HQ North West Area RAAF

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HQ North West Area.jpg
RAAF area commands in November 1942

Brief History

Prior to World War II, the Royal Australian Air Force was small enough for all its elements to be directly controlled by RAAF Headquarters in Melbourne. After war broke out in September 1939, the Air Force began to decentralise its command structure, commensurate with expected increases in manpower and units.

North-Western Area Command was one of several geographically based commands raised by the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) during World War II. Its wartime sphere of operations included the Northern Territory, adjacent portions of Queensland and Western Australia, and the Dutch East Indies. The command was formed in January 1942, following the outbreak of the Pacific War, from the western part of Northern Area Command, which had covered all of northern Australia and Papua. Headquartered at Darwin, North-Western Area Command was initially responsible for air defence, aerial reconnaissance and protection of the sea lanes within its boundaries.

From 1943, North-Western Area Command's role became increasingly offensive in nature, as the Allies began to advance in New Guinea and the Dutch East Indies. Its combat aircraft ranged from single-engine fighters to heavy bombers, and were flown by Australian, British, American and Dutch squadrons. The area command continued to operate following the end of the war, but its assets and staffing were much reduced.

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