The 17th Brigade was formed in October 1939, one of the first three infantry brigades of the Second AIF, and became part of the 6th Australian Division. The designation of the new brigades began at 16 due to the fact that there were already 15 infantry brigades in the Australian Military Forces, not, as is popularly believed, because there had been 15 infantry brigades in the original AIF. The 17th Brigade's four infantry battalions - 2/5th, 2/6th, 2/7th and 2/8th - were all recruited in Victoria. In February 1941 the Second AIF was reorganised in accordance with the war establishments of the British Army. This resulted in the reduction of Australian infantry brigades from four to three battalions, and the 2/8th Battalion subsequently became part of the 19th Brigade. As a formation, the 17th Brigade fought in Libya, Greece, and against the Japanese in the Wau-Salamaua and Aitape-Wewak campaigns.