6th Brigade (Australia)

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6th Brigade
The 6th Brigade.png
Active 1915–1996, 2010–current
Country  Australia
Allegiance Australian Coat of Arms.png HM Queen Elizabeth II
Branch Australian Army Emblem.JPG Australian Army
Type Infantry (1915–1996)
Command support and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (2010–current)
Size 3,500 (Active)[1]
Part of 2nd Division (1915–20 & 1991–96)
4th Division (1920–44)
5th Division (1944–45)
3rd Division (1948–91)
Forces Command (2010–current)
Engagements

First World War

Second World War

Insignia
Unit Colour Patch Hq 6 Brigade unit colour patch.png

The 6th Brigade is an Australian Army brigade. First formed during the First World War as an infantry unit of the Australian Imperial Force, the brigade served at Gallipoli and in France and Belgium on the Western Front. In the 1920s, as part of a reorganisation of the Australian Army, it became part of the 3rd Military District of the Citizens Military Force, encompassing units from Victoria and South Australia. In 1991, it became part of the Ready Reserve Scheme, based at Enoggera Barracks, in Brisbane, Queensland, before being disbanded in 1996 when the scheme was discontinued. The brigade was re-raised on 1 March 2010 to oversee the Army's command support and intelligence, surveillance, target acquisition and reconnaissance (CS & ISTAR) units.

History[edit]

First World War[edit]

Originally formed in early 1915, the brigade consisted of four infantry battalions—the 21st, 22nd, 23rd and 24th Battalion—all of which were raised in Victoria.[2][3] After being sent to Egypt in June 1915 with the 2nd Division as part of an expansion of the Australian Imperial Force, the brigade was sent to Gallipoli in September, however, as the last Allied offensive had come to an end the previous month, from then up until December 1915 when the Anzacs were evacuated from the peninsula, the brigade was not involved in any significant engagements.[4] Later, in 1916, they were transferred to the Western Front, where they took part in the fighting in the trenches until the end of the war.[4]

During their time on the Western Front, the 6th Brigade was involved in a number of major battles including the Battle of Pozieres, the Battle of Mouquet Farm, and the Battle of Bullecourt. They were also involved in beating back the tide of the German Spring Offensive in 1918 before taking part in the final campaign of the war as part of the Hundred Days Offensive.[4]

Australian soldiers from the 6th Brigade marching in the Battle of the Somme

Inter war years[edit]

In 1920, following the re-organisation of the Citizens Military Force (CMF), 6th Brigade became part of the 4th Infantry Division, encompassing units drawn from Victoria and South Australia.[5] In 1928, it became part of the 3rd Military District and was re-organised to include the 7th, 8th, 21st and 38th Battalions.[6]

Second World War[edit]

At the start of the Second World War, the 6th Brigade undertook garrison duties in Western Australia,[7] however, in July 1943, consisting of the 14th/32nd, 19th and 36th Battalions, it was sent to New Guinea.[8][9][10] Based in Buna, in Papua, they carried out garrison duties as well as patrols around the areas surrounding Milne and Nassu Bay. In May 1944, they moved to Lae. In June they were sent to Buolo for a rest, before returning to Lae in September where they were transferred from the 4th Division to the 5th Division and the decision was made to send them to New Britain.[8]

In November advanced elements of the brigade from the 19th Battalion landed at Jacquinot Bay, and after the other two battalions arrived they began a campaign of harassment against the much larger Japanese forces on the island, with the objective of restricting Japanese to freedom of action in the area.[8] The brigade advanced along the coast, using barges, crossing the Mevelo River in February before carrying out a number of patrols towards the Wulwut River to the east. In mid-March, they came up against the main Japanese defensive line in the Waitavalo–Tol Plantation around Bacon Hill and over the course of two days, the 19th Battalion and 14th/32nd fought to capture it.[8][10]

Following this, the 6th Brigade established a defensive line that extended across the Gazelle Peninsula, and from there they continued to mount patrols into Japanese held-territory until April 1945 when they were withdrawn back to Australia.[8] Although it was originally planned that the brigade would re-organise to make up its losses and begin training for participation in further operations, as the war in the Pacific wound down, the decision was made disbanded the 6th Brigade and a number of its component units in July 1945 as part of the demobilisation process.[8]

Post War[edit]

In 1948, the CMF was re-raised[7] and 6th Brigade, under the command of Brigadier Selwyn Porter, was allocated to 3rd Division along with the 4th and 9th Brigade.[11][12] By April 1953, it was part of Southern Command.[13]

Between 1960 and 1965 the Australian Army briefly adopted the Pentropic divisional structure. During this time brigade formations were discontinued, although their headquarters units remained in many cases, to improve the flow of information.[14] Following the decision to return to the traditional triangular divisional structure in 1965, the brigade formations were re-adopted, albeit with the designation of 'task forces' rather than 'brigades', as it was felt that the later term was too "rigid".[15] As a result the 6th Brigade was known for a time as the '6th Task Force'. In early 1982, however, the designation of brigade was readopted.[7]

The Ready Reserve Scheme was established in 1991 and the brigade was re-organised around this scheme, forming a combined arms element consisting of roughly 3,719 personnel incorporating 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, 8th/9th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, 49th Battalion, Royal Queensland Regiment, 'A' Squadron, 4th Cavalry Regiment, 139th Signals Regiment, 1st Field Regiment and the 6th Brigade Administrative Support Battalion.[16] At this time, the 3rd Division was disbanded and 6th Brigade was re-allocated to the 2nd Division.[17]

Later, in 1996, after the decision was made to discontinue the Ready Reserve Scheme, 6th Brigade was disbanded, and its units were merged with others and reallocated to 7th Brigade.[18]

Current role[edit]

The 6th Brigade was re-raised on 1 March 2010 to command the Army's CS & ISTAR units. Its headquarters is located at Victoria Barracks, Sydney and it forms part of the Army's Forces Command. The 6th Brigade's current constituent units are:[19]

See also[edit]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ The Australian Army. Modernisation from Beersheba and Beyond. Commonwealth of Australia. p. 5. Retrieved 4 December 2014. 
  2. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 68.
  3. ^ "6th Brigade". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "21st Battalion, World War I". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  5. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 91.
  6. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 102.
  7. ^ a b c "Brief History of the 2nd Division". Army History Unit. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  8. ^ a b c d e f "19th Battalion (South Sydney Regiment), World World II". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  9. ^ "36th Battalion (St. George's English Rifle Regiment), World War II". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  10. ^ a b "14th/32nd Battalion (Prahan/Footscray Regiment), World War II". Australian War Memorial. Retrieved 7 September 2009. 
  11. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 209.
  12. ^ McCarthy 2003, p. 16
  13. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 238.
  14. ^ McCarthy 2003, p. 130.
  15. ^ McCarthy 2003, p. 131.
  16. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 351.
  17. ^ Kuring 2004, p. 403.
  18. ^ Palazzo 2001, p. 354.
  19. ^ Gaze, Jillian (18 March 2010). "Key to Adaptability". Army (Australian Army). Retrieved 20 March 2010. 

References[edit]

  • Kuring, Ian (2004). Red Coats to Cams: A History of Australian Infantry 1788–2001. Loftus: Australian Military History Publications. ISBN 978-1-876439-99-6. 
  • McCarthy, Dayton (2003). The Once and Future Army: A History of the Citizen Military Forces, 1947–74. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-551569-2. 
  • Palazzo, Albert (2001). The Australian Army: A History of Its Organisation 1901–2001. South Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0-19-551506-4.