Australian Heavy Artillery, New Guinea

Australian Heavy Artillery, New Guinea

Australian Heavy Artillery, New Guinea

One of the first lessons that had to be learnt by the Allies fighting in the jungle was that heavy artillery could indeed be used, although with some difficulty. This Australian heavy gun was involved in the fighting on the Gona-Buna front.


Battle of Isurava

The Battle of Isurava (also sometimes referred to as the Battle of Isurava – Abuari [1] or the Battle of Isuraba [2] ) took place over the period 26 to 31 August 1942. Forming part of the Kokoda Track campaign of the Second World War, the battle involved military forces from Australia, supported by the United States, fighting against Japanese troops from Major General Tomitaro Horii's South Seas Detachment who had landed around Buna and Gona in Papua mid-July 1942, with the intent of capturing Port Moresby to the south via the overland route.

Several small engagements were fought north of Kokoda, before the village itself became the scene of heavy fighting as the Australian Maroubra Force fought to delay the Japanese advance throughout late July and into early August. After further fighting around Deniki, the Australians withdrew to Isurava, where the Militia soldiers of Maroubra Force were reinforced by two Second Australian Imperial Force battalions of the veteran 21st Infantry Brigade under Brigadier Arnold Potts.

In what became the first major battle of the campaign, the two sides fought a heavy engagement around Isurava in late August, as four Australian infantry battalions attempted to fend off attacks by a similarly sized Japanese force. On the other side of Eora Creek, clashes were fought around Abuari, as a Japanese battalion attempted to outflank the Australians at Isurava from the west, and cut the track around Alola, while another Japanese battalion attempted to flank Isurava to the west. Subjected to a heavy Japanese artillery bombardment, and lacking their own with which to counter this indirect fire, the Australians defended for four days, before conducting a withdrawal in contact, falling back towards Templeton's Crossing, which was the scene of further fighting in early September 1942.

In the years following the battle, the fighting around Isurava has come to form a key part of the Australian narrative of the campaign. The Japanese were victorious in capturing Isurava, but Australian accounts in the early years after the war characterised the battle as a successful delaying action by a heavily outnumbered force that inflicted more casualties than it sustained, highlighting the bravery of Australian troops in an epic and desperate action of national survival. In this regard, the Battle of Isurava has come to form a key part of the Anzac legend, although recent accounts have re-examined the battle. As the size of the Japanese force committed to the fighting has been re-evaluated, the magnitude of the Australian defensive feat has also been reinterpreted. Recent analysis, while acknowledging the individual bravery of both Australian and Japanese soldiers, highlights tactical deficiencies on both sides, and now characterises the battle as one in which Australian forces were able to withdraw largely due to tactical errors from the Japanese commanders.


Pair colour patches, Royal Australian Artillery, New Guinea Force : Sapper R L Ferguson, Citizen Military Forces

Unit cloth patches for the Royal Australian Artillery, New Guinea Force. The patches are square, divided horizontally through the middle, with the upper colour being white, the lower colour red. Located in the middle of each patch is the miniature colour patch of the artillery. It is a rectangular patch divided diagonally with red over blue.

Associated with the Service of N229735 Sapper Raymond Leslie Ferguson who was born on 1 April 1924 in Sydney, NSW. Ferguson was a qualified electrical fitter when he enlisted in the Citizen Military Forces on 7 April 1942, just days after his 18th Birthday. He commenced duty on 27 April and was posted to 2 Military District Engineer Training Depot. After completing his training, Ferguson was posted to 59 Australian Field Park Company in Queensland, arriving for duty on 5 September. On 17 October, Ferguson embarked with his unit from Brisbane for duty in New Guinea. He disembarked in Port Moresby on 29 October. On 27 January 1943, Ferguson marched out to Headquarters, New Guinea Force for return to Australia. At 18, he was found to be underage for service in a war zone. On 17 March, he returned to Australia, arriving in Townsville on 22 March. From Townsville, Ferguson was posted to South Heads in Sydney for artillery training, arriving on 4 June. After several months training and a period of leave, he was posted back to Townsville on 12 December. He was posted to 'H' Heavy Battery on 3 March 1944 and embarked with his unit from Townsville for further service in New Guinea on 14 March. He disembarked at Milne Bay on 16 March where his unit was employed in a costal defence role. After four months at Milne Bay, Ferguson returned to Australia on 27 July, arriving in Townsville two days later. On 16 October, Ferguson, who had been Absent Without Leave for two days, was brought before his commanding officer and charged. He was fined 3 pounds and lost a further two days pay. Ferguson transferred to 3 Australian Trade Training Depot on 16 February 1945 to undergo training as a refrigerator mechanic. He was evacuated to 115 Australian General Hospital where he underwent a surgical procedure. Ferguson rejoined the training depot on 28 March. He passed his trade qualification on 28 September and was posted to 2 Australian Stores Base Depot the following day. He remained with this unit until his discharge on 18 July 1946.


Brack’s famous painting The Bar was modeled after Edouard Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergere.

Painted in 1882, Manet’s A Bar at the Folies-Bergere is considered the artist’s last major work. As you can see, Brack’s The Bar was modeled after Manet’s masterpiece but with a modern twist.

The Bar, John Brack, 1954

A Bar at the Folies-Bergere, Edouard Manet, 1882

The Bar is a satirized take on the “six o’clock swill,” which described the Australian social ritual. It’s the Aussie equivalent of “it’s 5 o’clock somewhere” and it came out of the early closing times of Aussie pubs in post-war suburbia.

The painting is bleak using browns and greys, undoubtedly to express the conformity he saw in Australian life at the time. This piece sold for $3.2 million in April 2006.


The 6" Guns of Paga 13 Heavy Battery

The Paga Hill site was surveyed by W. E. Davidson in October 1939 and the permanent layout recommended: two 6" Mark XI Guns (former 9 ton Naval guns numbered 2201 and 2292) and magazines, gun floor shelters for both European and Native soldiers, and a DEL (Defence Electric Light, ie searchlight). To the rear (about 80 m away) were casualty rooms, workshop and store, a Close Defence Battery Observation Post (CDBOP) which also housed a Battery Plotting Room (BPR) and a shower and latrine block. War Cabinet (18 June 1940) asked if there was the possiblity of invasion of Australia by the Japanese and whether action should be taken to reinforce Port Moresby (and Darwin) [Minutes, p252]. A sum of £12000 was approved for construction of the battery (about A$1 million in 2013). The two guns were initially installed on temporary mountings in June 1939 but permanent mounts were recommended as a matter of urgency.

It was acknowledged that the Paga Battery could only fulfil a Close Defence role an close only the one entrance through the reef (Basilisk Passage). It could cover the channels at Clerke Patches and at Hardy Creek, but Liljeblad Passage, Padana Nahue, is out of reach.

PAGA HILL FORTIFICATIONS

THE GUNS.
By November 1940 excavation for the No. 2 gun began this gun is the higher of the two and was located at an elevation of 208 ft (63 m) above sea level. There was a problem getting a stone crusher to make the aggregate for the emplacement and long delays were experienced. By December 1940 the No. 2 Gun emplacement was complete, along with the Command Post (elevation 230 ft or 70 m, position 227.5 ° True) the BOP (195° True) and the European Gun Floor shelter. The No. 1 gun was kept ready for action (on temporary mounts) during this time and then by the start of 1941 it had been installed on permanent mounts at an elevation of 173 ft (53 m). The only problem that remained was the installation of the hydraulic hoists in each of the two the ammunition shelters. It was difficult to get the design and construction right so the army decided to make the hoists themselves. The hydraulic ammunition hoists were finally installed in early 1942 at a cost of £400 ($11,000 today).

THE CLOSE DEFENCE BATTERY OBSERVATION POST (CDBOP) - also known as the Command Post (CP).
The CDBOP (#10) was was completed by March 1941 and was located 80 metres behind the two 6" guns so as to not block their field of view. The construction of the Command Post also hit a hurdle. Six-core communications cable was required but none was available as it was in short supply and being consigned elsewhere for higher priority defences. The only solution was to send 6000 ft of telephone cable and then disconnect all private phone in Port Moresby and connect all the cable together.

The CDBOP housed a number of facilities: In the Battery Observation Post (BOP) to the upper rear, a 9 ft Barr and Stroud Range Finder was installed and used until the designated Position Finder was available. The Royal Australian Navy's "Port War Signal Station" (PWSS) was incorporated into this room of the BOP. Underneath was a Battery Plotting Room (BPR) and to the front - and a foot lower down so as to not obscure the view from the BOP - a searchlight switch room (DEL Switchroom) for controlling the Heavy Battery's Searchlights. The battery first saw action in February 1942 with the start of Japanese air raids.

THE BATTERY LAYOUT

After the guns were placed on permanent mounts and the CDBOP constructed, building the rest of the battery got underway. With the first air-raid by the Japanese on 3 February 1942 the necessity for trenches was urgent. After they were dug, then came the gun pits and the barracks. By 1943 the battery was complete and the layout is shown below. There were still no searchlights and the Boom Section Gun Emplacement (the "Twin Six-Pounder Gun Emplacement" for covering the anti-submarine harbour boom net) had not begun.

The 13 Heavy Battery (Paga Heavy Battery) at Paga Hill in 1943.

Legend: Barracks (A - Training Room B - Off Duty Sleeping Quarters C - Officers' Mess D - Kitchen and Gunners' Mess) 1 - Number 1 Gun 2 - Number 2 Gun 3 - United States Army 0.5" Gun Pit 4 - Paga Battery 0.5" Gun Pit 5 - 99 mm Bofors Anti-aircraft Gun Pit 6 - Storage Tunnel (8' high, 20' wide and 90' long) 7 - Main Magazine 8 - CDBOP 9 - Naval Indicator Loop and Radar Station 10 - Vickers .303 Machine Gun Pit 11 - Lewis .303 Machine Gun Pit 12 - Guard Hut 13 - Reserve Magazine 14 - Judge Gore's House (off-duty accommodation). The pink line is Chalmers Crescent. There was no road past the Naval Station to Judge Gore's House - just a bush track.

THE GUNNERS OF PAGA BATTERY - 1st DETATCHMENT

The first detatchment of gunners to man 13 Heavy Battery arrived in September 1940. One of these gunners was Gilmore Lucas [QX35759]. He recently responded to my request in Reveille [the official bi-monthly magazine of The Returned and Services League of Australia (RSL) - New South Wales Branch] for first-hand information about Paga Battery. From his home in Brisbane Gil provided detailed descriptions of his time at Paga, as well as Bootless Battery (more later), and at Forts Bribie, Cowan and Lytton. After the war he served with the army in Japan and Korea - and as Lt Col Lucas he was presented the Military Cross by the Queen in 1954 for gallantry and leadership as a rifle platoon commander during Operation Blaze in Korea (in July 1952).

GIL LUCAS'S WAR

Gilmore Lucas joined the militia in Victoria in 1937. In 1938 he applied for entry into the Permanent Force and was "attested" on 25 January 1939 at the age of 17¾ years. Gil began his training at Fort Lytton at the mouth of the Brisbane River and from there he was sent to complete his artillery training at Fort Cowan on Moreton Island and then to Fort Bribie on the northern tip of Bribie Island. In September 1940 he tried to enlist in the AIF for overseas service. Gil said "The rest of the men at Bribie all got into the AIF because they were old enough. I was too young. A very kindly old Major who ran the battery said 'Lucas, I will send you up to New Guinea that's the best place for you at this stage. You can cool your heels there for a while'." The Major was Percy Dodgson - quite accustomed to the vagaries of appointments in the army. It was he, Dodgson, who after decades of illustrious service as an artilleryman with the Australian Army (including a stint in France in WW1) was retired in August 1939 as Commander Coast Defences, 1st Military District in Brisbane. He didn't complain as he knew he was nearing retirement - being 52 - with the retirement age of 55. The army had just reduced retirement age to 50 for Majors and Dodgson was out with three week's notice. It caused quite a sensation in Defence circles. So Dodgson was too old at 52 but once the war started he was called back into service (after 6 months retirement) as Commander Coastal Defences (CCD) Northern Command and Officer Commanding 8 Heavy Battery at Bribie Island. He stood down as CCD in July (replaced by Major John Whitelaw) but kept his Command of Fort Bribie. By the end of the year he was out again, given permanent leave from Christmas. So in September 1940 Gil Lucas took the wise counsel of Dodgson and was soon on his way to Port Moresby.

"A fellow named Watson and I headed back to Brisbane and caught a ship named Montoro at the Bulimba ferry terminal. It was owned by Burns Philip. We arrived in Moresby a few days later. Our camp was at Konedobu - in metal huts - over near the Golf Course and Government House. Up on Paga Hill there were just the two 6" guns as well as the Command Post right on the top of the hill. There was also a long hut built into a scarp cut into the side of the hill facing the harbour it was for our accommodation - just below the guns. The guns were on temporary cruciform mountings - like they were at Bribie at the start. They had steel gun shields to protect the men but there was no concrete gun emplacement - that didn't come until much later. The guns were out in the open no camouflage. There was a small magazine near the them. The ammunition was close enough so that it could be brought over as needed.

"Initially, I was a 'gun number' but there were a lot of militia there already who were filling the jobs. I was qualified enough as far as guns were concerned. I was no star but I was adequate I suppose. There were two gun layers and another fellow called a setter. One of the layers would rotate the guns from side-to-side. In the navy they would be called the 'trainer'. The other one is the layer for elevation. He would elevate or depress the gun depending on the range. I did the elevation at Paga. We never fired the guns in the 15 months I was there. We would train on a 'dummy loader' with practice rounds. One of the men was Bill Sultman - a typical farmer. I remember he was 40 years old [born 8 May 1900]. He would put his arms around the big metal box we had for the cartridges - and lift it. I didn't think he should it was too heavy.

"The Commanding Officer of 13 Heavy Battery at the time was Ken Drummond [NX34984]. He was followed by 'Dolly' Heward [Major Frank Lowe Heward, VX133039] and then by Alan Nyman [NX76555] who was Staff Corps in the Regular Army. Some of the others were Major King, Lt Loney, Sgt Ron McAuliffe - who became Town Clerk for Brisbane, and his friend Sgt Brian Arrowsmith and gunners named Barnes and Nelson. Our cook was Reg Holdsworth [NX145688] from Sydney. We called him 'Pierre du Pont'. I can't recall any complaints. The food was pretty good.

"Apparently, they didn't have any establishment for the militia so I got promoted very quickly. I became a sergeant with various jobs at various times. The first was to be "BC AC" which was Battery Commander's Assistant. I worked up in the Command Post [CDBOP] on the Depression Range Finder (DRF). Things were very primitive as far as the guns were concerned but there was a lot of equipment that had arrived. There was a Table Fire Director - a piece of British equipment. Instead of passing my ranges down to the guns on a telephone from the Command Post the machine sent the range down automatically.

We worked 24 hours on, 24 off. When we were off duty we would go back to our camp at Konedobu. We were allowed to walk around the township. There were two pubs: Hotel Papua in the middle of town and another one - I forget it's name - up the hill. There was also the Army canteen. The beer was a bit cheaper there. We would go up to the guns in the morning for a "stand to" at 6 am to relieve the section on duty. We had all our bedding with us and would put it in the huts near the guns. There were latrines up there too they were the pan type that were taken away. The ground was too hard to dig and they would have filled up quickly. One of us would act as sentry - and there was another man at the Command Post on lookout duty. We would take turns at being sentry. If a ship came in to the harbour we would all stand-to at the guns. This would include the men who were down at the camp. They would come up. I forget what the call was.

"Japan came into the war just as I was leaving Paga. Many of us were sick with dysentery and other illnesses so it was a good time to be relieved and go back to Australia. I think the plan was to change people who had been there before the war started. On the 3rd January 1942 I left Moresby for Australia on the Aquatania. We were sent to Sydney and then got trains back up to Brisbane. No-one knew we were coming- you know - the old story.

We take up Gil's story again when he was posted to Bootless Battery in 1944.

THE GUNNERS OF PAGA BATTERY - 2ND DETATCHMENT

The second detatchment of artillerymen for Paga Battery arrived aboard the Aquatania on 3 January 1942 and the first detatchment (see above) left the port on the same ship. The new arrivals stayed through until the next relief in September 1943. Their average age was 24 years the oldest being Battery CO Major Albert Baker at 38 years, and the youngest was Gnr Len Taylor just 18. Their names are included in the list below. It was compiled with the assistance of Bob Gebhardt in 2014. He thinks he may have missed a few (well, he says 'I am 92'). If you can add some more names, make corrections or complete the names, please advise.


Australian Heavy Artillery, New Guinea - History

Coast Artillery and Antiaircraft Artillery: An Overview
(Reprinted from World War II Order of Battle by Shelby L. Stanton)

The first army antiaircraft units had been formed on 10 October 1917. By September 1939 the large proportion of Coast Artillery available was antiaircraft in nature, and as the threat of enemy invasion faded, coast artillery personnel and assets were increasingly transformed into Antiaircraft Artillery units. By the end of the war the seacoast defense role and, consequently, Coast Artillery had practically disappeared, and Antiaircraft Artillery prevailed. The World War II mission of Antiaircraft Artillery was the air defense of field forces and ground installations against all forms of enemy air attack by day or night.

While Coast Artillery barrage balloon, automatic weapons, antiaircraft gun, and searchlight battalions were being phased into the new Antiaircraft Artillery, one type of Coast Artillery battalion remained viable. This was the handful of 155mm Long Tom gun battalions used throughout World War II in the Pacific. These were mobile extensions of harbor defense artillery, but used as normal heavy artillery during the numerous island campaigns in which it participated. Coast Artillery still retained fixed fortifications artillery in numerous harbor forts, although by the end of World War II these were mostly in a maintenance or "caretaker" mode. At the close of World War II the Coast Artillery also had nine mine-planter batteries and three junior mine-planter batteries based aboard Type 1, 2, and 3 army mine-planter cable vessels.

In the three years following 31 December 1940 antiaircraft artillery increased over 1,750 percent, with a 2,400 percent increase projected by the 811 battalions the Army Ground Forces requested on 30 September 1942. Thereafter, Army Ground Forces repeatedly advised reduction, believing that provision for the Army Air Forces was sufficient to gain aerial supremacy, enabling antiaircraft strength to be placed into units of higher combat value as a result. The War Department hesitated to curtail the antiaircraft program until the Troop Basis of 4 October 1943, when the planned figure was reduced to 475 battalions. Even after this reduction, antiaircraft artillery units active at the end of 1943 had an authorized strength nearly four times that of nondivisional field artillery. About 100 battalions were inactivated, until the total fell to 460 in 1944. By 1 April 1945, 331 antiaircraft artillery battalions of all types were in existence.

No other ground arm had to ship its units into combat as rapidly due to the heavy demand for antiaircraft protection early in World War II. This requirement extended from overseas bases to defense installations within the United States, and as a result units were shipped out with less than 12 weeks' training. Although poorly trained, they still took the best personnel and equipment, which not only harmed the training and cadre base, but led to undisciplined firing on friendly aircraft. The latter problem was only corrected by ordering withholding of fire in certain zones even when attacked by enemy airplanes, and the former problem largely corrected itself. By the end of 1943 equipment for training was more plentiful, the supply of antiaircraft units was coming into a more favorable ratio to overseas demand, and the number of new units to be trained declined. At the same time antiaircraft functions steadily increased and became more complex. For example, the role of antiaircraft artillery in a supplementary ground support role became a major doctrinal practice. As the antiaircraft artillery program was checked, and then slashed, other units such as infantry made up personnel shortages and large numbers of replacements were made available for overseas duty with depleted divisions. Many of the antiaircraft troops whose training caused such concern ended up in the infantry, and some regular antiaircraft units were also utilized in this capacity as well as with the diminished enemy air threat in certain theaters.

Coast Artillery Brigades (Antiaircraft) were first activated or inducted into federal service during January-February 1941, and most were redesignated as Antiaircraft Artillery Brigades on 1 September 1943. These brigades declined in number as antiaircraft battalions were inactivated, and from October 1944 in Europe they normally controlled only two groups and a reduced number of independent battalions attached directly to brigade level.

Beginning in August 1942, Coast Artillery Groups (Antiaircraft) were raised in quantity, and these were redesignated as Antiaircraft Artillery Groups during May-June 1943. These groups were primarily redesignations of former Coast Artillery regiments being broken up under the guidelines of the group/battalion system. This continued through 1943 and into 1944. Additionally, the first Barrage Balloon Group was activated on 1 February 1942 and another followed on 1 May 1943, both being inactivated in September 1943.

Several types of Coast Artillery Groups were formed without antiaircraft roles. In August 1944 several Coast Artillery Groups (Harbor Defense) were redesignated Coast Artillery Regiments in Hawaii, and in November 1944 another such conversion was made in Panama. Two Coast Artillery Training Groups, the 17th and the 18th, existed at Camp Davis (North Carolina) from 10 March 1942 to 15 May 1942. Seven Coast Artillery Groups (155mm Gun) were activated, and three saw combat in the Pacific at New Guinea, Luzon, and Okinawa. The others were converted into field artillery groups or disbanded.

By far, the most numerous were the Coast Artillery Regiments (Antiaircraft). These establishments averaged 2,304 if mobile and 2,155 if semimobile. Often, their mobility status was freely altered depending on operational requirements, and the designation as one particular type in the written record should not be taken as permanent. Many existed in the prewar Regular Army and more were activated through 1942, the National Guard regiments of this type being inducted beginning in September 1940. All were broken up in 1943 normally, the regimental headquarters being redesignated as an antiaircraft artillery group headquarters, its 1st Battalion becoming a separate Antiaircraft Artillery Gun Battalion, the 2nd Battalion becoming a separate Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons Battalion, and the 3rd Battalion becoming a separate Searchlight Battalion.

The Coast Artillery also had one 8-inch railway gun regiment of 2,040 men, a prewar organization broken up on 1 May 1943. Several 155mm Gun regiments (each 1,754 men) were raised or inducted commencing in 1940, and were broken up January-June 1944, with their battalions separated as independently numbered units. The Coast Artillery had numerous Harbor Defense regiments, most of them being of prewar vintage in reduced status at harbor forts. In September 1940, National Guard units of this type were inducted and positioned in harbor defenses of their home states. During March-October 1944 these regiments were either absorbed into their harbor defenses served, or broken up through inactivation and their battalions renumbered as separate entities. The Type C fixed harbor defense regiment contained 2,502 personnel the Type A contained 1,943 personnel the Type B contained 1,388 personnel and the Type D contained only 655 personnel.


16-inch gun in concrete casemate, Fort MacArthur, California.

Harbor defenses existed or were established at virtually every harbor facility in the United States and its territories. to include the Panama Canal Zone. These were organizations highly tailored to the specific conditions of defense necessary in each case, and were usually manned under individual tables of distribution and allowances. Harbor defenses scattered their assets among nearby or controlling forts, camps, gun emplacements and positions, seachlight points, outposts, subposts, reservations, tactical positions, and battery sites.


6-inch gun in a shielded barbette mount, Battery 247, Fort Columbia, Washington.

A wide variety of coast or antiaircraft artillery battalion types existed during World War II. These were equipped with 37mm M1A2 AA guns, multiple-mounted .50-caliber machine guns, twin 40mm gun motor carriages M19, Bofors 40mm automatic AA guns M1, 3-inch AA guns M3, 90mm AA guns M1 and M1A1, and 120mm AA guns M1. Battalions included a number of specialized types: Harbor Defense (with variable components), Composite (combined antiaircraft/seacoast weapons), 155mm Long Tom Gun, Antiaircraft Artillery Automatic Weapons, Antiaircraft Artillery Gun, Railway 8-inch Gun, Barrage Balloon (including low-altitude and very-low-altitude variants), Airborne Antiaircraft Artillery (with flexible machine gun battery attachment, or fixed combination of automatic weapons and machine gun complements for airborne division use), Searchlight, Antiaircraft Artillery Machine Gun, and Seacoast Training battalions.

Battalion mobility status in this document reflects that of the unit during the majority of its combat operations, or majority of service if not deployed overseas into a combat theater. Once battalions departed the United States, their mobility designations rarely changed, even though many were stripped in theater by divisions and higher commands for their trucks and other vehicles.

The Antiaircraft Artillery School was activated at Camp Davis on 31 March 1942 and moved to Fort Bliss in October 1944, where the headquarters of the Antiaircraft Artillery School was already located. Antiaircraft artillery equipment was initially tested and developed at the Coast Artillery Board at Fort Monoe. On 9 March 1942, a separate Antiaircraft Artillery Board was established there and moved to Camp Davis on 24 May 1942. Finally, on 28 August 1944, the board moved to Fort Bliss to join what became the center of army antiaircraft activities. The Coast Artillery Board had existed since 1907 at Fort Monroe and was charged with review and development of harbor defense weapons, which included mine planters, underwater detection devices, submarine mines and mine-control devices, and , prior to March 1942, antiaircraft weapons.

Three Coast Artillery Replacement Centers began operation in March 1941. In March 1942 these were separated into antiaircraft artillery and seacoast establishments. The former were located at Fort Eustis (later Camp Stewart) and Camp Callan (later at Fort Bliss). The Camp McQuade, California, Coast Artillery Replacement Training Center – handling the seacoast establishment function – was activated 12 July 1942 under the Replacement and School Command and operated until December 1943.


Unit History Australian Army Artillery Locators WWI to Vietnam Wars Fire Support

Seller: ozanzac ✉️ (9,262) 99.8% , Location: Brisbane , Ships to: AU, Item: 124582235314 Unit History Australian Army Artillery Locators WWI to Vietnam Wars Fire Support. Unit History Australian Army Artillery Locators WWI to Vietnam Wars Tracks of the Dragon a History of Australians locating Artillery by K. Ayliffe & J. Posener : new book Tracks of the Dragon a History of Australians Locating Artillery by K. Ayliffe & J. Posener : new book This military book is divided into two sections about 70% of the book is devoted to the History of the Artillery Locating Units of the Australian Army throughout all wars. The second section gives the history of the different methods and equipment used by those Locating Artillery Units. Historically there is an emphasis on the 131 132 & 133 Divisional Locating Battery RAA (Royal Australian Artillery). 131 Divisional Locating Battery RAA was operational in Vietnam War and after. Both Authors being Locators with the 131 or 133 Divisional Locating Battery. World War One, Militia Artillery Survey Companies of the in between wars 1920 to 1939 are covered likewise the Australian Locating Units of WWII operating in New Guinea. Chapters are dedicated to the Buna Gona Campaign in New Guinea and Korean War. As soon as artillery arrived on the battlefield, guns posed a threat to infantry and cavalry forces, as they cut swathes through men and horses alike. There was an urgent need for accurate counter-battery fire to neutralise enemy artillery and soon methods of locating their gun sites were evolving. Flash Spotters of the Great War, who detected enemy guns by observing their flash or smoke signatures, would be astonished by the capabilities of a modern systems and satellite communications. Sound-ranging was then developed to detect enemy weapons and target acquisition was born. No longer was there a reliance on the human eye to locate enemy guns and mortars. In Vietnam it was not all over to the use of radar. A common method was to physically find the flight angle of the artillery projectile from inspecting the bomb crater. The sapper would then need to dig for the nose fuze. The nose fuze was located by digging up to a mitre into the bottom of the crater. Once found, the fuze could be read and a path back to the firing base could be calculated by trigonometry methods. A Nominal Roll of the 131 Divisional Locating Battery RAA with reunion named group photos complete this history. Book Condition: PERFECT - NEW BOOK Type of cover on Book : Heavy Pictorial Hard BoardsDimensions in mm: Comment: Total Pages: 363Publication Date on Book: 2005Weight in Grams: 1200If you live in Australia we have a special maximum postage charge to Australian Distination of $9.90 no matter how many books you purchase. Condition: New , Restocking fee: No , Returns Accepted: Returns Accepted , Item must be returned within: 30 Days , Return shipping will be paid by: Buyer , Authenticity: Original , Country: Australia , Campaign: Vietnam War , Product Type: Books , Era: 1960s See More


Cremor, William Edward (1897–1962)

William Edward Cremor (1897-1962) , by unknown photographer, 1944

William Edward Cremor (1897-1962), army officer and schoolteacher, was born on 12 December 1897 at Sandringham, Melbourne, son of William Edward Cremor, railway porter, and his wife Jane, née Phelan, both Victorian born. Educated at Footscray State School, Hyde Street, in April 1914 young William entered the Victorian Public Service as a clerk and transferred next year to the Commonwealth Department of Trade and Customs. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 11 December 1917, embarked for England in July 1918, served briefly in France with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade and was discharged in Melbourne on 8 November 1919. Cremor obtained a commission in the Militia in November 1920 and in 1921-23 studied law, arts and education at the University of Melbourne (B.A., 1945).

On 1 January 1923 he had been appointed as an English teacher at Footscray Technical School. He assumed the additional duty of sportsmaster and devoted much of his private time to students' welfare. From about 1926 he was prominent in the rivalry between qualified teachers and vocational instructors in technical schools. As secretary (1927-29) and president (1930-31) of the Victorian Teachers' Union, Cremor advanced the cause of the teachers and attacked the narrow, vocational focus of the technical curriculum, arguing that students destined for working-class jobs needed a liberal education. His stand brought him into conflict with Donald Clark and probably resulted in Cremor's being passed over for promotion. He resigned in 1934 to become secretary of the Victorian Dried Fruits Board. The children of deceased servicemen benefited from his dedicated work with Melbourne Legacy (of which he was president in 1936) and the Baillieu Education Trust.

Continuing his Militia service, on 1 May 1936 Cremor was promoted lieutenant colonel and given command of the 10th Field Brigade, Royal Australian Artillery. He joined the A.I.F. in October 1939 and sailed for the Middle East in April 1940 as commanding officer of the 2nd/2nd Field Artillery Regiment. For his part in operations in the Western Desert from December 1940 to February 1941, he was appointed O.B.E. Cremor led his regiment during the campaign in Greece and Crete (March-May 1941) and returned to Australia in August 1942. Promoted temporary brigadier that month, he was made commander, Royal Australian Artillery, 3rd Division. In the 1943 Federal election he stood for the seat of Fawkner as an Independent: advocating the formation of one army for service anywhere, he polled 22 per cent of the vote. Cremor held the headquarters' posts of commander, Corps of Royal Australian Artillery, I Corps (October 1943-May 1944) and II Corps (October 1944-April 1945), and of brigadier, Royal Australian Artillery, New Guinea Force (May-October 1944). Transferred to the Reserve of Officers on 12 April 1945, he was appointed C.B.E. for his services in the South-West Pacific Area.

In 1945 'Old Bill' accepted the position of guidance officer for ex-service students at the University of Melbourne. Through his column in the Argus, he gave advice to returned servicemen he championed their cause in public addresses and in newspaper articles. He was a member of the Soldiers' Children Education Board of Victoria, administered by the Repatriation Commission. In 1949 the Victorian government appointed him its representative on the Teachers' Tribunal, an office he was to hold until his death. A member (from 1927) and sometime committeeman of the Naval and Military Club, he was also secretary of the Fitzroy Cricket Club in 1953. Cremor was general editor of the 2nd/2nd Field Artillery Regiment's history, Action Front (1961).

'The Brig' was 5 ft 10½ ins (179 cm) tall, with fair hair, blue eyes and a ruddy complexion. Forthright, humane, generous and loyal, he would not tolerate humbug or incompetence. His leadership in battle and charitable works in peacetime earned him affection and respect. Cremor never married. He died of aortic stenosis on 11 April 1962 in the Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg following a Masonic service, he was cremated.


Cremor, William Edward (1897–1962)

This article was published in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993

William Edward Cremor (1897-1962), by unknown photographer, 1944

William Edward Cremor (1897-1962), army officer and schoolteacher, was born on 12 December 1897 at Sandringham, Melbourne, son of William Edward Cremor, railway porter, and his wife Jane, née Phelan, both Victorian born. Educated at Footscray State School, Hyde Street, in April 1914 young William entered the Victorian Public Service as a clerk and transferred next year to the Commonwealth Department of Trade and Customs. He enlisted in the Australian Imperial Force on 11 December 1917, embarked for England in July 1918, served briefly in France with the 3rd Field Artillery Brigade and was discharged in Melbourne on 8 November 1919. Cremor obtained a commission in the Militia in November 1920 and in 1921-23 studied law, arts and education at the University of Melbourne (B.A., 1945).

On 1 January 1923 he had been appointed as an English teacher at Footscray Technical School. He assumed the additional duty of sportsmaster and devoted much of his private time to students' welfare. From about 1926 he was prominent in the rivalry between qualified teachers and vocational instructors in technical schools. As secretary (1927-29) and president (1930-31) of the Victorian Teachers' Union, Cremor advanced the cause of the teachers and attacked the narrow, vocational focus of the technical curriculum, arguing that students destined for working-class jobs needed a liberal education. His stand brought him into conflict with Donald Clark and probably resulted in Cremor's being passed over for promotion. He resigned in 1934 to become secretary of the Victorian Dried Fruits Board. The children of deceased servicemen benefited from his dedicated work with Melbourne Legacy (of which he was president in 1936) and the Baillieu Education Trust.

Continuing his Militia service, on 1 May 1936 Cremor was promoted lieutenant colonel and given command of the 10th Field Brigade, Royal Australian Artillery. He joined the A.I.F. in October 1939 and sailed for the Middle East in April 1940 as commanding officer of the 2nd/2nd Field Artillery Regiment. For his part in operations in the Western Desert from December 1940 to February 1941, he was appointed O.B.E. Cremor led his regiment during the campaign in Greece and Crete (March-May 1941) and returned to Australia in August 1942. Promoted temporary brigadier that month, he was made commander, Royal Australian Artillery, 3rd Division. In the 1943 Federal election he stood for the seat of Fawkner as an Independent: advocating the formation of one army for service anywhere, he polled 22 per cent of the vote. Cremor held the headquarters' posts of commander, Corps of Royal Australian Artillery, I Corps (October 1943-May 1944) and II Corps (October 1944-April 1945), and of brigadier, Royal Australian Artillery, New Guinea Force (May-October 1944). Transferred to the Reserve of Officers on 12 April 1945, he was appointed C.B.E. for his services in the South-West Pacific Area.

In 1945 'Old Bill' accepted the position of guidance officer for ex-service students at the University of Melbourne. Through his column in the Argus, he gave advice to returned servicemen he championed their cause in public addresses and in newspaper articles. He was a member of the Soldiers' Children Education Board of Victoria, administered by the Repatriation Commission. In 1949 the Victorian government appointed him its representative on the Teachers' Tribunal, an office he was to hold until his death. A member (from 1927) and sometime committeeman of the Naval and Military Club, he was also secretary of the Fitzroy Cricket Club in 1953. Cremor was general editor of the 2nd/2nd Field Artillery Regiment's history, Action Front (1961).

'The Brig' was 5 ft 10½ ins (179 cm) tall, with fair hair, blue eyes and a ruddy complexion. Forthright, humane, generous and loyal, he would not tolerate humbug or incompetence. His leadership in battle and charitable works in peacetime earned him affection and respect. Cremor never married. He died of aortic stenosis on 11 April 1962 in the Repatriation General Hospital, Heidelberg following a Masonic service, he was cremated.

Select Bibliography

  • W. Perry, The Naval and Military Club, Melbourne (Melb, 1981)
  • C. Rasmussen, Poor Man's University (Melb, 1989)
  • Melbourne Legacy Weekly Bulletin, 17 Apr 1962
  • Thirtyniner (Melbourne), 5, nos 3 and 6, May and Aug 1962
  • University of Melbourne Gazette, July 1962
  • Action Front, Apr 1963
  • Australian War Memorial records.

Citation details

Neil Smith, 'Cremor, William Edward (1897–1962)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, https://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/cremor-william-edward-9862/text17449, published first in hardcopy 1993, accessed online 18 June 2021.

This article was first published in hardcopy in Australian Dictionary of Biography, Volume 13, (MUP), 1993


Australians on the Western Front

AWM E05988A

In March 1916, hundreds of thousands of young Australians found themselves in north-western France—on the Western Front, where they would soon go into battle in this, the war’s main theatre.

The Western Front stretched some 700 kilometers from the Belgian coast, through France to the Swiss border. It exposed soldiers from both sides to a new, industrialised kind of war, one with new levels of battlefield technology including powerful artillery, machine guns, aircraft, tanks, and gas.When Australian troops arrived in France, the war was bogged down in the stalemate of the trenches, which meant troops had to adapt to conditions of extreme danger and discomfort.

Australian forces were initially organised into the 1st and 2nd Anzac Corps made up of Australian and New Zealand formations under British command, a situation that prevailed until the establishment of the Australian Corps in 1918. The Australians’ baptism of fire came at Fromelles on 19 July 1916 where the 5 th Division suffered one of the heaviest losses in Australia’s wartime history. Shortly afterwards the 1 st , 2 nd and 4 th Divisions joined the fighting on the Somme.

Australians quickly developed a reputation as tenacious fighters and took part in significant battles including those at Bullecourt, Messines, 3rd Ypres, Amiens and Mont St Quentin. After two years on the Western Front, by the time of Villers-Bretonneux, the Australians had developed the experience and battlefield skills that cemented their reputation as a formidable fighting force during the war’s final battles.

In the first battle of Villers-Bretonneux on 4 April, 1918, the Germans narrowly failed to capture the village, but in the second battle on 24 April they succeeded, forcing the town’s British defenders to withdraw.The Germans now threatened the city of Amiens. If they captured it and pushed on to the coast, they would split the British and French armies. It was vital that Villers-Bretonneux be retaken quickly.

The plan was relatively simple – a surprise night attack, with no preliminary artillery bombardment.The 51st and 52nd Battalions would attack south of Villers-Bretonneux while the 57th, 59th and 60th Battalions would attack to the north and then swing south-east to the old Roman road heading out of Villers-Bretonneux. The attack began late on April 24, and despite heavy casualties, the Australians swept on toward their objectives, reaching the Villers-Bretonneux–Le Hamel road. By the morning of 25 April, 1918, Australian and British troops, almost encircled Villers-Bretonneux. A day later, the town was secured and a new front line was established. The immediate German threat to Amiens was over.

The new Sir John Monash Centre, just outside Villers-Bretonneux, gives visitors a unique opportunity to imagine what life was like for Australian troops on the Western Front. With its 360-degree theatre, visitors will be able to experience immersive films depicting the battles of Villers-Bretonneux and Hamel, like never before.


Watch the video: With The Australians In New Guinea 1943