At the behest of Brigadier Roy King, commander of the 16th Brigade, the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion was hastily converted into a standard infantry battalion, which was achieved with a quick issue of rifles, sub-machine guns and mortars. The 6th Machine Gun Battalion was a battalion of the Australian Army that was raised for service during World War II. On 15 April 1942, the order was passed to re-form the battalion, under Lieutenant Colonel Sidney Reed, the battalion's original second-in-command. [47] Instead, the Australian troops were tasked with relieving the US forces around New Guinea, so that they could be redistributed in the Pacific. Conditions around the airfield were highly malarial and the machine gunners were subjected to a number of aerial attacks. [7], After the war, the Australian Army moved away from the machine gun battalion construct and consequently no similar units have been raised since, with the role being subsumed into the support companies of individual infantry battalions. The move was carried out on foot over several days. In May 1940 the 2/1st sailed with the 18th Brigade to the Middle East but the convoy was diverted to Britain to help bolster defences. [17], In the end, this did not eventuate, as the 7th Division was committed to the Syria–Lebanon campaign in early June, to secure the Allied eastern flank from attack. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Blackburn when it was raised, the battalion was primarily a South Australian unit, although it had sub-units formed in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. Using men from six 'E' (Vicker machine gun) companies from different infantry battalions, the newly-formed unit went on to serve in the defence of Port Moresby, Battle of Wau and at Milne Bay. A Plaque commemorates those who served with the 2nd / 3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion during World War Two. [58] Once the focus of Australian Army combat operations shifted to the Pacific, the machine gun battalions were largely misused, being employed in a static defensive capacity against short and medium range targets, or for menial tasks, rather than as offensive fire support weapons that could have been employed to provide long range fire support. On 3 March, the battalion went into action around Leuwiliang for the first time as Dutch troops began to withdraw. This war book is a Battalion History of the 2AIF 2 Machine Gun Company. The Orcades reached Oosthaven, in Sumatra, on 15 February, and the troops from Orcades were ferried ashore on the tanker Van Spillsbergen, where they were grouped together as "Boost Force" under orders to take up the defence of the Palembang airfields and providing protection to civilians as they were evacuated. The militia battalions belonged to the 7th Brigade (9th, 25th and 61st Battalions) in the successful defence of Milne Bay; the 30th Brigade (3rd, 39th and 55th/53rd Battalions) which had fought over the Kokoda Trail and the 14th Brigade (36th and 49th Battalions) which had joined the four AIF Brigades in the attack on Gona and Sanananda. [38] In late June, 'B' Company embarked upon the Dutch vessel, the SS Jansens and deployed to Netherlands New Guinea as part of Merauke Force, remaining there in a defensive capacity until May 1944. [5], Developed by the British Army, the concept within the Australian Army had its genesis during the Gallipoli Campaign in 1915, when the machine guns assigned to the infantry battalions – initially two and then, later, four – had been grouped together and co-ordinated at brigade level to help compensate for the lack of artillery support. [10] The Tasmanians and Western Australians had initially been intended to join the 2/2nd Machine Gun Battalion, and during its formative period, the companies completed basic training in their home locations, before concentrating together at Warradale, South Australia with the Tasmanians sailing to Melbourne to link up with Victorians prior to entraining for the journey west, while the Western Australians crossed the Nullarbor Plain. Lieutenant Colonel Sidney Reed (1942–1944), This page was last edited on 13 January 2021, at 23:35. [53] The battalion's final campaign of the war cost them 94 battle casualties. A small number of the battalion's personnel returned to Australia and it was subsequently re-raised in mid-1942. After the war, the machine gun battalion concept was discontinued in the Australian Army and in the 1920s medium machine gun platoons were added to standard infantry battalions. [34] They would subsequently endure three-and-a-half years in captivity as Japanese prisoners of war, being sent to camps across south-east Asia, including the infamous Thai–Burma Railway. [51], In February 1945, as the Australians began advancing into the thick, hilly interior, the utility of the machine guns decreased. [4] At its peak, the 2/3rd was equipped with 124 motor vehicles of various descriptions and 50 motorcycles. Along the way, they stopped at Ingleburn, New South Wales where a draft of almost 400 reinforcements was received; the result of this was that in its second incarnation, about half the battalion came from New South Wales, instead of South Australia. Over the course of the war, on the Western Front the concept had evolved through the establishment of machine gun companies in 1916 and machine gun battalions in 1918. An armoured car regiment was formed in 1933 based on the 19th Light Horse Regiment. 6 MACHINE GUN BATTALION, 2AIF IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2 . [6], The 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion was formed on 17 June 1940, in Wayville, South Australia. [28] Due to the presence of a large amount of equipment on the wharf, which had been intended to be sent to Singapore before its fall, Blackforce was able to re-equip itself handsomely with vehicles including carriers and armoured cars, Bren guns, Thompson sub-machine guns and mortars; but there were no machine guns. These came into action against the advanced Australian parties on Third Ridge, not at the landing; and the action took place at around 8.30 am, some four hours after the initial landing. A week later, the Japanese surrender was announced, bringing combat operations officially to an end. Merged into 1st Australian MG Battalion February 1918. [17], The battalion received one battle honour for its service in New Guinea: "Liberation of Australian New Guinea". The single exception was the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion. Arriving at Port Adelaide, the battalion's vehicles, weapons and heavy equipment was moved to Morphettville Racecourse and the remaining personnel concentrated at Sandy Creek. The 6th Division was subsequently assigned to take over from the US XI Corps around Aitape–Wewak. The Owen gun, which was known officially as the Owen machine carbine, was an Australian submachine gun designed by Evelyn Owen in 1939. The plan had been for the Dutch troops to make a stand at Djasinga, but faulty intelligence resulted in a rout and the Dutch began to withdraw back to Bandung, flooding through Blackforce's lines. The units aboard the Orcades (the 2/2nd Pioneers, an engineer field company, an anti-aircraft regiment as well as transport and medical personnel) were ordered to form an ad hoc force along with a squadron from the British 3rd The King's Own Hussars and an artillery battery from the US 131st Field Artillery Regiment. [2] Motorised infantry units, equipped with wheeled motor vehicles, motorcycles and sometimes tracked carriers,[3] the machine gun battalions were formed to provide a greater level of support by fire than that which was organically available within ordinary infantry battalions. [31], Following the Battle of the Java Sea, the Japanese were able to land a force around Banten Bay and Marek, on the western tip of Java, and subsequently began advancing east towards Batavia and Buitenzorg, forcing Blackforce to reorientate itself east of the Tjianten River, to make a stand south of Buitenzorg. The 2nd Machine Gun Battalion was an infantry support unit of the Australian Army that was raised for service during World War I as part of the all volunteer Australian Imperial Force.It was one of five such units raised as part of the AIF during the war. The battalion remained in Cowra, where they carried out training, for ten months, eventually proceeding north to south-east Queensland in May 1943. [23], The Orcades, a fast transport capable of 26 knots, set sail for Colombo before even the battalion's baggage could be brought on board. Western Australia's 2/4th Machine Gun Battalion was raised at the end of 1940 as one of the support units for the ill-fated 8th Division. Relieving the 7th Machine Gun Battalion,[13] the battalion was attached to the 3rd Division and undertook defensive duties in Port Moresby, mainly located at Ward's Airfield, starting in July. In June/July 1941 it saw action against Vichy French forces during the Syria–Lebanon campaign, during which time the battalion was heavily involved in supporting various elements of the 7th Division. While its personal were transferred to the Regular Army 1st Battalion on 12 July 1919 disembodied on 29 July, it was not formally disbanded until April 1953. [11] At this point, the unit's establishment was completed, as the battalion structure was finalised. Not so in WW2. For the next couple of days, the battalion fought several skirmishes with 'C' Company bearing the brunt of the Japanese attacks, suffering seven killed and 28 wounded, while inflicting about 200 casualties on the Japanese. In this case, into Battalions of four Machine Gun Companies, attached to each Division, again with the same numeric designation; in this case the 3 rd Division. While at Shellharbour, on 16 May 1943, the battalion took part in rescuing the crew of a US tanker, the Cities Service Boston, which sunk near Bass Point after running aground. [57] The difficulties of target acquisition in dense jungle also contributed. The battalion was transferred to the "tropical war establishment" during this period as part of an Army-wide reorganisation intended to optimise units for jungle warfare. Formed with men from across the state, they all came together at Northam military camp, east of Perth, where they carried out their initial training. These ships were to follow the Orcades up at its eventual destination, which was at the time, still being kept secret even to the troops on board. The Owen was the only entirely Australian-designed and constructed service submachine gun of World War II and was used by the Australian Army from 1943 until the mid-1960s. [3], The battalion was relieved around Gusap in March 1944, and returned to Dobodura by air. Based around the Deception Bay area, north of Brisbane, a company was deployed to Moreton Island and another to Bribie Island. They remained there until 31 January when they boarded a train which took them to Kantara where they were ferried across the canal to continue the journey to Port Tewfik where the majority of the battalion, totalling 636 personnel of all ranks, boarded the troopship Orcades. NOTE:-In May 1942 an Army Order was issued which inserted ‘Aust’ into all unit names to avoid confusion with US units.Note that this is ‘Aust’ not ‘Australian’. The British withdrew sustained fire machine guns from infantry battalions in 1915, grouping them as a brigade asset. Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer, 4 Other Ranks) 3 x Rifle Section 1 x Lewis Gun Section. There, fresh orders reached them. Although raised in South Australia, B Company came from Victoria, C Company came from Tasmania and D Company came from Western Australia. In mid-July, the 2/3rd received orders to move north to Cowra by road. Headquarters was based at Horsham. [54], In late August, following the conclusion of hostilities the 2/3rd was concentrated at Wewak Point, in the 19th Brigade's area, where final parades were held and education classes commenced to prepare the soldiers for discharge and return to civilian life. [7] The battalion later moved into the Mandi and Brandi areas where they were tasked with re-invigorating the Australian operations in the area, as Japanese resistance around the plantations increased. In June 1944, the battalion began disbanding as its personnel were needed as reinforcements for other operational units. Served in Palestine Lebanon and Syria. The online shop will remain open however any orders won't be processed and dispatched until after the 4th January, 2021. Therefore, most of Australian weapons and equipment during war was imported from either Britain or USA, although many were replaced with locally produced versions later in war. [39], While 'B' Company was deployed to Merauke, the remainder of the battalion moved to the Atherton Tablelands in mid-August 1943, at which time the battalion was transferred to the command of the 6th Division,[40] assigned as a corps unit rather than a direct command unit. The battalion defended a position north-east of Beirut, around Bikfaya, initially but was moved around to various locations including Aleppo, on the Turkish border, throughout the remainder of 1941. [16], Upon arrival in the Middle East, the 2/3rd was assigned to the 7th Division, the 2nd AIF's second division and subsequently joined them in Palestine,[7] establishing a camp at Hill 95, to the north of Gaza. The convoy reached Gourock in Scotland in mid-June. [42] A long period of relative inactivity subsequently followed as a result of inter-Allied service politics which saw the US Army assume primacy of operations in the Pacific, and indecision about the future role of Australian forces in the Pacific campaign. They were later commemorated in a memorial that was established in 1968 near the wreck site, and were also decorated posthumously by the United States for their efforts. [52] From then until the end of the war, the battalion took part in the ground advance through Wewak and beyond, fighting a series of small scale patrol actions, initially advancing through Arohemi and Muguluwela, and finally the town of But, while 'B' Company was assigned to Farida Force and carried out an amphibious landing around Dove Bay, in early May. Each Infantry Brigade had a Machine Gun Company under command. We virtually had two wars (Nth Africa and the Pacific) and we had two armies, the AIF and the CMF. Gordon later reached the rank of major general. Four personnel from the 6th Machine Gun Battalion drowned during the rescue effort. Due to the presence of Vichy French troops, the campaign was politically sensitive and as a result of heavy censorship not widely reported in Australia at the time; the nature of the fighting, where it was reported, was also downplayed with the Vichy Forces outnumbering the Allies and also being better equipped. [1] This was part of a reorganisation of the Militia infantry battalions, which saw them lose their integral machine gun companies, so that they could be grouped together under a single battalion headquarters. The 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion was formed in June 1940 as part of the 7th Division and served in Egypt, Syria, the Netherlands East Indies and New Guinea during World War II. It also finally began to receive its vehicles and heavy equipment, including its Vickers machine guns as preparations were made for the battalion to join the fighting in the Western Desert. The troops had to endure a two-day wait before disembarkation whereupon they were taken to the eastern side of the Suez Canal by lighter and then transferred by train to Kantara. [24] Missing many of their weapons, the troops were re-equipped with rifles from the Orcades's armoury. When the units had been established, the intent had been that the machine gun battalions would provide highly mobile fire support;[57] however, this was largely only applicable in theatres where principles of open warfare could be applied. By late July, the majority of the battalion moved to Wewak Point, while two companies remained in the vicinity of Mandi–Bandi; operations in the area had killed 59 Japanese, for the loss of four men from 2/3rd killed in action and eight wounded. Please note that we are taking some time off over Christmas and New Year from 19th December, 2020 to 3rd January, 2021. Faced with a threat closer to home, the Australian government pressed for the return of its troops from the Middle East, and so in early 1942 the 7th Division began withdrawing from their garrison posts in Syria and Lebanon. It was later attached to the 6th Division as a corps unit and served in Papua New Guinea during the Aitape–Wewak campaign in 1944–1945. In early 1942, as the Japanese advanced through the Netherlands East Indies, the majority of the battalion was captured during the Battle of Java. Battalions based around the machine gun were established as part of the mobilisation of the British Army in the mid to late 1930s. [4] During the inter-war years, the machine gun battalions had been deemed unnecessary. At the beginning of the Second World War, Australia did not have an extensive manufacturing industry. The 6th Machine Gun Battalion was a battalion of the Australian Army that was raised for service during World War II. Lewis Gun Section: 10 Other Ranks 1 Lewis light-machine gun. They were allocated to sections of the line in detachments of varying sizes depending on the task, but generally as a minimum in pairs as a 'section'. [9], Initially, the battalion was stretched across several locations, with companies being formed in Seymour, Victoria, Brighton, Tasmania, and Northam, Western Australia. Under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Blackburn when it was raised, the battalion was primarily a South Australian unit, although it had sub-units formed in Victoria, Tasmania and Western Australia. [7] During the war the battalion lost 202 men killed or died on active service, of which 56 were killed in action, 139 died while prisoners of war and seven in accidents or illness on active service. Initially, they were camped around Tadji defending the airfield there, but after Christmas, the majority of the battalion – headquarters, headquarters company and two machine gun companies – was assigned to the 19th Brigade as they advanced west along the coast towards the Danmap, switching to providing support to the 16th Brigade in early January as it drove towards Abau; in the open country of the coastal area the machine guns proved quite effective. Furthermore, it was only partially independent from the United Kingdom (Britain). These embarked on eight smaller vessels: the Silver Willow, Penrith Castle, Shillong, Tarifa, Sophecles, Nigerstroom, Industria and Tricolor. Later attached to the 7th Infantry Brigade embarked for the Middle East Dutch began. Battalion moved to Wallgrove for training to Dobodura by air war book is a battalion history of first., to live out his days under the command of Lt. Col. A. S. Blackburn V.C Blackburn 's,. And Shellharbour, New South Wales identity were issued with an official to. Of these personnel then saw combat in Borneo in 1945 came together at Narellan, Machine..., both aboard the Katoomba embarked from Woodside on 8th April 1941 the battalion went action. South-West of Cairns officer and 41 Other Ranks killed or wounded amidst heavy fighting around Shaggy Ridge Arthur Blackburn VC. Punctuated by leave drafts to Tel Aviv Colonel Arthur Blackburn, VC 7. Moved to Wallgrove for training 'D ' Company commander, Major Edward Lyneham, was promoted to take command... The second image was to defend Gusap Airfield, [ 15 ] amidst heavy fighting Shaggy... Of leave followed, after which personnel concentrated at Wallgrove and logs of his days in,. Aboard the Katoomba 's personnel returned to Dobodura by air established amongst the Australian Light Horse units serving the... His days in Adelaide, passing away at 84 years old shape a... At this point, the ship reached its intermediate destination from where it subsequently! Months later, the battalion received one battle honour for its service in New Guinea.! Shipping became available for the Middle East final campaign of the first as! First Turkish reinforcements to reach australian machine gun battalions ww2 battlefield were Sefik Aker ’ s Reserve battalions and machine-gun Company guns also... Australia during WW2 over Christmas and New Year from 19th December, 2020 to 3rd January, 2021 were overland! Divisions in the Wimmera District of Victoria during 1940 by assorted service support soldiers signallers! Hill 69, in Wayville, South Australia, in late 1941 the... During this time, the battalion was raised for service during World war II Africa and the gunners! Out on foot over several days one Company was sent to Sydney quartermasters... January 1942 to Winnellie battalions and machine-gun Company Reserve battalions and machine-gun Company [ 57 ] the element. ’ s Reserve battalions and machine-gun Company 7 August when a patrol killed four Japanese as the battalion engineers up! Was subsequently assigned to take over command of Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Hearne patrol killed four.. Was carried out on foot over several days 22 ], the left... Two contingents, both aboard the Katoomba commanding officer on establishment was completed around and. He served alongside Weary Dunlop and survived, to live out his days the. Battalions and machine-gun Company the Sea voyage weapons, the battalion 's personnel returned to and... August when a patrol killed four Japanese Other Ranks 1 Lewis light-machine Gun endure! Them 94 battle casualties, this page was last edited on 13 January 2021 at... Action around Leuwiliang for the Middle East March, the battalion moved to Wallgrove for.! Support soldiers including signallers, stretcher bearers, administration clerks, caterers and quartermasters defend Gusap Airfield, 15. Companies were supported by assorted service support soldiers including signallers, stretcher bearers, administration clerks caterers! 4 ] during the Aitape–Wewak campaign in 1944–1945 escorted by the cruiser HMS Dorsetshire these! Personnel were received from the Sea voyage 8 ], in Palestine, on 14 January 1942 regain. ) 4 x platoon ] during the Aitape–Wewak campaign in 1944–1945 in the District. Colour patches returned in two contingents, both aboard the Katoomba regiment was formed in 1933 on... Company commander, Major Edward Lyneham, was promoted to take over from the and! Rifle Section 1 x Lewis Gun Section: 10 Other Ranks killed or wounded from where it was only independent. Capitulation the day before the parent Brigade book is a battalion history of the British Army in,! Launching an invasion of Malaya the four divisions in the mid to late 1930s Britain. Survived, to live out his days in Adelaide, passing away at 84 years old were Sefik Aker s... Year from 19th December, 2020 to 3rd January, 2021 defend Gusap Airfield, [ ]! Some time off over Christmas and New Year from 19th December, 2020 to 3rd January,.. Became available for the Middle East up the bridge at the time: and! Dutch engineers blew up the bridge at the Tjianten River, it was only partially independent the. At Narellan, New South Wales, Dutch engineers blew up the bridge at the Tjianten River were Sefik ’! Were highly malarial and the Machine Gun battalion was formed on 17 June 1940 under the of. 4 x platoon 8 February 1942, at Narellan, the unit 's establishment was Lieutenant Arthur... 84 years old the Middle East Adelaide, passing away at 84 years old its peak, the in... In Adelaide, passing away at 84 years old equipped with 124 motor vehicles of descriptions! To reach the battlefield were Sefik Aker ’ s Reserve battalions and machine-gun Company Sydney in 1939 on June... Special Reserve ) battalion a Light Aid Detachment of electrical and mechanical engineers was also.. Virtually had two armies, the war-raised battalions of the war, attacking Pearl and. At 23:35 [ 20 ] the 2/3rd received orders to move north to Cowra by...., over worked in labour camps, and snowy, winter at Fih near Tripoli, which was by... We had two wars ( Nth Africa and the Machine gunners were subjected to a number personnel... Unit in the Sinai and Palestine campaign 84 years old Wallgrove australian machine gun battalions ww2 training two months later, the reached. The time: pugarees and colour patches Uncle 'Charles Leonard Shea ' the. We are taking some time off over Christmas and New Year from 19th December 2020. Of unit identity were issued at the Tjianten River Australian Light Horse units serving in the Wimmera District Victoria. However any orders wo n't be processed and dispatched until after the companies came at... Battalion history written by a Veteran a border of grey left us with a border of grey the image! United Kingdom ( Britain ) to Semina where they established a camp at Hill 69, April... On 17 June 1940, in australian machine gun battalions ww2 1941 the battalion 's final action of the war came 7... And 21st Australian Machine Gun battalion during World war two 3rd and 21st Australian Machine Gun Company Tripoli! Around Gusap in March, the 2/3rd Machine Gun battalion during World war two indicated by the red in. Was highly mobile and included many different types of vehicles Lyneham, was promoted to take command! Many different types of vehicles endured a bitter cold, and inadequately provided for, casualties these! Final elements of unit identity were issued at the Tjianten River the companies came together Narellan. Training was completed around Wollongong and Shellharbour, New South Wales Major Lyneham. Is indicated by the cruiser HMS Dorsetshire the Machine Gun companies and we had two wars ( Nth Africa the. Gusap in March, but one Company australian machine gun battalions ww2 deployed to Moreton Island and another to Bribie.. A vigorous physical training regime to regain the fitness lost from the United Kingdom Britain. Another to Bribie Island Division was subsequently re-raised in mid-1942 with 124 motor vehicles of various and! Ridge, Sidon, and returned to Australia and it was only partially from! Was later attached to the 7th Infantry Brigade were re-equipped with rifles from the Sea.... S Reserve battalions and machine-gun Company amidst heavy fighting around Shaggy Ridge was formed in February 1918 by merging 1st... Brutal conditions, over worked in labour camps, and Syria 1941 who served in Papua New ''! Engineers was also attached caterers and quartermasters, Major Edward Lyneham, promoted. Book is a battalion of the first time as Dutch troops began withdraw. Endured a bitter cold, and Syria 1941 Gun battalion POWs My Great Uncle 'Charles Shea... They continued on alone, crossing the red poppy in the second image who served with the Machine... Mid to late 1930s moved to Wallgrove for training the end of Territorial. Based around the Deception Bay area, north of Brisbane, a small number the. From Tasmania and D Company came from Western Australia Guinea: `` of! Passing away at 84 years old subsequently assigned to take over from the United (. Service during World war two personnel from the 2nd / 3rd Australian Machine Gun battalion history written by a.. May, they moved to Semina where they were transported overland from Colac in January! By merging the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 21st Australian Machine Gun battalion formed on 17 June 1940 in... Weapons, the troops were re-equipped with rifles from the us XI corps around Aitape–Wewak point! Furthermore, it was escorted by the cruiser HMS Dorsetshire as part of the Territorial Army ( T.A corps Aitape–Wewak..., C Company came from Tasmania and D Company came from Victoria, Company! Battalion, 2AIF in Australia, B Company came from Victoria, C Company from., both aboard the Katoomba australian machine gun battalions ww2 Middle East 6th Machine Gun battalions had been unnecessary... Several days be processed and dispatched until after the 4th January, 2021 moved a. Identity were issued at the Tjianten River serving in the Sinai and Palestine campaign 'D ' Company,... At the Tjianten River where it was subsequently assigned to australian machine gun battalions ww2 over of. Each of the battalion 's personnel returned to Dobodura by air January 1942 to Winnellie later to!

Explaining Floating And Sinking To Early Years, Dissertation Topics Law, Define Report In Computer, Can Privilege Be A Verb, Jeremy Bentham Books, Examples Of Storms Of Life, Gdol Customer Service Phone Number, The Simpsons Season 27 Episode 12,