148TH FIELD ARTILLERY
REDESIGNATED 148TH FIELD ARTILLERY BATTALION
NATIONAL GUARD UNIT FROM IDAHO
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2

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The 1st battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment of the Idaho National Guard, under the command of Colonel John A. Robinson, were part of the Provisional Field Artillery Brigade that was ordered overseas to the Philippines as part of the Pensacola convoy in November 1941. The Brigade comprised:-

All four battalions were armed at the San Francisco wharves with the 75mm field gun, M1897A4 on the M2 carriage (essentially ye olde French 75 on a modern, split-trail field carriage), but after a few months in Australia, three of the battalions were re-armed with the new 105mm howitzer. 

They were diverted to Australia in late 1941 after the news of the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. When the Pensacola convoy arrived in Brisbane on 22 December 1941, Major General Julian F. Barnes was the senior officer and he established the first U.S. Headquarters in Australia, in the Lennons Hotel in George Street, Brisbane.  

Once the unit had arrived in Australia, ABDA Command (American-British-Dutch-Australian) required that the 1st Battalion, 148th Field Artillery take part in the ill-fated attempt to reinforce Timor.

An APO list that I have shows Headquarters and Headquarters Battery, 148th Field Artillery Regiment located at Birdum in the Northern Territory in June 1942.

1st Battalion, 148th Field Artillery, served as the field artillery contingent for the primarily Australian force intended to seize and protect Timor, in order to ensure that the supply of short-legged P-40 fighter aircraft intended for Java continued. Unfortunately, the Japanese got there first, in the process making savage air attacks on the troop convoy, which was effectively protected by the heavy cruiser USS Houston and the other escorts. The convoy returned to Darwin on 18 February 1942, the troops disembarked, but their guns were still aboard the transport ship MV Tulagi when Japanese aircraft hit Darwin on 19 February 1942. The guns went down with the handful of ships sunk, but were later recovered in salvage operations. 4 men of the 148th F.A. were killed and 14 wounded as follows:-

MEMBERS OF 148th FIELD ARTILLERY, US ARMY KILLED
DURING FIRST BOMBING RAID ON DARWIN ON 19 FEBRUARY 1942

Floyd A. Bauer    
Private Wilbert L. Mead Battery "A" 148th F.A. Nearest of kin, unknown
Private Basil L. Skelton Battery "C" 148th F.A. Nearest of kin, Bert Skelton, Box 27, Srandford, Montana.
Sergeant James M. Woffard (20947009) Battery "A" 148th F.A. Nearest of kin, James Wofford, 824 Wallace Avenue, Couer D'Alene, Idaho

 

MEMBERS OF 148th FIELD ARTILLERY, US ARMY WOUNDED
DURING FIRST BOMBING RAID ON DARWIN ON 19 FEBRUARY 1942

C.A. Whitely Major 0-245227
L.A. Brown 1st Lt. 0-415383
L.V. Henrichs 2nd Lt. 0-391947
F.A. Bauer Sgt. 20947016
H. Brown Sgt. 20947329
F.A. Bauer SGt. 39152969
E. Brogan Private 20946826
P. Brooks Pfc 3706759
J. Dirking Private 39078630
K.E. Field Private 39525510
E. Fossum Private 39600751
C.R. Johnson Private 38002860
P. Savic Private 20946633
J.A. Tiedman Private 37072127

 

The 1st Battalion, 148th Field Artillery Regiment, was redesignated as the 148th Field Artillery Battalion. The 2nd Battalion, 148th Field Artillery Regiment arrived Australia in May 1942, and at some point was redesignated the 205th Field Artillery Battalion. It fought on Biak and in the Philippines. 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Melvin Haba for his assistance with this home page. Melvin's father was Technician 5 Grade (Corporal) Laudie R Haba of Company "B" of the 808th Engineer Aviation Battalion

I'd also like to thank Nelson Lawry and Gordon Birkett for their assistance with this home page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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Copyright

 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 18 September 2002

This page last updated 23 October 2015