2/10th Cavalry Commando Squadron
2/10th Cavalry Commando Squadron
The first independent company was formed in June 1941 and by July 1942 another seven were raised. Following a reorganisation of the independent companies and the 6th, 7th and 9th Divisions’ cavalry regiments, these divisions raised cavalry (commando) regiments to administer the independent companies. The names of the independent companies were consequently changed to cavalry (commando) squadrons and then just to commando squadrons.
In January 1944, the 6th Division raised the 2/6th Cavalry (Commando) Regiment, consisting of the 2/7th Commando Squadron, and the newly raised 2/9th and 2/10th Commando Squadrons. Throughout the year, the regiment trained together on the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland, before sailing to New Guniea, to support the 6th Division’s forthcoming Aitape-Wewak campaign.
In October and November Australian forces began relieving the American garrison at Aitape. The 2/10th Commando Squadron’s headquarters moved into position at Babiang and sent its troops forward to Suain. Throughout November the squadron patrolled the Suain-Luain area, moving through the area between Dandriwad and Danmap Rivers. The unit’s war diary recorded that the “sqn spirits were high, all eagerly awaited their first action against the Jap[anese].” In December the 2/10th moved to Vokau where it supported the 17th Brigade by manning defensive positions.
In February 1945 the squadron once again conducted offensive operations and relieved the 2/7th Squadron at Walum and Nilu. Thereafter the 2/10th crossed the Torricelli Ranges and moved down its southern slopes to the foothills. After a short stay at Nilu, the commandos pushed south, establishing a base at Ami. There were many villages in the area and where the regiment as whole was particularly active. The 2/10th’s role was both protective and offensive, it protected the advance of the 2/5th and 2/7th Infantry Battalions, which were further inland, and moved in a generally southerly direction towards Maprik.
In March the squadron patrolled the Milak, Maurak and Aupik areas. After two months of fighting in the Maprik area, the squadron was given a rest at Vokau.
Called Farida Force, on 11 May the 2/6th Regiment made an amphibious landing in Dove Bay, east of Wewak. The 2/10th were tasked with defending the beachhead before they moved inland to Mandi. The squadron was still active in the Dove Bay area in June, where it was headquartered at Mandi garden, on the Wewak-Forok Road. Pushed out of Wewak, some of the Japanese moved along the coast, while the main Japanese force made their final stand in the mountains. The fighting was particular intense during this final phase of the campaign and the squadron was in almost constant action.
On 5 June one of the 2/10th’s patrols attacked what turned out to be a system of particularly strong Japanese bunkers. The Australian attack was repelled by heavy machine gun fire, but, they were able to call in artillery support from 2/2nd Field Regiment. In just 10 minutes the artillery fired 800 rounds into the Japanese positions. A squadron’s war diary described the “resulting destruction” as “terrific”. From the 25 Japanese bunkers, 17 where completely destroyed by the artillery.
In the third week of June, the squadron moved to Boiken Plantation where it was again in contact with strong concentrations of Japanese troops, who frequently attacked the squadron at night. On 5 July the 2/10th was relived by the 2/7th and the former moved to Cape Karawop, where the regiment’s headquarters were situated.
The 2/10th remained at Karawop until the end of the war. They moved back to Wewak in November, before subsequently return to Australia where the 2/10th Commando Squadron was disbanded.
- 2nd Australian Imperial Force
- 6 Division Cavalry Regiment
- Aitape-Wewak Campaign ; nil ; Independent companies
- Danmap River
- 23 died, 45 wounded
- 1 MC
- 2 MM
- 3 MID
For more information please see Honours and Awards database
Search for related collection items
- AWM52/2/2/62: 2/10 Cavalry (Commando) Squadron war diary