2/10th Battalion (Australia)
|Size||~800–900 men[Note 1]|
|Part of||18th Brigade, 7th Division|
|Colours||Purple over Light blue|
|Unit Colour Patch|
The 2/10th Battalion (The Adelaide Rifles) was a battalion of the Australian Army was raised at Wayville Showgrounds, Adelaide, on 13 October 1939, as part of the 18th Brigade of the 6th Australian Division for World War II. The Battalion was the first South Australian battalion formed for the Second AIF and was commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Arthur Verrier.
En route to the Middle East, the 18th Brigade was diverted to the United Kingdom to bolster the defences following the fall of France and became part of the 9th Australian Division. The 2/10th disembarked at Gourock, Scotland on 18 June 1940 and was based at Lopcombe Corner, England. The Second AIF’s first casualty due to enemy action occurred on 8 July 1940, when Private Albert Webb was wounded in a strafing attack by a German aircraft. The battalion was relocated to Colchester in October 1940 and left the United Kingdom on 17 November 1940.
The battalion arrived in Egypt on 31 December 1940. In February 1941, the 2/10th was transferred to the 7th Australian Division. D Company of the 2/10th joined the 2/9th Australian Infantry Battalion for its attack on Giarabub on 21 March 1941. The battalion was not committed to active operations until it moved to Tobruk in early April 1941. The 2/10th took part in the defence of Tobruk until it was withdrawn at the end of August 1941. After leaving Tobruk, the 2/10th trained in Palestine and between late September 1941 and early January 1942 formed part of the garrison force in Syria. The 2/10th sailed for Australia on 11 February 1942, arriving in Adelaide on 29 March 1942.
The 2/10th arrived at Milne Bay, Papua on 12 August 1942 and during the Battle of Milne Bay on the night of 27 August 1942 was overwhelmed by Imperial Japanese marines and suffered significant casualties. After regrouping and reinforcement the battalion participated in the Battle of Buna-Gona attacking Buna between 23 December 1942 and 2 January 1943, the 2/10th lost 113 men killed and 205 wounded. The 2/10th then participated in the attack against Sanananda between 9–24 January 1943. The battalion returned home to Australia on 12 March 1943.
The 2/10th returned to Papua in early August 1943, training around Port Moresby until deployed to the Finisterre Mountains in New Guinea on 31 December 1943, where it participated in Battle for Shaggy Ridge between 4 January - 1 February 1944. The battalion returned to Australia on 8 May 1944 and the 2/10th spent a year training.
On 1 July 1945, the battalion landed at Balikpapan, Borneo and stormed the heights of Parramatta Ridge and clearing the Japanese from in and around Balikpapan town, and was withdrawn into reserve on 6 July 1945. With the end of World War II, the personnel from 2/10th progressively returned to Australia and discharged, with only a cadre of only 42 personnel remaining. The battalion disbanded at Balikpapan on 29 December 1945.
- By the start of World War II, the authorised strength of an Australian infantry battalion was 910 men all ranks, however, later in the war it fell to 803.
- Palazzo 2003, p. 6.
- Palazzo, Albert (2003). "Organising for Jungle Warfare". In Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey. The Foundations of Victory: The Pacific War 1943–1944. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory: Army History Unit. ISBN 978-0-646-43590-9.