Infantry Training Battalions

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About This Unit

Infantry Training Battalions

When an Army expands at the rate at which the Australian Army did from the outbreak of the Second World War, the capacity of the training system to keep pace and to produce battle-ready soldiers, is critical.

Training has always been progressive and 'streamed', so that skills are developed sequentially beginning with recruit training common to all new inductees, and then 'trade' or 'employment' training, then specialised individual training (infantry, artillery, armoured transport etc) and then finally collective training in teams culminating in high level multi disciplined teams.

Fig 1.  Army trainees on a route march near Seymour Victoria in 1940

The 'how' of training was developed in WW1, when a great deal of attention was paid to the training process.  It has been progressively refined over time in Australian practice so that training methodology is constantly refined and developed.

The 'what' or content, had to keep pace with the battlefield environment.

The 2nd AIF had to make several major adjustments, from the 'inter-war' doctrine still strongly influenced by WW1 experience, to open conventional warfare and an increasingly mechanised environment in the Middle East and Western Desert (Libya and Egypt), to the jungles of New Guinea, where small unit and individual skills, particularly in patrolling, were developed to a very high level.  The latter was an environment in which Australian troops came to excel, and which served them well, through Korea, Malaya and Vietnam, thanks largely to the specialised training centres developed to incorporate 'lessons learned' by hard-won experience, conducted by officers and NCO with current relevant experience.  The Jungle Training Centre at Canungra in Queensland was probably the most (in)famous of these.

Fig 2. Infantry soldiers undertaking a booby-trap course at Canungra as part of preparation for deployment to New Guinea in late 1943. AWM 060658

Recruit Training Battalions

 

5 Recruit Training Battalion – Formed in Cowra, New South Wales in March 1945

6 Recruit Training Battalion – Formed in Cowra, New South Wales in May 1945.

 

1 Infantry Training Battalion – Raised in Dubbo 1940, later moved to Cowra, then Bathurst. Continued operations after World War II training men proposed for BCOF.

2 Infantry Training Battalion (1 Recruit Training Battalion) – Raised in Darley in 1942, later moved to Cowra. Ceased operations in 1945.

3 Infantry Training Battalion (No 3 AIF Infantry Training Depot) – Raised at Wayville in 1940. Moved to Tanunda, Sandy Creek and then Dubbo. Disbanded in April 1943.

4 Infantry Training Battalion – Formed at Darley in 1942, later moved to Bonegilla and then Watsonia. Finished in Greta, where it was disbanded in May 1944.

5 Infantry Training Battalion (2 Recruit Training Battalion) – Raised in Dubbo in 1941, operational until 1945.

6 Infantry Training Battalion – Raised in 1942 and based in Dandenong. Disbanded in September 1943 as part of a restructure.

7 Infantry Battalion – Established in Queensland and based at Redbank in 1941, moved to Goondiwindi and then to Warwick. Joined 3/5 Infantry Training Brigade in 1943, which was disbanded in March 1944.

8 Infantry Training Battalion – Raised in Dubbo in 1942, then moved to Bathurst. Disbanded in 1944.

9 Infantry Training Battalion (3 Recruit Training Battalion) – Raised in Dubbo. Moved to Cowra and trained recruits until the end of the war.

10 Infantry Training Battalion (23 Infantry Training Battalion) – Formed in 1942 and based in Balcombe. Disbanded in Queensland in 1942 and renamed 23 Infantry Training Battalion. Trained recruits in the Northern Territory until they were moved to Bathurst. Finally ended up in Greta where they saw out the war and were disbanded in 1945.

11 Infantry Training Battalion – Trained recruits in Redbank from 1941. Moved to Hughenden, then Goondiwindi. Joined 3/5 Infantry Training Battalion, which was disbanded in March 1944.

12 Infantry Training Battalion (Infantry Training Depot, Brighton) – Opened at Brighton to train Tasmanian recruits. Moved to Launceston, then back to Brighton. Disbanded when training was moved to the mainland in 1943.

13 Infantry Training Battalion (13 Infantry Training Company) (Recruit Training Company (Western Command)) – Formed at Melville in 1941. Moved to Northam and contributed special groups to man defensive positions at Rottnest Island, Fremantle and Swanbourne. Moved to Harvey in 1944 absorbed into Western Command Training School in February 1945.

14 Infantry Training Battalion – Probably formed at Bathurst in 1942, where they continued to train troops for BCOF beyond 1945.

15 Infantry Training Battalion – Formed at Darley in 1942, then moved to Drysdale and later Rowville. Moved to Glen Innes in May 1942. Disbanded in Greta in 1944.

16 Infantry Training Battalion – Formed in Helwan, Egypt in September 1940 and moved to Beit Jirja (Palestine) to train arrivals from Australia. The Middle East training units all moved to Nuseirat in August 1941. They were recalled to Adelaide and camped at Nairne before settling in Cowra. They were disbanded in Greta in 1945.

17 Infantry Training Battalion – Formed in Helwan, Egypt in September 1940 and moved to Beit Jirja (Palestine) to train arrivals from Australia. The Middle East training units all moved to Nuseirat in August 1941. They were recalled to Adelaide and camped at Nairne before settling in Cowra. They were disbanded in Greta in 1945.

18 Infantry Training Battalion – Formed at Ikingi Maryut, Egypt in 1941. Moved to Dimra in March and recalled to Adelaide in 1942, where they camped at Mt Barker. They settled in Cowra and were disbanded in 1944 at Greta.

19 Infantry Training Battalion - Formed in Helwan, Egypt in September 1940 and moved to Beit Jirja (Palestine) to train arrivals from Australia. The Middle East training units all moved to Nuseirat in August 1941. They were recalled to Adelaide and camped at Nairne before settling in Cowra. They were disbanded in Greta in 1945.

20 Infantry Training Battalion (20 Infantry Training Company) (20 Infantry Training Battalion (2)) – Not related to a previously disbanded 20 Infantry Training Battalion based at Wallgrove. This battalion was raised at Beit Jirja, Palestine in 1941. They remained in Mughazi training recruits from Australia under they were disbanded in 1943.

21 Infantry Training Battalion – Formed at Julis, Palestine in 1941. They left the Middle East 1942 and arrived in Adelaide, camping in Mt Barker. The battalion moved to Victoria, finishing in Greta in 1945.

24 Infantry Training Battalion (24 Infantry Training Company) – Formed at Beit Jirja in April 1941 and remained in the Middle East for the war’s entirety. Disbanded after El Alamein in January 1943.

25 Infantry Training Battalion – Formed at Dimra, Palestine in 1941. Sent back to Australia and moved from Balcombe to Tenterfield in New South Wales, where they remained until they were disbanded in March 1944.

26 Infantry Training Battalion (26 Infantry Training Company) – Formed at Beit Jirja in April 1941 and remained in the Middle East for the war’s entirety. Disbanded after El Alamein in January 1943.

28 Infantry Training Battalion – Formed at Bathurst in 1942. Moved to Dubbo and later Cowra. Saw out the war in Greta.

29 Infantry Training Battalion (11 AIF Infantry Training Battalion) – Established in Queensland as 11 AIF Infantry Training Battalion and renamed when they moved to Goondiwindi. Moved to Warwick in 1943 and was disbanded in 1944.

30 Infantry Training Battalion – Formed at Port Moresby in 1942 but soon moved to Bathurst. Disbanded in May 1944.

31 Infantry Training Battalion (1) – Formed in Bathurst in 1942, disbanded in October but unit name taken over by 1 Pioneer Training Battalion.

32 Infantry Training Battalion – Raised in Bathurst in 1942, moved to Dubbo in October. Moved back to Bathurst and then Greta in 1945 where they saw out the war.

33 Infantry Training Battalion (1) – Originated in Darley, Victoria and was tasked with training Garrison Battalions. Moved to Glen Innes in May 1942, then to Cowra. Disbanded at Warwick in June 1944.

34 Infantry Training Battalion (1) (4 Recruit Training Battalion) (5 Pioneer Company) – Reorganised at 34 Infantry Training Battalion in May 1942. Became 4 Recruit Training Battalion in October 1943. Trained recruits until the end of the war.

35 Infantry Training Battalion (Garrison Training Battalion) (Recruit Training Battalion AIF) (35 Infantry Training Company) – Originally raised in 1940 in Northam, moved to Guildford, Western Australia in August 1942. Later moved to Harvey, Western Australia. Merged with 13 Infantry Training Company in 1944.

36 Infantry Training Battalion – Raised in Northam, Western Australia to defend the coastal areas of Fremantle and Geraldton. Disbanded June 1943.

37 Infantry Training Battalion (33 Infantry Training Battalion (2)) – Raised at Bathurst in March 1945. Renamed 37 Infantry Training Battalion in May and began prepping troops for BCOF.

38 Infantry Training Battalion (34 Infantry Training Battalion (2)) – Raised at Bathurst in April 1945 and trained troops for BCOF.

 

Reinforcement Training Battalions (Jungle Warfare)

1 Reinforcement Training Battalion (Jungle Warfare) (Advanced Reinforcement Training Centre (Jungle Warfare)) – Introduced to pass on the lessons learned from Kokoda, it was formed in May 1943 in Canungra, Queensland. It was a requirement for all reinforcements to pass through a Jungle Warfare battalion before they completed their training.

Fig 3.  In his element.  The Australian soldier made the jungle his home environment for 40 years

2 Reinforcement Training Battalion (Jungle Warfare) (Advanced Reinforcement Training Centre (Jungle Warfare)) – Introduced to pass on the lessons learned from Kokoda, it was formed in June 1943 in Canungra, Queensland. It was a requirement for all reinforcements to pass through a Jungle Warfare battalion before they completed their training.

3 Reinforcement Training Battalion (Jungle Warfare) (Advanced Reinforcement Training Centre (Jungle Warfare)) – Introduced to pass on the lessons learned from Kokoda, it was formed in August 1943 in Canungra, Queensland. It was a requirement for all reinforcements to pass through a Jungle Warfare battalion before they completed their training.

4 Reinforcement Training Battalion (Jungle Warfare) (Advanced Reinforcement Training Centre (Jungle Warfare)) – Introduced to pass on the lessons learned from Kokoda, it was formed in September 1943 in Canungra, Queensland. It was a requirement for all reinforcements to pass through a Jungle Warfare battalion before they completed their training.

HQ Training Centre (Jungle Warfare) – Set up to in November 1942 to house the Jungle Warfare battalions.

 

Infomation taken from The Unit Guide - The Australian Army 1939-1945 by Graham R. McKenzie-Smith (Vol. 6, Section 6.9B, pp. 6.233-6.252)

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