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By end of July 1942, the USAFIA Ordnance Office secured a tract of land at Coopers Plains on the south side of Brisbane, Queensland to build:-

  • a Maintenance Shop for reclamation and salvage of 10,000 sq. ft. to be operated by the 37th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company

  • and a General Supply Depot of 20,000 sq. ft. for storage to be operated by 84th Ordnance Depot Company

  • The American service personnel based at the Coopers Plains Depot were regular visitors to the dances held in the local Cooper Plains Hall in nearby Rookwood Avenue.


    The first two Igloos erected at the Cooper Plains Ordnance Depot.
    Orange Grove Road is running from left to right in the photograph.


    The 21st Ordnance Company was one of the early units based at Coopers Plains in 1942.

    Later known as the USASOS Coopers Plains Depot which by that time comprised:-

  • 1st Engineers Stores Base Depot (ESBD)

  • 3rd Provisional Ordnance Service Centre

  • The Coopers Plains Ordnance Depot was also used as a Staging area for Ordnance Troops. The Depot repaired artillery, rifles, machine guns, small arms and related ordnance vehicles. M1 rifles were converted to carbines and Browning .50 calibre machine guns, 155mm, 105mm, and 37mm guns were also refurbished at the Depot.

    Truck scheduled for repair or modification at the Depot were stored in an open storage area. Derelict vehicles and equipment were crushed on site and recycled. Tyres were also reconditioned at the Depot.


    National Archives of Australia Plan of the the full development of the Depot


    Photo:- BCC PDOnline Aerial Photo

    1946 aerial photo showing the development at the Coopers Plains Ordnance Depot


    The igloos were used for varying purposes with one igloo being used as a small parts store, another as a reconditioning plant and another as a carpenter's shop that made boxes for the shipment of refurbished small arms.

    The Depot developed a number of new innovative designs for weapons. The "M15 Special" comprised a Bofors gun installed in a turret on the back of a half-track. Eighteen of these modified weapons were issued to 209th AAA Battalion, which used them as an infantry support weapon during fighting on Luzon.


    A model of the "M15 Special" showing a Bofors gun
    installed in a turret on the back of a half-track.


    A 105mm M2A1 Howitzer was modified by the 48th Ordnance Company and equipped with dual GMC wheels, designed to increase flotation in mud & sand.


    Photo:- NARA

    105mm M2A1 Howitzer modified by 48th Ordnance Co. sitting outside
    Igloo No. 1 near the corner of Orange Grove Rd and Boundary Rd.


    Photo:- NARA

    Pfc Glen Ballard of Converse, Indiana, USA, operating a
    Capstan Winch on a 1/4 ton Jeep on 2 December 1943


    Photo:- NARA

    S/Sgt. Joe T. Mask of Griffith, GA, USA, of the 99th Ordnance Company aiming
    a 50 calibre machine gun mounted on a tree with a chain on 2 December 1943


    Photo:- NARA

    1/4 ton Jeep Ambulance at the Depot on 2 December 1943


    Photo:- via David Robinson

    Tyre-changing using a "Yankee-Joe" Chev truck and winch. This field expedient
    method of tyre bead-breaking was devised by 99th Ordnance Company


    There was also an Ordnance Intelligence Unit located at the Coopers Plains Ordnance Depot. Their job was to gather intelligence from captured Japanese ordnance and vehicles. Amongst the Japanese vehicles and weapons that were restored for intelligence evaluation were a Japanese Scout Car 95, a twin 25 mm AA gun and mount, a Japanese type Jeep, motor tricycle and conventional motor bike.

    I'm aware that there was a unit called the Ordnance Technical Intelligence which comprised three components:-

    The Ordnance Analysis Section was located in Brisbane. I assume this was most likely located at the Coopers Plains Ordnance Depot.


    Photo:- via David Robinson

    Captured Japanese tricycle at the Coopers
    Plains Ordnance Depot on 28 February 1944


    Photo:- David Robinson

    Remains of a Japanese "Jeep" type vehicle at the
    "Ordnance Intelligence Depot" on 28 February 1944


    Photo:- Via David Robinson

    Captured Japanese motorcycle at the Coopers Plains Depot on 28 February 1944



    Queensland WWII Historic Places - USASOS Coopers Plains Depot



    I'd like to thank Russell Miller and David Robinson for their assistance with this web page.


    Can anyone help me with more information?


    "Australia @ War" WWII Research Products

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     Peter Dunn 2015


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    This page first produced 27 March 2015

    This page last updated 02 March 2020