27th Machine-Gun Battalion (New Zealand)

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27th Machine Gun Battalion
Active 1940–45
Country  New Zealand
Branch New Zealand Military Forces
Type Infantry
Role Sustained fire support
Size Battalion
Part of 2nd New Zealand Division
Equipment Vickers machine gun
Lindsay Merritt Inglis

The 27th Machine-Gun Battalion was a unit of the 2nd New Zealand Division during the Second World War. It served in the Greek Campaign, Western Desert Campaign, Tunisian Campaign, Italian Campaign and after the war took part in the Occupation of Japan. It was one of two New Zealand formations that served overseas longer than any other unit in the New Zealand Expeditionary Force. The battalion was also one of the New Zealand units that supplied men for the Long Range Desert Group.


The 27th Machine-Gun Battalion was one of the first units of the 2nd New Zealand Division to go into action in the Greek Campaign in April 1941. It took part in all the battles during the 300 miles (480 km) withdrawal to the Peloponnese, including the rearguard actions in the battle of Vevi and the battle of Mount Olympus.[1]

The battalion together with the rest of the division was withdrawn to Crete and took part in the battle of Crete during the German invasion, fighting at Maleme and Galatas.[1]

After Crete, the battalion served in the Western Desert Campaign, in Operation Crusader in 1941 and the Second battle of El Alamein, and the pursuit of the Axis forces to Tunisia where it took part in the Tunisian Campaign. Notable was the flanking manoeuvre around the Mareth Line.[1]

The battalion was next in action during the Italian Campaign during which its Vickers machine guns fired nearly nine million rounds of ammunition. It was one of the first New Zealand units to cross the Sangro River and early in 1945, was converted to an Infantry battalion and fought in the crossing of the Sillaro River and at the Gaiana Canal, ending the war with the capture of Trieste. It was then transferred to the Far East and served with the New Zealand occupation forces in Japan.[1]

On 7 August 1947 27 Battalion changed its name to 3 Battalion New Zealand Regiment.