, Several months later, the 6th Machine Gun Battalion was sent to New Guinea, where the Australians were fighting against the Japanese. In June/July 1941 it saw action against Vichy Fre… 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. Two of these wounded were later smuggled out of the Indies by medical personnel back to Australia, with one rejoining the battalion there later in the year. An armoured car regiment was formed in 1933 based on the 19th Light Horse Regiment. Served in Palestine Lebanon and Syria. Battalions based around the machine gun were established as part of the mobilisation of the British Army in the mid to late 1930s. 2/2 Australian Machine Gun Battalion history written by a Veteran. , Markham and Ramu Valley – Finisterre Range campaign, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=6th_Machine_Gun_Battalion_(Australia)&oldid=1000612482, Military units and formations established in 1942, Military units and formations disestablished in 1944, All Wikipedia articles written in Australian English, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License, This page was last edited on 15 January 2021, at 22:01. , Initially, the battalion was stretched across several locations, with companies being formed in Seymour, Victoria, Brighton, Tasmania, and Northam, Western Australia. The Australian Army formed its first armoured units in the late 1920s when two independent Tank Sections equipped with Vickers Medium tanks were formed in New South Wales and Victoria. 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 Two. The 6th Machine Gun Battalion was a battalion of the Australian Army that was raised for service during World War II. During WW2, the task set for Lieutenant-Colonel Terry Farrell, his officers and NCOs was to form, train and prepare for battle a new machine gun battalion.  As a result of this change, the battalion was required to return all of its vehicles, with the intention that its guns would largely be carried across the battlefield by soldiers moving on foot. The battalion's final action of the war came on 7 August when a patrol killed four Japanese. 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. On 8 February 1942, the ship reached its intermediate destination from where it was escorted by the cruiser HMS Dorsetshire. The 2/3rd left the village of Fih and moved to a camp at Hill 69, in Palestine, on 14 January 1942.  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. Designated a South Australian battalion, its personnel were nevertheless recruited from several Australian states: South Australians predominated, but there were also men from Victoria, Tasmania, and Western Australia, with many of the battalion's cadre staff of officers and senior non commissioned officers having served previously in the Militia with various light horse regiments and infantry battalions. Shortly afterwards, they came under air attack from Japanese Mitsubishi A6M Zeroes on 22 February, during which one member of the 2/3rd was killed, while six others were wounded. 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. , In early April 1941, the battalion, less 'D' Company which travelled west for home leave, entrained at Oakbank, near to Woodside, South Australia where they had moved the previous February. , 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, establishing a camp at Hill 95, to the north of Gaza. Each of the four divisions in the Sec… 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 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. 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’. Later, they moved to Semina where they established a camp until shipping became available for the return to Australia.  Training was completed around Wollongong and Shellharbour, New South Wales. After completing training in Australia, in April 1941 the battalion embarked for the Middle East. Lewis Gun Section: 10 Other Ranks 1 Lewis light-machine gun. AUSTRALIAN ARMY IN AUSTRALIA DURING WWII . 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. In early December 1945, the 2/3rd's remaining personnel returned to Australia aboard the British aircraft carrier HMS Implacable, arriving in Sydney, and the following month, in January 1946, after final clearances had been obtained the unit was disbanded. , In February 1945, as the Australians began advancing into the thick, hilly interior, the utility of the machine guns decreased. A Light Aid Detachment of electrical and mechanical engineers was also attached. 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.  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. , In May, the battalion moved to Balcombe on the Mornington Peninsula in Victoria, where they undertook range shoots, planning exercises and bivouacks. Each Infantry Brigade had a Machine Gun Company under command. In the ensuing chaos, Dutch engineers blew up the bridge at the Tjianten River. The 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion was formed in June 1940 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Blackburn, VC. , 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. They were transported overland from Colac in early January 1942 to Winnellie. 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. In addition, a small number of personnel were received from the 2nd and 41st Infantry Battalions. , Shortly after the companies came together at Narellan, the battalion moved to Wallgrove for training. A small number of the battalion's personnel returned to Australia and it was subsequently re-raised in mid-1942. Two months later, the battalion was sent to Donadabu, where they were attached to the 7th Infantry Brigade.  Concentrating around the civilian airport at Kemajoian, the battalion formed part of Blackforce's defensive garrison, tasked with protecting Batavia's five airfields from Japanese paratroopers; 'B' Company was detached in this time to defend the Buitenzorg military airfield. 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. There, fresh orders reached them. 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. 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. 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. In November 1919, following the end of the First World War, the war-raised battalions of the Northumberland Fusiliers were disbanded.  A period of leave followed, after which personnel concentrated at Wallgrove.  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 concept was arguably misunderstood by Australian commanders throughout the war, and this may have influenced the decision to move away from the concept. 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. Gordon later reached the rank of major general. The final elements of unit identity were issued at the time: pugarees and colour patches. The online shop will remain open however any orders won't be processed and dispatched until after the 4th January, 2021.  With an authorised strength of 700 to 800 men, the battalion was equipped with 48 Vickers medium machine guns that were spread between four main companies. Merged into 1st Australian MG Battalion February 1918. 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.  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. The battalion was disbanded in January 1946. Members of the 2/3rd battalion were captured by the Japanese in Java in 1942. The plaque commemorates those who served with the 19th Machine Gun Battalion during World War Two. 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. 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. , While the troops who had boarded the Orcades went into captivity on Java, the five officers and 257 other ranks that had been transported on the eight smaller ships returned to Australia in the last week of March 1942. A week later, the Japanese surrender was announced, bringing combat operations officially to an end. The plaque commemorates those who served in the 2nd / 3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion during World War Two. Their movements and … 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. Those who had survived the fighting spent the rest of the war as prisoners. , In late 1941, the Japanese entered the war, attacking Pearl Harbor and launching an invasion of Malaya. A short time later, a force of five Japanese light tanks attempted to cross the river, but were rebuffed by anti-tank rifles and small arms.  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. Not so in WW2. 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 Owen gun, which was known officially as the Owen machine carbine, was an Australian submachine gun designed by Evelyn Owen in 1939.  As the Japanese began advancing further in the Indies, Blackburn sought to re-orient his troops, and the machine gunners were subsequently moved to the Leuwiliang area, 15 miles (24 km) west of Buitenzorg along an expected main avenue of advance, and they were given the task for defence the bridge over the Tjianten River. 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. , The battalion received one battle honour for its service in New Guinea: "Liberation of Australian New Guinea". Platoon Headquarters (1 Officer, 4 Other Ranks) 3 x Rifle Section 1 x Lewis Gun Section. He served alongside Weary Dunlop and survived, to live out his days in Adelaide, passing away at 84 years old.  During the inter-war years, the machine gun battalions had been deemed unnecessary. Others who did not board the Orcades included the battalion's 'B' Echelon, essentially all its vehicles, baggage and heavy weapons, and its maintenance personnel. , A Vickers machine gun team from the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion in Syria, October 1941, Infantry formations of the Second Australian Imperial Force, Fighting against the Vichy French: Palestine and Syria, Into action against the Japanese: Java and captivity, Re-organisation and garrison duties in Australia, The numerical designation of 2nd AIF units was prefixed by "2/", which was used to set them apart from Militia units or units of the, Commander of the Order of the British Empire, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=2/3rd_Machine_Gun_Battalion_(Australia)&oldid=1000175228, Military units and formations established in 1940, Military units and formations disestablished in 1946, All Wikipedia articles written in Australian English, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.  For the 2/3rd, the campaign saw them heavily involved throughout the short, but sharply contested campaign, with each of the four machine gun companies supporting separate efforts by elements of the 7th Division and also British troops, seeing action around Merdajayoun, Metula, Quneitra, Sidon and Damour before the Vichy French requested an armistice in mid-July. There the battalion undertook a vigorous physical training regime to regain the fitness lost from the sea voyage. A second armoured car regiment was formed in Sydney in 1939. 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. As with the rest of the Australian Army, the outbreak of war in 1939 lead to a dramatic expansion of Australia's armoured force. Departing again in early May, they continued on alone, crossing the Red Sea in a week and making landfall at Port Tewfik. 1st Australian Divisional Train. 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 battalion's commanding officer on establishment was Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Hearne. , 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. [lower-alpha 3] On 7 February 1920, following the establishment of the Territorial Army (T.A. The medium machine guns were also largely utilised in the same manner as light machine guns, such as the Bren.  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. 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. , The 6th Machine Gun Battalion came under the command of the 7th Division, in October 1943, and, less one company which stayed in Port Moresby, it joined the Markham and Ramu Valley – Finisterre Range campaign. They were designated with the same number as the parent Brigade. The sustained fire weapons were the backbone of the defence and with a range of up to 1,800 yards direct and 4,500 yards indirect they had … , Blackburn established his force into a brigade formation, utilising the pioneers and machine gunners as infantry battalions, and forming a third infantry battalion from troops that were assigned to garrison the base, as well as logistics and administrative personnel, and members of the AIF who had been able to get out of Singapore before it fell. Upon formation, the battalion was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Blackburn, a World War I veteran who had received the Victoria Cross for actions at Pozieres. 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. 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. The 6th Division was subsequently assigned to take over from the US XI Corps around Aitape–Wewak. Please note that we are taking some time off over Christmas and New Year from 19th December, 2020 to 3rd January, 2021. By December, the unit ceased to exist.  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. , The Orcades, a fast transport capable of 26 knots, set sail for Colombo before even the battalion's baggage could be brought on board. 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 – and four machine gun companies, each equipped with 12 Vickers machine guns, to make a total of 48 across the entire battalion. Many of these personnel then saw combat in Borneo in 1945.  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.  The difficulties of target acquisition in dense jungle also contributed. Reinforcements arrived from various locations, including the Machine Gun Training Battalion based at Camden, New South Wales, while others came from the 2/1st Machine Gun Battalion to provide a cadre of experienced personnel. 6 MACHINE GUN BATTALION, 2AIF IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2 . Charlie left us with a substantial collection of diaries, maps and logs of his days under the Japanese. 1st Australian Machine Gun Battalion. At the beginning of the Second World War, Australia did not have an extensive manufacturing industry. In June 1944, the battalion began disbanding as its personnel were needed as reinforcements for other operational units. 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. 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. 21st Australian Machine Gun Company. Formed in late 1942 from the machine gun companies of several infantry battalions, the 6th Machine Gun Battalion undertook training on the New South Wales south coast before being deployed to New Guinea where they took part in the Markham and Ramu Valley – Finisterre Range campaign, defending the airfield at Gusap, and undertaking patrols. While the 3rd Machine Gun Battalion didn't come into being until March 1918, its resources were previously known as the 9th, 10th, 11th and 23rd Machine Gun Companies. 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'. For the next three years they were used for labour, most of them working on the infamous Thai-Burma Railway or … 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. , 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. Ultimately, this never eventuated and Blackforce was ordered to surrender on 9 March 1942 following the Dutch capitulation the day before. Also unit names were issued with an official amendment to the Order of Battle. The battalion subsequently returned in two contingents, both aboard the Katoomba.  This force, under Blackburn who was promoted to brigadier, came to be known as "Blackforce", with headquarters being established at Batavia. On 3 March, the battalion went into action around Leuwiliang for the first time as Dutch troops began to withdraw. 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. 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. Formed in February 1918 by merging the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 21st Australian Machine Gun Companies. Joined February 1917.  In common with the other Australian machine gun battalions, the colours chosen for the battalion's unit colour patch (UCP) were black and gold.  The battalion was sent to Dapto, on the New South Wales coast, in October 1942, to carry out defensive duties.  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. In mid-July, the 2/3rd received orders to move north to Cowra by road. The move was carried out on foot over several days. 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.  Instead, the Australian troops were tasked with relieving the US forces around New Guinea, so that they could be redistributed in the Pacific. Embarked from Woodside on 8th April 1941 for the Middle East. 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. ), the 1st Line Territorial Force battalions of the regiment wer… 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. The 19 Machine Gun Battalion was raised as a Militia Unit in the Wimmera District of Victoria during 1940. As the situation in the Pacific worsened for the Allies – Singapore had fallen in early February and the Japanese were steadily advancing through the Netherlands East Indies – the Allies made the decision to hastily make a stand. Similar formations had also been established amongst the Australian Light Horse units serving in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign.  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. , The 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion received the following battle honours:, The following officers commanded the 2/3rd Machine Gun Battalion during the war:, Of these, both Blackburn and Reed were World War I veterans who had later served in the Militia in the 18th Light Horse Regiment, in South Australia, during the inter-war years. 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. 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.  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. In Blackburn's stead, the 'D' Company commander, Major Edward Lyneham, was promoted to take over command of the battalion. , 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.  Occupying positions in support of the 2/2nd Pioneers who held the bridge over the Tjianten River, they were alerted to the advancing Japanese by the presence of fifth columnists, who were seen to be laying out marking panels. The British withdrew sustained fire machine guns from infantry battalions in 1915, grouping them as a brigade asset. The convoy reached Gourock in Scotland in mid-June. 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. Lieutenant Colonel Sidney Reed (1942–1944), This page was last edited on 13 January 2021, at 23:35. Following Japan's entry into the war, the decision was made to transfer a large number of Australian troops from the Middle East to the Pacific region. , 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. 29 Officers, 1007 Other Ranks.  The main element arrived in Townsville in March, but one company was sent to Sydney. 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. Lyneham and Gordon had both served in the Militia before the war, with Lyneham serving in the 28th Battalion, The Swan Regiment in Western Australia and Gordon in the 6th Battalion, Royal Melbourne Regiment. The author served with the 2/2 Machine Gun Battalion during its Desert Campaigns North Africa, New Guinea and was on Tarakan with Brigadier Whitehead's 26th Brigade, which included Don Company of the machine gunners, when the war ended. Four personnel from the 6th Machine Gun Battalion drowned during the rescue effort. A Plaque commemorates those who served with the 2nd / 3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion during World War Two. , Although it had been intended to deploy the Australians as part of the Allied efforts to recapture the Philippines, this did not eventuate. These companies were supported by assorted service support soldiers including signallers, stretcher bearers, administration clerks, caterers and quartermasters. The single exception was the 3rd (Special Reserve) Battalion.  During this time, the battalion was based around Wondecla, south-west of Cairns.  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. 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. Conditions around the airfield were highly malarial and the machine gunners were subjected to a number of aerial attacks. , The battalion was relieved around Gusap in March 1944, and returned to Dobodura by air. These were presented in a triangular shape with a border of grey. Australian Machine Gun Battalions – World War 2. A Machine Gun Battalion was a type of Infantry Battalion created to provide infantry (rifle) battalions with fire support, primarily from Machine Guns.. First World War. 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