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6th Australian Infantry Division Artillery


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#1 DavidW

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 08:48 AM

When the Infantry components of the 6th Australian Infantry Division were withdrawn from North Africa to fight in the Greek campaign, did the Div Art also go?

As a supplementary question, I had always assumed that the Division's Anti tank Regiment, the 2/1st, had gone to the Western Desert with the rest of the Division, but I can't find any documentary evidence to support this. Does anyone know?

Edited by DavidW, 04 September 2011 - 01:55 PM.
Supplementary question

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#2 dryan67

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 02:57 PM

I have attached a PDF file that shows the order of battle for the 6th Australian Division in Greece, including all of the divisional artillery. You can find more information in the war diaries online at the Australian War Memorial site.

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#3 DavidW

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 03:12 PM

Thank you.
I would therefore assume that the Divisional Artillery also departed N.A in early April 1941.

The memorial site does not provide any indication as to if the 2/1 A/T Regiment was present in N.A. (At least I have never found anything!)

The same applies to the 2/1 L.A/A Regiment. I can find no evidence of that being present in North Africa either. If anyone can help?
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#4 dryan67

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 03:42 PM

DavidW have you actually gone through all of the 6th Division war diaries (there are also war diaries for I Australian Corps) at the AWM website. Have you checked:

Second World War Diaries - AWM52, Item 1/5/12 | Australian War Memorial

Also, all of the official histories are on-line as well.

Here is my summary history for 2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment:


2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment, RAA
Raised
October 1939 in Queensland (except for one battery from Tasmania)
Batteries
1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th Anti-Tank Batteries

The regiment was originally raised as 2/5th Field Regiment but was shortly called 2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment. It formed part of 6th Australian Infantry Division from its formation until the end of the war. It went to England with 18th Australian Infantry Brigade leaving Sydney on 4 May 1940 and arriving at Glasgow on 17 June 1940. It was broken up in England as two independent batteries but reformed in September 1940. It left England on 15 November 1940 and arrived in Alexandria on 31 December 1940. It served under the division during the early campaigns against Bardia and Tobruk until February 1941, when the division was withdrawn to Alexandria. The regiment then went with the division to Crete, arriving on 3 April 1941. It was evacuated at the end of April 1941 and returned with the 16th Australian Infantry Brigade for Egypt and Palestine. One Troop served under 4th Cavalry Brigade in Syria from June to July 1941. It was then attached to 6th British Infantry Division in Syria from July to October 1941.
The regiment left Syria in early March 1942 for Australia. In April 1942, 2nd Battery served under command of 11th Infantry Brigade at Townsville. One 6-pounder of the regiment was used in December 1942 on the Sanananda track in New Guinea. The regiment remained in Australia until October 1944, when it served under the division in New Guinea at Wewak.

There was no 2/1st Light AA Regiment until August 1941. See my summary for 2/1st Heavy AA Regiment below:

2/1st Heavy Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RAA
Raised
1 May 1940 in New South Wales
Batteries
1st, 2nd, 3rd Batteries

The regiment was formed as part of corps troops with 1st Battery formed in New South Wales and 2nd and 3rd Batteries in Victoria. On 29 June 1940, half of 2nd Battery was sent to Darwin. It arrived on 1 July and moved to Larreykah Barracks with the 2nd Section at Darwin and 3rd Section at Parap Camp. It remained there until December 1940, when it was replaced by 14th AA Battery and was recalled to Sydney. It left Sydney for the Middle East in June 1941 and arrived on 25 July 1941.
In August 1941, it was converted to a Light AA Regiment and served under 1st Australian AA Brigade in Palestine. It then served under 7th Australian Infantry Division during the invasion of Syria. It returned to Australia with 7th Australian Infantry Division and corps troops in March 1942. It was sent to the Darwin area after the 19 February 1942 Japanese air raid. It had the responsibility of the AA defence of all airfields in the Northern Territory area. The 3rd Battery was sent to Port Moresby to form part of its AA defence on 11 April 1942. The regiment reformed as 2/1st Composite AA Regiment in July 1943 and became part of I Australian Corps Troops. It was located at Finschhafen in October and November 1943. It returned to Queensland in early 1944 and remained as corps troops until the for the rest of the war. It served under I Australian Corps in the Balikipan, Borneo landings from 1 July to 15 August 1945.
3rd Battery, which left the regiment when it became a Composite AA Regiment, landed with 7th Australian Infantry Division as an airborne unit at Lae-Nadzab in early September 1943. It served there until
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#5 dryan67

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 03:44 PM

Slight correction for 2/1st Anti-Tank Regiment. The reference to Crete should be Greece as listed in the first paragraph of the history. Sorry.
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#6 DavidW

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 04:17 PM

DavidW have you actually gone through all of the 6th Division war diaries (there are also war diaries for I Australian Corps) at the AWM website. Have you checked:


Possibly not, it's a massive site that I am not over familiar with.

Thank you for your superb information.
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#7 DavidW

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 04:25 PM

Do you happen to have a potted history of the 2/4th Lt A/A Reg for 1940 - 1942?
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#8 dryan67

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 07:30 PM

Here is the 2/4th LAA Regiment, RAA


2/4th Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, RAA
Raised
5 January 1942 in the Middle East
Batteries
10th, 11th, 12th Light AA Batteries

The regiment was formed from 26th Anti-Tank Company along with drafts from the other AA regiments in the Middle East including 2/1st and 2/3rd Light AA and 2/2nd Heavy AA Regiments. It joined 9th Australian Infantry Division in Palestine upon raising. It went with the division to Egypt in June and served with it on the Alamein line until early November 1942. It returned with the division to Australia in January 1943.
The regiment landed at Finschafen on 22 September 1943 under 9th Australian Infantry Division. 11th Battery supported 7th Division in the Ramu Valley. The regiment was located at Sattleberg during October and November 1943. It returned to Australia with the division in December 1943. It then became part of I Corps Troops and was located at Atherton, Queensland in December 1944.
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#9 DavidW

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Posted 04 September 2011 - 07:43 PM

Thanks, that's brilliant.

I am assuming that it was 4x batteries 40mm Bofors, but do you know the Battery numbers/designations for the latter half of 1942?
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#10 dryan67

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 12:50 AM

I believe the batteries remained 10th, 11th, and 12th throughout the life of the regiment.
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#11 DavidW

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 06:09 AM

Thanks for that.

Would they have been 12 or 16 gun batteries?
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#12 spider

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 08:04 AM

Australia in the War of 1939–1945. Series 1 – Army - Volume Vol2 | Australian War Memorial
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Spider
Better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to speak out and remove all doubt.

Sig Hector Warnes 2/11 Batt and 6th Div Sigs (2nd AIF) - Served: 16/04/1940 - 31/07/1943
Cpl Ivor J Warnes RAAF - Served: 06/11/1939 - 23/11/1944
 

 


#13 dryan67

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 04:23 PM

Joslen's "Order of Battle" has the 2/4th LAA Regiment, RAA at Alamein on October 23rd, 1942 with 48 Bofors. Given a three battery configuration, this would imply 16 guns per battery.

I have attached an order of battle (location statement) for 9th Division including 2/4th LAA Regiment, RAA for October 11th, 1942 showing 10th, 11th and 12th Batteries for the regiment. This combined with Joslen's number of guns should confirm the 16 gun batteries.

David

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#14 dryan67

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 04:38 PM

You might be interested in my series of books entitled "The British Armies in World War II: An Organisational History". It included eleven volumes and four supplements covering the British Army, all the Commonwealth countries, the Indian Army (3 vols), and empire forces. It includes histories, organisational charts, tables, and orders of battle.

See here for the full list:

THE NAFZIGER COLLECTION

Scroll down until you find the series.
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#15 DavidW

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Posted 05 September 2011 - 10:47 PM

Thanks one and all!
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