Warning: no strategic warning time

By Jennifer Parker*

The structure of the Royal Australian Navy since its inception has been determined by trading off capability, cost and workforce. Long lamented by naval historians and practitioners alike has been the view that Australia’s maritime strategy, or lack thereof, has been shaped by a continentalist conception of the nation, culturally and strategically. When the average Australian thinks of the military and its sacrifices, they think of Gallipoli or the battles on the Western Front. (The Australian Strategic Policy Institute. The Strategist.) They don’t tend to think of the loss of HMAS Perth in 1942 with 400 crew in the Sunda Strait some 2,500 kilometres from Darwin, or of the loss HMAS Sydney in 1941 with 645 crew 290 kilometres west-southwest of Carnarvon.

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