RAAF Army Co-operation units in the South West Pacific 1940 - 1946
By John Lever

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RAAF 83 & 84 Army Co-operation Wings
RAAF Army Co-operation units in the South West Pacific 1940 - 1946
By John Lever

4 & 5 Tactical Reconnaissance Squadrons
16 & 17 Air Observation Post Flights

& 10 Local Air Supply Units
School of Army Co-operation
1 Air Support Unit

This book provides an insight into the activities of the Royal Australian Air Force in the Army Co-operation, or Tactical Reconnaissance role as it was later known, in the South West Pacific Area of operations during the Second World War and to pay tribute to the personnel who served in the associated R.A.A.F. units.

The activities of the Army Co-operation units varied from the dangerous to the mundane, from dive-bombing and low level strafing attacks, to aerial photography or delivering the mail. The provision of close air support to the troops on the ground was vital for both their survival and maintaining morale.

The lives of countless allied soldiers were saved in many ways. By the destruction of enemy guns, the seriously injured being medically evacuated, by receiving extra arms and ammunition during critical phases of a battle, or receiving food, medicines and messages while isolated and unable to communicate with their battlefield commanders. The welfare of the troops was also enhanced by the aerial spraying of insecticides to protect them from the many tropical diseases encountered in the South West Pacific.

All of this did not come without a cost. Most of the flying was at low level, where the pilots needed keen eyesight and good reflexes, and many airmen lost their lives either during operations or operational training.


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This page first produced 21 June 2009

This page last updated 16 February 2021