30th Brigade (Australia)
|30th Brigade (Australia)|
Soldiers of the 39th Battalion—part of the 30th Brigade—following their relief in September 1942
The 30th Brigade was a brigade-sized infantry unit of the Australian Army. Formed in December 1941, as part of the Militia, the unit was raised for service during the Second World War. Sent to New Guinea in early March 1942, the brigade initially provided garrison troops to Port Moresby before later taking part in the fighting along the Kokoda Track and at Buna and Gona. In 1943 it was withdrawn back to Australia and was disbanded in July 1943.
The brigade was raised as a Militia formation in December 1941 in response to Japan's entry into the war. Upon establishment the brigade was raised as an independent unit, and consisted of three infantry battalions – the newly re-formed Victorian-based 39th, the Queensland 49th and the 53rd from New South Wales – which were supported by the 23rd Heavy Anti-Aircraft Battery and the 13th Field Artillery Regiment, which was equipped with First World War vintage 18-pound field guns. From the outset it was formed for the purpose of garrisoning Port Moresby, and indeed one of its battalions, the 49th, had been deployed to New Guinea as early as March 1941. Following the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Malaya; however, the decision was made to boost the force around Port Moresby up to a brigade-group sized force and as a result the 30th Brigade was formed. On 3 January 1942, the brigade was deployed to New Guinea arriving on the troopship RMS Aquitania.
Following its arrival in New Guinea, the brigade was initially employed in establishing defences around Port Moresby, but after the Japanese landings at Buna in mid-July 1942, the 39th Battalion was sent up the Kokoda Track to Kokoda to provide a blocking force. During the subsequent Kokoda Track campaign, the brigade fought a series of desperate delaying actions to slow the Japanese advance on Port Moresby throughout July and August and into September. After heavy fighting, the 30th was relieved by the 21st and 25th Brigades as veteran Second Australian Imperial Force units, which had been hurriedly brought back from the Middle East, were rushed to New Guinea to help shore up the Australian position. In October 1942, the 53rd Battalion was amalgamated with the 55th Battalion to form the 55th/53rd Battalion. After this, the brigade undertook garrison duties and further training in Port Moresby before taking part in the liberation of Gona and Sanananda during the Battle of Buna–Gona. It was committed to the fighting in December 1942 when the 39th Battalion was dispatched to Gona, and the 49th and 55th/53rd Battalions reinforced the Australian units that were fighting around Sanananda.
In early 1943, the brigade was brought back to Australia for reorganisation. During this time, the 3rd Battalion was added to its order of battle. Based on the Atherton Tablelands in Queensland, the brigade was brought back up to establishment and was transferred to the 6th Division, with a view to participating in further operations in New Guinea, however it was decided to disband the brigade and it was disbanded on 3 July.
Over the course of the brigade's existence, its order of battle changed a number of times as various infantry battalions were force assigned or reallocated to other brigades. The following units were attached at various times:
The following officers commanded the 30th Brigade:
- Austin (1988), p. 19.
- Keogh (1965), p. 157.
- "39th Battalion (Hawthorne–Kew Regiment)". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 4 January 2011.
- "53rd Battalion (West Sydney Regiment)". Second World War 1939–1945 units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 13 November 2009.
- Brune (2004), p. 560.
- "3rd Battalion (The Werriwa Regiment)". Second World War 1939–1945 units. Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 13 May 2009.
- "30 Australian Infantry Brigade: Unit Subordinates". Orders of Battle.com. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- "30 Australian Infantry Brigade: Appointments". Orders of Battle.com. Retrieved 2 January 2010.
- Austin, Victor (1988). To Kokoda And Beyond – The Story of the 39th Battalion 1941–1943. Carlton, Victoria: Melbourne University Press. ISBN 0-522-84374-3.
- Brune, Peter (2004). A Bastard of a Place: The Australians in Papua. Crows Nest, New South Wales: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 978-1-74114-403-1.
- Keogh, Eustace (1965). South West Pacific 1941–45. Melbourne, Victoria: Grayflower Publications. OCLC 7185705.