The 200 Aussies that defied a Jap Division

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

  1. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

  2. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

  3. Scout Sniper

    Scout Sniper Senior Member

    The history of the Independent Company's are little known outside Australia and make for great reading. Postage from Australia isn't cheap, but these unit histories are well worth it.
  4. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    • February 17, 2012 5:56PM
    FOR almost three months, Australia's first guerilla force against the Japanese was believed to have been captured or killed in East Timor during World War II.
    But for more than year, members of the 2/2nd Independent Company and their Timorese allies harassed and diverted more than 10,000 Japanese troops.
    The 270-strong commando company - mostly West Australians - was honoured during the opening of an exhibition in Perth.
    The WA Museum exhibit Debt of Honour: Australia's First Commandos and East Timor coincides with the 70th anniversary of the jungle campaign that resulted in an estimated 1000 Japanese casualties for the loss of just eight Australians.
    The 2/2nd was originally sent to East Timor on December 17, 1941, as part of Sparrow Force, along with the 2/40th Battalion and a small artillery force.
    The main battle group was quickly overrun by the advancing Japanese in February 1942 and the the remaining members of the 2/2nd retreated into the mountains to wage guerilla war.

    For almost three months the 2/2nd was listed as missing in action, as it was thought they had been captured or killed along with the 2/40th.
    But on April 19, 1942, members of the unit were able to make contact with Darwin using a wireless transmitter cobbled together from spare parts.
    For the next eight months, the commandos waged a hit-and-run campaign against the Japanese with the help of young Timorese known as "criados", some of whom joined the fighting.
    The 2/2nd was later withdrawn from Timor, but went on to serve in New Guinea and New Britain.
    The unit was distinguished by having more enemy contact against the Japanese than any other Allied unit during the war.
    WA Arts and Culture Minister John Day said the exhibition of military artifacts, rare photos and video footage showed the extraordinary efforts of the 2/2nd and the enduring friendship between the Australian soldiers, their families and the people of East Timor.
    "Lacking supplies, the soldiers relied on support from the people of East Timor who risked their lives to help the Australians, providing food, shelter and information," Mr Day said.
    "One soldier said if it wasn't for this assistance, the 2/2nd would not have lasted a week against the more numerous Japanese forces.
    "The relationship between the soldiers and the local youths was one of enduring mateship and respect, and the soldiers of the 2/2nd felt they owed their lives to the people of East Timor and many dedicated their postwar years to repaying this 'debt of honour'."
    The exhibition will run until May 20.
  5. G'day All,
    What a great thread this has turned out to be.
    As many have said, it was a little known story in Australia so I guess not a lot of our overseas members would have heard it mentioned.

    After the help that the Timorese gave our troops it was a black day when our Government did nothing to help when the Indonesians invaded Timor in about 1975.
    A lot of Timorese escaped down to Darwin at that time and have settled into our culture very well.

    Most of the books on the subject have been mentioned so if you manage to get your hands on any of them they are a great read.

    Cheers Rob
  6. spider

    spider Very Senior Member


    Debt of Honour

    In 1942 a small force of around 300 Australian commandos fought against all odds to wage a successful guerilla campaign in East Timor, holding down over 10,000 Japanese troops at a critical moment when the Japanese were only a few miles from Port Moresby.

    This exhibition investigates the heroic exploits of the commandos, the reasons for their initial successes and why the Timorese supported the Australians. It also explores the enduring relationship between the men of the 2/2nd and the people of East Timor, and the contorted relationship between the Australian Government and East Timor/Timor Leste from the 1975 invasion to the 1999 Intervention and beyond.
    This exhibition highlights the war efforts of Australia’s first guerilla commandos and their life-long endeavour to repay a ‘debt of honour’ to the people of Timor-Leste.

    • Perth 9:30am – 5:00pm, Sat 18 February 2012 – Sun 20 May 2012
    What's On | Western Australian Museum
  7. Would be great to visit, what a shame it is on for only such a short time.

    Anybody from here had a chance to have a look through?

    Cheers Rob
  8. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    I would be nice if one of our Western Australian members could have a look and report on the exhibition (with photo's :))
  9. lagarto

    lagarto Junior Member

    My father was a member of AMF 2/4 Ind Co put into Portuguese Timor to support and eventually replace 2/2nd. A cypher/signals operator and volunteer for the stay-behind party when 2/4th was evacuated, the party was chased around the mountains by large parties of Japanese-led armed Timorese natives and were eventually evacuated by a US Submarine - Gudgeon I believe - and taken to Freemantle, W.A.

    My father and a number of other members of the stay-behind party including members of 2/2nd and 2/4th were recruited into the organisation which was eventually named euphemistically Services Reconnaissance Department and some of those into Z Special, the 'super secret off-the-books unit' which placed recon units behind enemy lines and carried out a number of aggressive raids with varying success in SWPA.

    His last mission, into Portuguese Timor, gave him the 'Guinness Record' of being the only allied soldier on the island. In what could only be described as a debacle he was eventually captured and spent over two years as a guest of the Japanese. See Courtney's Silent Feet: The History of Z Special Operations.

    He celebrates his 91st birthday this year (2012).
  10. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

  11. Cobber

    Cobber Senior 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.

    Just a quick note regarding Z force, this Z force i believe was a admin only unit that looked after the admin of Australian soldiers who woked/served in the AIB and its variations, same as M Force which was a admin only unit for the coast watchers.
  12. adam elliott

    adam elliott Junior Member

  13. spider

    spider Very Senior Member

    I thought Z Force was an active front line unit, actually they often operated behind enemy lines. For example Operation Jaywick was conducted by members of Z Force.
    Z Special Unit - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    True Adam.
    Z Special was an active Commandoo style unit and M Special was an active Inteligence/Coastwathing style unit sending small teams behind enemy lines.
  14. Warlord

    Warlord Veteran wannabe

    As far as I know, this is the latest job covering the 2/2:

    "Men Who Came Out of the Ground", by Paul Cleary, published down under by Hachette Australia.

    Next in line on my e-reading queue, by the way :D

    Attached Files:

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