2/9th Armoured Regiment

In November 1940 the Australian War Cabinet approved the formation of an armoured division and the 1st Armoured Division was raised in July 1941. The 2/9th Australian Armoured Regiment was raised in August, as part of the division’s 2nd Armoured Brigade.

Between 1941 and 1942 the 2/9th was based at Puckapunyal, Vic., where it was initially equipped with Bren gun carriers, and later with American-designed M3 Grant medium tanks and M3 Stuart light tanks. However, at the start of 1943 the 1st Armoured Division was disbanded and the 2/9th moved to Singleton, NSW, where it became part of the newly raised 4th Armoured Brigade. In May the 2/9th moved to the Atherton Tablelands, Queensland. In March 1944 the 2/9th replaced its Grant tanks with the British-built Matilda tanks. Throughout 1944 and into the start of 1945 the 2/9th continued its training, but the regiment did not go into action until almost the end of the war.

In March 1945 the regiment finally received orders to prepare for overseas service. Moving to Cairns, Queensland, C Squadron sailed for Morotai and the rest of the regiment followed in April. The regiment’s ultimate destination, however, was Borneo.

The 2/9th was to take part in the OBOE operations, a series of amphibious landings designed to reoccupy areas of the Borneo and the Netherlands East Indies. The regiment would support the 9th Division landings at Tarakan, and then Labuan and Brunei Bay, in British North Borneo.

For the invasion of Tarakan, C Squadron was attached to the 26th Brigade and came ashore on 1 May, the first day of the battle, and subsequently took part in the fighting along ANZAC and Bourke Highways, the Tarakan airstrip, and Snag’s Track, and for the Otway and Skyes features, and the Djoeata oilfields. In June the rest of the regiment and 9th Division landed at Labuan and Brunei Bay. B Squadron landed on Labuan Island, with the 24th Brigade, on 10 June, where it supported the infantry on the airfield, Flagstaff Hill, Crater Feature, and MacArthur Road. Meanwhile, A Squadron had landed on Brunei Bay with the rest of the division and supported the advance inland. The 2/9th performed similar tasks in all of these locations, namely supporting the infantry’s advance by engaging Japanese fortifications and by providing mobile fire support.

The 2/9th Armoured Regiment remained on Borneo until the end of December, when it returned to Australia and was disbanded at the start of 1946.

Glossary

Equipment

Battle Honours

Casualties

  • 9 died
  • 16 wounded

For more information please see the Roll of Honour and Second World War Nominal Roll (external website) databases.

Commanding Officers

Decorations

  • 1 MC
  • 2 MM

For more information please see Honours and Awards database

Collection Items

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References

  • AWM52/3/1/15: 2/9 Armoured regiment war diary
  • Donovan, Peter Francis, Waltzing Matildas : the men and machines of the 2/9th Australian Armoured Regimental Group in Australia and Borneo 1941-1946, (Blackwood, S. Aust.: Donovan and Associates, 1988)
  • MacArthur-Onslow, Denzil, "A brief history of the Australian Armoured Corps" MSS1403