The 200 Aussies that defied a Jap Division

Discussion in 'War Against Japan' started by Macca, Mar 13, 2009.

  1. Macca

    Macca Member

    I have just finished reading the most fascinating and surely little known accounts of the 2/2 Independent company Australian Army. They had garrisoned Portuguese Timor shortly before the Japanese invaded Dutch Timor and quickly disposed of a more substantial if very ad hoc and under supplied Infantry force. Having no radio contact with the outside world the 2/2nd was dismissed in Australia as having suffered the same fate as their brothers across the border (death or capture) but that was far from the truth. Having trained as commandos (under Mike Calvert of later Chindit fame) they chose to stay and fight as a guerilla unit. This they did with incredible results for 11 months and to cut a long story short the 200 odd men eventually tied down over 30,000 Japanese troops, planes and even naval craft that were desperately needed elsewhere, most notably New Guinea and the Solomons. Can you imagine what would have happened at Kokoda if these men had been available!

    I'd like to know if any of the Aussies out there have ever heard of the 2/2nd or their story.
    Cheers
    Macca
     
  2. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

  3. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    Just my kind of stuff! :indexCANAHAIH:

    Try this two links for the whole deal about Sparrow Force:

    Official Histories; look in chapter 21

    Official Histories; look in appendix 2
     
  4. Macca

    Macca Member

    Ah Smudger your 2nd link to the Aus War memorial contained the book that I have read in its references. 'Independent Company' by Bernard Callinan who was 2/2nd CO. It's not often that I come across a factual account that is so gripping that I can't put it down but this was one, all the more fascinating being written by the very guy who largely orchestrated the whole thing. It's not often that we Kiwis are seen taking our hats off to our brothers across the ditch but I do to these guys. They had no idea at the time just how significant their actions were and because of their largely un trumpeted heroism nobody since has attributed to them what they deserve but as I originally wrote imagine if those Japs had been free to garrison Guadalcanal or New Guinea or even go straight on to Darwin. Unfortunately the book has not been reprinted since 1989 so I'm not sure how many copied there are in existence. i'd love to make a TV doco out of it and it probably has parallels to what's happening in East timor today.
     
  5. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    A Movie film by Spielberg/Hanks would really set the story straight and I am sure that it would be a best seller.

    I wonder if they were the forunners of the 'Z' Force?

    Regards
    Tom
     
  6. Macca

    Macca Member

    No mate forget Spielberg and Hanks I'd pick Ridley Scott and Hugh Jackman much grittier and realistic styles. As far as Z Force origins are concerned you could be right because the foreword to the book describes how 2/2nd and 2/4th that succeeded them were picked men and specially trained as harassing forces. They killed an estimated 1500 japs and lost 40 of their own in just under 12 months. This success must surely have had some bearing on later plans for raiding forces like Z force.
     
  7. Smudger Jnr

    Smudger Jnr Our Man in Berlin

    Any way you care to look at it, the figures say it all.

    A really monumental achievement against great odds. But it also shows that the leaders were exceptional.

    Regards
    Tom
     
  8. :rolleyes:G'day all

    Think you will find the most comprehensive account of the 2/2nd is the book ALL THE BULLS MEN by Cyril Ayris. It is 500 odd pages and contains nominal roll of original 2/2 members and also roll of the fallen.

    It is the full unit history and a great historical read if you can manage to get a copy.

    An earlier thread asked who had the hardest job during the war, don't think many would have had it much harder than the blokes of the Independent Companies including Z and M Special units.If you were captured it was almost certain execution.

    The other thing that made it very hard to hide was the fact that there were usually only three kinds of people on the islands, the Japs the local brown people or the tall white people, the soldiers sort of stood out in a crowd.

    Anyway it is great that you blokes are reading some of our local military history and can then compare what happened in the Islands as against the war in Europe.

    Cheers Rob
     
  9. G'day Macca,

    Just a little more on the 2/2nd, after more training on their return to Australia from Timor they went to New Guinea and then to New Britain where 50000 Japs were trapped south of Rabaul. So to say they saw a bit of action would be an understatement.

    Cheers Rob

    PS Don't you ever take your hat off when you have just been flogged in a test match by Aussies?B) ( Accross the ditch rivals ) but we fight like Anzacs.
     
  10. Macca

    Macca Member

    Hey Troopie
    Don't mention the cricket or I'll mention the Rugby (Union and League for once!) although you guys in NT probably care more about Rules. But you're right, no matter what the rivalry we will always be Anzacs.
    Cheers mate
     
  11. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    [FONT=&quot]Rabaul New Britain[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The 2/22 Battalion (Lark Force) and the 2/10 Field Ambulance (about 1400 personnel) where in Rabaul when 5000 Japanese attacked on the 23 January 1942.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Due to the size of the harbour there was little chance of defending the area effectively.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]150 POW’s where executed at Tol Plantation[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]1050 POWs in Rabaul in 1942, only these 4 were found alive in Rabaul at the end of the war.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]On the 22 June 1942, prisoners held in Rabaul were place aboard the Japanese Ship Montevideo Maru. [/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Nine days later, on its way to Hainan Island it was torpedoed and sunk by the US submarine USS Sturgeon.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]The Montevideo Maru was sunk by the USS Sturgeon skippered by Lt. Cdr Wright on the 1 July 1942.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Wounded and older prisoners were believed to have left on the Buenos Aires Maru or Naruto Maru[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Members of a Melbourne Salvation Army band were members of the 2/10 Field Ambulance and none survived.[/FONT]
    [FONT=&quot]Fall of Rabaul: 'Left to their fate'[/FONT]
     
  12. Mushin

    Mushin Junior Member

    Some years ago i met one of the Aussies who had fought in the war and stayed on the island. this was at a Public meeting in the Kew Library, in Melbourne Victoria some 30 years ago. He returned to Timor every so often to thank the people for their generosity and their help during the war. At the time the island was under "administration' by Indonesia and the meeting was for we Aussies to understand how to help our previous comrades in arms.
    Too long to go into but he showed marvellous photographs of the island. I also had had the luck to meet the Indonesian officer who led a commando force into Timor during that war whose team also inflicted a lot of damage there...During his training on Wilson's promontory and later leave in melbourne he met an Australian woman and married her. He eventually rose to sit in the Indonesian Cabinet.
    Their story is published by VIKING ISBN 13579108642. An Unconventional Woman by Jean Tahija. It is more the story written 50 years later of her life in Indonesia and the post -war construction.:poppy:
     
  13. spidge

    spidge RAAF RESEARCHER

    I have just finished reading the most fascinating and surely little known accounts of the 2/2 Independent company Australian Army. They had garrisoned Portuguese Timor shortly before the Japanese invaded Dutch Timor and quickly disposed of a more substantial if very ad hoc and under supplied Infantry force. Having no radio contact with the outside world the 2/2nd was dismissed in Australia as having suffered the same fate as their brothers across the border (death or capture) but that was far from the truth. Having trained as commandos (under Mike Calvert of later Chindit fame) they chose to stay and fight as a guerilla unit. This they did with incredible results for 11 months and to cut a long story short the 200 odd men eventually tied down over 30,000 Japanese troops, planes and even naval craft that were desperately needed elsewhere, most notably New Guinea and the Solomons. Can you imagine what would have happened at Kokoda if these men had been available!

    I'd like to know if any of the Aussies out there have ever heard of the 2/2nd or their story.
    Cheers
    Macca

    Coincidental it must be. Was just watching this on the History Channel with Original film.

    Seems one lad from Western Australia was a former Roo (Kangaroo) shooter and was responsible for shooting 47 of the enemy on his own.

    Cheers

    Geoff
     
  14. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    I have recently been chatting on the net with my Nephew, in Australia, and I asked him about his Stepdads, Father who served in 2/2 Commando, he told me his Stepdad has this book on the unit, A History of the 2/2nd Independent Company and 2/2 Commando Squadron A History of the 2/2nd Independent Company and 2/2 Commando Squadron [RB01643] - $85.00 : Regimental Books, Specialising in Australian Military Books which along with 'All Bulls men' which is mentioned earlier in the thread would, I imagine pretty much cover the 2/2 very comprehensively, he also gave me his name and I found this information on the excellent site in this link, WW2 Nominal Roll I know he served on PNG, but I will try to find out some more and see if he was on Timor which would be intresting as I have a book on the 2/2 on Timor!
     
  15. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    Other books on the subject are Timor 1942 and The Men Who Came Out of the Ground (recent publication)
     
  16. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    I know he served on PNG, but I will try to find out some more and see if he was on Timor which would be intresting as I have a book on the 2/2 on Timor!

    Were Independent Companies ever involved with Kanga Force? Based on the nature of their job, I think they should have... :unsure:

    I read the Digger Official History for PNG '42-'43 a rather long while ago, and this is one of the subjects I don't quite remember about :blush:
     
  17. wtid45

    wtid45 Very Senior Member

    Were Independent Companies ever involved with Kanga Force? Based on the nature of their job, I think they should have... :unsure:

    I read the Digger Official History for PNG '42-'43 a rather long while ago, and this is one of the subjects I don't quite remember about :blush:
    You mean these Independent companies ;) In May, Kanga Force, which included the 2/5th Independent Company, was airlifted into Wau to operate as a guerrilla force against the Japanese in the Markham Valley. On 29 June Kanga force raided Salamaua inflicting heavy casualties and capturing the first Japanese equipment and documents taken by the Australian Army.
    On 31 August a strong Japanese group arrived at Mubo but with the Japanese on the offensive along the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay reinforcements were not available for Kanga Force until October when 2/7th Independent Company joined. The battles for and around Salamaua
     
  18. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    You mean these Independent companies ;) In May, Kanga Force, which included the 2/5th Independent Company, was airlifted into Wau to operate as a guerrilla force against the Japanese in the Markham Valley. On 29 June Kanga force raided Salamaua inflicting heavy casualties and capturing the first Japanese equipment and documents taken by the Australian Army.
    On 31 August a strong Japanese group arrived at Mubo but with the Japanese on the offensive along the Kokoda Trail and at Milne Bay reinforcements were not available for Kanga Force until October when 2/7th Independent Company joined. The battles for and around Salamaua

    So, that means that your vet served with both outfits in less than a year? To find out would shed a lot of light on the operation of the posting system under wartime conditions.

    This gets better every time! :)
     
  19. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    The 2/2 Independent Company (later 2/2 Commando Sqn) did not go to New Guinea until June 1943, after re-grouping after Timor.
     
  20. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    The 2/2 Independent Company (later 2/2 Commando Sqn) did not go to New Guinea until June 1943, after re-grouping after Timor.

    Then Jason's veteran went first to Timor and then to PNG...

    Some trip!
     

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