Allegiance Australian Crown
Branch Australian Army
Size ~3,500 personnel
The 10th Brigade was an infantry brigade of the Australian Army. It was raised in 1916 as part of the expansion of the Australian Imperial Force following the end of the Gallipoli campaign and subsequently saw service on the Western Front in France and Belgium during the First World War. After the war it was disbanded but was re-raised in 1921 as a part-time formation based in the state of Victoria. During the Second World War the brigade was used in a garrison role in Australia before being disbanded in 1942.
First World War
The 10th Brigade was initially formed in 1916 as an Australian Imperial Force (AIF) formation for service during the First World War. Assigned to the 3rd Division, upon formation it consisted of four battalions—the 37th, 38th, 39th and 40th Battalions—which were raised in Victoria and Tasmania. In July 1916, the brigade sailed to England where it undertook further training before being committed to the fighting on the Western Front in late 1916. A period of acclimatization followed in a "nursery sector" around Armentières where the newly arrived troops undertook patrols into No Man's Land and minor raids on the German trenches opposite them during the winter months.
In early 1917, the brigade moved to the Messines–Wytschaete Ridge section of the front line in Belgium, where they began to prepare to take part in their first major battle of the war. Throughout the year, the brigade took part in the fighting at Messines in June, the Battle of Broodseinde in early October and then later the Battle of Passchendaele also in October. In early 1918, the collapse of the Russian resistance on the Eastern Front enabled the Germans to transfer a large number of troops to the west, and the Germans subsequently launched their Spring Offensive. The offensive was initially successful in pushing the Allies back towards Amiens and the 10th Brigade's battalions, which had remained around Armentières throughout the winter, were hastily committed to a defensive role.
The offensive was eventually halted and afterwards, in August, the Allies launched their Hundred Days offensive. The brigade was subsequently committed to the Allied advance through the Somme Valley, taking part in actions at Proyart, Bray and Clery. Shortly before the end of the war, due to heavy casualties amongst the AIF in 1918, the brigade's establishment was reduced to three infantry battalions as one—the 37th—was disbanded in September in order to reinforce the other battalions. This was due to widespread manpower shortages in the AIF as a result of the high number of casualties suffered during the Hundred Days Offensive.
Inter-war years and the Second World War
Following the end of the war, the 10th Brigade was disbanded; however, in 1921 it was re-raised as part of the Militia after it was decided to perpetuate the designations and battle honours of the AIF by reorganising Australia's part-time military force. At this time, the brigade was based in Victoria within the 3rd Military District and consisted of four infantry battalions: the 24th, 37th, 39th and 48th. On 1 May 1926, Thomas Blamey became commander of the brigade, remaining in the position until he took over the 3rd Division on 23 March 1931.
Upon the outbreak of the Second World War, the brigade was based in Victoria in September 1939, and assigned to the 3rd Division. On 8 December 1941, the brigade was mobilised for full-time duty as the Militia was called up for garrison and defensive duties following Japan's entry into the war. As part of the mobilisation process, the brigade was reorganised into a brigade-group formation with organic artillery, anti-tank and engineer support. Its establishment was also reduced from four infantry battalions to three as the Australian Army moved towards the British Army brigade structure. Nevertheless, in September 1942, after moving to Queensland, it was disbanded—having not seen active service—as part of the reallocation of manpower resources that occurred within the Australian Army at that time.
During the war, the 10th Brigade's subordinate units included: the 37th, 52nd, 24th/39th and 24th Battalions, as well as the 2nd Field Regiment, Royal Australian Artillery, the 10th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers and the 23rd Anti-Tank Battery, Royal Australian Artillery.