Anzac Mounted Division (originally the Australian and New Zealand Mounted Division) was also formed at this time and contained the three Australian light horse brigades as well as the New Zealand Mounted Rifles Brigade. The division fought as mounted infantry throughout the Middle East, including Egypt, the Sinai (Romani, Magdhaba and Rafa) and Palestine (First and Second battles of Gaza, Beersheba, Jerusalem, Jericho, Es Salt, Megiddo and Amman) and Syria.

On the Western Front, Anzac formations participated in many battles. Australian and New Zealand Divisions were involved in a number of engagements during the Battle of the Somme (1916) while components of British corps but it was only during the Battle of Pozieres, 23rd July 1916, that an Anzac formation participated as a whole. This was I Anzac (Australian 1st, 2nd and 4th Divisions).

At Villers-Bretonneux, in the 1918 First Battles of the Somme, the "Anzac" designation ceased to be used to represent an army corps containing Australian and New Zealand divisions. I Anzac Corps was renamed the Australian Corps (and comprised the Australian 4th and 5th Divisions at the time). The Australian Corps would ultimately contain all five Australian divisions making it the strongest Allied army corps on the Western Front.

During the Vietnam War, two companies from the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment operated as part of the 4th Battalion of the Royal Australian Regiment (4RAR) which was then referred to as the 4RAR/NZ (Anzac) Battalion.

Naval vessels

"ANZAC" was chosen as the name of a new class of frigates based on the MEKO 200 design, for the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal New Zealand Navy. The Anzac class, beginning with HMAS Anzac, will serve well into the 21st century.

External links

he:ANZAC no:ANZAC pl:Australian and New Zealand Army Corps


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