2/2nd Battalion (Australia)

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2/2nd Battalion
The 2-2nd Infantry Battalion (Australian) during review by Major-General I.G. MacKay (August 1941).jpg
Members of the 2/2nd Battalion in 1941
Active 24 October 1939 – 15 February 1946
Country  Australia
Branch Australian Army
Type Infantry
Part of 16th Brigade, 6th Division
Engagements

World War II

Commanders
Notable
commanders
George Wootten
Paul Cullen

The 2/2nd Battalion was an infantry battalion of the Australian Army raised for service as part of the all-volunteer Second Australian Imperial Force during World War II. Formed in October 1939, the battalion formed part of the 16th Brigade, which was assigned to the 6th Division. In early 1940, the battalion was deployed to the Middle East, where it completed its training in Palestine. In January 1941, the 2/2nd took part in the Battle of Bardia, and then the Capture of Tobruk.[1]

Soldiers wearing greatcoats and steel helmets with fixed bayonets run past whitewashed buildings damaged by shellfire
Troops from the 2/2nd enter Bardia.

In March and April 1941, it took part in the disastrous Battle of Greece. The majority of the battalion was evacuated back to Palestine, but a component took part in the Battle of Crete in May 1941 as part of the 16th Brigade Composite Battalion. Following the conclusion of the fighting on Crete, the 2/2nd was rebuilt and undertook garrison duties in Syria between October 1941 and January 1942, at which time the Australian Government requested its return following Japan's entry into the war.[1]

En route back to Australia, the 16th and 17th Brigades were diverted to Ceylon (present-day Sri Lanka) and the 2/2nd helped defend the island against a possible Japanese invasion until July when it continued its return journey back to Australia, arriving in August 1942. The following month, the 2/2nd was thrust into the Kokoda Track campaign, arriving just as the tide turned in the Allies' favour. It later fought actions along the track as the Australians advanced north towards the Japanese beachheads around Buna and Gona, suffering heavy casualties. By the time it fought its final actions around Sanananda, the battalion was down just 88 personnel.[1]

Throughout 1943–44, the battalion was reorganised in Australia before taking part in the Aitape–Wewak campaign in 1944–45. For his actions during the campaign, one of the battalion's officers, Lieutenant Albert Chowne, was awarded a posthumous Victoria Cross. The 2/2nd was disbanded in early 1946.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d "2/2nd Battalion". Second World War, 1939–1945 units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 23 June 2014.