australian machine gun battalions ww2

Lewis Gun Section: 10 Other Ranks 1 Lewis light-machine gun. The 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion[Note 1] was one of four machine gun battalions that were raised as part of the all-volunteer Second Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF) for service overseas during World War II. Two months later, the battalion was sent to Donadabu, where they were attached to the 7th Infantry Brigade. The 2/1st Australian Machine Gun Battalion was formed on 14 December 1939 as part of the 6th Division. [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. 2/3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion Formed on 17th June 1940 at Wayville S.A. under the command of Lt. Col. A. S. Blackburn V.C. In early 1944, the battalion returned to Australia and over the course of the year was disbanded, with its personnel being sent to other units as reinforcements. 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. [50] While this took place, 'B' and 'D' Companies were assigned to the 17th Brigade, with whom they undertook a mainly defensive role around Aitape, while accompanying infantry patrols into the interior. [56] Members of the battalion received the following decorations: one Distinguished Service Order, three Military Crosses, four Military Medals, one British Empire Medal and 21 Mentions in Despatches. [4][5], Assigned at divisional level, the role of the machine gun battalion was to provide direct fire support in addition to the machine guns that were organic to infantry battalions. The battalion remained in Cowra, where they carried out training, for ten months, eventually proceeding north to south-east Queensland in May 1943. Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer, 4 Other Ranks) 3 x Rifle Section 1 x Lewis Gun Section. [9], Initially, the battalion was stretched across several locations, with companies being formed in Seymour, Victoria, Brighton, Tasmania, and Northam, Western Australia. The 2/3rd left the village of Fih and moved to a camp at Hill 69, in Palestine, on 14 January 1942. [36][37], In May, the battalion moved to Balcombe on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, where they undertook range shoots, planning exercises and bivouacks. The 6th Machine Gun Battalion was a battalion of the Australian Army that was raised for service during World War II. [17], The battalion received one battle honour for its service in New Guinea: "Liberation of Australian New Guinea". [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. The move was carried out on foot over several days. [33] As the Allied defence of the island began to collapse, the machine gunners were ordered to hold up the Japanese around Leuwiliang for a day. [48] The campaign that followed was, in the words of author Eustace Keogh, essentially a "mopping up campaign", with the division being tasked with security of the airstrip and base area, and ensuring that contact was maintained with Japanese forces in the area. [22], In late 1941, the Japanese entered the war, attacking Pearl Harbor and launching an invasion of Malaya. Joined February 1917. 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'. [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. They were designated with the same number as the parent Brigade. The convoy reached Gourock in Scotland in mid-June. [8], The 6th Machine Gun Battalion came under the command of the 7th Division, in October 1943,[14] and, less one company which stayed in Port Moresby, it joined the Markham and Ramu Valley – Finisterre Range campaign. These tasks were to be achieved without large-scale offensive action, due to contingency plans for the division to be re-deployed to the Philippines; in the event this did not occur and the 6th Division remained in Aitape–Wewak for the remainder of the war. [59] For the 2/3rd, the Syrian campaign was the only one of its three campaigns where it was employed wholly as a machine gun unit in support of the infantry; on Java and in Aitape–Wewak, it was utilised as infantry. [21] In the aftermath of the campaign, the 2/3rd stayed on as part of the Allied occupation force established in Syria and Lebanon to defend against a possible drive south by Axis forces through the Caucasus. The plaque commemorates those who served with the 19th Machine Gun Battalion during World War Two. 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. 2/3rd Australian Machine-Gun Regiment (Victoria) 2/4th Australian Pioneer Battalion; 9th Australian Divisional Cavalry - From 8th Infantry Division in May 1941; 2/3rd Field Company, RAE - Tasmania/Western Australia/South Australia - From 6th Infantry Division; 2/13th Field Company, RAE - Queensland - Ex 2/1st Field Park Company The 6th Machine Gun Battalion was a battalion of the Australian Army that was raised for service during World War II. [46], Although it had been intended to deploy the Australians as part of the Allied efforts to recapture the Philippines, this did not eventuate. The medium machine guns were also largely utilised in the same manner as light machine guns, such as the Bren. [8], Shortly after the companies came together at Narellan, the battalion moved to Wallgrove for training. Based around the Deception Bay area, north of Brisbane, a company was deployed to Moreton Island and another to Bribie Island. [49], With priority of effort being given to the campaigns in the Philippines and Borneo, the arrival of the 6th Division took place over several months. Company Headquarters (2 Officers, 57 Other Ranks) 4 x Platoon. 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. It was structured along the same lines as the other 2nd AIF machine gun battalions, which consisted of between 800 and 900 personnel organised into a headquarters element consisting of three platoons – signals, anti-aircraft and administration[12] – and four machine gun companies, each equipped with 12 Vickers machine guns, to make a total of 48 across the entire battalion. [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. The battalion subsequently returned in two contingents, both aboard the Katoomba. 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. 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. Formed in February 1918 by merging the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 21st Australian Machine Gun Companies. [11] At this point, the unit's establishment was completed, as the battalion structure was finalised. Departing again in early May, they continued on alone, crossing the Red Sea in a week and making landfall at Port Tewfik. ), the 1st Line Territorial Force battalions of the regiment wer… When the Army was reorganised in 1921, they were not re-raised, but in 1937, as the Army looked to expand as fears of war in Europe loomed, four such units were raised within the part-time Militia, by converting light horse units and motorising them. The 6th Machine Gun Battalion was raised on 22 August 1942, at Narellan, New South Wales. In November 1919, following the end of the First World War, the war-raised battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers were disbanded. 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. After this, Blackforce began moving towards Soekaboemi on 5 March, as part of efforts to reach Tjilatjap on the southern coast of the island to secure passage back to 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. By December, the unit ceased to exist. The final elements of unit identity were issued at the time: pugarees and colour patches. A second armoured car regiment was formed in Sydney in 1939. 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. [45] The 2/3rd remained at Wondecla until 2 December 1944, when they entrained for Cairns and subsequently boarded the transport Evangeline, a former cruise ship, bound for New Guinea, where they were to undertake their final campaign of the war. 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