About This Unit
6th Battalion the Royal Australian Regiment (6RAR)
6 RAR was raised in Brisbane at the Enoggera Barracks on 6 June 1965 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Colin Townsend. The Battalion was formed by dividing 2 RAR (Pentropic) into two Tropical Establishment (TE) Battalions, 2 and 6 RAR.
The Battalion initially comprised a nucleus command structure of Officers and NCO, two rifle companies and some specialists. The Battalion was brought up to full strength when a large draft of soldiers from the first National Service intake marched-in in September 1965.
Vietnam 1966 - 1967
Following an intensive period of collective training for war, the Battalion flew by Qantas 707 aircraft from Amberley for South Vietnam in May 1966. The Battalion arrived in time to celebrate its first birthday at Vung Tau before moving forward to join 5 RAR at Nui Dat in Phouc Tuy Province and commencing operational service as part of 1 ATF.
During the period June to August 1966, 6 RAR conducted two major operations. Operation ENOGGERA was the search and clearance of the previously unsettled village of Long Phouc, and Operation HOBART was a five-day search and destroy mission. The two operations accounted for 36 enemy casualties and the destruction of several camp installations and caches.
Operation HOBART also saw the Battalion come in contact with the enemy provincial Mobile Battalion D445 which was subsequently met and defeated at Long Tan. The Battle of Long Tan has a dedicated campaign entry on this site.
Between August 1966 and its departure to Australia in June 1967, 6 RAR took part in seventeen additional Battalion operations and supported a number of 5 RAR operations. These operations along with the routine patrolling around the Task Force area gradually wrestled control of the province away from the Viet Cong.
During this first tour of Vietnam, 37 members of the Battalion were killed and 23 members of the Battalion received individual gallantry awards.
In May 1969, 6 RAR embarked on HMAS Sydney for its second tour of duty in South Vietnam and to relieve 4 RAR. On 19 May 1969, the Battalion was renamed 6RAR/NZ (ANZAC) Battalion that reflected the inclusion of a New Zealand component of two Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (RNZIR) rifle companies, two sections of mortars and two assault pioneer sections.
On 30 May 1969, the Battalion commenced its first operation that was subsequently one of the most productive of the tour. Operation LAVARACKcommenced with the establishment of a fire-support and patrol base to the north of Nui Dat. Each company then commenced reconnaissance in force of separate operational areas. By the time the operation concluded on 1 July 1969 there had been 85 contacts that cost the enemy 102 dead and at least 22 wounded. The Battalion casualties were three dead and 29 wounded.
The third anniversary of the Battle of Long Tan was commemorated by a memorial service conducted on the original battle ground during which a large white cross was erected.
During the remainder of the tour, an additional 15 Battalion level operations were conducted. In a reflection of the increasing control that the Australians exerted over the province, 6RAR/NZ (ANZAC) was called on several times to assist in civil community projects and in the training of local government forces. Positive signs of the disintegration of the enemy's command and supply system were identified and by the end of the tour that shaped the enemy to operate in small groups that struggled to maintain their existence.
During the second tour of Vietnam, the Battalion inflicted 260 enemy dead, 64 enemy wounded and captured 54 enemy. The Battalion also captured 480 assorted weapons and 13 tons of rice. The Battalion suffered 24 killed and 148 wounded. Twenty eight members received individual gallantry awards.
By the end of August 1971, 6 RAR had established itself in Selerang Barracks, Singapore. 6 RAR joined the 1 RNZIR and 1st Battalion, The Royal Highland Fusiliers (replaced by the 1st Battalion Gordon Highlanders in 1973) in the 28 ANZUK Brigade based at Kangaw Barracks, Sembawang Garrison (ex-HMS Simbang). The Battalion returned to Australian in 1974, to Ennogerah Barracks in Brisbane.
East Timor / Timor Leste
25 April 2000 saw the Battalion deploy on Op TANAGER and assumed duty as the Australian Battalion (AUSBATT) responsible for the security in the border region of Bobonaro from 5/7 RAR (Mech). The Rifle Companies were deployed into integral sub-unit AO and commenced an aggressive patrolling program. Throughout the deployment, 6 RAR had at least fourteen contacts with trained militia elements. The 6 RAR Battalion Group suffered the loss of CPL S. Jones (2nd Cavalry Regiment).
In October 2003, 6 RAR deployed on Op CITADEL to East Timor to relieve 1 RAR. Unlike the previous deployment during the build up of the United Nations Mission in East Timor (UNMISET) AUSBATT structure, this deployment coincided with the final drawdown phase of the UN mission and a corresponding WESTBATT structure. The Battalion deployed in a series of sub-unit rotations under the command of a reinforced BHQ.
Thus began a period of almost continual commitment of elements of the Battalion to a range of deployments in support of Australian foreign policy until the present time (2017). This section will be progressively updated.
More to follow