147TH FIELD ARTILLERY
OF THE SOUTH DAKOTA NATIONAL GUARD
IN AUSTRALIA DURING WW2
The two battalions of the 147th Field Artillery Regiment of the South Dakota National Guard were part of the Provisional Field Artillery Brigade, under the command of Colonel John A. Robinson, that was ordered overseas to the Philippines as part of the Pensacola convoy in November 1941. The Brigade comprised:-
1st Bn, 147th Field Artillery Regiment
2nd Bn, 147th Field Artillery Regiment
All four battalions were armed at the San Francisco wharvest 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 Brisbane, Australia in late 1941 after the news of the Japanese attack Pearl Harbor. They were one of the first US Units to land anywhere in Australia after 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.
The 147th Field Artillery Regiment deployed to defend Darwin. In late 1941 and the early months of 1942, the 147th Field Artillery Regiment was the only major allied unit in the Darwin area. After a couple of months they rearmed with the new standard 105mm howitzer, and was broken up into its constituent battalions, serving in New Caledonia, New Guinea, and (I think) eventually the Philippines.
Once the Regiment had arrived in Australia, ABDA Command (American-British-Dutch-Australian) required the 1st and 2nd Battalions of the 147th Field Artillery Regiment to defend remote Darwin and its vital harbour.
Jaime R. W. Snyder's father was in the 147th Field Artillery. Jaime told me that they landed first at Brisbane in southern Queensland. They had no equipment or uniforms so they were outfitted by the Australian Army for the first year they were there, before going to New Guinea. They left Brisbane and were in Alice Springs for some time.
The 1st Battalion, 147th Field Artillery Regiment was redesignated as the 147th Field Artillery Battalion. The 2nd Battalion, 147th Field Artillery Regiment was redesignated as the 260th Field Artillery Battalion.
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 like to thank Nelson Lawry and Jaime R. W. Snyder for their assistance with this home page.
Can anyone help me with more information?
"Australia @ War" Research Products
© Peter Dunn 2015
This page first produced 18 September 2002
This page last updated 02 September 2018