Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
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Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment

The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
Cap badge of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
Active9 January 1947 - Present
Country New Zealand
AllegianceHM The Queen
BranchCrest of the New Zealand Army.jpg New Zealand Army
TypeLine Infantry
RoleLight Role Infantry
SizeFive battalions
Garrison/HQ1st Battalion - Linton
2/1st Battalion - Burnham
2nd/4th Battalion
3rd/6th Battalion
5th/7th Battalion - Trentham
March1st Battalion -
Quick - Sons of the Brave
Slow - Scipio
2/1st Battalion -
March on - Action Front
March past (quick) - The Great Little Army
March past (slow) - Scipio
March off - Army of the Nile
Colonel-in-ChiefHM The Queen
Colonel of
the Regiment
Major General K.M. Gordon, CBE (Rtd)
Tac SignRNZIR Tac-Sign.PNG

The Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment is the parent administrative regiment of regular and reserve infantry battalions in the New Zealand Army.



The New Zealand Infantry Corps was formed on 9 January 1947, consisting of a single Regular infantry battalion, the New Zealand Regiment, and eleven Territorial Force(TF) Infantry Regiments;[1]

The New Zealand Infantry Corps war granted royal status in July 1947.[2] In August 1947 the New Zealand Regiment was reorganised with the two Infantry Battalions in Jayforce joining the New Zealand Regiment:

The 2nd and 3rd Battalions were disbanded in 1948 following their return to New Zealand.[5][6]

During 1948 amalgamations further reduced the TF Infantry Regiments to nine;


As part of New Zealand's commitment to he British Commonwealth Far East Reserve, The 1st Battalion, The New Zealand Regiment was deployed to Malaya from October 1957 as part the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade Group. Between 1958 and 1964 the NZ Regiment would rotate 3 Battalions through Malaya;[7]

  • 1st Battalion,(1957 to 1959)
  • 2nd Battalion, (1959 to 1961)
  • 1st Battalion, (1961 to 1964)

In 1963 the 2nd Battalion now based in New Zealand was reorganised as a Depot for the 1st Battalion.[8]

Infantry reorganization

On 1 April 1964 all units of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Corps were reorganised into the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment and re-designated as;[9]

Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation

During the Indonesia-Malaysia confrontation which began on 20 January 1963, 1 RNZIR would be committed to the conflict from September 1964, seeing service in Mainland Malaysia and Borneo.

1 RNZIR would initially see action in September 1964 when Indonesian paratroopers landed in Johore, 1 RNZIR was one of the few Commonwealth units in the region and with the New Zealand government's permission hunted down the infiltrators. The following month, 52 Indonesian soldiers landed in Pontian on the Johore-Malacca border and were also captured by New Zealand soldiers. 1 RNZIR would later deploy to Borneo where they would combat Indonesian cross border infiltration's. The Indonesia-Malaysia Confrontation officially ended in May 1966.

Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War, 1 RNZIR which remained at Terendak Camp in Malaysia, would contribute a series of Rifle company's to serve with the 1st Australian Task Force in South Vietnam. The first contribution was Victor Company (V Coy), a 182-man rifle company to Vietnam which served from May 1967 until November 1967 as part of the 1st Australian Task Force. For the first two weeks the company served with 6th Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment at Nui Dat and then came under 2nd Battalion, Royal Australian Regiment for the remainder of the tour.[10] Despite being under 2 RAR operationally, V Coy did maintain some command autonomy for all non-operational administrative matters which were reported to the New Zealand Headquarters in Saigon. During its six months in Vietnam V Coy participated in;

  • Operation Paddington (8-16 July 1967),
  • Operation Cairns (25 July - 1 August 1967),
  • Operation Atherton (16 August - 3 September 1967),
  • Operation Ainslie (4-21 September 1967) and
  • Operation Kenmore (29 September - 11 October 1967).[11]

V Coy was replaced by Whisky Company (W Coy) in December, also from 1 RNZIR in Malaya. A fresh V Coy (Victor 2) also joined and the two New Zealand companies continued to serve under 2 RAR until the formation of the ANZAC Battalion in 1968.

Formation of ANZAC Battalion

1 March 1968 saw the formation of the "ANZAC Battalion" which was a merger of A, B and C Companies of 2 RAR with V and W Companies of RNZIR[12] and renamed 2 RAR/NZ (ANZAC). W and V Companies operated as New Zealand companies, maintaining their identity and designation within the Australian battalion they were part of. The new ANZAC Battalion's first operation was Operation Pinnaroo (27 February - 15 April 1968) with 3 RAR, followed by Operation Cooktown Orchid (April 1968).[13] In May 1968 Victor 3 replaced Victor 2, 2 RAR was replaced by 4 RAR and the ANZAC Battalion became 4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC). In November 1968 the first Whisky company was replaced by Whisky 2.

In May 1969 4 RAR was replaced by 6 RAR whereupon the ANZAC Battalion became 6RAR/NZ (ANZAC). Two weeks prior to 6 RAR's arrival Victor 3 was replaced by Victor 4 and conducted operations with Whisky 2 until the arrival of the Australians. Whisky 2 was replaced by Whisky 3 in November 1969. During this rotation two New Zealand mortar sections and two Assault Pioneer sections were added.[12]

In May 1970 Victor 4 was replaced by Victor 5. In July 1970 6 RAR was relieved by 2 RAR again and the battalion was once again 2RAR/NZ (ANZAC). After three tours W3 Company was withdrawn from Vietnam in November 1970 along with 8 RAR.

In May 1971 Victor 5 was replaced by Victor 6 and 2 RAR was replaced by 4 RAR thereby becoming 4 RAR/NZ (ANZAC)[14] again, serving until the withdrawal of the last Australian and New Zealand combat troops in December 1971.[15]


As part of 1ATF, New Zealand infantry participated in many operations in Vietnam including;

  • Operation Duntroon (10-21 January 1968),
  • Operation Coburg (24 January - 1 March 1968),
  • Operation Kosciusko[16] (15-20 June 1968),
  • Operation Merino[17] (18-25 July 1968),
  • Operation Lyre Bird[18] (1-4 September 1968),
  • Operation Innamincka[19] (7-12 September 1968),
  • Operation Hawkesbury (12-24 September 1968),
  • Operation Sceptre,[20] an independent operation by W Company (28 September - 6 October 1968),
  • Operation Capitol (12-30 October 1968),
  • Operation Goodwood (December 1968 - February 1969) which included the Battle of Hat Dich,
  • Operation Federal (27 March - 8 April 1969),
  • Operation Overlander[21] (8-17 April 1969),
  • Operation Stafford[22] (17 April - 1 May 1969),
  • Operation Lavarack (31 May - 30 June 1969),
  • Operation Mundingburra (14-15 August 1969),
  • Operation Burnham (29 August - 30 September 1969),
  • Operation Marsden (1-27 December 1969),
  • Operation Cung Chung 1 (12-28 June 1970),
  • Operation Petrie (29 June - 13 July 1970),
  • Operation Nathan (13 July - 2 August 1970),
  • Operation Cung Chung II (3 August - 20 September 1970), and
  • Operation Cung Chung III (21 September 1970 - 31 January 1971).

Victor 4 Company also conducted their own independent operations including;

  • Operation Waiouru[23] (5-9 July 1969),
  • Operation Tekapo[24] (26-28 August 1969),
  • Operation Ross[25] (15-24 October 1969),
  • Operation With the ARVN[26] (24-28 November 1969),
  • Operation Napier[27] (10 January - 20 February 1970),
  • Operation Waipounamu[28] (18-20 March 1970). and
  • Operation Townsville[29] (20 March - 23 April 1970).

As the only remaining New Zealand infantry company Victor 5 participated in the ongoing Australian efforts to secure the area and defeat D445 Vietcong Battalion, the primary enemy force in Phuoc Tuy Province. As part of 4 RAR/NZ Victor 5 Company was involved in Operation Phoi Hop (1 February - 2 May 1971.) Victor 6 Company was involved in;

  • Operation Overlord (5-14 June 1971) including Battle of Long Khanh,
  • Operation Hermit Park (14 June - 27 July 1971),
  • Battle of Nui Le (21 September 1971), and
  • Operation Valiant (3-6 October 1971)

With other Australian battalions having been withdrawn earlier in 1971, only 3 RAR and 4 RAR/NZ remained by mid 1971. Victor 6's last operation was one of protecting the activities of 1 ATF's withdrawal from Vietnam during Operation South Ward (6-16 October 1971). Victor Company was returned to 1 RNZIR in Singapore on 9 December 1971.[30]


RNZIR casualties (including RNZE attachments) during the Vietnam War were:[31]

  • 2 RAR/NZ - 10 (both rotations)
  • 4 RAR/NZ - 5 (both rotations)
  • 6 RAR/NZ - 14


Having been based at Terendak Camp since 1961, 1 RNZIR relocated to Nee Soon Barracks on Singapore in December 1969. In 1971 the 28th Commonwealth Infantry Brigade Group would be disestablished and 1 RNZIR would come under the command of ANZUK Force. During 1970/71 1 RNZIR would relocate from Nee Soon to Dieppe Barracks. In 1974 ANZUK Force was disbanded and 1 RNZIR became the Infantry component of the New Zealand Force South East Asia which it would remain a part of until 1989 when 1 RNZIR was redeployed to Linton Camp in New Zealand.

1973 Re organisation

In 1973, the Regimental Depot in Burnham Camp was predesignated as the 2/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Battalion, creating for the first time since 1948 a second Regular Infantry Battalion in the New Zealand Army. Today, the RNZIR has two Regular Battalions:

  • 1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment
  • 2/1st Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment

An additional battalion, known as the 3/1st Battalion RNZIR, was occasionally formed as a composite battalion from the Territorial Battalions during exercises.[32]

On 17 March 2013 the six TF battalions were amalgamated into three Battalions;

  • 2nd/4th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (2/4 RNZIR), from
    • 2nd Battalion (Canterbury and Nelson-Marlborough and West Coast), RNZIR, and
    • 4th Battalion (Otago and Southland) RNZIR
  • 3rd/6th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (3/6 RNZIR), from
    • 3rd Battalion (Auckland [Countess of Ranfurly's Own] and Northland), RNZIR and
    • 6th Battalion (Hauraki) RNZIR
  • 5th/7th Battalion, Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (5/7 RNZIR),[33] from
    • 5th Battalion (Wellington West Coast and Taranaki) RNZIR and,
    • 7th Battalion (Wellington [City of Wellington's Own], Hawkes Bay) RNZIR.


In the first deployment of New Zealand combat troops to a war zone since the Vietnam War, 1 RNZIR contributed a rifle section to provide security for the New Zealand Supply Contingent in Somalia from July 1993. There would be two rotations with the final section departing Somalia in June 1994.[7]

Former Yugoslavia

Alongside troops from Queens Alexandra's Mounted Rifles (QAMR), 1 RNZIR and 2/ RNZIR would both contribute to the Mechanized Infantry Company Group that formed New Zealand's commitment to the United Nations Protection Force (UNPROFOR). Serving as part of a British Battalion from 1994, two Company Group rotations would serve in the Former Yugoslavia.[7]


A member of 1 RNZIR in East Timor during 2007

In the New Zealand Army, an infantry platoon is commanded by a second lieutenant or a lieutenant with a Platoon Sergeant (holding the rank of sergeant), a Platoon Signaller and a medic (where relevant) comprising the Platoon Headquarters. The platoon is sub-divided into three sections of between 7-10 soldiers, each commanded by a corporal with a lance corporal as the Section second-in-command (Section 2iC). Each section can be sub-divided into two fire-teams, commanded by the Section Commander and 2iC respectively, as well as normal two man Scout, Rifle and Gun Teams. In recent years the section organisation consists of the two fire team concept, where the section is divided into two fire teams with a Gun Team in each and one commanded by the section corporal and the other section lance corporal with a section marksmen in each team and the leftover riflemen divided equally among the two fire teams. The section corporal is still in overall command and is in contact with the other fire team via radio if the situation changes.

There are three platoons in a rifle company, which is commanded by a major, and three rifle companies within an infantry battalion, which is commanded by a lieutenant colonel. An infantry battalion will also contain an organic Support Company including a signals platoon, mortar platoon (mortars now officially under the artillery corps but still used by infantry on deployment), Direct Fire Support Weapons Platoon which includes anti armour, heavy machine guns and automatic grenade launchers, Reconnaissance Platoon and Sniper cell, and a Logistics Company (transport and stores). The battalion totals around 400 to 500 soldiers depending on retention levels.

Battle honours

Because it is recruited on a nationwide basis, and has no specific regional links, the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment claims descent from the old New Zealand Regiment and all previous Territorial Infantry Regiments of the New Zealand Army. As a consequence, it is permitted to display a selection of 105 battle honours awarded to ten separate regiments:

  • New Zealand
  • South Africa 1900-02
  • The Great War:
    • Anzac, Gallipoli 1915
    • Somme 1916 '18,
    • Messines 1917,
    • Ypres 1917,
    • Polygon Wood,
    • Passchendaele,
    • Arras 1918,
    • Hindenburg Line,
    • France and Flanders 1916-18,
  • World War II:
    • Greece 1941,
    • Crete,
    • Minqar Qaim,
    • El Alamein,
    • Takrouna,
    • North Africa 1940-43,
    • Cassino I,
    • The Senio,
    • Italy 1943-44,
    • South Pacific 1942-44
  • South Vietnam 1967-70[Note 1]




  1. ^ Only battle honour awarded to a New Zealand unit since 1945.


  1. ^ "H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand, Annual report of the chief of the General Staff". Archived from the original on 30 August 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  2. ^ "H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand, Annual report of the chief of the General Staff". Archived from the original on 12 July 2019. Retrieved 2019.
  3. ^ Henderson 1958, p. 460.
  4. ^ Kay 1958, p. 514.
  5. ^ Haigh 1973, p. 75.
  6. ^ Mills, T.F. "Index of the Regiments and Corps of New Zealand". Land Forces of Britain, The Empire and Commonwealth. Archived from the original on 1 January 2008. Retrieved 2011.
  7. ^ a b c McGibbon, Ian C.; Goldstone, Paul, eds. (2000). The Oxford companion to New Zealand military history. Auckland, N.Z.: Oxford University Press. ISBN 0195583760. OCLC 44652805.
  8. ^ McGibbon 2000, p. 465.
  9. ^ Corbett, David Ashley (1980). The regimental badges of New Zealand, an illustrated history of the badges and insignia worn by the New Zealand Army (revised and enlarged ed.). Auckland: R. Richards. ISBN 0908596057. OCLC 14030948.
  10. ^ "Deployment to Vietnam". Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 2014.
  11. ^ "Operations". Archived from the original on 13 January 2015. Retrieved 2014.
  12. ^ a b "W3 Stories 19". Archived from the original on 30 April 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  13. ^ Fairhead 2014, pp. 55-57.
  14. ^ Fairhead 2014, p. 146.
  15. ^ Taylor 2001, p. 252.
  16. ^ "KOSCIUSKO". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  17. ^ "Operation Merino". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  18. ^ "lyrebird". Archived from the original on 2 September 2009. Retrieved 2014.
  19. ^ "Operation Innamincka". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  20. ^ "SCEPTRE". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  21. ^ "Operation Overlander". Archived from the original on 2 April 2015. Retrieved 2014.
  22. ^ "Operation Stafford". Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  23. ^ "Operation Waiouru". Victor Four. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  24. ^ "Operation Tekapo". Victor Four. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  25. ^ "Operation Ross". Victor Four. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  26. ^ "Operation with the ARVN". Victor Four. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  27. ^ "Operation Napier". Victor Four. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  28. ^ "Operation Waipounamu". Victor Four. Archived from the original on 2 May 2014. Retrieved 2014.
  29. ^ "Operation Townsville". Victor Four. Archived from the original on 8 March 2015. Retrieved 2014.
  30. ^ Fairhead 2014, p. 163.
  31. ^ Fairhead 2014, p. 189.
  32. ^ Lord & Tennant 2000, p. 115.
  33. ^ "Royal Guard to Mark TF Merger" (PDF). NZ Army News. New Zealand Army (440): 7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 21 August 2013. Retrieved 2013.


Further reading

  • Breen, Bob (1988). First to Fight: Australian Diggers, N.Z. Kiwis and U.S. Paratroopers in Vietnam, 1965-66. Australia: Allen & Unwin. ISBN 0-04-320218-7.
  • Lyles, Kevin (2004). ANZACs: Australian and New Zealand Troops in Vietnam 1962-72. United Kingdom: Osprey. ISBN 978-184-176702-4.
  • McGibbon, Ian (2010). New Zealand's Vietnam War: A History Of Combat, Commitment and Controversy. Auckland, New Zealand: Exisle Publishing. ISBN 978-0-908988-96-9.

  This article uses material from the Wikipedia page available here. It is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.



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