On 5 June 2000, Braedon from Howard Springs Primary School in
the Northern Territory of Australia sent us an e-mail. He stated he
was with a school group who had entered The National Schools Web Challenge. They
were seeking information about " the American Soldiers from the 148th
Field Artillery that were here in Howard Springs Reserve during WW2."
Howard Springs, a rural suburb of Darwin, is approximately 30kms from Darwin, . Back in WWII there was nothing there except the army camps. On the above map, (which you can click on to enlarge) Howard Springs would be at the southern tip of the red diamond marking Darwin.
The students, 9 in all, did extensive research on the subject and found some vintage photos of the area as well as photos of some of the soldiers stationed there, including members of the 148th.
They also had a field trip to the actual site.
Using the information we gave them (which you can read further down on this
page) and using some additional information they
uncovered during their research, they built a web page showing what they
learned. Did I mention that
just nine years old? The best news of all
they found photos of Idahoans in Australia in WWII
and sent us copies!
Visit their TIME TEAM website at: http://www.schools.nt.edu.au/howardsp/timeteam/time_team.htm
pictures of Howard Springs, then & now.
Meet the crack researchers:
Braedon is the person that first made contact with us!
Barbara Dobson and the
UPDATE: They entered the Australian National Schools Web Challenge and not only won the Competition for their state (Northern Territory), they won the National Schools Web Challenge! For their efforts they won a new computer and software.
We are very proud to have been a part of their efforts.
To Our Friends at Howard Springs Primary School in Australia.
(Australia is first mentioned on Page 85 of the Idaho National Guard History excerpt below)
EXCERPT FROM THE HISTORY OF THE IDAHO NATIONAL GUARD
Orlan J. Svingen, Editor
Geoffrey T. Bleakley, W.R. Johnson, Jr.
First publication 1995
of the Oregon National Guard, died November 23. A week later, Brig. Gen. Horace D. Fuller became the new commander.
Tension was growing between the United States and Japan, so the First Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery was ordered to San Francisco on November 20. From there they deployed to the Philippines to reinforce Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
On December 7, 1941 the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and the next day the United States declared war on Japan. At Fort Francis E. Warren, Wyoming, the 183rd FA Regt and the provisional Anti-Tank Battalion received orders to report to Fort Lewis, Washington. At 8:00 A.M. on December 10 the regiment began a fifteen hundred mile journey, stopping only for food and fuel. The convoy was fifteen miles long and proceeded at a rate of thirty miles an hour on icy roads. In the process several towed guns slid off the road just south of Pendleton, Oregon. The regiment finally arrived at Camp Murray on the evening of December 14. Additional orders arrived December 20, directing the 183rd to the beaches on the Washington coast to guard against any possible Japanese landings. The provisional Anti-Tank Battalion joined them in January, and both remained there until February 1942 when they returned to Fort Lewis. Later that spring and summer, the 183rd trained with howitzers at the Yakima firing range.
Between mid-December 1941 and February 1942 the U.S. Army was reorganized. The old "square" division used since World War I consisted of divisions having two brigades and each brigade having two regiments. Under the new system each infantry division had three regiments, thereby eliminating the brigade. In addition, artillery and engineer regiments were broken into battalions for easier incorporation with combat groups.
As a result the Idaho National Guard units experienced significant changes. The First Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment became the 148th Field Artillery Battalion (148th FA Bn). The Second Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment converted to the 205th Field Artillery Battalion (205th FA Bn). The Anti-Aircraft, Anti-Tank Platoons of the First and Second Battalions of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment transformed into Company B of the 641st Tank Destroyer Battalion, and most members of Company F of the Second Battalion of the 116th Engineer Regiment transferred to the Pioneer Company of the 641st Tank Destroyer Battalion. The 116th Engineer Regiment became the 116th Engineer Combat Battalion (116th Eng Cmbt Bn) and the 133rd Engineer Combat Battalion (133rd Eng Cmbt Bn). The 116th Ordnance Company changed its unit designation to the 116th Ordnance Medium Maintenance Company (116th Ord MM Co), while the Headquarters Company of the Forty-first Infantry Division did not change. The 183rd Field Artillery Regiment also split into two battalions, the First Battalion becoming the 183rd Field Artillery Battalion (183rd FA Bn), and the Second Battalion becoming the 951st Field Artillery Battalion (951stFABn). The Regimental
Headquarters and Headquarters Battery transformed to Headquarters and Headquarters Battery of the 183rd Field Artillery Group (183rd FA Grp). Colonel Meek's provisional Anti-Tank Battalion changed to the 776th Tank Destroyer Battalion (776th TD Bn).
In response to the Idaho National Guard's activation and the declaration of war, Governor Clark created the Idaho State Guard on December 15, 1941 to help protect the state. By March 5, 1942 twelve hundred Idaho men had been assigned to the State Guard consisting of the First, Second, and Third Battalions of the Fourth Infantry Regiment, and the First and Second Battalions of the Fifth Infantry Regiment. Simultaneously, Idaho officials obtained authorization to from the Idaho Home Defense Guard, which subsequently became known as the Volunteer Reserve. The organization was inducted into service April 25, 1942 with the goal of one battalion per county plus a military police battalion. Members of the Volunteer Reserve furnished their own weapons, ammunition, and equipment, wore unit insignia, and carried certificates of enrollment.
In March 1942 part of the Forty-first Infantry Division was ordered to San Francisco before proceeding to Australia. The remainder, including the 641st TD Bn, traveled to Fort Dix, New Jersey. There the 641st received more draftees to bring it up to full strength before the division boarded transports in New York on March 1 to sail to Australia via the Panama Canal. Company A of the 116th Eng Cmbt Bn departed San Francisco first, Headquarters Company of the Forty-First Division left the next day. By April 25 the 205th FA Bn and the remainder of the division sailed for Australia, except for Company B 116th Eng Cmbt Bn, which was sent to the New Hebrides Islands, about fourteen hundred miles east of Australia."
Howard Springs in World War 2.
By Braedon - age 9 - Howard Springs Primary School
The Army in Howard Springs
The Howard Springs area was part of the Darwin Defence Plan because they needed to protect the water supplies. There were camps all through the Howard Springs area.
During World War 2 nobody lived in Howard Springs. For people to come to Howard Springs at that time it was a whole day's outing. People from Darwin used to come to this area to fish and hunt. There were only two main roads in the area and they were the North-South Road (Stuart Highway) and Howard Springs Road.Army Camps
The army camps were split in half so the ordinary men were on one side and the officers were on the other. They used chicken wire and branches for camouflage. They used ant hills mixed with water and set it out and when it dried it set solid like concrete. This made a floor for the tents.
The army soldiers did not measure in metres they measured in feet and the tents were 18 feet square. The tent that they ate in was called the mess tent. They also had toilet and shower tents. They had to take turns at going to the toilet and the shower. The camps were set on a hill so the waste could wash through the pipes easily. They dug trenches for protection with rocks around it for extra protection.
There were many problems. They had diseases like bad rashes and ulcers. Mosquitoes, sandflies, and no healthy food were other problems. The soft and muddy ground made things difficult in the wet season.
Soldiers swimming at Howard Springs 1944
By Juliet and Cassandra - age 9 - Howard Springs Primary School
As well as troops from Australia, there were also American troops camped in Howard Springs.
The 147th Field Artillery Regiment from South Dakota in America camped at the corner of the Stuart Highway and Howard Springs Road. There are even the remains of the camp left today. This camp was called Rushmore because the Americans named it after Mount Rushmore in South Dakota. Later, the 1300 men of the 147th regiment were sent to camp at Noonamah. The 700 men from the 148th regiment from Idaho were camped at the Springs themselves.
Some of the Americans died when the Japanese bombed Darwin. After they had camped here in Howard Springs they set off to Timor. Their ships names were Portmar and Tulagi. They had to turn back for Darwin because they got attacked. But the next day the Japanese bombed Darwin. James M. Wofford and Wilbur Meade from Battery A and Robert Skelton from Battery C died when the action happened . The 148th Field Artillerys ship was sunk with all of its equipment. Some of the soldiers received medals for bravery.
Darwin in World War 2
By the late 1930s Darwin was a military town. The population was about 1500 people. World War 2 started in 1939. In 1941 camps were set up in Darwin. Darwin was important because it had the Darwin harbour and the air force base. The Australians thought the Japanese might invade them. The soldiers went on patrol and dug defensive positions. They also put out submarine boom nets.
On the 21st of January in 1942 the Japanese entered the war. Australia was in great danger. The first bomb fell on Darwin on the 19th of February. For nearly 2 years the Japanese bombed Australia . Two hundred and forty people died. Many people were moved out of their homes to safety. In 1944 the Japanese surrendered. There was a big mess and they knew Darwin would never be the same again.
By Juliet and Cassandra
Continuation of the EXCERPT FROM THE HISTORY OF THE IDAHO NATIONAL GUARD
"The 776th TD Bn continued to train at Fort Lewis and underwent further reorganization. The battalion received M-3 tank destroyers in the spring and trained on them at North Fort Lewis. In July 1942 the battalion received orders to move to Camp Hood, Texas, to attend the new Tank Destroyer School. The course they took, known as Battle Conditioning, put men through British Commando training. It included infiltration exercises using live fire and a realistic enemy village containing booby traps. After the training, the 776th moved to Fort Dix, New Jersey, and then to New York for transport to join the Allied forces in North Africa as part of Operation Torch. During embarkation, the battalion received M-10 tank destroyers, and on January 14, 1943 it departed New York for North Africa, making it the first Idaho Guard unit to be committed to the European Theater.
In April 1943 the 183rd FA Grp, 183rd FA Bn, and the 951st FA Bn left Fort Lewis for Camp Granite, California, to take part in maneuvers. In August the 183rd FA Grp was ordered to Fort Ord, California while the 183rd FA Bn and the 951st FA Bn went to Camp Gruber, Oklahoma. The two battalions received new howitzers and liaison planes there. After final testing and
training in November 1943 the 183rd FA Bn left for Camp Myles Standish, Massachusetts, and the 951st FA Bn went to Camp Shanks, New York. The two battalions left these staging areas for England on December 5.
By May 1943 the threat of an invasion of Idaho became virtually nonexistent. Earlier, Brig. Gen. McConnel had approved the use of State Guard and Volunteer Reserve Troops to help fight forest fires, but the need never arose. Accordingly, state officials took steps to muster out all units of the Idaho Volunteer Reserve by April 1944, which at its peak contained 8,502 men in 165 companies's.
Following further training, the 116th Ord MM Co arrived at the staging area at Camp Shanks in February 1944 and debarked for England in March. The 133rd Eng Cmbt Bn arrived at Camp Shanks in April and shipped out shortly thereafter to England. The last unit of the Idaho National Guard to leave for England was the 183rd FA Grp, departing in July 1944.
THE PACIFIC THEATER OF OPERATIONS
First Battalion of the 148th Field Artillery Regiment sailed from San Francisco on the USAT Willard A. Holbrook November 22, 1941 with orders to reinforce Gen. MacArthur in the Philippines. On November 29 the battalion reached Pearl Harbor where it received shore leave. Shortly thereafter, a convoy of seven ships assembled with two escorts, leaving Hawaii on December 1 bound for the Philippines. The convoy was south of the equator on December 7 when it learned of the attack on Pearl Harbor. The convoys sailed in a zig-zag pattern and the Guardsmen applied grey paint to the ships as a camouflage measure. As the Philippines was no longer a feasible destination because of Japanese attacks, the convoy veered for Australia. After several weeks it arrived at Suva in the Fiji Islands where it took on fresh water. After putting back to sea, the battalion retrieved their weapons from the hold and placed them on deck for gunnery practice.
The convoy reached Brisbane, Australia, on December 23 where the men disembarked and marched into Brisbane to Camp Ascot. Four days later they reembarked on the Holbrook and sailed to Darwin, on the north central coast of Australia, arriving there on January 5, 1942 where they set up camp.
Howard Springs in WW2
On February 14 the 148th FA Bn boarded the MV Tulagi and the SS Port Mar bound for Timor Island, four hundred miles to the northwest. New orders assigned the 148th, an Australian Pioneer Battalion (a type of engineering unit), and an anti-tank unit to reinforce Allied forces there. On February 16 a Japanese flying boat (a floatable seaplane) spotted the vessels and attacked the convoy, just missing the Port Mar. A single P-40 responded to the convoy's request for air support and succeeded in driving off the enemy aircraft, but the encounter prompted the 148th FA Bn to mount machine guns on their transports decks. The Japanese returned the next day with thirty-five
Mitsubishi heavy bombers and nine flying boats, intending first to sink convoy's main escort, the USS Houston, and then to destroy the transports one by one. The Houston launched a terrific anti-aircraft barrage, and the Japanese bombs missed their targets.
The convoy returned to Darwin on February 18. The harbor was clogged with ships, forcing the battalion to remain on board until the others finished unloading. The next morning a Japanese task force attacked Darwin with 188 carrier planes and fifty-four land-based bombers from Ambon and Kendari. The Allies lost eight ships including the Port Mar, which sank slowly, enabling the troops to abandon ship successfully. The actions of Sgt. Merrill G. Hulse and Pvt. Roylie Sam spared the Tulagi. With heavy machine gun fire they forced the pilot of an attacking dive bomber to release his bomb early. Five soldiers from the 148th FA Bn, including four from Idaho, received Silver Stars for heroism. Thirty-four Purple Hearts were awarded. James M. Wofford and Wilbur Meade from Battery A and Robert Skelton from Battery C died in the action.
Following this disaster, the men of Battery B volunteered to help salvage its weapons and vehicles from the sunken Port Mar. Working from a crane-equipped barge, they successfully recovered the submerged items. They stripped and cleaned their weapons and returned them to service. In May 1942 the battalion pulled back to Ballarat where they traded their World War I vintage 75-mm guns for new 105-mm howitzers.
On March 17, 1942 the Forty-First Infantry Division began landing in Australia and establishing camps near Rockhampton in Queensland. Company B 116th Eng Cmbt Bn arrived in the New Hebrides on May 4 and immediately began lengthening the airstrip to accommodate Allied bombers. The company later rejoined the Forty-First Division. While in Australia, the 205th FA Bn received two L-4 Piper Cubs as artillery spotters.
Qualified enlisted personnel who attended Officer Candidate School transferred out of the federalized Idaho National Guard units as the demand for officers grew. Recently drafted troops from all over the country replaced the Idaho officer candidates, thus breaking up the Guard's unit integrity.
All of the artillery battalions of the Forty-first Division received orders to proceed to Oro Bay, New Guinea, and while en route 100 enemy bombers attacked the battalions at Milne Bay. The raid destroyed the 205th's supplies, forcing the battalion to remain at Milne Bay until they were resupplied. The 205th joined the division's other artillery units on April 24.
In January 1943 the Forty-first Infantry Division landed in New Guinea. Company B of the 116th and the Pioneer Company of the 641st TD Bn joined the 163rd Regimental Combat Team. The 163rd RCT relieved the Australian Thirty-ninth Infantry Battalion on the Huggins Perimeter. There the two companies of Idaho Guardsmen built bunkers, dug trenches, sandbagged medics' positions, moved supplies, and dug graves. While building a road in
January, Company B suffered two wounded from snipers, and in a later engagement the company killed seven enemy soldiers and captured another. One of Company B and the Pioneer Company's greatest accomplishments was their participation in building seven and one-half miles of the supply road from Oro Bay to the Allied airfield at Dobodura. They also built an 875-foot-long bridge, a dock at Buna, an ordnance depot, the Tenth Evacuation Hospital, and laid a gas pipeline from Buna to Dobra. In addition to this the engineers used scrap equipment to construct the Kota Creek sawmill.
On June 29, 1943 one platoon of Company A of the 116th Eng Cmbt Bn participated in the landings in Nassau Bay, New Guinea. As they came ashore, the landing crafts were wrecked by high seas, trapping the assault team on the beach. The next day the forty-seven engineers began building a supply road up the beach and constructing a supply dump. When the Japanese attacked the beachhead on the night of June 30, the men from Company A, together with elements of the 532nd Boat and Shore Regiment, acted as a front line combat unit. The Japanese attacked the company's beach position again the next night, hitting the platoon of Staff Sgt. Allen O. Marler of Idaho Falls. The enemy reached the beach, but the engineers drove them off after an hour-long right. Marlees platoon suffered seven dead. In total Company A lost nine men and had two wounded compared to the enemy's seven dead. Company A of the 116th , a part of the 162nd Regimental Combat Team, provided support for the RCT during the campaign. In early August Staff Sgt. Marler and nine of his men from Company A volunteered to destroy Japanese pillboxes on Roosevelt Ridge. Using satchel charges to destroy enemy positions, the engineers led the assault that took the ridge. After they reached the top, Marler and his men occupied the machine gun positions for a week due to the heavy casualties suffered by the 162nd Infantry Regiment in the attack. Marler and his men all received Bronze Stars for their actions. In their remaining time in New Guinea, the company built roads and an airfield.
Elements of the 205th FA Bn were assigned to General Coane's force to support the drive towards Salamaua. On July 20, 1943 the 205th and other artillery units silenced Japanese guns on Roosevelt Ridge while covering part of the Forty-first Division's advance. The next day resulted in another artillery duel and for the remainder of July and August the 205th supported the assaults on Roosevelt Ridge. During the Forty-first Division's New Guinea operations it earned the nickname "Jungleers" from the press.
The 148th FA Bn moved from Ballarat to Camp Cable outside of Brisbane on September 6 and then moved again to Rockhampton where it received tractors to tow its guns. After obtaining new equipment the battalion moved to Townsville, and from there, in mid-June 1943, to Milne Bay in New Guinea. At Milne Bay they practiced loading and unloading their equipment on Landing Ship-Tanks (LSTS) to prepare for future landings. On June 30 the battalion moved to Kiriwina Island, 150 miles north of New Guinea, where the
battalion was attached to the 158th Infantry Combat Team. There the men built roads, cleared an airfield, and performed reconnaissance missions.
In December 1943 the 148th FA Bn and the 112th Cavalry Regiment formed the 112th Regimental Combat Team which served intact for the remainder of the war. Their first operation took place on December 15 in the landings at Arawe, New Britain. One of the battalion's landing craft sank, injuring many men, and the forward observer's raft sank, killing one officer. After the beach was secured, the 148th suffered additional casualties from the daily Japanese bombings. The battalion, as a part of the 112th Regimental Combat Team (112 RCT), supported the advance by firing more than 4,400 artillery rounds. At the Pulie River enemy bunkers halted the combat team's assault across the river, but the 149th drove the Japanese from their bunkers, allowing the 112th to advance. The 112th RCT advanced beyond the Kulu River, and provided fire support for the cavalry around Lupin Airdrome.
As combat slowed in the spring of 1944, the 148th moved to Finschhafen, New Guinea, only to be recalled on April 22 for the landing at Aitape, New Guinea. The 112th RCT's mission was to hold the Japanese in their positions and to prevent them from reinforcing Hollandia. Authorities estimated that more than 40,000 enemy troops were attempting to evacuate Wewak. The dense jungle prevented the 148th FA Bn from transporting its 105-mm howitzers, forcing the battalion to right as infantry with small arms and machine gun support along with the 112th Cavalry. After marching inland for two days, 2,000 men of the 112th RCT set up defensive positions on the Driniumor River, where for two weeks they repulsed nightly enemy attempts to cross the river .
The 205th FA Bn received orders assigning it to the Letterpress Task Force for the invasion of Hollandia, New Guinea, on April 22, 1944. The battalion, along with two companies of the 641 st TD Bn, provided support to the 186th Infantry Regiment of the Forty-first Division. Infantry and artillery cooperated to drive the Japanese out of their positions during the advance to the key Cyclops Airdrome. After the airdrome fell, the 205th supported the infantry's attacks on other positions.
In May 1944 the 116th Eng Cmbt Bn took part in the invasion of Toem as part of the campaign to recapture New Guinea. On May 17 Company A of the 116th landed in the second wave of the American assault on Toem. They were attached to the Twenty-seventh Engineer Battalion and were responsible for clearing areas for supply dumps and unloading supplies. Later they helped to construct a two-lane road from Toem to Arare. On the night of May 27 the Japanese attacked Company A's position on the beach, but the engineers succeeded in driving off the Japanese. The enemy lost thirty-five dead while the engineers suffered five dead and two wounded. A medic from Company B of the 116th medical detachment was also killed.
While a portion of MacArthur's Army fought at Toem, another group took part in the invasion of Wakde in May 1944. Elements of the 641st Tank Destroyer Battalion supported the Forty-First Division with the 4.2-inch chemical mortars they had received while in New Guinea. The enemy feared this weapon. During a typical fire mission the Americans fired high explosives until the Japanese took cover. The mortarmen then used phosphorus rounds which, when exploded, sent pieces of burning phosphorus into the enemy foxholes, forcing them back to exposed ground. The Americans then fired high explosive rounds again to decimate the enemy.
On May 27 the Forty-first Division landed on Biak Island, off the northwestern coast of New Guinea. Company B of the 116th Eng Cmbt Bn landed at Bosnek, assisting the 542nd Engineer Boat and Shore Regiment in clearing the jetties and unloading LSTs. While unloading supplies over the next two days, the engineers were subjected to enemy air raids. On June 1, 1944 the engineers began work on a supply road, invaluable for resupplying the 163rd Regimental Combat Team and making the attack on the Mokmer Airdrome possible. Volunteers from Company C of the 116th Eng Cmbt Bn helped the infantry clear the enemy from the caves above the airfield at Mokmer on Biak Island, using a combination of flame throwers, explosives, grenades, bazookas, and rifles.
Afler the successful invasion of Hollandia, the 205th FA Bn also joined the Hurricane Task Force for the invasion of Biak Island. The battalion supported the infantry during the heavy righting for the coral ridges, including cover fire to assist isolated American units. With other artillery units, the 205th also supported the capture of strategic Mokmer Airdrome and the assault on the Japanese hidden in the caves on the ridges above the airdrome. On June 24, 1944 the 641st TD Bn was redesignated as the Ninety-eighth Chemical Mortar Battalion while in Buna, New Guinea. The Ninety-eighth Chemical Mortar Battalion also supported the advance on the airfield, and engaged in artillery duels with the Japanese in the caves. During the advance, the Japanese pushed one company of the 641st back to the beach, forcing them to leave their equipment and to be evacuated by sea. After the infantry recaptured that area, the company regained their mortars.
Following the Allied success in New Guinea, General MacArthur ordered his troops to prepare for the invasion of the Philippines. The 148th FA Bn pulled out of Aitape and landed on Leyte on October 20, 1944. The battalion, part of the 112th RCT, participated in the Luzon campaign in January 1945, fighting near Manila at Muzon, Pulong, Sapang, Palay, Teresa, and Santa Maria. The men from Battery B became involved in an incident at Santa Maria when a sentry fired at a figure moving towards him in the dark. Another American and a Filipino soldier joined the sentry, pursuing the fleeing individual to clearing where they confronted six to eight enemy soldiers. One of the Americans opened fire and the enemy returned it. Outnumbered, the
three fled back to their lines followed by the Japanese. In the fight that ensued inside their perimeter, the artillerymen killed four enemy soldiers while losing one man killed.
Battery A of the 148th had positioned itself on a hill above San Jose in Bulacan Province. While on patrol, men from the battery discovered Japanese soldiers sleeping in abandoned American foxholes. When ordered out, a Japanese soldier responded by throwing a hand grenade. A short skirmish ensued before each side retired. This encounter illustrated a problem in the Philippines, where no real front line seemed to exist. The Americans established positions on the hills, but the heavily jungled valleys were a no-man's-land where Allied and enemy troops passed through the American lines. The situation contributed to the battalion taking heavy casualties while in the Philippines. By this time, many of the original Idaho National Guardsmen had returned to the United States, having earned enough points to rotate home.
The Ninety-eighth Chemical Mortar Battalion landed on Luzon on January 9, 1945 where they supported the I Corps beachhead. Elements of one company destroyed three enemy pillboxes with hand grenades while securing the landing area, and Staff Sgt. G. Keith Madsen of Rigby captured an enemy soldier. Later, a patrol investigating movement in an abandoned village received fire from one of the huts, wounding one man. The Americans fired into the hut, killing three enemy soldiers. In early February Company B joined the Thirty-third Division for the remainder of the campaign.
Additional landings involving Idaho units were also planned for the
Philippines. On January 9, 1945 all Idaho units of the Forty-first Infantry
Division, except for the 116th Eng Cmbt Bn and the Ninety-eighth Cml Mtr Bn,
landed on Mindoro. The 116th landed on Zamboanga on January 28, and on March 10
the remaining elements of the Forty-first Infantry Division joined them.
Division artillery, including the 205th, supported the assault on the island.
The 205th FA Bn primarily supported the 162nd Infantry Regiment during the
operation. On March 24 the 205th FA Bn barrages killed and wounded hundreds of
enemy troops that were attempting to cross an open area. These actions brought
Idaho's combat involvement in the southwest Pacific to a close. Some units
deactivated and returned home, but the 148th and 205th FA Bns and the II 6th Eng
Cmbt Bn took part in the invasion and occupation of Japan. These units were
later deactivated and their troops shipped back to the United States."
Howard Springs today
EXCERPT FROM 148th UNIT HISTORY
On September 16th 1940, 148th Field Artillery was ordered into Federal Service together with its parent units, the 41st Infantry Division. The 148th Field Artillery and other division units were sent to Camp Murray, Fort Lewis Washington, where headquarters was maintained and training conducted until November 15th 1941 at which time The War Department ordered the 148th Field Artillery (less 2nd Battalion) to proceed to the San Francisco Part of Embarkation for further disposition from that station. The further disposition was later revealed to be orders to the Phillipines to augment General MacArthur's meager force. During later May, June, and early July 1941, the 41st Infantry Division conducted Division Maneuvers on the Hunter-Liggett Military Reservation.
The 148th Field Artillery (less 2nd Battalion) embarked at San Francisco for the Phillipines via Pearl Harbor, Territory of Hawaii, on November 22nd 1941. They arrived Pearl Harbor on November 27th and after shore leaves, departed early on Sunday morning, 30 November for their destination. The 148th Field Artillery (less 2nd Battalion) had shipped aboard the U.S. Army Transport, Willard T. Holbrook, together with the 147th Field Artillery, a complete regiment. The Holbrook in company with nearly a score of other vessels formed a convoy escorted by units of the US. Navy. This convoy proceeded with a variety of course changes and in a generally southwesterly directions, crossing the equator on December 5th and dropping anchor in the estuary of Brisbane River Brisbane, Australia, on December 22nd after having put in at Suva in the Fiji Islands for fuel and water enroute. After remaining at Camp Ascot in Brisbane over the Christmas holiday period the 148th and the 147th Field Artillery Regiments again boarded the Transport Holbrook with the destination being Port Darwin, Australia with arrival there on January 2nd 1942. With the exception of tine spent in participating in an ill-fates expedition the 148th established and/or reinforced coastal defenses for an expected Japanese invasion.
From time of arrival in Port Darwin until assumption of command by General Douglas MacArthur in latter March 1942, a period of nearly three months, the 148th Field Artillery was under the command of an Australian Army Brigadier. The Australian Army General Staff created the Expeditionary Sparrow Force Northern Australian Waters of which the 148th Field Artillery (less 2nd Bn.) was a part.
This Force was in existence on the seas 14 through 19 February 19h2. The Force was intended to serve as reinforcements for Australian Guerrillas on the Island of Timor. Japanese aircraft attacked the convoy near Koepang, Timor on 16 February causing some damage to vessels; except for magnificent fire and maneuver by the U.S.S. Houston, a Cruiser, the entire convoy would have been sunk and destroyed at this point.
Convoy returned, complete, to Port Darwin arriving on 18 February. The 148th Field Artillery was not unloaded from its two transports, Australian vessels: Portmar and Tulagi, despite earnest and repeated requests from the 148th Regimental Commander. During midmorning of 19 February, 146 airplanes form enemy Japanese unit's attacked and sank every vessel, approximately 13, lying in the harbor. The 148th Field Artillery was sunk with all of its equipment. All Australian troops had been removed from vessels bearing them on the expedition. Several decorations were awarded enlisted and officer personnel of the 148 F.A. with many being awarded posthumously. Most of the equipment and material was recovered. The regiment moved south from this combat zone to a temporary rest and rehabilitation center at Ballarat, Victoria, during latter May and early June 1942. It was at Ballarat that the modified 75 mm Howitzers, which had been sunk with the regiment and later made serviceable by Regimental personnel, were exchanged for new 105 mm Howitzers. The regiment remained at Ballarat until September 1942; at this time it began its movement toward the New Gui combat area. The regiment (less 2nd Bn.) became the 148th Field Artillery Battalion.
The Regimental Band became the Base Section Three Band at the Headquarters of U.S. Army Forces, Brisband, Australia. This Artillery unit participated in the following Battles and Campaigns; East Indies, Papau, New Guinea, Bismarck Archipelago, Southern Phillipines, and Luzon.
The 148th Field Artillery Battalion was deactivated in Japan in 1946; it was reactivated the following year as the 148th Field Artillery Battalion, Idaho National Guard, again making its headquarters at Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.
On May 1st 1951, the 148th Field Artillery Battalion was ordered to active Federal Service from inactive National Guard status. From Coeur d'Alene, Kellogg, Moscow, and Lewiston respectively, came Headquarters and A Batteries, Service Battery B, and C Batteries. The personnel entrained for Camp Carson, Colorado, on 6 May 1951, arriving on 8 May 1951.
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