[9], Initially, the battalion was stretched across several locations, with companies being formed in Seymour, Victoria, Brighton, Tasmania, and Northam, Western Australia. 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. 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. Battalion Headquarters 4 x Company. 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. [61], 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. [3] A period of leave followed, after which personnel concentrated at Wallgrove. The plaque location is indicated by the red poppy in the second image. [32] 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. Embarked from Woodside on 8th April 1941 for the Middle East. Other reasons identified for the concept's limited use include distrust of overhead fire by some commanders, a preference for organic fire support over attached sub-units, over-estimating the difficulty of transporting Vickers guns in the jungle, and a tendency to ignore targets that could not be seen. [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. [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. [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. [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. [24] Missing many of their weapons, the troops were re-equipped with rifles from the Orcades's armoury. 1st Australian Machine Gun Battalion. Its role during this period was to defend Gusap Airfield,[15] amidst heavy fighting around Shaggy Ridge. [46], Although it had been intended to deploy the Australians as part of the Allied efforts to recapture the Philippines, this did not eventuate. 2/2 Australian Machine Gun Battalion history written by a Veteran. They were designated with the same number as the parent Brigade. These embarked on eight smaller vessels: the Silver Willow, Penrith Castle, Shillong, Tarifa, Sophecles, Nigerstroom, Industria and Tricolor. 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. [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. 21st Australian Machine Gun Company. 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. [7][20] The 2/3rd's casualties during the campaign amounted to one officer and 41 other ranks killed or wounded. 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. On 3 March, the battalion went into action around Leuwiliang for the first time as Dutch troops began to withdraw. 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. 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. The battalion remained in Cowra, where they carried out training, for ten months, eventually proceeding north to south-east Queensland in May 1943. [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 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. Each Infantry Brigade had a Machine Gun Company under command. [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. Lewis Gun Section: 10 Other Ranks 1 Lewis light-machine gun. [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. 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. He served alongside Weary Dunlop and survived, to live out his days in Adelaide, passing away at 84 years old. There the battalion undertook a vigorous physical training regime to regain the fitness lost from the sea voyage. 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 [17], The battalion received one battle honour for its service in New Guinea: "Liberation of Australian New Guinea". Home / Australia / Army / Patches / Colour Patches (World War 2) / Colour Patches - WW2 (Full Size) (Machine Gun and Pioneer Battalions) Please note that we are taking some time off over Christmas and New Year from 19th December, 2020 to 10th January, 2021. 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. An armoured car regiment was formed in 1933 based on the 19th Light Horse Regiment. 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. Charlie left us with a substantial collection of diaries, maps and logs of his days under the Japanese. 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. 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. Not so in WW2. 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'. 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. In June/July 1941 it saw action against Vichy Fre… [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. 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. The convoy reached Gourock in Scotland in mid-June. 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 Light Aid Detachment of electrical and mechanical engineers was also attached. [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. In addition, one member was appointed as a Commander of the Order of the British Empire and four were appointed as Members of the Order of the British Empire. 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