1983 Unit Brief: 1 Base Supply Battalion, RNZAOC

In the early 1980s most new RNZAOC soldiers of the Supplier Trade spent at least six months at 1 Base Supply Battalion at Trentham. At 1BSB, they underwent their initial trade training, known as Band Two Training, before being posted to units throughout the Army.

Record Book

1 Base Supply Battalion, Training Record Book. Robert McKie Collection

Each Band Two Trainee was issued with a blue training book and, under the direction of the Battalion Planning Officer, rotated around the unit undergoing On the Job Training, with their progress being recorded in the training book by section heads.

At the back of the book, there was a unit brief on 1 Base Supply Battalion, which today provides a snapshot of the Battalion as it was in 1983, which has been reproduced on this page.

1983 Unit Brief: 1 Base Supply Battalion, RNZAOC

1BSB brief


1. 1 Base Supply Battalion is the central stockholding depot for the New Zealand Army


2. To provision, receipt, store, maintain whilst in storage, and issue all natures of stores, except munitions, to operational and base units in peace and war.

Additional Tasks

3. The Unit has the following additional responsibilities:

a. Repair and manufacture of textile stores.

b. The production and packing of NZ Army requirements for combat rations.

c. The disposal of surplus stores and vehicles.

d. The hire, loan or transfer of stores and vehicles to Government departments as directed.

e. The supply of foodstuffs and FOL to all Wellington-based units.

f. The Band 2 Level training for all RNZAOC soldier suppliers.


4. The Battalion is established as shown below. The actual manning levels currently fall below the establishment by one-fifth. This leaves the unit able to carry out its function adequately but other tasks need to be kept to a minimum.

Level Establishment Actual Sep 83 Under Training
a. Officers 11 5
b. Senior Non-Commissioned Officers 55 39
c. Other Ranks 50 43 19
d. Civilian 89 75

Stock Holding Policy

5. The unit holds, in addition to reserves, 15 months’ worth of items procured from overseas. That’s three months forecast monthly demand (FMD) plus three months safety stocks plus stocks to cover a nine-month lead time. For locally produced items a stock of three months is held plus a lead time stock of three months. This stock may vary if dramatic differences exist in lead times. There is no economic order quantity (EOQ) buying permitted.


6. a. Provision Control and Accounts. Currently within PC&A the accounting for stores and provision calculations are done by NCR 33 and NCR 299 accounting machines, both of which are obsolete and lacking in an adequate spares backing. They convert information to punched paper tape which is transferred onto a disk for input to the S2 system, om a SPERRY UNIVAC 1100 60 E computer at Porirua. The S2 system was developed on an ICL 1903 computer and the conversion to the SPERRY UNIVAC proved difficult. The system has suffered severe conversion problems with the programme and only the implementation of the Defence Supply System Depot (DSSD), forecast for 1986/87 will the ledger cards be able to be held solely on a computer file.

b. Mechanical Handling Equipment (MHE). Although the MHE situation within the Battalion is not critical neither is it ideal. There are 22 Forklift Trucks (FLT) comprising 13 different models, 8 of which are over ten years old. On average six vehicles are being repaired or awaiting spares at any one time, and only five vehicles can be used in both Bulk and Detail storage areas. Action is being taken to correct this situation and five FLT should be purchased in the Financial Year 1984/85, plus two Lansing Bagnall FRER 5/20 forward and high reaching electric trucks for the new warehouse.
Real Estate

7. The unit currently occupies 26 storage buildings in three areas: Mangaroa, Trentham Main and Trentham Vehicle Platoon, totalling 40 acres of land giving 116990 cu m of storage capacity. The buildings were constructed in the second quarter of the century and although adequate, are not ideally suited for modern storage methods. The wide separation between the three sites causes administrative and transport difficulties. The Capital Works Programme includes provision for a new storehouse in the north east corner of the main compound, which when built, will enable the Mangaroa area to be closed and the Stock Vehicle Platoon to be brought within the compound.

New Warehouse

8. The new warehouse will be 85 meters long, 32 meters wide, with a clear span truss roof 10.6 meters high. The available storage will be 2692 sq m area and 28732 cu m in volume enabling the storage of 3360 Standard Unit Loads (SUL) plus 5121 cu m in block stacks.


9. The battalion is currently involved in five projects:

a. Maintenance of stock for the M113 Armd Vehicle Rebuild Programme.

b. Establishment and maintenance of stock and vehicle control for Scorpion.

c. Establishment and maintenance of stocks for the new GS B vehicle buy.

d. Purification of S2 records, and

e. Bulk store re-organisation to adapt to standard unit loads (SUL).


10. In the year to 31 Mar 83 the unit received 36931 demands for stores, 3.5% at Priority 1, 8% at Priority 2, 12.5% at priority 3 and 76% at priority 4. 7066 demands were not in stock and had to be placed on dues out giving a success rate of 81%. During the same period 19885 line items were receipted and $6047938 (2017 NZD 20042091.00) was spent on 6610 orders.


11. In summary, 1 Base Supply Battalion is one of the NZ Army’s largest and most complex units with a vital role in both peace and war. The two major problems facing the unit, dispersal of storage buildings and an unsatisfactory accounting system, will be solved by the planning that is in hand. To this end the building of the new storehouse and the implementation of the defence Storage System Depot, which are eagerly awaited, will do much to bring the Depot in Line with current international standards.

1BSB 1983

1983 Organisation Chart, 1 Base Supply Battalion

1BSB Plan001

Depot Plan, 1 Base Supply Battalion. Robert McKie Collection

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017

Ordnance during the Field Force era 1964 – 1978

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

1968 NMD

1st COD 1971

1st Central Ordnance Depot – 25 June 1971. RNZAOC School

Ordnance In the Central Military District

1968 CMD

CDOD 1965

Central Districts Ordnance Depot 1965. Dave Morris Collection


Ordnance In the Southern Military District

1968 SMD

Dress Embellishments

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

1968 Reorganisation

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 Plaque. Peter Cox collection


    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.

RNZAOC Overseas

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.

Future Reorganisations

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

Central Districts, RNZAOC Corps Day 2017

To commemorate the 70th anniversary on the 12th of July 1947 of the granting of the “Royal” prefix by King George VI to the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps, and the 100th anniversary of the formation of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Department and New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps on 1 February 1917. A small gathering was held the 15th of July  2017 at the Empire Hotel in Palmerston North.

The Empire Hotel was chosen as the venue as 100 years ago the NZAOC Palmerston North Detachment, Ordnance Store was located across the road at 327 Main Street, and I am sure that some of them would have enjoyed a cold beer at the Empire Hotel on a Saturday afternoon.

NZ Army Ordnance Stores, 327 Main Street, Palmerston North circa 1930. Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services

NZ Army Ordnance Stores, 327 Main Street, Palmerston North circa 1920. Palmerston North Libraries and Community Services

The gathering was small, but those who attended represented a varied cross-section of former RNZAOC members from the 1960’s to the 1990’s.


Rear Left to Right: Tony (Wingnut) Rogers, Terry McBeth, Richard Tyler, Rob Mckie, Merv Hutley, Kevin Sigglekow, Peter Cox, Brian Crafts, Peter Dellabarca, Front Row Left to Right: Ray Benseman, Willie Simonsen, Phil Blundell, Dave Morris.

Ordnance and the Central Districts

The RNZAOC and its predecessors have had a  long association with the Central Districts of New Zealand. The Central Districts including the provinces of;

  • Taranaki,
  • Whanganui,
  • Ruapehu,
  • Rangitikei,
  • Manawatu,
  • Hawkes Bay,
  • Wairarapa,
  • Horowhenua, and
  • Wellington.

Ordnance Depot

In the early years of the 20th Century, Ordnance Support to the region was provided by the Defence Stores Department from their Headquarters at Mount Cook in Wellington.

With the foundation of the NZAOC in 1917, Trentham soon became the Main Ordnance Depot with detachments at Featherston and Palmerston North

On the conclusion of the First World War permanent Ordnance Depots were established at Ngaruawahia to support the Northern Districts, and at Burnham to Support the Southern Districts, it was decided to support the Central Districts directly from the Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham, resulting in the closure of the Featherston and Palmerston North Ordnance Detachments

With the onset of the Second World War and the mobilisation of  New Zealand, the Central Districts Ordnance Depot was established at the Showground’s in Palmerston North with several large warehouses in rented accommodation at Whanganui.

In August of 1942, the District Ordnance Depots were renamed, and responsibility’s defined.  The Main Ordnance Depot name would remain extant, and it would service;

  • Army Headquarters,
  • Army School,
  • Mobilisation Camp, Trentham,
  • All other troops in the Wellington Fortress area,
  • 1, 2 and 3 Ordnance Sup Depots.

The Central Districts Ordnance Depot would become  No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot and would service ;

  • Waiouru Military Camp and all units therein,
  • Tactical School, Wanganui,
  • Staff College, Palmerston North,
  • Central Military Districts Troops (except Wellington Fortress troops),
  • 4th Division.

On the Wars end, No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot closed on 14 December 1945 and responsibility for Ordnance Support for the Central Districts reverted to the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham. A short time later No 2 Ordnance Sub depot reopened in Linton Camp.

  • No 2 Ordnance Sub Depot in Linton, would endure becoming;
  • No2 Ordnance Depot in 1946,
  • Central Districts Ordnance Depot in 1961,
  • 2 Central Ordnance Depot in 1968,
  • 2 Supply Company in 1979,
  • 5 Composite Supply Company in 1985 and finally
  • 21 Field Supply Company in 1990 until 1996 when its ownership Passed from the RNZAOC to the RNZALR.

Workshops and Stores Sections

In September 1946 most of the repair and maintenance functions of the NZAOC became the New Zealand Electrical and Mechanical Engineers. The NZAOC retained repair functions such as Bootmaking, Textile Repair and Tailoring.

From 1961 the RNZAOC was represented across the Central Districts in all of the RNZEME Workshops and LAD Stores Sections.

Ammunition Depot

Constructed and becoming operational in the mid-1940’s, Ammunition Depots would be established at:

  • Kuku valley at Trentham,
  • Belmont in Wellington,
  • Makomako, and
  • Waiouru.

These would remain as interdependent Ammunition Depots until 1961 when they became Sub-Depots of the Central Districts Ordnance Depot.

The Belmont Ammunition Depot would close in the late 1960’s, with Makomako closing in the mid-1990’s leaving Waiouru as the Main Ammunition Depot.

Waiouru Camp

When Waiouru Camp was established in 1940 it was planned to create an Ordnance Depot there, but these plans never eventuated, and Waiouru would remain a Sub Depot of Trentham. Waiouru became a Sub Depot of Linton until the 1970s when it became 4 Central Ordnance Depot, then 4 Supply Company in 1979.

Wellington Region Ordnance Units


Although based in the Wellington region and having a broader responsibility for just, not the Central Districts but also the entire Army, by their proximity they have a closer association to the Central Districts than the Northern and Southern Districts and therefore have been included in this article.

In the post-war era Ordnance in the Main Ordnance Depot in Trentham would undergo many transformations, the Main Ordnance Depot would become the Base Ordnance Depot in 1968 and then the 1st Base Supply Battalion in 1979 and finally 5 Logistic Regiment in 1993.

The RNZAF stores depot at Mangaroa was handed over to the NZ Army in 1949 and over the years would become home to;

  • 4(NZ) Division Ordnance Field Park was based at Trentham and Mangaroa from 1950 to 1963,
  • 1 Infantry Brigade OFP from 1963 to 1968 until reorganised and redeployed to Ngaruawahia and Burnham.
  • 1st Composite Ordnance Company from 1964 to 1977.

The Central Districts Vehicle Depot would be established at Trentham in the late 1940’s and would move closer to its primary customer base at  Linton in 1958 and would to be absorbed into the CDOD as a Sub-Depot in 1961.

Adoption of RNZASC functions

In 1979 the foodstuffs and POL functions of the RNZASC became an Ordnance responsibility with the RNZAOC gaining;

  • 24 Supply Platoon in Linton,
  • 44 Supply Platoon in Waiouru,
  • 54 Supply Platoons in Trentham,
  • 21 Supply Company in Waiouru (retaining its name in honour of its long history with the RNZASC), and
  • 7 Petroleum Platoon in Waiouru, which was renamed 47 Petroleum Platoon (4 added to identify it as a Platoon of 4 Supply Company).

Establishment of the RNZALR

On the 8 of December 1996, the RNZAOC along with the RNZCT and RNZEME was disestablished and its personnel and unit’s becoming part of the Royal New Zealand Army Logistic Regiment.

Copyright © Robert McKie 2017