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2nd Combat Engineer Regiment
Active 24 November 1991 – Present
Country Australia Australia
Branch Army
Type Royal Australian Engineers (RAE)
Role Combat Engineers
Part of 7th Brigade
Garrison/HQ Gallipoli Barracks, Enoggera
Nickname(s) The Magnificent Bastards
Motto(s) Semper Paratus — Always Ready!
Ubique — Everywhere
March Waltzing Matilda / "Wings"
Mascot(s) Blue Staffordshire Terrier — Sapper Ubique 'DJ' Semper Paratus the First
Anniversaries 18 June (Waterloo Dinner)
Current commander Lieutenant-Colonel Paul Foura (4 November 2011 – Present)
Ceremonial chief Lieutenant-General Frank Hickling
Unit Colour Patch 2cer colour patch.png
Abbreviation 2 CER

The 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment (2CER) is an Australian Army modular engineer regiment trained for sapper/combat engineer operations. 2 CER's lineage is traced back to 7th Field Company (7 Fd Coy). During World War I, this unit was renowned for action during the Battle of the Somme, Menin Road and the Hindenburg Line. During World War II, it fought the Japanese at Kokoda and on Bougainville. The Regiment is located at Gallipoli Barracks in Brisbane, Queensland and is part of 7th Brigade, attached to Forces Command.

History[edit | edit source]

World War I[edit | edit source]

The 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment traces its history back to the 4th Field Company, Royal Australian Engineers (RAE), which was raised in New South Wales and then later renamed the 7th Field Company (7 Fd Coy) on 20 September 1915.[1][2] The 7 Fd Coy was raised for overseas service with the Australian Imperial Force (AIF) and served with distinction in Egypt and France during World War I, where it saw action in the Battle of the Somme, Menin Road and the Hindenburg Line[3] before returning to Australia and disbandment on 23 May 1919.

In 1921 the Australian government decided to restructure the part-time Citizens Forces units to replicate the numerical designations and perpetuate the honours of the AIF.[4] As a result, on 1 May 1921, the unit was re-raised as the 7 Fd Coy of the 1st Division, based in Ipswich.[5]

World War II[edit | edit source]

Due to the provisions of the Defence Act (1903) which precluded deploying the Militia outside of Australian territory, following the outbreak of World War II, the Australian government decided to raise an all volunteer force for overseas service, known as the Second Australian Imperial Force (2nd AIF).[6] During this time the units of the Militia undertook brief periods of continuous service to undertake training and other defensive tasks in Australia in an effort to improve the nation's defences in case of war in the Pacific. With Japan's entry into the war following the attacks on Pearl Harbor and Malaya, the strategic situation worsened and units of the Militia were mobilised for war service. 7 Fld Coy was called out for full-time service in May 1942 and was eventually gazetted as an Australian Imperial Force unit.[Note 1] The unit served in Papua New Guinea and fought against the Japanese along the Kokoda Track and on Bougainville until the end of the war.[8][9] 7 Fd Coy returned to Australia on 3 January 1946 and disbanded once again on 4 February 1946. A second Queensland unit, the 11th Field Company, which had been based at Kelvin Grove and Toowong before the war,[10] also saw active service in New Guinea and Bougainville during this time.[11]

Post World War II[edit | edit source]

On 19 June 1947, a Special Survey Troop was activated for employment on the proposed Rocket Range at Woomera and then later expanded.[12] The unit was involved in the construction of facilities for the nuclear tests conducted at Emu Claypan during the 1950s. On 11 March 1949, this unit became the Special Construction Squadron, RAE and was renamed 7 Field Squadron (7 Fd Sqn).[13] During the 1949 Coal Miner's Strike, 7 Fd Sqn supported Operation EXCAVATE to win coal in the New South Wales minefields.[14]

Korea/Malayan Emergency/Indonesian Confrontation[edit | edit source]

The unit was reassigned to 1 Field Engineer Regiment in June 1951, before being redesignated 7 Independent Field Squadron and grouped with the 1st Infantry Brigade at Casula and Holsworthy.[15] During this time, the unit provided the nucleus of personnel used to form the 1 RAR Assault Pioneer Platoon, which subsequently took part in operations along the Pusan Perimeter during the Korean War.[16] In 1955, elements of the squadron – 4 Troop – deployed to South-East Asia and participated in the Malayan Emergency.[17] On 28 December 1958, the unit deployed to Vanuatu to provide humanitarian support after a tropical cyclone. In June 1960, the Australian Military Forces were reorganised along a divisional basis with the adoption of the Pentropic organisation, and 7 Independent Field Squadron (redesignated 7 Fd Sqn) moved to Wacol, Queensland.[18] Between June and December 1964, eight officers and 132 other ranks from 7 Fd Sqn deployed to Borneo during the Indonesia Confrontation to conduct tasks such as road and airstrip construction.[19]

On 1 December 1971,[8] Divisional Engineers reorganised into regiments and 7 Fd Sqn became part of the 2nd Field Engineer Regiment (2 FER) which was allocated under command Headquarters 6th Task Force at Enoggera, Queensland. 2 FER consisted of 7 Fd Sqn, 2 Field Squadron (2 Fd Sqn), 24 Support Squadron (24 Spt Sqn) and a Workshops. 17 Construction Squadron, on its return from Vietnam in late 1971, was renamed 17 Field Squadron (17 Fd Sqn) and in mid-1973 was merged with 7 Fd Sqn, 2 FER.[20]

In August 1981, 2 FER became 2/3 FER following the disbandment of 1 FER and the merging of 3 FER.[8] 2/3 FER was based at Enoggera, Queensland and now consisted of 1 Field Squadron (Holsworthy), 7 Fd Sqn (Enoggera), 18 Field Squadron (Townsville) and a Workshops. In July 1987, 35 Field Squadron and 11 Field Squadron (11 Fd Sqn—formerly 11th Field Company and ex-5 FER located at Kelvin Grove), was brought onto the 2/3 FER unit status. At the time, it was the single largest regiment on the Army Order of Battle.

Namibia[edit | edit source]

7 Fd Sqn consisted of a Headquarters, 13th and 14th Field Troops and 24th Support Troop. In March 1989, the United Nations acting under UN Resolution 435, formed a military force—United Nations Transitional Assistance Group (UNTAG)—for deployment to the war torn country of Namibia (formerly South West Africa) a protectorate of South Africa. The mission was to supervise the withdrawal of the South African Defence Force (SADF), assist those displaced by the war to return home, and to pave the way for the first 'free and fair' elections ever held in that country. The 17th Construction Squadron was mobilised for deployment and augmented by the 14th Field Troop. This contingent was sent to the northernmost part of Namibia, to an ex-SADF base at Ondangwa, in close proximity to the Angolan border for the majority of the deployment. 14th Field Troop was responsible for unexploded ordnance and landmine clearance tasks. They were deployed between March and September 1989 and handed over to elements of the 15th Field Troop, 18 Fd Sqn.[21]

Following the Force Structure Review in 1991, 2/3 FER was broken into 1, 2 and 3 Combat Engineer Regiments (CERs) with 2 CER being raised first on 24 November 1991 and remaining at Enoggera. 2 CER is also the oldest of the CERs. 2 CER now became part of 7th Brigade and comprised 7 Combat Engineer Squadron (7 CE Sqn), 20 Engineer Support Squadron (previously 20 Divisional Engineer Support Squadron) and 11 Operational Support Squadron (logistic support and workshops). During the Ready Reserve experiment of the 1990s, 2 CER increased its establishment of Reserve members.

Recent operations[edit | edit source]

Sydney Olympics[edit | edit source]

2 CER next underwent a change during 1999, when it was assigned the task of forming and commanding the new Joint Incident Response Unit (JIRU), in support of the Sydney 2000 Olympic Games as part of Operation GOLD. The unit was split, with the majority of personnel moving to Holsworthy to form the JIRU (and subsequently the new Incident Response Regiment [IRR]), leaving a small Headquarters element and 7 CE Sqn in Enoggera. In July 2001, the Regiment underwent a force structure review which saw the unit grow in strength once again. 2 CER became a fully integrated unit consisting of a Regimental Headquarters, an Operational Support Troop (Catering Section, Q Store and Workshops), 7 CE Sqn (Reserve), 11 CE Sqn (Regular) and 20 Support Troop (Integrated).

East Timor[edit | edit source]

From April–October 2001, a composite engineer troop was deployed to support the 4 RAR Battalion Group in East Timor and undertook a wide variety of construction and combat engineering tasks along the border between East and West Timor. During November 2003 – June 2004, 2 CER supported the 6 RAR Battalion Group (AUSBATT IX) in East Timor.[22] 2 CER subsequently led an independent Company Group in support of a multi-national United Nations Security Force as part of Operation SPIRE during the period December 2004 – June 2005. This force conducted a wide variety of support engineering and combat service support tasks in support of other United Nations forces deployed to the country. 2 CER elements returned to Timor Leste in the 8/9 RAR Timor-Leste Battle Group from January– October 2010, as part of Operation ASTUTE.

Banda Aceh[edit | edit source]

In December 2004, elements of 2 CER were deployed to provide humanitarian assistance in Banda Aceh (Operation SUMATRA ASSIST) after a tsunami was experienced within the Indonesian region and South West Pacific rim. 2 CER engineers provided civil military liaison support, cleared debris, recovered human remains, provided clean water and assisted with the humanitarian effort.[23]

Afghanistan[edit | edit source]

2 CER deployed Squadron or larger size groups to Afghanistan's Orūzgān Province on four occasions as part of Operation SLIPPER. 2 CER(-) deployed as Reconstruction Task Force-2 over March – October 2007.[24] 2 CER deployed a Combat Engineer Squadron Group as part of the 750 strong 6 RAR Task Group (also known as Mentoring Task Force-1) over February–October 2010, and subsequent Squadron Groups to the 8/9 RAR Task Group (MTF-4) and the 3 RAR Task Group (MTF-5) in 2012.[25] 2 CER personnel were deployed in a wide variety of roles including training and mentoring members of the Afghan National Army, and undertaking route clearance, high-threat search, construction tasks and infantry missions. The Regiment suffered three soldiers killed in action and over 20 soldiers wounded in action.

Queensland floods[edit | edit source]

In January 2011, in the aftermath of the 2010–2011 Queensland floods, 2 CER deployed throughout Brisbane and the surrounding region to assist with recovery and cleanup as part of Operation Queensland Flood Assist.[26] 2 CER deployed elements to Bundaberg during the 2013 Queensland floods, notably building a military bridge over a flood-damaged highway bridge to re-open the Isis Highway over the Burnett River.[27]

Other missions[edit | edit source]

Throughout its history, individual members of the unit have also been involved in operations in Cambodia, Somalia, Pakistan, Rwanda, the Solomon Islands and Bougainville, and support to police during the several Commonwealth Heads of Government Meetings (CHOGM).[28] In addition to its military role, 2 CER also works closely with the local Queensland community in times of emergency. This was demonstrated in November 2008 following the worst storms in Brisbane since 1985 when 2 CER co-ordinated the large scale Defence-assisted relief efforts.[29][30]

Planning for the future[edit | edit source]

In 2012, 2 CER became the largest combat engineer unit in the Australian Army. The Regiment has an Army Reserve Combat Engineer squadron in addition to its Regular Army component. The Regiment will receive new barracks in 2014 as part of the Australian Army's Enhanced Land Force (ELF) initiative.[31]

2 CER has an official Bond of Friendship with 2 Combat Engineer Regiment in Petawawa, Canada.

Composition[edit | edit source]

  • Regimental HQ
    • 2 Combat Engineer Squadron
      • 10 Troop
      • 11 Troop
    • 7 Combat Engineer Squadron
      • 12 Troop
      • 13 Troop
      • 14 Troop
    • 11 Combat Engineer Squadron (Army Reserve)
      • 27 Troop
      • 28 Troop
      • 29 Support Troop
    • 24 Support Squadron
    • Operational Support Squadron

Notes[edit | edit source]

  1. Essentially this meant that because more than 65% of its personnel volunteered for overseas service, that it was no longer bound by the resistrictions that the Defence Act 1903 placed upon where Militia units could be sent to fight. Units that did not accept AIF status could only be deployed within the SWPA during the war.[7]
  1. McNicol 1979, p. 60.
  2. Bean 1941, p. 806.
  3. McNicol 1979, pp. 71, 93 and 129.
  4. Grey 2008, p. 125.
  5. McNicol 1982, pp. 4 and 21.
  6. Grey 2008, p. 146.
  7. Johnston 2007, p. 9.
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 "7 Brigade Units – 2 CER". Department of Defence. Archived from the original on 8 December 2001. http://web.archive.org/web/20011208235454/http://www.7brigade.net/2cer.htm. Retrieved 19 November 2010. 
  9. McNicol 1982, pp. 149, 153 and 216.
  10. McNicol 1982, p. 5.
  11. McNicol 1982, pp. 186, 216.
  12. Greville 2002, p. 29.
  13. Greville 2002, p. 30.
  14. Greville 2002, p. 579.
  15. Greville 2002, p. 33.
  16. Greville 2002, p. 443.
  17. Greville 2002, p. 34.
  18. Greville 2002, pp. 35–36.
  19. Greville 2002, pp. 617, 620 & 636.
  20. Greville 2002, pp. 43–44.
  21. "Digest of Bill: Veterans' Affairs Amendment Bill 1989". Parliament of Australia. 3 May 1989. http://www.aph.gov.au/Parliamentary_Business/Bills_Legislation/bd/~/media/05%20About%20Parliament/54%20Parliamentary%20Depts/544%20Parliamentary%20Library/Bills%20Digests/1989/1989bd055.ashx. Retrieved 26 August 2012. 
  22. Belham and Denham 2009, p. 179.
  23. Regimental Journal 2005, pp. 42–52.
  24. Belham and Denham 2009, p. 188.
  25. "Media Release: Changing of Guard for Australian Soldiers – Mission Continues". Department of Defence. 16 February 2010. http://www.defence.gov.au/media/departmentaltpl.cfm?CurrentId=9967. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  26. "Defence force helps Queensland on road to recovery". Australian Emergency Management Institute. http://www.em.gov.au/Publications/Australianjournalofemergencymanagement/Pages/AJEMvolume26/DefenceforcehelpsQueenslandonroadtorecovery.aspx. Retrieved 25 August 2012. 
  27. http://defence.viotv.com/?MediaId=79ae13d1-706f-4b74-bd6e-1f5d8a5b3ea5
  28. "7th Brigade Units". Department of Defence. http://www.defence.gov.au/army/HQ7BDE/7th_brigade_units_38090.htm. Retrieved 11 July 2010. 
  29. "Operation Storm Assist". Department of Defence. 18 November 2008. http://www.defence.gov.au/media/download/2008/Nov/20081119/index.htm. Retrieved 27 February 2008. 
  30. Australian Sapper 2009, p. 41.
  31. 31.0 31.1 Australian Sapper 2008, p. 17.
  32. Regimental Journal 2004, pp. 8–26.

References[edit | edit source]

  • 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment. (2004). Regimental Journal 2004. Brisbane: Department of Defence.
  • 2nd Combat Engineer Regiment. (2005). Regimental Journal 2005. Brisbane: Department of Defence.
  • Bean, Charles (1941). The Story of ANZAC from 4 May, 1915, to the Evacuation of the Gallipoli Peninsula. Official History of Australia in the War of 1914–1918 — Volume 2 (11th ed.). Sydney: Angus and Robertson. OCLC 215091780. 
  • Belham, David; Denham, Peter (2009). The Blue Diamonds: The History of 7th Brigade, 1915–2008. Puckapunyal, Victoria: Department of Defence. 
  • Grey, Jeffrey (2008). A Military History of Australia (3rd ed.). Melbourne: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 978-0-521-69791-0. 
  • Greville, P.J (2002). The Royal Australian Engineers 1945 to 1972: Paving the Way. History of the Royal Australian Engineers, Volume 4. Moorebank: The Corps Committee of the Royal Australian Engineers. ISBN 1-876439-74-2. 
  • Johnston, Mark (2007). The Australian Army in World War II. Botley, Oxford: Osprey Publishing. ISBN 978-1-84603-123-6. 
  • McNicol, Ronald (1979). The Royal Australian Engineers 1902 to 1919: Making and Breaking. History of the Royal Australian Engineers, Volume 2. Canberra: The Corps Committee of the Royal Australian Engineers. ISBN 978-0-9596871-2-5. 
  • McNicol, Ronald (1982). The Royal Australian Engineers 1919 to 1945: Teeth and Tail. History of the Royal Australian Engineers, Volume 3. Canberra: The Corps Committee of the Royal Australian Engineers. ISBN 978-0-9596871-3-2. 
  • Royal Australian Engineers (2008). "Australian Sapper 2008". Moorebank: Department of Defence. ISSN 1449-4140. http://www.defence.gov.au/army/RAE/Australian_Sapper_2008.asp. 
  • Royal Australian Engineers (2009). "Australian Sapper 2009". Moorebank: Department of Defence. ISSN 1449-4140. http://www.defence.gov.au/army/RAE/Australian_Sapper_2009.asp. 

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