2/2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion

From Our Contribution

2-2 MGB.jpg
Aug 1942 Tel el Eisa, Egypt. Gun crew of 2/2nd Australian Machine Gun Battalion in their camouflaged gun position. AWM Photo 024752
2-2 MGB Tarakan.jpg
June 1945 Tarakan Island. 2/2nd Macjone Gun Battalion members using a captured Japanese 7.7 mm Type 92 Machine Gun on Japanese positions on the Joyce Feature. AWM photo 108910

Brief History

This battalion was formed in May 1940 as part of the 7th Infantry Division. Battalion HQ and Headquarters Company were raised in NSW, two companies were raised in Queensland, and one each in Western Australia and Tasmania. In June the Western Australian and Tasmanian companies were transferred to the 2/3rd Australian Machine Gun Battalion, with new 'A' and 'B' Companies raised in NSW. The Queensland companies became 'C' and 'D'. In December 1940 the battalion sailed to the Middle East, and in January 1941 it was at Hill 69 in Palestine where it trained until April when it moved to Mersa Matruh in Egypt as part of the force protecting Egypt from the German advance. In September they returned to Hill 69 where they became part of the 9th Infantry Division which remained behind after the rest of the Australian troops returned to Australia.

In January 1942 the battalion moved to Syria as part of the Tripoli defences until June 1942 when they were rushed back to Egypt to again protect it from German advances, and later to participate in the El Alamein campaign. In January 1943 the battalion returned to Australia with the rest of the 9th Infantry Division. Following leave, they reassembled during April in Kairi, north Queensland to retrain for jungle warfare. In August they moved to Milne Bay in Papua to prepare for an amphibious landing at Red Beach near Lae. Following the capture of Lae, most of the battalion moved there, while 'C' Company participated in the attack on Finschhafen. The battalion then concentrated at Finschhafen in October before individual companies supported infantry units in attacks on enemy locations. By January 1944 the battalion had concentrated at Gusika and in February they returned to Australia.

The battalion reassembled at Ravenshoe in Queensland after enjoying some leave to prepare for a role in the recapture of islands north of New Guinea. The battalion moved to Morotai in April and during the recapture of Borneo, 'D' Company assisted with the landing at Tarakan Island in May, 'C' Company landed on Labuan Island in June, and 'B' Company in the landing on the Borneo mainland. The companies were primarily used as infantry troops due to the vegetation and terrain. At the conclusion of hostilities, Battalion HQ, HQ Company and 'C' Company were at Mempakul in North Borneo, 'A' Company was at Miri in Sarawak, and 'D' Company was still on Tarakan.

During the war 70 men died while a member of theis unit, and 14 were captured byt he Japanese.

Battalion Personnel

Battle Honours

  • north Africa 1941-42
  • Defence of the Alamein Line
  • Ruweisat Ridge
  • Sanyet el Miteirya
  • El Alamein
  • South West Pacific 1943-45
  • Lae-Nadzab
  • Finschhafen
  • Santtelberg
  • Borneo
  • Brunei
  • Labuan

Individual Honours

  • 2 x Distinguished Service Order
  • 1 x Military Cross
  • 1 x Distinguished Conduct Medal
  • 5 x Military Medal
  • 20 x Mentioned in Despatches


Content has come from The Unit Guide - Volume 5 - The Australian Army 1939-1945, pages 2.350 and 2.351 - Graham R McKenzie-Smith - Big Sky Publishing - 2018

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