AMPHIBIOUS TRAINING CENTER GAN GAN (US ARMY)
NEAR PORT STEPHENS, NSW
DURING WWII

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The US Army established an Amphibious Training Centre at Gan Gan near Port Stephens in New South Wales during WWII. There were three sets of railway tracks (Marine Railway) at Engineers Beach, to recover and launch landing craft which was built by the Australian Army Engineers. There were three boat sheds at the camp. The Royal Australian Navy's "HMAS Assault" was co-located with this US Army Amphibious Training Centre.

Another name for this US Army facility may have been the Joint Overseas Operational Training School (JOOTS) which operated under GHQ SWPA as part of the Seventh Amphibious Force. The unit was engaged in a program of basic amphibious training for officers of the United States Navy and the Royal Australian Navy. An Australian Infantry Battalion with a battery of artillery served as School Troops and gave landing demonstrations on the battalion landing team scale. A Naval Advanced Base Unit of 3 officers and 40 enlisted men with 40 Landing craft of the 36 foot LCP type were attached to the training centre. JOOTS also instructed RAN personnel in the operation of US type landing craft.

On 25 February 1943, the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board directed that HMAS Assault and the Australian Landing Ship Infantry HMAS Manoora was placed under the operational control of Commander Southwest Pacific Amphibious Force. Two other Landing Ship Infantry vessels, HMAS Kanimbla and HMAS Westralia, were also placed under the same command after their conversions had been completed.

On 1 March 1943, JOOTS, HMAS Assault and the US Advanced Base Unit were all combined to form the Amphibious Training Command under the temporary command of Captain K.J. Christoph, USN. He was relieved the following month by Captain J.W. Jamison, USN. There was also a Landing Force Equipment Depot established at Gann Gan. In June 1943, the Amphibious Training Command was shifted to Toorbul in an endeavour to maintain troop training in the vicinity of the Staging areas.

 

Units Trained at the Amphibious Training Centre at Gan Gan

32nd US Infantry Division Staff & Command & Specialists Schools 31 May - 14 June 1943
  Troop Training 16 June - 28 August 1943
1st US Cavalry Division Staff & Command & Specialists Schools 2 - 16 August 1943
  Troop Training -  1st Brigade 13 September - 4 October 1943
24th US Infantry Division Staff & Command & Specialists Schools 15 - 30 September 1943

 

REFERENCES

"Command History - Seventh Amphibious Force 10 January 1943 - 23 December 1943

 

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

I'd like to thank Rodger Woltjer from Niceville, Florida for his assistance with this web page. His father 1st Lt. Edward Woltjer was initially assigned to teh 126th Infantry and later was an instructor at the Amphibious Training Centre at Gan Gan. He later moved to the Amphibious Training Centre at Toorbul in Queensland as an instructor.

I'd also like to thank Charles Tennyson for his assistance with this web page.

 

Can anyone help me with more information?

 

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 Peter Dunn 2015

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This page first produced 27 November 2015

This page last updated 27 November 2015