To meet SEATO commitments, the New Zealand Army was reorganised in 1964, with an Infantry Battalion based in Malaysia as part of the British Commonwealth Strategic Reserve. The remainder of the Army was organised to reinforce the overseas elements at short notice and, with a more extended notice period, forces able to meet other commitments outside of the scope of the Strategic Reserve. To achieve this the Army was organised as:
- Field Force
- The Combat Brigade Group – Organised as a combat force for commitments outside of the scope of the Strategic Reserve.
- The Logistic Support Group – Organised to provide support in the field to the Combat Brigade Group.
- The Combat Reserve Brigade Group – Designed to backfill personnel from the Combat Brigade Group and Logistic Support Group on their mobilisation, to provide trained reinforcements.
- Static Support Force – all the static non-deployable units.
RNZAOC Locations and Roles
The RNZAOC maintained units on a regional basis.
- Combat Brigade Group units based in the Northern region,
- Logistic Support Group units based in the Central region,
- Combat Reserve Brigade Group units based in the Southern region, and
- Static Support Force units base throughout the country in non-operational support roles.
Units classed as Operating units had a real-time peacetime support role, all others only had training roles.
Up to 1968 Ordnance units, their locations and dependencies are detailed in the following three tables.
Ordnance In the Northern Military District
Ordnance In the Central Military District
Ordnance In the Southern Military District
Circular Coloured patches 1½ inch in diameter were worn on the shoulder Battledress and then Service Dress just below the Corps Shoulder Title, these patches were discontinued in the mid-1970’s.
- Combat Brigade Group – Black
- Logistic Support Group – Red
- Combat Reserve Brigade group – Green
- Static Support Force – Blue
In 1968 it was decided to refine the RNZAOC organisation to better suit its outputs, resulting in name changes, roles changes, relocation and disestablishment for some units.
Unit Name Changes
- The Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham was renamed 1 Base Ordnance Depot.
- The three District Ordnance Depots were renamed as Central Ordnance Depots
- Northern District Ordnance Depot – 1 Central Ordnance Depot
- Central District Ordnance Depot – 2 Central Ordnance Depot
- Southern District Ordnance Depot – 3 Central Ordnance Depot
Note: It was mooted that ‘Command’ instead of ‘Central’ be used as the name of the Ordnance Depots, and some correspondence does refer to the COD as Command Ordnance Depots.
Roles Changes and Re-locations
- 1 Infantry Brigade Group Ordnance Field Park based at Trentham and already partly scaled but with no role other than training this was moved to Ngaruawahia, with the task of maintaining the Equipment Tables of Combat Brigade group units.
1 Composite Ordnance Company assumed the role as the significant bulk Ordnance stock-holding unit in the Field Force, with responsibility for issuing bulk to 1 Ordnance Field Park and all Workshop Stores Sections and detailed Issues to all Logistic Support Group units. This unit had a peacetime holding of 60 -90 days of War Reserve stocks which were transferred from 1 Base Ordnance Depot. All Platoons were centralised at Mangaroa, less 4 (Ammo) Platoon, located at Makomako and loaned back to 2 Central Ordnance Depot.
- 3 Infantry Brigade Group Ordnance Field Park situated at Ngaruawahia with no stocks held and performing only a Training Role, this unit was relocated to Burnham where the majority of Combat Reserve Brigade Units were located, continuing to have no stock-holding responsibility and only have a training role.
There was no change to the Role and locations of the Workshops Stores section and RNZAOC school.
The Small Arms and Proof Office co-located at Mount Eden with the Colonial Ammunition Company was closed down, and the Army ended its long relationship with the Colonial Ammunition Company when that company closed down.
The Ammunition Proof and Experimental Centre operations were also closed down, and its operations moved to the new Joint Services Proof Establishment, a Tri-service unit established as part of the Naval Ammunition Depot ad Kauri Point in Auckland.
Throughout the 1960s the RNZAOC provided individuals for overseas service, with the bulk serving with the Australians in South Vietnam and 1 RNZIR at Ternadak Barracks in Malaysia.
In 1970 due to a proposed British withdrawal from Singapore, the RNZAOC made a commitment with the RAAOC to form 5 Advanced Ordnance Depot in Singapore. 5 Advanced Ordnance Depot was the first RNZAOC unit overseas since Kayforce during the Korean War, and the RNZAOC retained a unit in Singapore until 1989.
The RNZAOC retained this organisation until the late 1970s, when the Rations and Fuel functions were gained on the disestablishment of the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps, and the RNZAOC underwent another Reorganisation, which will be covered in another article.
Copyright © Robert McKie 2017