2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
Overview
 
2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) is a regular light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 battalion of the Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

. 2 RAR was first formed as the Australian 66th Battalion in 1945 and since then it has seen active service during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, Malayan Emergency
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

 and Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. In addition, the battalion has participated in peacekeeping operations in Japan
Occupied Japan
At the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers, led by the United States with contributions also from Australia, India, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, East Timor
INTERFET
The International Force for East Timor was a multinational peacekeeping taskforce, mandated by the United Nations to address the humanitarian and security crisis which took place in East Timor from 1999–2000 until the arrival of United Nations peacekeepers...

 and the Solomon Islands and has contributed rifle companies to the security force protecting the Australian embassy in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 following the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

.
Encyclopedia
2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment (2 RAR) is a regular light infantry
Light infantry
Traditionally light infantry were soldiers whose job was to provide a skirmishing screen ahead of the main body of infantry, harassing and delaying the enemy advance. Light infantry was distinct from medium, heavy or line infantry. Heavy infantry were dedicated primarily to fighting in tight...

 battalion of the Australian Army
Australian Army
The Australian Army is Australia's military land force. It is part of the Australian Defence Force along with the Royal Australian Navy and the Royal Australian Air Force. While the Chief of Defence commands the Australian Defence Force , the Army is commanded by the Chief of Army...

. 2 RAR was first formed as the Australian 66th Battalion in 1945 and since then it has seen active service during the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

, Malayan Emergency
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

 and Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

. In addition, the battalion has participated in peacekeeping operations in Japan
Occupied Japan
At the end of World War II, Japan was occupied by the Allied Powers, led by the United States with contributions also from Australia, India, New Zealand and the United Kingdom. This foreign presence marked the first time in its history that the island nation had been occupied by a foreign power...

, Rwanda
Rwanda
Rwanda or , officially the Republic of Rwanda , is a country in central and eastern Africa with a population of approximately 11.4 million . Rwanda is located a few degrees south of the Equator, and is bordered by Uganda, Tanzania, Burundi and the Democratic Republic of the Congo...

, East Timor
INTERFET
The International Force for East Timor was a multinational peacekeeping taskforce, mandated by the United Nations to address the humanitarian and security crisis which took place in East Timor from 1999–2000 until the arrival of United Nations peacekeepers...

 and the Solomon Islands and has contributed rifle companies to the security force protecting the Australian embassy in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 following the 2003 invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

. In May 2006, 2 RAR's headquarters, support company and a rifle company deployed to Iraq as part of the third rotation of the Al Muthanna Task Group
Al Muthanna Task Group
The Al Muthanna Task Group was a battlegroup that formed Australia's main ground force contribution to the Multinational force in Iraq. The AMTG was established in April 2005 and ceased to exist in July 2006 when the Australian force was relocated to Dhi Qar Governorate as Overwatch Battle Group...

. The battalion is currently based at Lavarack Barracks
Lavarack Barracks
Lavarack Barracks is a major Australian Army base located in Townsville, Queensland. Lavarack Barracks is currently home to the Army's 3rd Brigade and 11th Brigade. Elements of the 3rd Brigade based at the Barracks include the Combat Signals Regiment, 3rd Combat Services Support Battalion and the...

 in Townsville
Townsville, Queensland
Townsville is a city on the north-eastern coast of Australia, in the state of Queensland. Adjacent to the central section of the Great Barrier Reef, it is in the dry tropics region of Queensland. Townsville is Australia's largest urban centre north of the Sunshine Coast, with a 2006 census...

 where it forms part of the 3rd Brigade.

Formation

2 RAR was formed originally as the 66th Battalion at the end of World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 on 16 October 1945 as a regular infantry force raised from volunteers from the 9th Division for service with the British Commonwealth Occupation Force
British Commonwealth Occupation Force
The British Commonwealth Occupation Force , was the name of the joint Australian, Canadian, British, Indian and New Zealand military forces in occupied Japan, from 21 February 1946 until the end of occupation in 1952...

 in Japan. The battalion was stationed primarily at Hiro
Hiroo, Hokkaido
is a town located in Hiroo District, Tokachi, Hokkaidō, Japan.As of 2008, the town has an estimated population of 8,209 and a density of 14.28 persons per km². The total area is 596.14 km²....

 as part of 34th Brigade from February 1946 to December 1948, when they returned to Australia. A month earlier, on 23 November 1948 it was renamed the 2nd Battalion, Australian Regiment, with the Royal regimental prefix being granted on 31 March 1949.

Upon 2 RAR’s return to Australia they became part of the 1st Independent Brigade Group at Puckapunyal, Victoria, where they would remain until March 1953 as a training unit for recruits for the two battalions fighting in Korea.

Korean War

2 RAR’s involvement in the Korean War
Korean War
The Korean War was a conventional war between South Korea, supported by the United Nations, and North Korea, supported by the People's Republic of China , with military material aid from the Soviet Union...

 was limited by the fact that it was not committed until late in the fighting. Instead, as mentioned above, the unit was used as a training unit that provided reinforcements for the other two RAR battalions that had been sent to Korea. The unit embarked for Korea on 5 March 1953 on board the MV New Australia, arriving on 17 March 1953. A few days later detachments from all three RAR battalions paraded at Camp Casey
Camp Casey, South Korea
Camp Casey is an American military camp in Dongducheon , South Korea, north of Seoul, South Korea. Camp Casey was named in 1952 after Major Hugh Boyd Casey, who was killed in an airplane crash near Camp Casey during the Korean War. Camp Casey is one of several U.S. Army bases in South Korea near...

 near Tongduchon, South Korea
Dongducheon
Dongducheon is a city in Gyeonggi Province, South Korea.The city located in the north of Seoul is strategically important for the defence of the Korean capital.The main camps of the US Second Infantry Division are located in the city with the division command at Uijeongbu City.-History:During...

, the first time that the Royal Australian Regiment had paraded as a whole.

In April, 2 RAR relieved 1 RAR
1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
1st Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment is a regular light infantry battalion of the Australian Army. 1 RAR was first formed as the 65th Australian Infantry Battalion in 1945 and since then has been deployed on active service during the Korean War, the Malayan Emergency and the Vietnam War...

 and became part of the 28th British Commonwealth Brigade, attached to the 1st Commonwealth Division
1st Commonwealth Division
The 1st Commonwealth Division was the name given, after July 1951, to Commonwealth land forces in the Korean War. The division was a multinational unit that was part of British Commonwealth Forces Korea, and whilst British and Canadian Army units formed the bulk of the division, Australian...

. At this stage of the war, a static phase had developed. Relieving a French battalion, 2 RAR took up a position along the Jamestown Line and began patrolling in the ‘no-man’s land’ area around the Imjin and Samichon Rivers.

On 9 July 1953 the battalion relieved the 1st Battalion, The King's Regiment
The King's Regiment
The King's Regiment, officially abbreviated as KINGS, was an infantry regiment of the British Army, part of the King's Division. It was formed on 1 September 1958 by the amalgamation of The King's Regiment which had been raised in 1685 and The Manchester Regiment which traced its history to 1758...

 around a feature known as 'The Hook' on the left flank of the 1st Commonwealth Division. As peace talks were currently under way, offensive operations were not undertaken by the Australians in this time, although 2 RAR continued to conduct patrolling operations, as well as the myriad of other tasks associated with defence such as maintaining minefields, digging trenches, capturing prisoners and collecting intelligence.

A few weeks later, on the night of 24 July 1953, the Chinese attacked the UN positions on The Hook
Battle of the Samichon River
The Battle of the Samichon River was fought during the final days of the Korean War between United Nations forces—primarily Australian and American—and the Chinese communist People's Volunteer Army...

 in an effort to gain more ground prior to the signing of the armistice
Armistice
An armistice is a situation in a war where the warring parties agree to stop fighting. It is not necessarily the end of a war, but may be just a cessation of hostilities while an attempt is made to negotiate a lasting peace...

 agreement. Over the course of two nights, waves of Chinese soldiers attacked the Australian and American positions in frontal assaults aimed at overwhelming the defenders through sheer weight of numbers. In between attacks, artillery and mortar attacks were launched during the day to soften up the defences. In an effort to hold the line reinforcements from 'D' Company, 3 RAR and the 1st Battalion, Durham Light Infantry
Durham Light Infantry
The Durham Light Infantry was an infantry regiment of the British Army from 1881 to 1968. It was formed by the amalgamation of the 68th Regiment of Foot and the 106th Regiment of Foot along with the militia and rifle volunteers of County Durham...

 were brought up and placed under 2 RAR command before the attacks were finally beaten off on the morning of 26 July. The number of Chinese dead was estimated between 2,000 and 3,000, while 2 RAR’s casualties for the two nights were five killed and another twenty-four wounded.

There were no further attacks and the armistice came into effect the following day. Despite the end of hostilities, 2 RAR remained in Korea as part of the UN forces stationed in the country until 6 April 1954, when it returned to Australia, once again on the MV New Australia. Total losses for 2 RAR while it had been in Korea had been 22 killed.

Malayan Emergency

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, 2 RAR undertook two tours of Malaya
Federation of Malaya
The Federation of Malaya is the name given to a federation of 11 states that existed from 31 January 1948 until 16 September 1963. The Federation became independent on 31 August 1957...

 during the Malayan Emergency
Malayan Emergency
The Malayan Emergency was a guerrilla war fought between Commonwealth armed forces and the Malayan National Liberation Army , the military arm of the Malayan Communist Party, from 1948 to 1960....

, the first between October 1955 and October 1957 and the second between October 1961 and August 1963. The battalion arrived in Malaya for its first tour on 19 October 1955 and was once again attached to the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade Group as part of the British Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve (FESR) along with British and New Zealand troops. Throughout the two year tour the Battalion was based at Minden Barracks
Minden Barracks
Minden Barracks was a military barracks located in the south-eastern town of Gelugor in Penang, Malaysia approximately away from the city of Georgetown...

 on Penang Island, although it spent large periods of time in the jungle conducting operations and exercises that frequently lasted weeks at a time.

Due to a delay in obtaining Australian government approval to conduct operations against the Communist terrorists, 2 RAR did not commence operations until 1 January 1956 when the battalion was involved in Operation Deuce, which was a search and security operation in Kedah that was to last until the end of April when 2 RAR was relieved by the 1st Battalion, Royal Malay Regiment
Royal Malay Regiment
The Royal Malay Regiment is the premier unit of the Malaysian Army's two infantry regiments. At its largest, the Malay Regiment comprised 27 battalions. At present, two battalions are parachute trained and form part of the Malaysian Army Rapid Deployment Force...

. For the next twenty months the battalion would continue to conduct similar operations – known as Operations Shark North and Rubberlegs – mainly in Perak
Perak
Perak , one of the 13 states of Malaysia, is the second largest state in the Peninsular Malaysia bordering Kedah and Yala Province of Thailand to the north, Penang to the northwest, Kelantan and Pahang to the east, Selangor the Strait of Malacca to the south and west.Perak means silver in Malay...

, which was considered to be one of the main area’s of Communist activity. These operations were primarily long distance patrols in and around jungle areas searching for the Communists and providing perimeter security for the ‘New Villages’.

During this time contacts were very limited, and the most intense action came on 22 June 1956 when a five man patrol from 2 RAR was ambushed by a group of Communists near the Sungei Bemben reservoir. Three Australians were killed in this incident and three others were wounded and as other Australian patrols converged on the area a firefight ensued in which two of the attackers were killed before the others broke contact and dispersed.

Throughout 1956 operations continued and 2 RAR’s companies took turns rotating through Kroh in the north of Perak on the Thai-Malay border. Between May and June 1957, 2 RAR took part in Operation Eagle Swoop, during which, on the afternoon of 24 June, they discovered a large Communist camp and in the subsequent class two Australians were killed and one was wounded. Further operations were undertaken, including further patrols and ambushes, until finally in August 1957 2 RAR was withdrawn from anti-Communist terrorist operations and returned to its primary deterrence role as part of the FESR. This did not last long, however, as the battalion returned to Australia shortly afterwards in October 1957, to a large welcome home parade in Sydney.

The battalion’s second tour of Malaya came four years later when it joined the 28th Brigade again, this time at Camp Terendak near Malacca
Malacca
Malacca , dubbed The Historic State or Negeri Bersejarah among locals) is the third smallest Malaysian state, after Perlis and Penang. It is located in the southern region of the Malay Peninsula, on the Straits of Malacca. It borders Negeri Sembilan to the north and the state of Johor to the south...

 in October 1961. While they had been in Australia, they had been converted to a Pentropic
Pentropic organisation
The Pentropic organisation was a military organisation used by the Australian Army between 1960 and 1965. It was based on the United States Army's pentomic organisation and involved reorganising most of the Army's combat units into units based on five elements, rather than the previous three or...

 battalion, however, prior to their deployment they had been converted back to the tropical establishment. In August 1962 they were committed to anti-Communist operations in Perlis and Kedah once more, searching for the remnants of the Communist terrorists along the Thai-Malay border. This lasted only a couple of months before it was decided to withdraw the Battalion from this role for six months' training as part of the FESR. Regardless, several 2 RAR companies were used on further operations against the Communists in May 1963, before the Battalion returned to Australia in August, without having suffered any losses. 2 RAR’s total losses for the Malayan Emergency were 14 killed.

Vietnam

Two tours of Vietnam
Vietnam
Vietnam – sometimes spelled Viet Nam , officially the Socialist Republic of Vietnam – is the easternmost country on the Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia. It is bordered by China to the north, Laos to the northwest, Cambodia to the southwest, and the South China Sea –...

 were completed by 2 RAR during the Vietnam War
Vietnam War
The Vietnam War was a Cold War-era military conflict that occurred in Vietnam, Laos, and Cambodia from 1 November 1955 to the fall of Saigon on 30 April 1975. This war followed the First Indochina War and was fought between North Vietnam, supported by its communist allies, and the government of...

, the first one between May 1967 and June 1968 and the second between May 1970 and May 1971. An advanced party from 2 RAR arrived in Vietnam for their first tour in April 1967, although the main force did not deploy until the following month, embarking upon HMAS Sydney which had been converted to a troop carrier. Stationed at Nui Dat
Nui Dat
Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy Province was the location of a prominent Australian military base in South Vietnam during the Vietnam War. The site was chosen by Lieutenant General John Wilton in 1966 and was built mainly by men from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment...

 in Phuoc Tuy province as part of the 1st Australian Task Force
1st Australian Task Force
The 1st Australian Task Force commanded the Australian and New Zealand Army units deployed to South Vietnam between 1966 and 1972. 1 ATF was based at Nui Dat in Phuoc Tuy Province...

 (1 ATF), they took over from the 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment is a motorised infantry battalion of the Australian Army. It was originally raised in Brisbane, Queensland, on 6 June 1965 and has since then served in a number of overseas deployments and conflicts including South Vietnam, East Timor and Iraq...

.

As many of the battalion’s members had already served eighteen months overseas in Malaysia and Borneo and as such would only be able to serve a six month tour, 2 RAR was brought up to strength by accepting a draft of national servicemen
Conscription in Australia
Conscription in Australia, or mandatory military service also known as National Service, has a controversial history dating back to the first years of nationhood...

 from Australia. They were joined by a company from the 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment is the main combat unit in the regular New Zealand Army. It was formed 9 January 1947 as the New Zealand Regiment with a single infantry battalion as part of the newly created infantry corps....

, which was placed under 2 RAR’s command and later in the deployment, when a second company of New Zealanders was used to replace those 2 RAR members that were being rotated home having completed two years overseas service, the battalion would be given the formal title of 2 RAR/NZ (ANZAC). This was the first official integration of Australian and New Zealand infantry at unit or battalion level.

During 2 RAR’s thirteen month tour they undertook a total of 23 operations in Phuoc Tuy and Bien Hoa provinces, and undertook constant schedule of patrols and ambushes in its area of operations in order to keep the Viet Cong (VC) off balance. Many of these operations were conducted as an independent unit, while others were conducted with the support of other 1 ATF units. The most significant of these operations was Operation Coburg, which was mounted between 24 January and 1 March 1968 in the border area between Phuoc Tuy and Long Khanh provinces. This operation was the first operation conducted by 1 ATF outside of Phuoc Tuy and was aimed at denying the VC the ability to attack the large American bases at Long Binh and Bien Hoa. While this operation was underway, the Tet Offensive was launched, the result of which was that as well as contacting local force VC units, 2 RAR also came up against the main force units as well. 91 VC or North Vietnamese were killed in this operation.

2 RAR’s involvement in Coburg ended on 14 February, although the New Zealand company, by this time W Company, 1 RNZIR, remained with 3 RAR
3rd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
3rd Battalion, The Royal Australian Regiment is a parachute infantry battalion of the Australian Army, based in Sydney. 3 RAR was initially formed in 1945 as the 67th Battalion and has seen active service in Japan, Korea, Malaya, South Vietnam, East Timor, the Solomon Islands, Afghanistan and Iraq...

 until the end of the operation in March. A second New Zealand company was taken on strength at this time and operations in Phuoc Tuy continued until 25 April 1968 when the Battalion was deployed to the Bien Hoa–Long Khanh border to undertake Operation Toan Tang. This was to be 2 RAR’s last major operation of its first tour and in June 1968 they were relieved by 4 RAR
4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
The 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was an Australian Army infantry battalion and part of the Royal Australian Regiment. The battalion was formed on 1 February 1964 and was renamed the 2nd Commando Regiment on 19 June 2009....

 and returned to Australia, arriving there on 13 June.

2 RAR’s second tour came almost two years later, when it returned to Vietnam in May 1970, relieving 6 RAR
6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment is a motorised infantry battalion of the Australian Army. It was originally raised in Brisbane, Queensland, on 6 June 1965 and has since then served in a number of overseas deployments and conflicts including South Vietnam, East Timor and Iraq...

 at Nui Dat. Consisting of three rifle companies and a support company, 2 RAR was once again joined by two companies from the RNZIR and on 15 May the Anzac title was adopted again. The second tour was focused mainly upon 'pacification', which sought to provide security of the struggling South Vietnamese state by seeking out and destroying the VC in their bases areas and isolating them from the ordinary civilian population. This was essentially very monotonous work for the infantrymen. The VC had been greatly weakened by the failure of the Tet Offensive, and as a result over the twelve months that 2 RAR was deployed contact was significantly less than had been experienced during the first tour, sustaining half the number of casualties. Nevertheless, the presence of two strong provincial VC regiments in the area meant that security in Phuoc Tuy remained problematic until the end and in May 1971, 4 RAR/NZ took over from 2 RAR and the battalion returned to Australia.

Total 2 RAR casualties for both tours were 32 killed and 182 wounded. Balanced against this, the battalion was credited with having killed 297 VC and captured a further 23.

As part of the post-Vietnam War reduction of the Australian Army 2 RAR was combined with 4 RAR
4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
The 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment, was an Australian Army infantry battalion and part of the Royal Australian Regiment. The battalion was formed on 1 February 1964 and was renamed the 2nd Commando Regiment on 19 June 2009....

 between 15 August 1973 and 1 February 1995 as the 2nd/4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
2nd/4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
The 2nd/4th Battalion Royal Australian Regiment was an Australian Army infantry battalion. 2/4 RAR was formed on 15 August 1973 by linking 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment and 4th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment. 2/4 RAR was unlinked to re-form 2 RAR and 4 RAR on 1 February 1995...

.

Rwanda

Between August 1994 and August 1995 two contingents of Australian soldiers were deployed to Rwanada as part of the United Nations Assistance Mission in Rwanda (UNAMIR). The deployment was focused upon providing humanitarian assistance and medical care for sick and injured civilians and as such a combat role was not envisaged, however, a rifle company was sent also in order to protect the medical team and command elements. The first contingent drew security personnel from 'A' Company, 2/4 RAR and was deployed between August 1994 and February 1995. Following this, a second contingent was sent, this time drawn from 'B' Company, 2 RAR, having been delinked only days before. During this deployment, the company was responsible for providing security at Kigali
Kigali
Kigali, population 965,398 , is the capital and largest city of Rwanda. It is situated near the geographic centre of the nation, and has been the economic, cultural, and transport hub of Rwanda since it became capital at independence in 1962. The main residence and offices of the President of...

 airport and for providing escorts to the medical team.

In April 1995, there was a serious outbreak of violence in one of the refugee camps that 2 RAR personnel were based at. Outnumbered and unable to undertake offensive operations due to the restrictions placed upon their operations by the UN Mandate governing the deployment, the Australians were unable to intervene. It has since been estimated that up to 4,000 refugees were killed by members of the Rwandan Patriotic Army in this incident, although this number may well have been higher if not for the efforts of the Australian medics and infantrymen who braved hostile fire on numerous occasions without the ability to return fire as they attempted to assist the wounded and dying.

The second contingent remained in Rwanda until August 1995 when it was withdrawn from the war torn country and the Australian commitment ended.

East Timor 1999–2000

In September 1999, Australia deployed a brigade-sized combat element to East Timor
East Timor
The Democratic Republic of Timor-Leste, commonly known as East Timor , is a state in Southeast Asia. It comprises the eastern half of the island of Timor, the nearby islands of Atauro and Jaco, and Oecusse, an exclave on the northwestern side of the island, within Indonesian West Timor...

 as part of the UN sanctioned International Force – East Timor (INTERFET
INTERFET
The International Force for East Timor was a multinational peacekeeping taskforce, mandated by the United Nations to address the humanitarian and security crisis which took place in East Timor from 1999–2000 until the arrival of United Nations peacekeepers...

) that was deployed in order to restore law and order and end the widespread violence and destruction that had broken out following a referendum in August that had shown overwhelming support for independence from Indonesia. As a part of this deployment, the Australian force was charged with restoring peace and security and facilitating the provision of humanitarian assistance. 2 RAR was one of the first units deployed once the airfield at Dili
Dili
Dili, spelled Díli in Portuguese, is the capital, largest city, chief port and commercial centre of East Timor.-Geography and Administration:Dili lies on the northern coast of Timor island, the easternmost of the Lesser Sunda Islands....

 had been secured by elements of the Special Air Service Regiment. Arriving in Dili on 20 September 1999 having been flown in from Townsville, they immediately started the process of restoring order to the capital so that it could be used as an operational base from which further operations could be launched in the surrounding countryside.

As the rest of 2 RAR began to dig in around Komoro Airport to secure the air link with Australia and launched a number of patrols throughout the western part of the Dili, 'C' Company was detached to secure the beachhead at the docks. With two M-113 APCs from 3/4 Cav to provide fire support, 'C' Company began moving towards the docks , but found the way blocked as they encountered a number of platoon-strength roadblocks that had been set up by the Indonesian military (TNI). Overcoming these obstacles by swarming over them in massed company formations, 'C' Company eventually reached the dock where they encountered large numbers of refugees as well as groups of Indonesian military and militia. A tense stand-off followed as the Australians set about the task of securing the port in preparation for the arrival of the follow-on seaborne forces that were to land the following day.

The following day, as reinforcements arrived at the dock by sea, 2 RAR was relieved by 3 RAR, who took over the task of guarding the docks, freeing up 2 RAR to continue further operations around Dili. Initial operations focused upon carrying out building searches, setting up roadblocks and vehicle checkpoints, gathering intelligence from locals and finding and disarming the local militias that had largely been responsible for the violence.

On 27 September, 'D' Company, 2 RAR, conducted an airmobile operation into Liquica, west of Dili, before the battalion returned to the capital to continue the task of making the city safe. By the beginning of October Dili had been fairly well secured and so INTERFET began to move out into areas along the western border with Indonesian West Timor
West Timor
West Timor is the western and Indonesian portion of the island of Timor and part of the province of East Nusa Tenggara, .During the colonial period it was known as "Dutch Timor" and was a centre of Dutch loyalists during the Indonesian National Revolution...

. 2 RAR’s rifle companies were deployed to Balibo
Balibo
Balibo is a town in East Timor situated approximately from the Indonesian border. It is located in the subdistrict of Balibo, Bobonaro District....

 by helicopter on 1 October, while the rest of the battalion arrived the next day. Working closely with other units in the area from New Zealand and Britain, the northern border area was secured before pushing further inland to Maliana, Bobonaro and Suai, which were considered important towns in the western area of the country.

The key town of Suai was cleared on 6 October when 2 RAR operating alongside elements from the SASR and the Gurkhas, was airlifted into the town. In doing so, 116 pro-Indonesian militiamen were captured, later sparking further violence when other militia units began attacking the Australians, resulting in two 2 RAR soldiers being wounded.

Up until this time despite several cases of tense stand-offs earlier in the operation, for the most part the TNI had largely kept its distance from the Australian force as they carried out their evacuation back to Indonesia, however, on 10 October a clash occurred near the border at Mota'ain
Mota'ain
Mota'ain, also spelled Mota'in or Mota Ain, is a village in Bobonaro District in East Timor and is the country's main road border crossing into West Timor in Indonesia...

. As an Australian patrol from 'C' Company advanced towards the border Indonesian military, police, and militia forces opened fire upon the lead platoon and the Australians returned fire, resulting in a number of Indonesian casualties. For his leadership under fire, Corporal Paul Teong, commander of the lead section in the forward platoon during the contact, was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal
Distinguished Service Medal (Australia)
The Distinguished Service Medal is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the Australian Defence Force for distinguished leadership in action. The DSM was introduced in 1991 and is the second highest distinguished service decoration in the Australian Honours System. Recipients of the...

.

Amidst growing concern of further obstruction by the TNI, 2 RAR continued to conduct operations in the western border areas as slowly but surely security was restored to East Timor. On 3 January 2000, 2 RAR was relieved by 5/7 RAR
5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment
The 5th/7th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment was a mechanised infantry battalion of the Australian Army. The battalion was based at Robertson Barracks in Palmerston, Northern Territory and formed part of the 1st Brigade. It was formed in 1973 by linking both the 5th and 7th Battalions of the...

. The following month INTEFET began transferring responsibility to the United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor
United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor
The United Nations Transitional Administration in East Timor provided an interim civil administration and a peacekeeping mission in the territory of East Timor, from its establishment on October 25, 1999 until its independence on May 20, 2002 following the outcome of the East Timor Special...

 (UNTAET).

Recent operations

In October 2001, 2 RAR returned to East Timor as part of UNTAET, taking over from 4 RAR and serving a relatively uneventful tour, handing over to 3 RAR in April 2002.

In July 2003, amidst an outbreak of lawlessness, violence and civil unrest in the Solomon Islands, 2 RAR was deployed as part of a Combined Joint Task Force following a request for assistance from the Solomon Islands government. Under the auspices of the United Nations Regional Assistance Mission to Solomon Islands (RAMSI), a two hundred strong reinforced company group based on 2 RAR was deployed to help support civilian police re-establish law and order as part of Operation Anode.

Since the invasion of Iraq
2003 invasion of Iraq
The 2003 invasion of Iraq , was the start of the conflict known as the Iraq War, or Operation Iraqi Freedom, in which a combined force of troops from the United States, the United Kingdom, Australia and Poland invaded Iraq and toppled the regime of Saddam Hussein in 21 days of major combat operations...

 in 2003, 2 RAR has provided companies to the security force protecting the Australian embassy in Baghdad
Baghdad
Baghdad is the capital of Iraq, as well as the coterminous Baghdad Governorate. The population of Baghdad in 2011 is approximately 7,216,040...

 – SECDET
Security Detachment Iraq (Australia)
The Security Detachment Iraq was the final component of Australia's contribution to coalition operations in Iraq. SECDET was based on an Australian Army combined arms combat team consisting of an infantry company group and a troop of cavalry which operated the Australian Light Armoured vehicles...

. The first deployment came in May with 2003 when 5 Platoon, 'B' Company deployed on SECDET 1, before deploying again on the next rotation. In May 2006, 2 RAR's headquarters, support company and a rifle company deployed to Iraq as part of the third rotation of the Al Muthanna Task Group
Al Muthanna Task Group
The Al Muthanna Task Group was a battlegroup that formed Australia's main ground force contribution to the Multinational force in Iraq. The AMTG was established in April 2005 and ceased to exist in July 2006 when the Australian force was relocated to Dhi Qar Governorate as Overwatch Battle Group...

.

In May 2006, Timor Leste (as East Timor has since become) asked for Australian assistance once more. As social, political and ethnic differences threatened to divide the country amidst a resurgence of violence, an new UN mission, United Nations Integrated Mission in East Timor (UNMIT) was established. As a part of Australia’s continued commitment to the fledgling nation, a battle group, known as Battle Group Samichon, based upon 2 RAR deployed to Timor Leste between September 2007 to April 2008.

From September 2007 to May 2008, elements of the battalion deployed to Afghanistan on Operation Slipper as part of RTF-3. The Security Task Group (STG) was made up of infantrymen from C Coy 2 RAR, mortarmen and snipers from SPT Coy 2 RAR, IMV crews from 6 RAR and B Sqn, 3/4 CAV REGT, Cavalrymen from 2/14 LHR(QMI) and gunners from 4 FD REGT. Elements from these units combined with elements of 3 CER to form a combat team. The role of the STG was to provide the firepower and mobility necessary to facilitate the engineers’ protected reconstruction. Intimately supported by Combat Engineers, Construction Engineers and Explosive Ordinance Disposal Technicians to make up Combat Team (CT) Spear, the STG was the fundamental enabler for the protected reconstruction effort.

The Combat Team conducted five major operations during it’s deployment, effectively expanding the ISAF and ANSF’s permanent influence in the Chora Valley and into the Baluchi Pass. The Combat Team sustained casualties early in the deployment with Tpr David ‘Poppy’ Pearce being killed by an IED in the Dorufshan and SGT Michael Lyddiard being seriously wound whilst defusing an IED in the Chora Valley. The Combat Team was able to take the fight to the enemy during several engagements, most notably in the Sorkh Morghab region where all elements of the Combat Team engaged the enemy over several days allowing the construction of a patrol base and the Afghan Army to move into an area previously considered a Taliban strong hold.

Current composition

2 RAR currently consists of:
  • Battalion Headquarters
  • 4 Rifle Companies – 'A', 'B', 'C' and 'D'
  • Support Company
  • Administration Company

Battle honours

  • Korea: Korea 1950–53, Samichon.
  • Vietnam: Vietnam, Bien-Hoa, Coral-Balmoral.

Commanding officers

The following table provides details of 2 RAR's Commanding Officers:
Dates Name
66 Aust Inf Bn: 16 October 1945– June 47 LTCOL G.E. Colvin DSO, ED
Efficiency Decoration
The Efficiency Decoration is a defunct medal of Britain and the Commonwealth awarded for long service in the Territorial Army of the UK, the Indian Volunteer Forces and Colonial Auxiliary Forces....

2 AR: 23 November 1948–10 January 1949 LTCOL S.C. Graham
Stuart Clarence Graham
Major General Stuart Clarence Graham AO, DSO, OBE, MC was a senior officer in the Australian Army, seeing service during the Second World War, the Occupation of Japan and the Vietnam War...

 MC
Military Cross
The Military Cross is the third-level military decoration awarded to officers and other ranks of the British Armed Forces; and formerly also to officers of other Commonwealth countries....

2 RAR (from 10 March 1949): 11 January 1949–12 December 1950 LTCOL C.A.E. Fraser MBE
8 January 1951–12 June 1952 LTCOL R.L. Hughes
Ronald Lawrence Hughes
Major General Ronald Lawrence Hughes CBE, DSO was a senior infantry officer in the Australian Army, seeing service during the Second World War, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Joining the Australian Army in 1937, after graduating from the Royal Military College, Duntroon in 1939 he served in...

13 June 1952–30 September 1952 LTCOL M.A. Austin DSO
1 October 1952–12 September 1954 LTCOL G.F. Larkin OBE
22 October 1954–4 November 1957 LTCOL J.G. Ochiltree OBE
5 November 1957–14 November 1958 LTCOL W.G. Henderson OBE
15 January 1959–17 April 1960 LTCOL A.S. Mann DSO
18 April 1960–31 May 1961 COL K.R.G. Coleman MC
1 June 1961–19 August 1963 LTCOL A.B. Stretton MBE
30 August 1963–13 December 1964 COL O.D. Jackson OBE
14 December 1964–31 May 1965 COL K.A. Peddle
1 June 1965–26 January 1967 LTCOL A.W.F. Rofe
27 January 1967–5 September 1968 LTCOL N.R. Charlesworth DSO
6 September 1968–10 January 1972 LTCOL J.M. Church DSO
11 January 1972–14 August 1973 LTCOL J.A. Sheldrick
1 February 1995–3 December 1996 LTCOL R.G. Wilson
3 December 1996–8 December 1998 LTCOL D.L Morrison
David Morrison
Lieutenant General David Lindsay Morrison AO is a senior officer within the Australian Army, currently serving in the position of Chief of Army.-Early life and career:...

8 December 1998–1 December 2000 LTCOL M.Slater
Michael Slater (soldier)
Major General Michael David Slater DSC, AM, CSC is a senior officer in the Australian Army.-Early life:Mick Slater was born in Brisbane, Queensland, and educated at St Joseph’s College Gregory Terrace...

 DSC
Distinguished Service Cross (Australia)
The Distinguished Service Cross is a military decoration awarded to personnel of the Australian Defence Force. It is awarded for distinguished command and leadership in action. The DSC was introduced in 1991 and is the highest distinguished service decoration in the Australian Honours System...

, CSC
Conspicuous Service Cross (Australia)
The Conspicuous Service Cross is a decoration of the Australian Honours System. The CSC is awarded only for outstanding devotion to duty, or outstanding achievement in the application of exceptional skills, judgment or dedication, in non-warlike situations...

1 December 2000–13 January 2003 LTCOL A.J Campbell AM
14 January 2003–3 December 2004 LTCOL J.J Frewin AM
4 December 2004–? December 2006 LTCOL M.A Mahy
Dec 2006– December 2008 LTCOL B. James
December 2008- December 2010 LTCOL D. Smith
December 2010- Current LTCOL C. Smith


See also

  • Royal Australian Regiment
    Royal Australian Regiment
    The Royal Australian Regiment is the parent regiment for regular infantry battalions of the Australian Army and is the senior infantry regiment of the Royal Australian Infantry Corps...

  • Military history of Australia during the Korean War
    Military history of Australia during the Korean War
    The military history of Australia during the Korean War was very eventful. Japan's defeat in World War II heralded the end to 35 years of Japanese occupation of the Korean Peninsula...

  • Military history of Australia during the Vietnam War
    Military history of Australia during the Vietnam War
    Australia's involvement in the Vietnam War began as a small commitment of 30 men in 1962, and increased over the following decade to a peak of 7,672 Australians deployed in South Vietnam or in support of Australian forces there. The Vietnam War was the longest and most controversial war Australia...


External links

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