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Australian Citizens Military Force
Following the federation of Australia in 1901, the six colonial militias were merged to form a national reserve army . This had various, often alternating, official names, including the Citizens Military Force (CMF), Militia, Citizens Forces and, unofficially, the "Australian Militia Forces". It was renamed the Australian Army Reserve in 1980.
In the early 20th century, CMF units included the vast majority of Australian Army personnel during peacetime, as Australia had a very small standing army, prior to formation of the regular army, in 1947.
CMF units were sometimes scorned as "chocolate soldiers", or "chockos", because of their inability to fight outside Australian territory.
Nevertheless, Militia units distinguished themselves and suffered extremely high casualties during the Pacific War, especially in 1942, when they fought Japanese forces in New Guinea, which was then an Australian territory. The members of the 39th (Militia) Battalion , many of them very young, untrained and poorly equipped, distinguished themselves and suffered extremely heavy casualties, in the stubborn rearguard action on the Kokoda Track. Simultaneously, the 7th Militia Brigade played a key role in the Australian-US victory at the Battle of Milne Bay, the first outright defeat suffered by Japanese land forces in the war.
Later in the war, the law was changed to allow: (1) the transfer of Militia units to the 2nd AIF, if 65% or more of their personnel had volunteered for overseas service and; (2) Militia units to serve anywhere south of the Equator in South East Asia. Consequently they also saw action against Japanese forces in the Dutch East Indies.
From 1947 onwards, during increasing tension and wars in Asia, the strength of the Regular Army increased rapidly relative to the CMF. By 1980, when the name of the CMF was changed to Australian Army Reserve, the Regular Army was the more significant force.
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