New Zealand Army Combat Boots – 1945 -1980


Up to the Second World War, New Zealand Army boots generally had leather-soled ankle boots whose design had only undergone minor changes since 1912. Military boot development was catapulted during the Second World War with new designs and materials providing boots suitable for all terrains and climates found on Battlefields worldwide. As the post-war New Zealand Army was reorganised and reequipped to provide a division to fight in the Middle East, the decolonisation conflicts that swept Southeast Asia drew New Zealand into an unfamiliar type of warfare. New Zealand was not experienced or equipped to fight in harsh tropical environments but adapted quickly and became experienced practitioners of Jungle warfare. Initially equipped with British and Australian stocks of tropical equipment, it soon became apparent that New Zealand troops needed modern equipment. By 1959, the New Zealand Army undertook various research and development initiatives to improve its equipment in conjunction with scientific institutions and industry. This article provides an overview of the New Zealand Army’s post-war boot development, transitioning from a boot originating in the 19th century to a modern mid-20th century Combat boot.

Flush with wartime stocks of boots, the post-war New Zealand Army had no immediate need to upgrade its boots. However, by the mid-1950s, the limitations of the current range of leather-soled boots were becoming evident, especially in the jungles of Malaya, and the search for alternatives began for an improved boot design. To achieve this, the Quarter masters branch of the army called on the New Zealand Leather and Shoe Research Association for assistance in developing a boot with increased waterproof properties that could withstand prolonged wear without undue fatigue.[1]

Jungle greens and Jungle boots as worn by New Zealand Forces in Malaya from 1955. NZ National Library Ref: EP/1956/0031-F

In conjunction with footwear manufacturers and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, the New Zealand Leather and Shoe Association developed four types of boots, which were trialled by the 2nd Battalion, New Zealand Regiment, in 1958. The latest type of ankle boot with a Directly Moulded Sole (DMS) from the United Kingdom was also tested alongside the four New Zealand samples.[2] From this initial user trial, feedback shaped an interim specification for two types with identical uppers but different soles, one of rubber and the other of leather. Thirty pairs of each type were made, and a further series of trials began with the 1st Battalion at Burnham Camp in early May 1960. Thirty trial subjects were chosen to wear each boot type for three days to see how easily they could be broken in. After that, they tested the boots for wear and comfort until February 1961.[3]

1956 Ankle Boots. Lee Hawkes Collection
Sole of 1956 Ankle boots. Lee Hawkes Collection

The result of the trial was the adoption of the Ankle Boot Rubber Sole (Ankle Boot RS). An ankle boot similar in design to the current boot, the Ankle Boot RS was several ounces lighter than those currently in use, also included was rotproof terylene stitching and nylon laces. The nylon laces were so popular with the troops that all the boots returned after user trials came back without laces. The new design had a “Commando” style rubber sole. The Commando style rubber sole was developed in the 1930s by English rubber maker Itshide, who switched from producing toys and brushes to producing this new kind of rubber sole for use on army boots during WWII. The benefit of the Commando sole was the grip provided by the shape of the jagged cleats on the sole, which proved ideal for providing stability on the roughest terrain. The New Zealand version of the Commando sole had slightly shallower cleats with an angled edge to prevent mud or small stones from wedging between them and was marketed as the “Kiwi Army Boot”. Production of the New Zealand Ankle Boot RS began in August 1961; however, with large quantities of the previous type of boot still in the supply system, it would take until 1964 to waste out the old stock.[4]

As with the previous boot design, the Ankle Boot RS required wearing a gaiter to prevent mud and derbies from entering the boot. The type of gaiter then in use was the 37-pattern web gaiter. Concurrent with the boot trial, thirty pairs of Australian Army gaiters were also tested. The long dark green Australian gaiter was introduced into Australian service in 1945 and had a light metal stiffener up one side to prevent wrinkling and a strap passing under the boot’s instep. Finding favour with the troops, these were also planned to be adopted for the New Zealand Army. However, problems in adopting the Australian gaiter would drive the development of the next iteration of New Zealand’s Army Boot.[5]

A pair of Australian Army canvas gaiters painted black. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C993356

Although the Australian gaiter could have probably been purchased off the shelf directly from Australian manufacturers, such items should have been manufactured in New Zealand. However, it was found that due to the exorbitant costs encountered in producing the Australian pattern gaiter in New Zealand, this project was abandoned, and the gaiter requirement was re-evaluated. Although no specific General Staff requirement was stated, it was decided to develop a calf-length boot to replace the Ankle Boot RS and 37-pattern gaiters with a calf-length combat boot.

New Zealand 37-pattern Gaiter. Lee Hawkes collection

Based on the new Ankle Boot Rubber Sole (Ankle Boot RS), two high boots, type A and B, were manufactured by experienced New Zealand footwear manufacturers Sargood, Son and Ewen.[6] The type A and B boots included hooks instead of eyelets and a strap and buckle arrangement similar to the American M-1943 Combat Boot.  

United States Army M-43 composition sole combat service boot, or “double buckle boot”. https://www.usww2uniforms.com/BQD_114.html

As a result of the initial user trials in New Zealand and Malaysia using the Type A and B boot, the design of the boot was refined into the Type C boot. In May 1964, ten examples of the Type C Boot were manufactured, incorporating improvements suggested by the user trials:

  • The sole and foot portion to be exactly the same as the Ankle Boot RS.
  • The height from ground level to the top of the boot was to be 101/2 inches.
  • There were to be six eyelets on the lower portion of each side of the closure and six boot hooks on the higher portion of each side (similar to the green jungle boot issued in Malaya).
  • The boot tongue was to be of a thinner variety and should not be longer than the height of the boot.
  • There were to be no straps or buckles.
  • The measurement around the top of the boot was to be no greater than 121/2 inches from edge to edge.[7]

Successful feedback on the Type C boot saw a small number purchased and introduced into service in June 1966 to enable further trials to be carried out to determine if the new pattern boots were suitable for combat in tropical conditions. Further trials by New Zealand Forces in South Vietnam and selected units in New Zealand commenced in November 1967

With the New Zealand contingent in South Vietnam serving alongside the Australians, the length of the New Zealand contingent’s supply chain and its low requirements made it necessary to modify the clothing replenishment system and link into the Australian lines of supply, resulting in New Zealand troops in Vietnam receiving Australian tropical clothing and boots.[8] This was a modification of the system used in Malaysia since 1955, when New Zealand troops in Malaysia drew their tropical clothing requirements, including jungle boots, from British sources.

Concurrent with New Zealand’s combat boot development was an Australian programme to develop a modern combat boot. Initially utilising jungle boots left over from the Second World War, the Australians soon developed and trialled a new DMS boot design with leather uppers and a moulded sole. After some initial user trials, an initial order of 10,000 pairs of the new Australian DMS Combat boot was placed in July 1956 for delivery to Australian troops in Vietnam by December 1965.[9]

Australian Black leather general purpose (GP) boots. https://www.awm.gov.au/collection/C1195209

By 1968, New Zealand troops in South Vietnam were officially utilising the trial New Zealand combat boot and the Australian DMS Combat boot. Unofficially many New Zealand troops also wore the America Jungle boot. A survey conducted at the start of the November 1967 trial showed that 108 New Zealand soldiers preferred the Australian boot and only 42 the New Zealand boot. A further survey conducted in March 1968 revealed that 121 New Zealand soldiers preferred the Australian boot. The most significant reasons given for the preference were that the Australian boot was:

  • Lighter and more robust than the NZ item.
  • Had a directly moulded sole.
  • It was made of better-quality leather.
  • Had a vastly superior appearance.
  • It had a very good and snug fit when broken in.
Private Wayne Lindsay, Whiskey One Company, inspects an RSA Christmas parcel from New Zealand circa 1968. Note that Private Lindsay is wearing the American Pattern Jungle boots, and there are Australian DMS Combat boots and New Zealand Combat boots under his bed. Image courtesy Noel Bell via https://vietnamwar.govt.nz/photo/private-wayne-lindsay-rsa-christmas-parcel

Feedback also included the increasingly evident requirement for a Jungle boot similar to the United States pattern to be provided to New Zealand Forces in tropical environments.[10]

After the November 1967 operational and training trials of the New Zealand combat boot, it was found that the recommendations of the various trial teams were not in agreement, and a Footwear Study Group was appointed to review the trial information.[11] In July 1969, the Footwear Study Group concluded that the New Zealand Combat boot, with certain modifications, was superior to the ankle Boot RS in meeting New Zealand training conditions. However, it was agreed that the New Zealand Combat Boot did not meet the tropical operational requirements, and further research was required to find a boot to meet New Zealand’s tropical requirements. US, Canadian, and UK policies supported this, concluding that one boot could not satisfy both a temperate and tropical requirement. It was noted that the Australians restricted their DMS combat boot to South Vietnam, with troops in other theatres outside Australia continuing to wear ordinary boots and gaiters; however, the US tropical combat boot was procured for issue in South Vietnam to the Australian SAS only. Overall, the New Zealand findings were that the main advantage of the New Zealand Combat Boot was that it could replace two items (Ankle boot RS and gaiter); it provided superior ankle and instep support and improved appearance, and it should be accepted as a replacement for the Ankle Boot RS. A tropical patrol boot was also recommended to be developed to meet the specific environmental conditions found in Southeast Asia.[12]

There was little doubt that the Australian DMS combat boot was more popular with New Zealand troops. It was accepted that the DMS production technique proved a superior product, but at the time, New Zealand’s footwear industry did not yet have the required technology to manufacture DMS boots, but there was no doubt that the New Zealand Combat boot would incorporate a DMS sole at a future date as New Zealand industry caught up. However, adopting the New Zealand Combat boot would be based on fiscal reasoning. Based on the 1969 production run of 2893 pairs for New Zealand Vietnam Force maintenance, the cost of a pair of New Zealand combat boots was $10.50 (2022 NZ $200.20), compared to $19.23 (2022 NZ $366.64) for the Australian DMS boots. With the Ankle Boot RS priced at $8.18 (2022 NZ $156.61) and Garters at $1 (2022 NZ $19.15), it was considered that a superior boot was replacing two items (Ankle boot RS and gaiter) with only a slight increase of the cost. [13]

On 3 December 1969, the New Zealand Combat Boot was renamed as the Boot GS (High) and formally introduced into service to progressively replace the Ankle boot RS and gaiter as existing stocks of those items wasted out and all period contracts for their manufacture terminated.[14]

With a stock of 19,120 Ankle Boots RS and 21,612 Web Anklets held in Ordnance Depots and Clothing Stores, the priority of issue for the introduction of the Boot GS (High)was to:

  • NZ Forces in Southeast Asia
  • Regular Force Recruits
  • Regular Force maintenance in New Zealand
  • The Territorial Force

The Boot GS (High) nomenclature had been changed to Boot Mans General Purpose (Boot Mans GP) by February 1971. With 12,126 pairs of Ankle Boot RS remaining in stock, it was anticipated that with issues to National Service intakes and the Territorial Force, stocks would be exhausted by the end of 1971.[15]

During the New Zealand Combat Boot trial, it was identified that cooks of the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) required a boot with a flat sole for safety on wet surfaces. Fortunately, the Government Footwear Inspector had developed Cooks Galley Boots at Royal New Zealand Navy (RNZN) instigation in the mid-1960s. First adopted by the RNZN and then the Royal New Zealand Air Force (RNZAF), consideration to issuing RNZASC Cooks Galley boots were first made in 1968.[16] With a non-skid pattern rubber sole and a continuous leather front to stop spilt boiling fat and other liquids from entering the boot, RNZASC user trials were conducted from 1970 with initial issues to all RNZASC cooks from 1972.[17]

By February 1974, New Zealand’s Forces in South Vietnam had been withdrawn, and the tripartite Australia, New Zealand and United Kingdom (ANZUK) Force based in Singapore had been dissolved. The 1st Battalion Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) and its supporting units remained in Singapore as the New Zealand army components of the New Zealand Force Southeast Asia (NZFORSEA). Logistic arrangements in place since 1955, which allowed New Zealand to rely on the British for tropical clothing and equipment, had progressively been wound down from the late 1960s as New Zealand developed and grew its line of tropical clothing. Although the development of a tropical patrol boot had been recommended to be developed to meet the specific conditions found in Southeast Asia, the transition of New Zealand Army units in Singapore to a peacetime garrison and peacetime funding restrictions saw the requirement for a New Zealand jungle boot placed on the back burner. The Boot Man GP was found to be sufficient for most training in the tropics. Although many individuals purchased surplus American, British or Malaysian jungle boots and some small-scale unit trials did occur, the development of a New Zealand jungle boot ceased.

In 1980 the New Zealand footwear manufacturer John Bull won the contract for the supply of combat boots to the New Zealand Military. Already a manufacturer with a high reputation and experienced in producing military footwear, John Bull’s manufacturing processes were enhanced through a significant equipment and modernisation program. The John Bull-manufactured Boot Man GP was a DMS boot that retained the same style of leather uppers as the previous boot. New Zealand also supplemented stocks of the John Bull Boot GP with the Australian pattern DMS Combat Boot manufactured in New Zealand by King Leo. Both patterns of Boot GP were progressively introduced into service from 1980, with stocks of the previous Boot GP wasted out by 1985.

The New Zealand Army finished the Second World War with pretty much the same boot that had been issued to soldiers in 1912. However, the lessons of the Second World War and developments in boot technology had not gone unnoticed. With the assistance of the New Zealand Leather and Shoe Association, footwear manufacturers and the Department of Scientific and Industrial Research, a New Zealand Combat boot was developed. Due to the limitations of the technology available to New Zealand’s footwear industry, New Zealand’s efforts would always be five to ten years behind those of Australia, the United Kingdom and the United States. However, a viable and cost-effective boot that met most of the training and operational requirements of the New Zealand army throughout the 1970s and 80s resulted from New Zealand’s limited resources. Although this article only provides an overview of New Zealand’s combat boot development, it provides a starting point for further research into this overlooked aspect of New Zealand’s military history.

Boot Man GP (DMS)
New Zealand-made Australian pattern Boot GP

Notes

[1] “General News – Army Boots,” Press, Volume XCVIII, Issue 28883, 1 May 1959.

[2] Although the United Kingdom accepted and introduced it into service in 1961, the UK DMS boot was rejected by New Zealand because, at this stage, it could not be made in New Zealand. “Many Changes in Gear for Modern N.Z. Soldier,” Press, Volume XCVIII, Issue 28958, 28 July 1959.

[3] “New Army Boots Now in Production,” Press, Volume C, Issue 29594, 17 August 1961.

[4] Ibid.

[5] Army 213/19/69 Footwear for the NZ Army Dated 7 August 1969. “Boots and Shoes – Development of Combat Boots,” Archives New Zealand No R17187902  (1963-1969).

[6] 213/19/55/Q(D) Purchase of High Boots for user trials 26 May 1964. Ibid.

[7] 213/19/69 7 May 1964. Ibid.

[8] “New Combat Clothes Being Tested,” Press, Volume CIV, Issue 30802, 14 July 1965.

[9] “Boots Trouble Aust. Troops,” Press, Volume CIV, Issue 30801, 13 July 1965.

[10] HQ NZ V Force 212/19/69 Footwear Trials 9 April 1968. “Boots and Shoes – Development of Combat Boots.”

[11] Army 213/19/69/SD Footwear Study Group 23 October 1968. Ibid.

[12] Army 213/19/69 Footwear for the NZ Army 14 July 1969.Ibid.

[13] Army 213/19/69 Footwear for the NZ Army 7 August 1969. Ibid.

[14] Army 213/19/69DQ(M) dated 3 December 1969. Ibid.

[15] HQ Home Command HC 8/6/1/ORD 1 Introduction of Boots Mans GP 26 April 1971. Ibid.

[16] Army 213/19/69 Footwear for the NZ Army 7 August 1969. Ibid.

[17] HQ Home Command HC 8/6/1/ST Boots Galley Cooks 11 May 1972. Ibid.


New Zealand Military Load Carrying Equipment, 1945 – 1975

Military Personal Load Carrying Equipment, often referred to in the New Zealand vernacular as “webbing”, is the assortment of belts, straps, pouches and other accessories which, when assembled, allows an individual soldier to easily and comfortably carry the tools of their trade, such as ammunition, rations and water to sustain them for short periods. Many period photos of New Zealand soldiers on operations and training from the Vietnam War era to the 1990s provide the impression of an army equipped with an eclectic range of Australian, British and American equipment. This view of New Zealand’s army’s equipment was partly correct. To see how this view was shaped this article provides an overview of the evolution of New Zealand’s military load-carrying equipment from 1945 to 1975.

Commander-in-chief, United States Army of the Pacific, General R.E Haines (right) watching weapon training at Waiouru. 2 May 1970 Evening Post

During World War Two, Operations in Malaya, Burma and the Pacific identified many shortfalls in the suitability of training, tactics and equipment, resulting in the Lethbridge Mission to the Far East during the late war. As a result of the report of the Lethbridge Mission, it was decided to modify the standard 37-pattern equipment to make it lighter in weight, rot-proof and more water-repellent and thus more suitable for use in tropical conditions. This development of the 37-pattern equipment led to the approval of a new pattern known as the 1944-pattern.[1] Post-war, further development of the 37 and 44-Pattern equipment led to troop trials of the Z2 experimental Load Carrying Equipment, which transitioned into the 1958-pattern equipment.[2]

Following World War Two, the Load Carrying Equipment in use by the New Zealand Army was the British 1937-pattern equipment. The 37-pattern equipment was introduced into New Zealand service in 1940, replacing the 1908-pattern equipment that had been in service since 1912. As 37-pattern equipment remained the standard web equipment of the New Zealand Army, the deployment of New Zealand troops to Malaya placed New Zealand in the position of deploying troops to a theatre with equipment that had long been identified as unsuitable. To maintain compatibility with other commonwealth forces in Malaya, 44-pattern equipment from British stocks in Malaya was issued to New Zealand troops in Malaya.

Example of 37-pattern equipment. Image: Simon Moore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NwnMIdynO8Y

. Given the environment that New Zealand troops could be expected to operate in and aware of the developments in load-carrying equipment, the New Zealand Chief of General Staff (CGS) requested and received one set of M1956 Web equipment from the United States for trials in 1959.[3]  The American M1956 Load-Carrying Equipment (LCE) had been accepted for United States Army service, with distribution well underway by 1961.

In October 1960, the New Zealand Director of Infantry and Training demonstrated the following web equipment to CGS.

  • 44-pattern Equipment
  • 58-pattern Equipment
  • M1956-pattern Equipment

A report by a New Zealand Officer attached to the Australian Jungle Training Centre at Canungra supported this demonstration with a comprehensive report describing the research and development of Infantry clothing and equipment undertaken by the Australians. The New Zealand report described the Australian trials of the M1956 LCE alongside the 58-pattern equipment. The M1956 was chosen by the Australians, who intended to manufacture it in Australia.[4] However, it was considered unlikely that either the 1956 LCE or 58-pattern equipment would be available to New Zealand until at least 1965 when the initial distribution to the United States and British armies was expected to be completed. Aware that all 44-pattern equipment had been earmarked for use in Malaysia and that it was still in production, New Zealand’s CGS approved the purchase of 6000 sets of 44-pattern equipment to re-equip elements of the New Zealand Army.[5]

Example of 44 pattern equipment, British Corporal, Malaya, Early 1950s. Image Simon Moore https://www.facebook.com/photo/?fbid=2346362332163840&set=a.421629590114595

Following advice from the UK, the 44-pattern equipment in use with the Fare East Land Forces (FARELF) was to be wasted out as the 58-pattern equipment was introduced, implying that the New Zealand Battalion would need to be equipped with the 58-pattern equipment before the ceasing of maintenance of the 44-pattern by FARELF. With this in mind, a recommendation was made to purchase 6000 sets of 58-pattern equipment instead of the 44-pattern equipment.[6]

Example of 58-pattern equipment. Image Simon Moore. https://www.facebook.com/photo?fbid=2080097568790319&set=pcb.2080098398790236

In a June 1961 memorandum to Cabinet, the Minister of Defence highlighted that the current 37-pattern equipment used by the New Zealand Army was not designed for Jungle operations and was unsuitable for carrying the extra equipment the soldier engaged in this type of warfare required. No longer used by the British Army in any part of the world, the stage had been reached where the replacement of the 37-pattern should be delayed no longer. As the 58-pattern could not be made available to New Zealand for some time and field trials had cast doubt on its suitability for use in the Southeast Asia theatre, it was considered that re-equipping of the New Zealand Army should proceed with the 44-pattern equipment. The 44-pattern equipment had proved itself and was known to be suitable in the theatre where New Zealand troops were most likely to be employed. It was assumed that by the time the 44-pattern equipment needed replacement, the full facts on the suitability of the 58-pattern and the M1956 web equipment would be available to make a more informed decision on its adoption by New Zealand. It was recommended that Cabinet approve £45645 plus freight to purchase 6000 sets of 1944 Pattern equipment. [7]

By October 1961, it became clear that the 58-pattern was to be the standard issue web equipment for all United Kingdom forces worldwide and that distribution to the forces in Malaya was to happen much earlier date than earlier expected. Because of this, the Army secretary desired further investigations on the suitability of 58-pattern web equipment and, if favourable, confirm costs and potential delivery dates. With the requirement for web equipment again in flux, the submission to purchase 6000 sets of 44-pattern equipment was withdrawn pending further research.[8]

By May 1962, plans for reorganising the New Zealand Army from a Divisional to Brigade Structure were under implementation.[9]  With approximately 50000 complete sets of 37-pattern equipment distributed to units or held in stores, this was deemed suitable to equip the bulk of the Territorial Force and Training units. The 58-pattern equipment was now in serial production and was the standard issue for all United Kingdom troops, with distribution to operational units in Malaya and Germany underway. Information received earlier was that because of limited production, stocks of 58-pattern would not be available for release to New Zealand for some years had been revised. It was now possible that the release of 58-pattern equipment to meet New Zealand’s requirements could be achieved earlier than anticipated. Based on this revised information, New Zealand’s Cabinet approved funding of £58750 on 10 October 1961 for 6000 sets of 58-pattern Web Equipment. [10]

Before placing a firm order for New Zealand’s requirements of 58-pattern equipment, reports received from Malaya in late 1962 indicated that the 58-Pattern equipment was, in its present form, unsuitable for use in operational conditions in South-East Asia.[11] It was anticipated that modifying the 58-pattern equipment to suit the conditions would take two to three years, an unacceptable delay in procurement as far as New Zealand is concerned.[12]

As the decision on New Zealand’s web equipment remained in flux, the New Zealand Battalion in Malaysia continued to be equipped with the 44-pattern equipment maintained under a capitation agreement with the United Kingdom. At New Zealand’s expense, one hundred sets of 44-pattern equipment were also maintained at New Zealand Battalion Depot at Burnham Camp to support reinforcements.

M1956 Web Equipment

As the time factor involved in modifying the 58-pattern equipment was unacceptable, and New Zealand was receiving an increasing amount of American equipment, the decision was made to trial the American M1956 pattern web equipment. The M1956 equipment had already been introduced into the Australian army, so twenty sets were purchased from Australian stocks for New Zealand’s trials.[13]

Following user experience in Malaya revealing that the 58-pattern equipment was falling short of the requirements for jungle operations, a series of investigations and user trials established that the US M1956 pattern equipment was suitable for use by the New Zealand Army. The funding for 6000 sets of 58-pattern Web Equipment was requested to be reprioritised to purchase 10000 sets of M1956 equipment direct from the United States and 400 sets of 44-pattern equipment to equip the increment for the FARELF held in New Zealand.[14]

With funding endorsed by the Minster of Defence and approved by the Cabinet, orders were placed for 10000 sets of M1956 web equipment direct from the United States. The first consignment arrived in New Zealand in early 1964, with 289 sets immediately issued to the New Zealand Special Air Service (NZSAS) and 16 Field Regiment, Royal New Zealand Artillery.

Instructions for distributing the M1956 web equipment were issued in June 1964 by the Quartermaster General. The initial purchase of 10000 sets of M1956 web equipment was to be issued to the Combat Brigade Group (CBG) and Logistic Support Group (LSG) units. Units of the Combat Reserve Brigade Group (CRBG) and Static Support Force (SSF) were to continue to use the 37-patten webbing.

 NMDCMDMOD (for CMD Trentham UnitsSMDMOD StockIssued SAS/ 16 Fd Regiment
CBG & LSG312230304012028310289
1st Reinforcement Reserve3162606198  
School of Infantry 40    
TOTAL343833304072226310289

As the issue of M1956 equipment progressed, units of the CBG and LSG were to hand back stocks of 37-pattern equipment to their supporting District Ordnance Depot except for

  • 08-pattern packs and straps
  • 37-pattern belt, waist web
  • Frogs bayonet No 5[15]

The 37 Pattern belt, waist web, was to be retained by all ranks as a personal issue authorised by NZP1 Scales 1, 5, 8 or 9. The belt and bayonet frog were to be worn with Nos 2A, 64, 6B, 7A and 7B orders of dress when other equipment items were not required to be worn.

Equipment Maintenance Policy Statement (EMPS) 138/67 issued by Army Headquarters on 20 November 1964 detailed that except for the CBG and LSG, 16000 sets of 37-pattern equipment were to be maintained for use by remaining elements of the New Zealand Army.[16]  EMPS 145/65 was issued on 12 February 1965, detailing the management of 44-pattern equipment in New Zealand. The First Battalion of the Royal New Zealand Infantry Regiment (1RNZIR) in Malaysia was to remain equipped with the 44-pattern web equipment maintained by the UK under the existing capitation agreement. Other than 100 sets of 44 Pattern Web equipment maintained at the Battalion Depot in Burnham, there was no provision for equipping 1RNZIR Reinforcements and increments of 31 Medium Radio Sub Troop who could be expected to deploy to Malaysia at any time. EMPS 145/65 rectified this by establishing a stockholding of 400 sets of 44-pattern equipment at the Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Trentham

Approval was granted in November 1965 by Army HQ for the Royal New Zealand Armoured Corps (RNZAC) and NZSAS to blacken their M1956 web equipment. The Royal New Zealand Provost Corps (RNZ Pro) was also approved to whiten their M1956 web equipment. This approval only applied to unit holdings, not RNZAC, NZSAS or NZ Pro members attached or posted to other units.[17]

By April 1967, most of the New Zealand Army was equipped with the M1956 equipment. The exceptions were.

  • The New Zealand Forces in Malaysia and South Vietnam, who used both the M1956 and 44-pattern equipment
  • The SSF, National Service Training Unit (NTSU) and New Zeeland Cadet Corps (NZCC), who still retained the 37-pattern equipment

The manufacture of 37-pattern equipment had long been discontinued, and New Zealand stocks had reached the point where although having considerable holdings of individual items, based on the belts as the critical item, only 9500 sets of 37-pattern equipment could be assembled.

Based on the projected five-year supply to the NTSU, Army Schools, Camps and the NZCC plus 10% maintenance per annum, there was a requirement for 12000 sets of 37-pattern equipment. Arranging production to meet the shortfalls was deemed cost-prohibitive, and as continued maintenance could not be guaranteed, it was decided that additional sets of M1956 equipment were to be purchased. The additional sets were to be purchased on a phased program over several financial years, with 5000 sets of 37-pattern retained for the NZCC.

Disposal of the 37-pattern was to be phased over three years.

  • 1967 all items surplus to 9500 sets
  • 1968 3000 Complete sets
  • 1969 all remaining 37 Pattern equipment less 5000 sets for the NZCC.[18]

M1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment (MLCE)

In 1967 the New Zealand Army trialled three sets of the M1967 Modernized Load-Carrying Equipment (MLCE). Not specifically designed to replace the M1956 equipment, the M1967 equipment was designed for use in tropical environments and was introduced into the United States Army service in 1968.

The New Zealand trials found that the M1967 equipment was comfortable and weight-wise was similar to other web equipment in use. The pack worn on the belt was found to be heavy when fully loaded, and a pack similar in size to the 44 Pattern should be introduced, and the belt pack reduced in size by one-third.

It was identified that all the pouches required stiffening and that the plastic fasteners were not firmly attached to the pouches, although easy to operate. While using Velcro was found simple to operate, it was seen as a disadvantage due to noise and its inclination to pull apart when wet or under stress.[19]

As the M1956 was still being introduced, no further action was taken towards large-scale procurement of the M1967 equipment. However, many elements of the M1967 equipment were included in the design of the M1972 All-Purpose Lightweight Individual Carrying Equipment (ALICE), which was introduced into New Zealand Army service in the 1980s.

Example of M-1967 MLCE. Image Simon Moore https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pwj59bifFMk

Although the 44-pattern web equipment continued to be used by New Zealand units in Southeast Asia, by October 1967, the decision had been made to standardise the M1956 equipment across the New Zealand Army, and no stocks of the 44-pattern equipment were to be retained in New Zealand.   All stocks of 44-pattern web equipment held by the MOD in Trentham for 1RNZIR Reinforcements and increments of 31 Medium Radio Sub Troop were issued to 1 RNZIR based at Terendak camp in Malaysia. As this stock held by 1RNZIR was wasted out, it would be replaced by M1956 web equipment. [20]

Large Ammunition Pouches

The Australian experience had shown that although the L1A1 Self Loading Rifle (SLR) Magazines fitted inside the M1956 ammunition pouch, it was a tight fit, especially when the webbing was wet. The initial solution was to modify 37-pattern pouches and fit them to the M1956 equipment. By 1967 the Australians had developed an indigenous ammunition pouch for the M1956 equipment., The Australian Ammunition Pouch Large (8465-66-026-1864) was manufactured out of cotton duck material and measured 81/4 Inches high by 4 inches wide and 3 inches deep.

Australian Pouch Ammunition Large

To ascertain the suitability of the Australian large ammunition pouch for New Zealand service, fifty Australian pouches were sourced as a standardisation loan in 1968.[21] Feedback for the troop trials identified a lack of stability in the closure of the lid, causing the loss of ammunition and magazines. Following an investigation by the R&D Section, the RNZAOC Textile Repair Sections (TRS) modified the Australian pouches by replacing the lid fasteners with the same fasteners found on the standard American M1956 pouch and stiffing the fastener tabs. The modifications proved satisfactory in further Army Trials, and a new specification (DRDS-ICE-1) was produced with four Standard Samples provided to 1 Base Ordnance Depot (1 BOD).[22]  The modified New Zealand Pouch was codified in the New Zealand supply system as Pouch Ammunition Large (6746-98-103-4039).[23]

Detail of New Zealand Large Ammunition Pouch riveted lid fasteners

Although the R&D Section had ascertained that the manufacture of the pouches was possible in New Zealand using imported components, the initial production run of 20000 pouches was contracted through the Australian Department of Supply to be included in the current Australian production run.[24]  By 1974 the first production run of 20000 had been completed and returned to 1 BOD for distribution, with 2/1 RNZIR in Burnham one of the first units to receive the new pouches. In May 1974, 2/1 RNZIR submitted defect reports stating that the pouches were poorly designed, with the canvas tongue used to secure the lid failing, pouches becoming insecure, and magazines dropping out.[25]

The investigation by the Directorate of Equipment Policy and the R&D Section found that the faults were not a design problem but a quality assurance issue in that the pouches had not been manufactured following the specification.[26]   Comparing the Australian-manufactured pouches against the specification, the R&D Section identified the following visually detected defects.

  1. Canvas used to manufacture strap-holding assembly instead of webbing.
  2. Clip end strap is wrongly sized.
  3. Release tab is of incorrect thickness.
  4. Polypropylene stiffener not inserted in release tab.
  5. The male fastener is not secured to the PVC stiffener.
  6. The reinforcement piece behind the male fastener is not included (between the PVC stiffener and lining).
  7. Additional smaller reinforcement piece inserted between the outer cover and the male fastener.
  8. Broad arrow marked on the outer cover and not specified.

Of these defects, only serials 3 to 7 were directly considered to contribute to the deficiencies and the initial concerns raised by 2/1RNZIR and would require rectification, and a modification instruction was produced.[27]  Modification of the pouches would take until September 1977 to be completed.[28]

Due to the Broad Arrow Mark included on the first batch of 20000 New Zealand Large Ammunition Pouches, these items are often misidentified as Australian pouches by collectors.

White Web

By 1973, 37-pattern belts, rifle slings and bayonet frogs remained in use as ceremonial items. Whitened using proprietary shoe cleaner and paint, these items were badly worn with the whitener flaking easily and were easily marked by weather, fingerprints and the rubbing of other equipment. The M1956 pattern web belt was not considered suitable as a replacement as it was operational equipment requiring the breaking up of complete web sets to provide items for ceremonial events. Following the British lead, a polythene, four-ply woven fabric of similar appearance and texture to the 37-pattern equipment was approved for use by the Army Dress committee in October 1973 as a replacement for the whitened 37-pattern equipment. With the sling and bayonet frog designed for the SLR, these would be purchased with either chromed or brass fittings. The material for the belts was provided on rolls which could be cut to the required size. Buckles and keepers were 37-pattern buckles and keepers drawn from existing stocks that had been chromed and polished.[29]

Combat Pack

By 1974, one of the few pre-1945 items of load-carrying equipment remaining in New Zealand service was the 08-pattern pack. Long identified as an unsuitable item, several trials had been conducted since the mid-1960s to find a replacement combat pack. Although a few alternative items had been investigated as a replacement, the 08-pattern pack remained the principal combat pack of the New Zealand Army.

In 1969/70, the requirement for 15000 combat packs to replace the 08-pattern pack was identified. Following evaluation by the equipment sponsor, the Australian Army Combat Pack was selected as a basis for developing a New Zealand combat pack. The Australian pack was chosen from a wide range of military and civilian packs, with the design modified to meet the particular training requirements of New Zealand. The modifications to the Australian pack were limited to comply with the following:

  • The pack must be compatible with Australian Army equipment.
  • The pack must be compatible with M1956 equipment currently in New Zealand service.

Against the advice of the R&D section, the Australian pack was modified by the New Zealand Army without a proper study being conducted.[30] The decision to bypass the R&D process resulted in a prototype process that extended from 1972 to 1974.[31] By June 1974, trials on the prototypes resulted in the setting of a standard design for a production run of one hundred packs for further trials.[32]

The New Zealand version of the Australian combat pack was eventually accepted into service in 1975/76. Never a satisfactory pack, the R&D section began investigations to find a replacement in the early 1980s, with the American ALICE pack introduced as an interim replacement in 1984.[33]

New Zealand modified Combat pack

Conclusion

Entering the Second World War with web equipment of the same pattern used since 1912, New Zealand’s Force soon began to be re-equipped with the most modern British web equipment, the 37-pattern from early 1940. Near the end of the war, New Zealand was kept abreast of the development of web equipment, and when New Zealand troops arrived in Malaya in the early 1950s, they were issued with the most modern type available for jungle warfare, the 44-pattern. As the New Zealand Army reorientated from providing a Division to serve in the Middle East to providing a Brigade Group to serve in South East Asia, it could not wait for the British to develop their new 58-pattern for tropical conditions and examine other types. Following Australia’s lead, the American M1959 equipment was adopted in 1964, with components of this type serving thought to the early 2000s. With five different types of web equipment either adopted or trialled between 1945 and 1974, it is no surprise that components got intermingled. This led to Kiwi soldiers’ preferences and experiences leading them to create webbing sets that they found practicable rather than options prescribed in SOPs or instruction books leading to the outside impression of the New Zealand army been one equipped with an eclectic range of Australian, British and American equipment.


Notes

[1] 86/Development/47 (SWV1) Report on the Development of Personnel Fighting and Load Carrying equipment 1942-48 February 1949. “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern,” Archives New Zealand No R17189098 (1944 -1966).

[2] 86/Dev/54 (SVW1) Instruction for troop trials of Z2 Experimental Load Carrying Equipment ibid.

[3] New Zealand Joint Services Mission Washington DC JSM 1/3/13 ARM US Army Load Carrying Equipment (Web) dated 23 September 1959ibid.

[4] Attachment to JTC – Canungra dated 21 October 1960 “Stores – New Infantry Equipment for New Zealand Army,” Archives New Zealand No R17189007 (1959-1970).

[5] Army 246/60/12/SD Web Equipment dated 20 December 1960 “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.”

[6] Army 246/60/12/SD Web Equipment dated 20 December 1960ibid.

[7] Memorandum Minister of Defence to Cabinet dated June 1961ibid.

[8] 246/60/12/adm Army Secretary to Minister of Defence 2 October 1961ibid.

[9] Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security: The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), 111-20.

[10] Army 246/60/12/Q(E) Brigade Group Equipment Replacement Web Equipment dated 8 May 1962 “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.” -pattern equipment

[11] BM 2 to FE16002SD General HQ FELF to The War Office (Brig Q Eqpt) 1958 Pattern Web Equipment dated 4 October 1962: ibid.

[12] 57/62 NZ Army Liaison Staff, London to Army HQ dated 17 October 1962 ibid.

[13] Army 246/60/12Q(E) Sample US Pattern Web Equipment dated 12 December 1962 ibid.

[14] 246/60/12/SD Web Equipment for the Field Force dated 18 October 1963 ibid.

[15] Army Reqn 208/63/Q(E) dated 9 June 1964 -Distribution of M1956 Web Equipment “Cookers – Web Equipment: Pattern ’37,” Archives New Zealand No R17189095 (1940-1971).

[16] EMPS 138/64 of 20 Nov 1964 ibid.

[17] Army HQ Army246/60/12/PS3 of 19 Nov 1965 ibid.

[18] Defence (Army) 246/60/2 of 26 April 1967 ibid.

[19] 1 Ranger Squadron NZSAS, Trial Report US Lightweight Equipment dated 21 March 1968″Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern,” Archives New Zealand No R17189099 (1966 -1969).

[20] Army 246/60/12/Q(E) EMPS 145/65 Frist Revise dated 5 October 1967 ibid.

[21] “Cookers  – Web Equipment: Slings, Bandoliers, Ammunition Pouches: Development,” Archives New Zealand No R17189101 (1968-1970).

[22] Def HQ/R&D Section 82/1974 dated 28 Jun 1974.”Equipment Administration: Research & Development – Projects Personal Load Carrying Equipment: Ammunition Pouches,” Archives New Zealand No R17231111 (1972-1977).

[23] 246/60/2 of 122055ZNOV70 NZDWN to 1BOD Trentham “Cookers – Web Equipment: Pattern ’37.”

[24] Army 246/60/70 dated 9 December 1971. “Equipment Administration: Research & Development – Projects Personal Load Carrying Equipment: Ammunition Pouches.”

[25] FF 65/38/18/SD Modification of Ammunition Pouch item 10 May 1974. “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.”

[26] Army 246/60/17/EP. “Equipment Administration: Research & Development – Projects Personal Load Carrying Equipment: Ammunition Pouches.”

[27] R&D Section Minute no 160/1975 dated 21 November 1975. “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.”

[28] Army 246/60/17/SP 22 Pouches Ammunition 22 September 1977. “Cookers – Web Equipment: New Pattern.”

[29] “Army Dress Committee Decision – White Web,” Archives New Zealand No R17188112 (1973).

[30]  R&D Section 67/1974 Packs Combat date 13 June 1974. “Equipment Administration: Research & Development – Projects Personal Load Carrying Equipment: Waterproof Pack,” Archives New Zealand No R17231110 (1972-1974).

[31] Army 246/60/12/EP Sponsor Enquiry Field Pack Olive Green 2 July 1972. Ibid.

[32] Army 246/60/12/ EP Minutes of the final meeting on the acceptance of the Combat Pack held at Army General Staff on 8 June 1973. “Conferences – Policy and General – NZ Army Dress Committee 1984,” Archives New Zealand No R17311893 (1984).

[33] Inf 26.3 Minutes of a meeting to consider Project Foxhound developments held at Army General Staff 8 June 1984. Ibid.


David Galula and his influence on modern military operations

The close of the Second World War saw an evolution of conflict that challenged the principles of military theorists such as Clausewitz or Jomini. Although conflicts where formed armies still faced each outer on the field of battle remained, wars fought as Insurgencies became the predominant form of warfare in the post-1945 world. The early leading theorises on insurgency were Mao Zedong and Che Guevara, who promoted Insurgency and the Frenchmen Fall, and Galula, who promoted some early theories and practices of counterinsurgency based on their observations and experiences in South East Asia. This article examines the experiences and work of David Galula and his influence on modern military operations.

David Galula had been commissioned into the French Army just before the fall of France in 1940. Dismissed from the French Army because he was a Jew, Galula joined the Free French Forces in North Africa, Serving as a Battalion Intelligence officer for the noted sinologist Jacques Guillermaz. Guillermaz became a key mentor and a significant influence on Galula’s life[1]. Accompanying Guillermaz to China in 1945 on his appointment as a military attaché. Galula became immersed in the ongoing Chinese Civil War, observing it close up and from both sides and, for a short period, was a captive of Mao’s Communist Chinese troops[2]. Spending a short spell observing the Greek Civil War during 1948, Galula was soon back in China, replacing Guillermaz as military attaché in Hong Kong from 1952 to 1956. Galula was well positioned in Hong Kong to study the successful counterinsurgency operations in the Philippines and Malaya and the unsuccessful counterinsurgency in Indochina, providing him with valuable lessons that he later applied in Algeria[3].

David Galula. (2022, July 5). In Wikipedia. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Galula

In the Philippines, Galula saw first-hand how the utilisation of a well-conceived civic action program, mobile striking forces and psychological warfare won the population’s support, causing the Hukbalahap Communist guerrilla movement to lose the protection and support of the local population forcing their surrender in 1954[4]. In Malaya, the fight against the communist insurgency was turning in favour of the British. This success provided Galula with a clear insight into the British approach. Having a precise political aim, with the security forces functioning within the law with the priority to defeat the insurgency by securing the population and providing better governance were all lessons Galula absorbed, and in future years considered the British achievements in Malaya an example of a successful counterinsurgency[5]. Galula continued to maintain personal contact with his fellow officers serving in Indochina. Through them, Galula could see the failures of the French counterinsurgency efforts leading to their defeat in 1954[6]. The French Defeat at Dien Ben Phu in 1945 had a traumatic effect on Galula as twenty of his military academy classmates had died, motivating him to put his observations on combating insurgency into practice in Algeria[7].

A posting as a Company Commander to Algeria in 1956 allowed Galula to test his theories. In the Greater Kabylia district, which at the time was a National Liberation Front (FLN) hotspot. [8] Galula drew upon his earlier experiences and observations to test his theories of counterinsurgency and within six to eight months, claimed to have cleared the district of FLN assets and restored the district to government control[9]. Galula’s success was noticed, earning him a promotion and a transfer to the Headquarters of National Defence in Paris in 1958. With Galula’s transfer to Paris, the situation in his former command soon unravelled as Galua had exaggerated his operational successes, leaving many unresolved issues leading to questions about the validity of his theories which went unanswered against the wider conflict then unfolding in Algeria[10].

Galula continued to lecture on his theories and attended Staff College in the United States. He was headhunted by General Edward Lansdale, who had met Galula in the Philippines and had become an admirer of his theories. Galula resigned from his commission in 1962 and was introduced into the counterinsurgency think tank industry flourishing in the United States. With General William Westmoreland’s assistance, Galua was given an appointment at Harvard’s Center for International Affairs[11]. During this period, Galula published his influential books; Pacification in Algeria (1962) and Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice (1964).

In these publications, he drew upon the lessons learnt in the French colonisation of Indochina and Africa in the 19th Century and his theories on defeating communism-inspired insurgency based on his experiences in Asia and Algeria and proposed his four “laws” for counterinsurgency

  • The First Law: The support of the population is as necessary for the counterinsurgent as for the Insurgent.
  • The Second Law: Support Is gained through an active minority
  • The Third Law: Support from the population Is conditional
  • The Fourth Law: Intensity of efforts and vastness of means are essential.[12]

In 1961 the French soldier/academic Bernard Fall published his book, Street without Joy, an essay on the French war in Indochina, Falls book often featured in US military journals and saw the author lecture Special Forces at Fort Bragg in counterinsurgency warfare in Vietnam[13]. As the leading expert on Indochina, Fall endorsed Galulas work as the best “how-to” guide to counterinsurgency warfare[14]. Galula, despite having the potential to become a rising star as a counterinsurgency theorist due to the Kenndy administration embracing counterinsurgency as a military doctrine, fell into the shadow of fall and relative obscurity[15]. If there was an opportunity for cooperation between Galula and Fall, the opportunity was lost with their deaths in 1967. Galula to Cancer and Fall to a landmine in Vietnam, ironically in the area the French knew as the “street without Joy.”[16]

For close to forty years, Galula’s works were forgotten by a few outside of historical circles, and it was not until the United States’ involvement in Iraq that Galula came out of the shadows. Easily winning the conventional war against Iraq in 2003, the United States was unprepared for the insurgency that followed. Finding that the existing Small Wars Handbook, COIN doctrine and Special Forces doctrine was not providing the roadmap to combat and win the insurgency in Iraq. US Forces undertook a significant project while employed on operations and produced FM 3-24, The US Army Counterinsurgency Field Manual. FM 3-24 stressed that to win an Insurgency, political not military solutions were the key[17]. A significant influence in the production of FM 3-24 was that the American military embraced Galula’s theories as the foundation of FM 3-24. The success of the 2007 counterinsurgency “surge” was attributed directly to Galula’s teachings[18], which had been adopted for contemporary use with little due diligence into the historical mismatches between Galula’s theory and his actual practice of counterinsurgency[19].

Due to the implementation of FM 3-24, the United States counterinsurgency efforts in Iraq gained some success giving the United States Forces the upper hand over the insurgents, providing, as Galua had found in Algeria in 1956-59, a reversal of the situation from a few years earlier[20]. As the insurgency in Iraq stabilised, the American forces were able to complete their withdrawal in 2011. As with Galula in Algeria, once the influencing apparatus had been removed, the security and political situation degraded. Daesh emerged as a regional power creating an even worse insurgency for the Iraqi government, as there had been no plan to maintain the stability that the successful counterinsurgency had gained[21].

Gaula was an intelligent and keen observer who was at the right place at the right time to make observations of insurgencies in China, Greece, the Philippines, Malaya and French Indochina, which shaped his ideas on counterinsurgency. In Algeria, he had the opportunity to put his theories into practice at the Company and then Battalion level. Shaping the information to support his narrative created a mismatch between his theory and the reality on the ground, which came undone following his transfer to Paris. Endorsed by Bernard Fall as the producing the best “how-to” guide to counterinsurgency warfare, much of Galula’s theory was adopted by the United States Military in FM 3-24. Used to good effect in the “Surge’ of 2007, much of Galula’s theories found endorsement and praise and worked for a while. After the withdrawal of American forces from Iraq in 2011, the situation rapidly degraded into an insurgency, heralding the rise of Deash as a regional power, with the insurgency continuing today (2018). Galula’s influence on modern military operations has been significant, but Galula’s theories, although beneficial to the short-term goals of the United States counterinsurgency effort, are little more than a fad. A fad implemented without any robust field-testing conducted by its author or an independent authority has not benefited the United States in its long-term strategy against insurgencies.


Notes

[1] A.A. Cohen, Galula: The Life and Writings of the French Officer Who Defined the Art of Counterinsurgency (Praeger, 2012).

[2] Ann Marlowe, David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context (Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army War College, 2010. 2010).

[3] David Galula, Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958, Mg (Rand Corporation) (Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2006), Book.

[4] Ryan Nebres Severo, “Philippine Counterinsurgency During the Presidencies of Magsaysay, Marcos, and Ramos: Challenges and Opportunities,” (Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: U.S. Army Command and General Staff College 2016).

[5] Galula, Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958.

[6] Bernard B. Fall, “The Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency,” (2015).

[7] Marlowe, David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context.

[8] P.J Banyard, “FLN: The Fight for Algeria’s Independence,” War in Peace1983.

[9] Galula, Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958.

[10] G. Mathias, Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice Versus Theory (ABC-CLIO, 2011).

[11] Marlowe, David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context.

[12] David Galula, Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice (Praeger, 2006), Article.

[13] Frances Fitzgerald, “”Lost on the Street without Joy” (Re “the Reporter Who Warned Us Not to Invade Vietnam 10 Years before the Gulf of Tonkin”),” The Nation, 2015 2015.

[14] Robert Tomes, “Relearning Counterinsurgency Warfare,” US Army War College: Parameters, no. Spring 2004 (2004).

[15] Marlowe, David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context.

[16] Fitzgerald, “”Lost on the Street without Joy” (Re “the Reporter Who Warned Us Not to Invade Vietnam 10 Years before the Gulf of Tonkin”).”

[17] Travers McLeod, Rule of Law in War: International Law and United States Counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, 2014).

[18] Michael Evans, “The Shirt of Nessus: The Rise and Fall of Western Counterinsurgency,”  https://quadrant.org.au/magazine/2015/01-02/shirt-nessus-rise-fall-western-counterinsurgency/.

[19] Mathias, Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice Versus Theory.

[20] David H. Ucko, The New Counterinsurgency Era: Transforming the U.S. Military for Modern Wars (Washington, D.C.: Georgetown University Press, 2009), Book.

[21] Mathias, Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice Versus Theory.

Bibliography

Cohen, A.A. Galula: The Life and Writings of the French Officer Who Defined the Art of Counterinsurgency. Praeger, 2012.
Evans, Michael. “The Shirt of Nessus: The Rise and Fall of Western Counterinsurgency.”
Fall, Bernard B. “The Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency.” 40, 2015.
Fitzgerald, Frances. “Lost on the Street without Joy” (Re “the Reporter Who Warned Us Not to Invade Vietnam 10 Years before the Gulf of Tonkin”).” The Nation, 2015 2015.
Galula, David. Counterinsurgency Warfare: Theory and Practice. Praeger, 2006. Article.
———. Pacification in Algeria, 1956-1958. [in English] Mg (Rand Corporation). Santa Monica, CA: RAND Corporation, 2006. Book.
Marlowe, Ann. David Galula: His Life and Intellectual Context. Carlisle, PA: Strategic Studies Institute, US Army War College 2010.
Mathias, G. Galula in Algeria: Counterinsurgency Practice Versus Theory. ABC-CLIO, 2011.
McLeod, Travers. Rule of Law in War: International Law and the United States Counterinsurgency in Iraq and Afghanistan. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, 2014.
PJ Banyard. “FLN: The Fight for Algeria’s Independence.” War in Peace, 1983, 594-96.
Severo, Ryan Nebres. “Philippine Counterinsurgency During the Presidencies of Magsaysay, Marcos, and Ramos: Challenges and Opportunities.” 117. Fort Leavenworth, Kansas: US Army Command and General Staff College 2016.
Tomes, Robert. “Relearning Counterinsurgency Warfare.” US Army War College: Parameters, no. Spring 2004 (2004).
Ucko, David H. The New Counterinsurgency Era: Transforming the US Military for Modern Wars. [in English] Washington, DC: Georgetown University Press, 2009. Book.


NZ Aid to French Indo China 1952-54

Having a traditional reliant on the United Kingdom for military equipment, the rapid expansion of New Zealand’s military and the threat of invasion by Japan during World War Two necessitated New Zealand to seek and receive substantial war material from the United States. As the New Zealand Army reorganised in the post-war era, it soon became apparent that New Zealand’s military warehouses and ammunition depots were overflowing with surplus war material. In a move to enhance New Zealand’s national security by abetting our allies in their efforts to contain Communism in South-East Asia, New Zealand transferred free of charge to the French authorities in Indochina much of the surplus arms and ammunition held in RNZAOC Depots across New Zealand.

The post-war NZ Army was based on the 2nd NZEF of WW2 and consisted of an Infantry Division with integral Artillery, Armoured and Logistics elements. Based on the era’s strategic thinking, it was expected to deploy an NZ Division to the Middle East alongside British formations. Despite the reliance upon the United States for war material in the previous war and the large stock of American equipment in storage, the NZ Army was to remain armed and equipped with British pattern weapons, uniforms and equipment[1] By 1952, France was struggling to hold onto Indochina, and although receiving 7200 tons of material a month from the United States, it was still falling short of its requirements.[2] Realising that large stockpiles of British and American equipment had been declared surplus or abandoned across Asia and Australasia, the French established purchasing missions to acquire this equipment.[3]

French transport regiment train ct515 Hanoi-Nam Dinh convoy 15/17 May 1950 black and white kodak film on kodak camera http://www.indochine.uqam.ca/fr/la-galerie.html

Responding to French requests, it was announced in September 1952 that New Zealand was to provide at no cost weapons and ammunition of American origin that were of a different calibre used by New Zealand forces. This shipment of firearms and ammunition were lend-lease weapons that had urgently been provided to New Zealand in 1942 and used by the Home Guard and some New Zealand units in the pacific, notably with RNZAF units co-located with American Forces, been lend-lease in origin, concurrence on the transfer had been sought and obtained from the United States. The Minister of External Affairs, T. C. Webb, stated that a substantial part of the consignment had been delivered to Singapore on HMNZS Bellona and then on shipped to French Indochina. [4] This first shipment included[5]

  • 13000, .30inch calibre Springfield M1903 rifles
  • 700, .30inch calibre Machine Guns, and
  • 670000 rounds of .30inch calibre Small Arms Ammunition (SAA).

Early in 1953, the Chief of the NZ General Staff, Major General Gentry, met with the French Commander-in-Chief, General Henri Navarre, at Saigon and discussed the transfer of surplus military equipment. Following Gentry’s report on this meeting, the NZ Government offered surplus equipment to the French authorities. With the war going badly for the French with the battle of Dien Bien Phu underway, a French Military mission consisting of Lieutenant-Colonel Cathala and Captain Mugg arrived in Auckland on 10 September 1953 for a two-week visit to examine the equipment and consider its suitability for use in Indochina.[6]

Reinforcements occupying positions in the dugouts during the battle of Dien Bien Phu, March 3 1954

With equipment identified and agreed upon, it was concentrated that Main Ordnance Depot at Trentham and following final inspections loaded onto a British vessel at Wellington in early March 1954.[7] Equipment dispatched to Indochina included[8]

  • 500 Revolvers,
  • 3000 .30inch calibre Springfield M1903 rifles
  • 750 .30inch calibre Machine Guns,
  • 50 40mm Bofors anti-aircraft guns and ammunition,
  • 10000 round of 37m armour-piercing shot,
  • Wireless Sets
  • Field Telephones,
  • Charging Sets
  • Assorted Uniform Items
  • 670000 rounds of .30inch calibre SAA
Bofors Guns Trentham, 1 March 1954. Evening Post illustrations file and prints. 1950-2000. (PA-Group-00685). [Series]

With the French surrendered at Dien Bien Phu on 7 May 1954. and the final withdrawal of French Forces from Vietnam concluded by April 1956; it is doubtful that the small New Zealand contribution of weapons and equipment assisted the French in any way. However, it might have found some utility in the new nation of South Vietnam or on some other French colonial battlefield.

Despite the small quantity of material provided, the French Minister to New Zealand, Mr Noel Henry, conveyed the French Government’s gratitude to New Zealand, acknowledging that New Zealand had done all it could do within its limited means.[9]


Notes

[1] Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security: The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Centre for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

[2]N.S. Nash, Logistics in the Vietnam Wars, 1945-1975 (Pen & Sword Military, 2020), 63.

[3] Charles R. Shrader, A War of Logistics: Parachutes and Porters in Indochina, 1945-1954, Foreign Military Studies (University Press of Kentucky, 2015), Non-fiction, 134.

[4] “NZ Gives Arms to French,” Press, Volume LXXXVIII, Issue 26838, 17 September 1952.

[5] New Zealand Foreign Policy: Statements and Documents 1943-1957, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (Wellington: Government Printer 1972).

[6] “Arms for Indo China,” Press, Volume LXXXIX, Issue 27192, 9 November 1953.

[7] “Arms Aid for Indo-China,” Press, Volume XC, Issue 27332, 24 April 1954.

[8] Roberto Giorgio Rabel, New Zealand and the Vietnam War: Politics and Diplomacy (Auckland University Press, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.

[9]“Arms Aid for Indo-China.”


Rickshaw Military Research

Rickshaw Military Research specialises in the research and transcription of New Zealand Military Service Records to allow families to learn of their families military experience in peace and war. Services offered by Rickshaw Military Research include;

  • Interpretation of military records,
  • Assistance with military research,
  • Identification of medals, badges and insignia, and sourcing of replacements.
  • Regiment and unit identification.

Often, descendants of New Zealand Servicemen have some inkling that their ancestors served in the military. Knowledge of a relative’s service will often be a source of pride with some evidence such as photos of the relative in uniform, medals, unit badges, diaries, and other souvenirs existing. However, for many, any connection to their relative’s military service is long-forgotten and a mystery. For some, the only link to a relative is an inscription on one of New Zealand’s many War Memorials.

For all those interested in discovering more about their ancestors military service, accessing the individual’s service record and understanding what is written in it can be a daunting exercise,first in gaining the service record and then interpreting the peculiar language used by the military and making sense of the many abbreviations used, reading a service record often leads to more questions than answers.

Rickshaw Military Research provides a service where we work with the family and after some preliminary questions, access the relevant military service record from the archives and produce a transcript of the relative’s service record into an easy to read format, including;

  • Personal details of the individual.
  • Brief description of activities prior and after service.
  • Record of service, from enlistment to demobilisation, including;
    • Formations/Units served in.
    • Campaigns and battles that were participated in.
    • Locations visited.
  • Record of Promotions.
  • Record of Illness and Injuries.
  • Records of medals and awards, including citations.
  • Brief description of post-service activities.
  • Illustrations will be provided where possible and could include;
    • Photos of the serviceman.
    • Medals.
    • Badges and patches worn.
    • Maps.
    • Equipment used, i.e. if a serviceman was a tank driver, an illustration of the type of tank driven.

Services offered

Pre 1921 Records

Service records prior to 1921 including the South Africa and First World War.

  • Basic one-page summary of service: $100*
    • Basic service information from attestation to discharge edited to fit on a single A4 sheet.
  • Full transcript of service : $250*
    • Transcript of service relating to target serviceman with additional information on units served in and campaigns participated in presented as a booklet or interactive Web App.

Post 1921 Records

Service records from 1921 including the Second World War, Korea, Malaya, Borneo, South Vietnam, CMT & National Service, Peacekeeping and Territorial and Regular service in New Zealand)

  • Basic one-page summary of service: $150*
    • Basic service information from attestation to discharge edited to fit on a single A4 sheet.
  • Full transcript of service : $300*
    • Transcript of service relating to target serviceman with additional information on units served in and campaigns participated in presented as a booklet or interactive Web App.

Other Research

Other research outside the scope of researching Personnel Records is charged at a rate of NZD$30 per hour.

*All prices are GST inclusive.

Interested in knowing more? Feel free to contact Rickshaw Military Research and let us know how we can assist.


ANZUK: What was it?

ANZUK Flag. Wikipedia Commons

ANZUK Force is something that has a familiar ring about it, but unless you served in Singapore in the 1970s or 1980s, knowledge of it is likely to be limited.  Forty-five years after its closure, Colin Campbell a former Australian Army Officer who served in the Headquarters of the ANZUK Support Group in 1971-72 has published ANZUK What was it?, providing a long-overdue addition to the New Zealand /Australian/U.K. Military history narrative with the first comprehensive history of the ANZUK Force of 1971-74.

Since 1945 Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom have cooperated in providing military Forces in Japan, South Korea, Malaya, Thailand, Malaysia, and Singapore, playing an essential role in helping to stabilise the region during a time of political tension and national policy upheaval. ANZUK Force was the culmination of this post-war cooperation that for the final time in Southeast Asia, saw the Forces of these nations unified under a single tri-Service command.

Information on the ANZUK Force is sparse, for example, the New Zealand’s contribution to the ANZUK Force compressed to a single paragraph in The Oxford Companion to New Zealand Military History which acknowledges membership of ANZUK Force, however, provides few other details.

One of the few military histories dedicated to the era is H.B Eaton’s history of 28 Commonwealth Brigade, Something Extra. Eaton’s works provide a detailed history of 28 Commonwealth Brigade from 1951 to 1974, providing a chapter on the 1971-74 ANZUK, which due to the nature of Eaton’s book is focused on the 28 ANZUK Brigade which was the land component of ANZUK Force.

In telling the story of ANZUK Force, Campbell sets the scene on the ANZUK Force by providing background on the circumstances that led to the formation of the ANZUK Force. With a comprehensive but concise of the history and politics of the region, Campbell then unwraps the Commonwealth Far East Strategic Reserve, the establishment of the Five Power Defence Arrangement between Australian, Malaysia, New Zealand, Singapore and the United Kingdom and the short-lived Australian and New Zealand Force that preceded the ANZUK Force.  With three nations, each with different and at times conflicting motivations, Campbell details the planning, compromises and the final organisation and command arrangements of the ANZAC Force.

In Part Three, Campbell examines the four components of the ANZUK Force.

  • the Maritime element,
  • the Land element,
  • the Air element, and
  • the ANZUK Support Group.

Here Campbell breaks down each component and provides a useful overview of each component, their command-and-control arrangements and most importantly, their composition, roles and tasks and exercises they conducted. In describing the composition of each component, Campbell provides a roster of naval vessels Air Force Squadrons and elements assigned to the Martine and Air Components and explains the makeup of the land component, 28 ANZUK Brigade, with is Tri-nation Brigade Headquarters, Artillery and Engineer Regiments and National Infantry Battalions.

ANZUK Stores Sub Depot, April 1973. Robert McKie Collection

Not forgetting the Administrative and Logistic Elements, Campbell also dedicates space to the composition of the ANZUK Support Group and the wide ranges of services it managed and provided including, Stores and Supplies, Workshop, Transport, Provost, Police Force, Post Office, Hospitals and schools for dependent children.

ANZUK Force, Installation Auxiliary Police Badge. Robert McKie Collection

With a posting to ANZUK Force, an accompanied posting with families included as part of the experience, Campbell also dedicates space to highlighting the lifestyle and sports opportunities that life in the ANZUK Force provided.

ANZUK What was it? It could have been a bland assessment of the ANZUK Force, but Campbell has skilfully included many interesting and, at times, amusing anecdotes from the men and women who served in ANZUK Force providing a personal context to the narrative. Campbell has also ensured that the text is robustly supported by maps, tables, illustrations, Annexes and eight pages listing the sources of his extensive research.

As the first work dedicated the ANZUK Force, Campbell has resurrected the memory if this short live but significant force and although here are gaps, they are few and do not detract from the overall narrative.  ANZUK What was it? is a useful addition to the Military History narrative of Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom and a must-read for those with interest in this area.

Copies of ANZUK What was it? can be purchased directly from the Author through his website at https://anzukbook.com

ANZUK Force patch. Robert McKie Collection.

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28 ANZUK Brigade patch. Robert McKie Collection

Warrant Officer Class One Douglas Keep Wilson

This article is republished with the permission of the Facebook page “Upper Hutt War Stories“. Upper Hutt War Stories is a Facebook page dedicated to commemorating the war service of Upper Hutt’s citizens and those with strong connections to the City. It remembers those who put their lives on the line for the defence of our Nation.

Buried right next to his longtime friend and fellow serviceman on the gentle slope of Wallaceville Cemetery is a soldier with nearly 40 years’ service with the New Zealand Army. Doug Wilson and Gordon Bremner served in the same unit and played cricket together for the Central Military Districts team. Like his friend, Doug Wilson’s grave gives no clue as to his time in uniform, his participation in World War Two or his extensive Regular Force service.

A local Wellington Boy, Doug was raised in Upper Hutt, attending the Silverstream and Trentham Schools. His father John was serving as a member of the New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps at Trentham Camp at the time. Unfortunately, the military downsizing which accompanied the great depression saw John Wilson lose his uniformed Army role in 1931. But he was able to stay on as a civilian member of the Civil Service at the camp, until he was reinstated as a soldier again in 1935.

Once Doug finished secondary school at Hutt Valley High, he managed to also get a job at the camp with his father, as a civilian storeman in January 1937. After working for a short period in the Main Ordnance Depot he moved into the clerical section, then volunteered to serve part-time as a soldier in the Territorial Force from mid-1938. A Gunner in the Royal New Zealand Artillery, he underwent training with an Anti-Aircraft battery at Fort Dorset as the clouds of another war in Europe began to gather.

As member of the Defence Department, Doug was not immediately called up for service when war broke out in 1939. Largely because he was already busy helping with the massive expansion of the military which occurred at this time. Starting with equipping and supplying the initial echelons of the 2nd New Zealand Expeditionary Force which began departing for Europe from 5 January 1940.

As New Zealand’s contribution to the war increased, Doug was formally drawn into the Army in September 1941 and posted to the New Zealand Temporary Staff. He served there throughout the Second World War, working in the Defence Services Provision Office, part of the Army Headquarters in Wellington. Because his role and expertise were in critical demand in New Zealand, he was never allowed to deploy to an overseas theatre of war.

This decision was lucky for Vera Rasmussen, who Doug met during the War, proposed to in 1944 and married in November 1945. As the Army reduced in size after the conflict, Doug decided to stay on, enlisting into the Regular Force in April 1947, just days before his wife gave birth to the first of their five sons. A storeman clerk in the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps he returned to Army Headquarters, and began slowly progressing up through the ranks.

By 1952 Doug was a Warrant Officer Class Two, and considered a senior and experienced member of the Ordnance Corps. Although not deploying overseas himself, he was involved in the preparation and sustainment of several operational forces, including those sent to Korea, and later Malaya, Borneo and Vietnam.

A keen sportsman he played in several Army and regional teams, including the Army Cricket team. It was here that he played alongside Gordon Bremner, who had served with Doug’s father and Doug had worked alongside during his early days at Trentham. Three years later they found themselves working within the same unit, when Doug was posted back to the Main Ordnance Deport at Trentham Camp in November 1955.

Attaining the Army’s most senior enlisted rank of Warrant Officer Class One in 1958, Doug sadly lost his wife Vera four years later, just six months after the birth of their youngest son. Despite the challenges this loss imposed on the young family, Doug was well supported by his Army colleagues and would continue to serve with the Royal New Zealand Army Ordnance Corps until February 1975.

He was awarded the New Zealand Military Long Service and Good Conduct Medal in 1964, which recognised more than 15 years’ unblemished service since gaining the Territorial Efficiency Medal, which he had qualified for at the end of the War. Then in 1969 Doug was singled out for the award of the prestigious and highly regarded Meritorious Service Medal (MSM).

An exceptionally scarce award for those with more than 21 years regular service, the MSM could be held by no more than 20 serving members of the New Zealand Army at any one time. It was generally reserved as special medallic recognition for the longest serving and most prominent Warrant Officers of the Service. With a total of 37 years uniformed service to the nation (38 years with the New Zealand Army if his time as a civilian storeman at Trentham is also included) Doug was certainly considered a worthy recipient.

Remaining in Upper Hutt after retiring from the military, Doug sadly passed away in 2012. His family laid him to rest in Wallaceville Cemetery with his wife Vera, and close to his old colleague and cricket team mate Gordon Bremner. The plain headstones giving no indication of the amazing stories of dedication and extended service to our nation of these two old soldiers. Lest we forget.

For the story of Gordon Bremner see: https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=161882235428299&id=108826077400582

References

https://www.aucklandmuseum.com/war-memorial/online-cenotaph/record/C145653

https://rnzaoc.com/2020/04/19/ordnance-cricket-team-1934-35/

https://rnzaoc.com/2018/10/28/gordon-cummin-bremner/

Howard E. Chamberlain, Service lives remembered: the Meritorious Service Medal in New Zealand and its recipients, 1895-1994, H.E Chamberlain: Wellington, NZ, 1995, p. 512.

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/EP19440421.2.106.3 .


RNZAOC 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952

This period would see the RNZAOC continue to support Regular, Territorial and Compulsory Military Training, while also providing ongoing support to Kayforce.[1]

Key Appointments

Director of Ordnance Services

  • Lieutenant Colonel F Reid, OBE

Southern Military District

Ordnance Officer

  • Captain A.A Barwick.

Compulsory Military Training

During this period three CMT intakes marched in;[2]

  • 3rd intake of 3011 recruits on 2 August 1951
  • 4th intake of 2981 recruits on 3 January 1952
  • 5th intake of 2694 recruits on 27 March 1952

Unlike the previous intakes of 18-year-olds, the 4th intake consisted of many 20-year-olds.

On completion of CMT recruit training, recruits were posted to Territorial units close to their home location to complete their CMT commitment, with RNZAOC CMT recruits posted to either

  • 1st Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Hopuhopu.
  • 2nd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Mangaroa.
  • 3rd Infantry Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon, Burnham.
  • 1 Armoured Brigade Ordnance Field Park Platoon.

Kayforce

In July 1951 the New Zealand Government decided to increase its commitment to Kayforce with an expansion draft. Between July and 2 August 1951, the RNZAOC would outfit and equip the expansion draft with the necessary clothing and personal and equipment along with many additional stores and equipment for Kayforce including,

  • 12 Twenty-Five pounders [3]
  • A Battery truck
  • Tentage and camp equipment
  • Gun Ammunition

The expansion draft of 579 officers and men departed Wellington on 2 August 1951. However, on 15 August 1951, a day after departing Darwin, the Wahine ran aground in the Arafura Sea. All the crew and soldiers safely evacuated, continuing their journey to Korea by air, in what would be the first mass airlift of troops conducted by New Zealand. In an attempted salvage attempt a small number of personal kitbags and thirty cases of rifles were saved, with the 25 Pounder Guns disabled by the removal of their breech blocks, the remainder of stores and equipment remaining in the hold of the Wahine to this day.[4]

The loss of stores shipped on the Wahine threw an unplanned and additional task onto the RNZAOC. Within fourteen days, RNZAOC units would assemble and pack the required replacement stores to ensure that no hardship would be occasioned to the Force in Korea.[5] The replacement stores were dispatched by sea from Auckland on 4 September 1951.[6]

“Wahine” aground on the Masela Island Reef off Cape Palsu in the Arafura Sea

During this period, the RNZAOC provide the following reinforcements to Kayforce;

  • 3rd Reinforcements, SS Wanganellella, 21 January 1952,
    • Lance Corporal Owen Fowell
    • Corporal Leonard Farmer Holder
    • Private Desmond Mervyn Kerslake

New Zealand Army Act, 1950

The New Zealand Army Act 1950, together with the Army regulations 1951 and the Army Rules of Procedure 1951 issued under the authority of the Act, came into force on 1 December 1951, Placing the administration of the New Zealand Army entirely under the legislative control of the New Zealand Government and independent of the United Kingdom

Ordnance Conference 11 -13 April 1951

The Director of Ordnance Services hosted a conference of the Districts DADOS and the Officer Commanding Main Ordnance Depot (MOD) at Army Headquarters over the period 11 -13 April 1951.[7]

Items discussed at the conference included.

  • Corps Policy
  • Kayforce
  • TF Recruit intakes
  • Estimation of expenditure
  • Payment of Accounts
  • Provision
  • Vehicles and MT Spares
  • Personnel
  • Ammunition

Pay and Allowances

During this period, new scales of pay and allowances for the Armed Forces were authorised. The new pay code provided an opportunity for the introduction of an improved system of “star” classification for all Other Ranks. The “Star” Classification system would by utilising trade tests allow pay to be related to trade ability.

Routine Ordnance Activities

Over this period the RNZAOC in addition to its regular duties of provision, holding and the issue of multitudinous stores required by the Army and the issue and dispatch of equipment and personnel for Kayforce had undertaken several other significant tasks.

The relocation of stores from Waiouru and Seaview to Mangaroa

The transfer of stores from Waiouru to Mangaroa was completed during this period. The transfer of stores from Seaview to Mangaroa and Trentham continued, with a further ten thousand square feet (930 square meters) of storage at Seaview made available to other Government departments.

Inspection of Ammunition

The Inspection Ordnance Officers Group (IOO Gp), which remained understaffed, was fully extended in the inspection of ammunition required for ongoing training requirements.

Small Arms Ammunition

Production of small-arms ammunition commenced in December 1951 at the Colonial Ammunition Company factory at Mount Eden in Auckland. The Proof Officer reported that the ammunition so far received was of high quality.

Introduction of New Equipment

As new equipment was introduced, the RNZAOC would play an essential role in the acceptance processes. Upon delivery from the supplier the equipment, its accessories and spares would be received into an RNZAOC Depot. The equipment would be inspected and kitted out with all its accessories prior to distribution to units. Depending on the equipment, several examples may have been retained in RNZAOC Depots as War Reserve/Repair and Maintenance Stock. Maintenance stocks of accessories and spares were maintained as operating stock in RNZAOC depots. If the new equipment was or contained a weapon system, ammunition specific to the equipment was managed by RNZAOC Ammunition Depots.

During this period, the following equipment was introduced into service.

  • Four 5.5-inch Mark III Medium Guns.[8]

Support to the French War in Vietnam

In a move to calculated to enhance New Zealand’s national security by being seen abetting our allies in their efforts to contain Communism in South-East Asia, The New Zealand government in 1952 provided tangible support to the French in Vietnam by authorising the transfer of surplus and obsolete lend-Lease weapons and ammunition to the French Forces. Transferred from stocks held in RNZAOC depots, the following items would be dispatched to Vietnam;[9]

  • 13000 rifles
  • 700 Machine Guns, and
  • 670000 rounds of small arms ammunition.

The rifles, machine guns (and ammunition) were lend-lease weapons that had urgently been provided to New Zealand in 1942 when the threat of Japanese invasion was very real. Chambered in the American 30-06 calibre the weapons served with the Home Guard and New Zealand units in the pacific, notably with RNZAF units co-located with American Forces.

Fiji Military Forces

Captain E.R. Hancock IOO SMD undertook a tour of duty in Fiji.

Enlistments into the RNZAOC

  • George Thomas Dimmock – 2 August 1951

Discharged 31 March 1952

  • Corporal R.C Fisher (Ammunition Examiner IOO Branch)

Notes

[1] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952 “, Appendix to the Journals of the House of Representatives (1952).

[2] Peter Cooke, Fit to Fight. Compulsory Military Training and National Service in New Zealand 1949-72 (Auckland: David Ling Publishing, 2013), 539.

[3] Howard Weddell, Trentham Camp and Upper Hutt’s Untold Military History (Howard Weddell, 2018), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 184-5.

[4] I. C. McGibbon, New Zealand and the Korean War (Oxford University Press in association with the Historical Branch, Dept. of Internal Affairs, 1992), Non-fiction, Government documents, 199.

[5] “H-19 Military Forces of New Zealand Annual Report of the General Officer Commanding, for Period 1 April 1951 to 31 March 1952 “.

[6] McGibbon, New Zealand and the Korean War, 200.

[7] Conferences – Ordnance Officers, Item Id R17188101 (Wellington: Archives New Zealand, 1950).

[8] A total of 16 guns, delivered in groups of Four on a mixture of MkI and MkII carriages would be supplied to the NZ Army between 1951 and. Damien Fenton, A False Sense of Security : The Force Structure of the New Zealand Army 1946-1978, Occasional Paper / Center for Strategic Studies: New Zealand: No. 1 (Center for Strategic Studies: New Zealand, Victoria University of Wellington, 1998), Bibliographies, Non-fiction, 21.

[9] Roberto Giorgio Rabel, New Zealand and the Vietnam War : Politics and Diplomacy (Auckland University Press, 2005), Bibliographies, Non-fiction.


Major Joseph Seymour Bolton

Today we mark the passing of a major influence on this website,  Major Rtd Joseph Seymour Bolton (1947-2020).

Joe authored the History of the RNZAOC that was published 1992 and it was with his blessing and encouragement that I have continued on this webpage the expansion of his original research to unpack the history of the RNZAOC.

20171124_082624-166274243.jpg

Joe joined the New Zealand Army as a Regular Force Cadet in the Bennett class of 1963. On completion of his RF Cadet Training,  Joe graduated into the RNZAOC on 2 May 1965.

Joe would have a varied and interesting career as an RNZAOC Soldier and Officer, including;

  • Operational service in South Vietnam during 1970

Vietnam 1Vietnam 2

  • Service in the Solomon Island with the first Tranch of RNZAOC ATO’s and AT’s clearing the islands of WW2 munitions.

Solomons

  • Officer Commanding NZAOD, Singapore: 21 May 1982 to 10 May 1984

NZAOD

  • Chief Instructor, RNZAOC School: May 1985 to December 1986
  • Chief Ammunition Technical Officer: 1986 to 1988

In 1988 Joe was awarded the RNZAOC 20-year certificate for service from  2 May 1965 to 2 May 1988.

In Joe’s post-military career, he would continue to maintain an interest in the RNZAOC and manage the RNZAOC mailing list, sending out notifications on the passing of a Corps member or other such important information.

I never worked with Joe while he was serving, but got to know him when he was working a civilian in the CATO Branch. As I was working upstairs in Ops/Plans as the Policy WO,  I would often refer to Joe as the expert on ammunition policy issues. Often a short question on ammunition would turn into a lengthy conversation about RNZAOC History.  Many years later, as I was beginning to foray into RNZAOC research, we would catch up on the Rembermance Days in Palmerston North as the Poppy Places Charitable Trust, a passion of Joe’s in later years,  unveiled their distinctive street signs. It was at these brief meeting we would discuss the progress of my research and the future direction.

RIP Joe
Sua Tele Tonnti

1592109768278-6ec536ce-0240-44b3-a36f-a49f34da41c6_.jpg

Major Joe Bolton Officer Commanding NZAOD receiving the Higgins Cup RFL Trophy form the New Zealand Director of Ordnance Services LtCol T.D McBeth.

 


The Gruber Ration Pack

Emperor Haile Selassie 1935 mobilisation order to Ethiopian Forces to fight against Mussolini’s Invading Italian forces.

“Everyone will be mobilised and all boys old enough to carry a spear will be sent to Addis Ababa . Married men will take their wives to carry food and cook. Those without wives will take any woman without a husband.”

The supply of rations is not a traditional Ordnance responsibility; however, with the rationalisation of New Zealand Army Logistics in 1979, the RNZAOC assumed responsibility from the Royal New Zealand Army Service Corps (RNZASC) for the Supply of Rations and Fuel. Part of these responsibilities was the manufacture of Ration Packs, which was carried out by the Ration Pack Production Section (RPPS) in Trentham. In addition to the ration packs produced by the RPPS, the New Zealand Advanced Ordnance Depot (NZAOD) in Singapore assumed responsibility in 1979 for the production of the “Gruber Pack” a unique ration pack designed to supplement the standard ration packs in the tropical conditions of South East Asia. Never told before, this article provides the background on the “Gruber Pack”.

It is a necessity for rations to be provided to soldiers on the move or when situated away from their normal home base with the necessary to supply rations based on:

  • the individual,
  • the small group (squad, section, platoon), and
  • the large group (company size or larger).

Dramatic improvements have occurred over the last two hundred years that have seen the improvement of military field rations. led by the invention of the can and then preservation techniques, including drying and freeze-drying to the modern retort pouches that are now the staple of modern Military Ration packs.

New Zealand traditionally followed the British lead regarding military field rations, with the British army issue ration biscuit, the ‘Huntley & Palmers Army No 4’ and tinned bully beef the staple during the First World War. The Second World War would boost the technology of military field rations, with the United Kingdom developing military field rations for use worldwide and the United States in parallel developing 23 different military field rations and ration supplements.

New Zealand would take its first steps in developing a military field ration in 1958 when trials were conducted to develop;

  • 24-hour, four-man ration pack for armoured units, and
  • a 24-hour, one-man for infantry units.

The results of these trials were the development of the following Ration packs.

  • One-Man 24-Hour Ration Pack (Canned) – (one man/one day) for use when individual feeding is necessary, e.g. patrols. Suitable for continuous use for up to seven days. A combination of tinned and dry items designed for reheating, although tinned food can be eaten hot or cold. There were three different menus related to this ration pack.
  • One-Man 24-Hour Ration Pack (Lightweight) – An individual ration (one man/one day) for use when individual feeding was necessary, e.g. patrols. Suitable for continuous use for up to seven days. As the items in this pack are dehydrated, they should not have been used in areas where water is unavailable. Designed to provide three meals per ration pack.
  • Ten Man Ration Pack – A composite ration of tinned foods. Designed for reheating in communal feeding in multiples of Ten.
Canned Ration Pack
1986 Individual Contents of the One Man, 24-Hour Ration Pack (Canned)

By 1976 these ration packs had been in service for several years with little work carried out in developing them further.  To supplement these ration packs, a habit had evolved where soldiers, when deploying into the field, would take additional “Bits and Pieces” such as potatoes, onions, curry etc., to supplement the meagre “ration pack”.

In 1976,  Warrant Officer Class Two J. A Gruber, the Catering Warrant Officer, 1 RNZIR in Singapore, took note and decided to design a New Zealand supplementary pack based on tropical needs to enhance the 24 Hour Ration Pack used by soldiers living in the field for weeks on end, and the “Gruber Pack” was developed.

The origins of the Gruber Pack date back to the Vietnam era when the idea of a supplementary ration pack originated. In those days, the United States Army provided a Combat Composite Pack monthly to each company. The Combat Composite Pack contained extra “goodies” such as cigarettes, gum, fruit juice, tins of fruit, etc., today termed jack rats.  The supplementary pack that WO2 Gruber designed was intended to supplement the existing 24-hour ration pack and was to be consumed on the ration of one Gruber to five 24-hour packs.

The actual components of the Gruber Pack would vary from time to time but were a combination of tinned and dry items and based on the daily nation allowance for Singapore, which in 1986 was SDG $6.11.

Designed to be eaten by an individual over 24 hours, Gruber Packs needed half a litre of water to reconstitute the beverages and had a nutritional value of 2433Kcals. Given the climate and components used, a Gruber Pack had a shelf life of two years.

Gruber Packs were assembled on an as-required basis from locally purchased components by work parties from 1RNZIR, initially under the control of the NZ Supply Platoon, RNZASC until 1979 and then by the NZAOD until 1989.

The components would be carefully packed into plastic bags to keep them dry and safe, with individual packs packed, ten to a fiberboard carton.

Technical Data for the Gruber pack was;

  • Gross weight 10.2 Kg per carton of ten.
  • Individual pack measurement 40.6mm x 21.4mm x 33mm.
  • Volume .028m3 or 1.14 cu ft.

MENU

  • Chicken Curry/Beef curry/Mutton Curry 170gm. Tin: 1
  • Pea/Mixed Vege 184gm Tin: 1
  • Fruit Cocktail 248gm Tin: 1
  • Cornflakes 60gm Pkt: 1
  • Instant Noodles 85gm Pkt: 1
  • Herring in Tomato sauce/Pork in Tin/Luncheon Meat 98gm Tin: 1
  • Tea Bags Bags: 2
  • Instant Coffee Sachet: 3
  • Milo Sachet: 2
  • Raisins 42gm Pkt: 1
  • Chewing Gum Packet: 2
  • Non-Dairy Creamer 3gm Pkt: 6
  • Toilet Paper Sheets: 5
  • Salt Sachet: 2
  • Pepper Sachet: 2
  • Sugar Sachet: 6
  • Fruit Drink Container: 1
  • Tomato Sauce Sachet: 2
  • Chilli Sauce Sachet: 2
  • Matches Packet: 1
  • Kleenex Tissues Packet: 1

The Gruber Pack was unique to the New Zealand Forces in Singapore, and following the withdrawal of New Zealand Forces from Singapore in 1989, the Gruber Pack disappeared from the New Zealand Military ration menu. However, trials to upgrade the in-service ration packs had been underway since 1986, and many of the lessons learnt from the Gruber pack were absorbed into the new ration packs that began to be manufactured by the RNZAOC in 1990.