2/1st Australian Infantry Battalion
Infobox Military Unit
unit_name= 2/1st Australian Infantry Battalion
1939- December 1945
Australian 16th Brigade
colors=Black over Green
North African campaign, Greek campaign, New Guinea campaign
anniversaries=The 2/1st Australian Infantry Battalion was a
battalionof the Australian Armywas raised at Victoria Barracks, Sydney, on 16 October 1939as part of the 16th Brigade of the 6th Australian Divisionfor World War II.
Greece and the Middle East
The battalion embarked for overseas service on
10 January 1940and arrived in Egypton 13 February. The battalion then moved to Palestinewere it concentrated with the rest of the 16th Brigade at Julisnear Gaza. The entire brigade remained in Palestine until the end of August, when it moved to Egypt to carry out preparations for active service with the 6th Division. The battalions first campaign of World War II was the advance from Egypt into eastern Libyain January and February 1941. The battalion was involved in the attacks to capture Bardiaand Tobruk, and was left to garrison Tobruk as the advance continued. It left Tobruk on 7 March, ultimately bound for Greecewith the rest of the 6th Division.
The battalion arrived in Greece on
22 Marchand was quickly deployed to the north of the country to resist the anticipated German attack. The battalion took up positions at Veriaon 7 Aprilbut, in the face of a superior German force, it began a withdrawal south on 12 Apriland was evacuated by sea from Megaraon 25 April. The battalion landed on Cretethe next day and was subsequently deployed with the 2/11th Battalion to defend the airfield at Retimo. The German airborne invasion of Cretebegan on 20 Maybut a strong defence denied them Retimo airfield until 30 May. German victories elsewhere on Crete, however, allowed them to concentrate overwhelming force against Retimo and, short of supplies, the 2/1st surrendered and became prisoners of war.
The battalion was rebuilt in Palestine in October 1941 and took up the defences in Northern
Syria. The Battalion returned to Australia on 10 March 1942to assist in the defence of Australiafrom Japanese advances. During the voyage home the battalion was diverted to Ceylonto defend it from a possible Japanese attack. The 2/1st Battalion finally arrived in Melbourne on 7 August 1942.
The battalion deployed to
New Guineaand took part in the advance along the Kokoda Track between September 1942 and January 1943. During the counter-offensive against Japanese forces the 2/1st Battalion were involved in the major battles at Eora Creek and then at Gorari, followed by Sanananda between October and late November 1942. Heavy casualties were suffered by the battalion during the campaign. Subsequent to the Kokoda campaign, the 2/1st returned to Australia to rebuild and were then sent back to New Guinea in December 1944 to help round up an estimated 35000 Japanese in the Aitape-Wewak region.
The Battalion was finally disbanded in December 1945.
* [http://www.awm.gov.au/units/unit_11252.asp Australian War Memorial]
* [http://en.epochtimes.com/news/7-4-24/54487.html Article on veteran's participation in Anzac Day]
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