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Table of Contents

RAAF Meteorological Service



Chapter 1: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 2: Establishing and Developing the RAAF Directorate of Met. Services (D.Met.S)

Chapter 3: Recruiting and Training of Personnel

Chapter 4: Meteorology in Aviation

Chapter 5: The Met. Retreating

Chapter 6: The Met. Advancing
The Coral Sea Battle—May 1942
The Battle of Milne Bay—24 August to 8 September, 1942
The Bismarck Sea Battle—1 March 1943

Chapter 7: The Met With the Army and the Navy

Chapter 8: Divisional Offices of the Bureau of Meteorology During the War

Chapter 9: Research and Instrumental Development

Chapter 10: The End, Aftermath, and Beyond

Appendix 1

Appendix 2

Appendix 3

Appendix 4



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The Bismarck Sea Battle—1 March 1943 (continued)

Gibbs paid a tribute to General Kenney. 'He came personally to our office to congratulate us on our efforts. He heartened the men by telling them that the Japanese were already beaten because of the rate of plane losses'. This turned out to be true, but in the critical, often desperate days, of 1942–43, it was not apparent to many. 'We will always associate two things with General Kenney', reflected Bill Gibbs, 'his ability to get things done with maximum results, and his confidence in, and admiration of, his fighting men'.[73]

Forecasters were asked for long range forecasts of up to a month for certain targets and objectives. Although it was pointed out that any degree of accuracy was almost impossible for periods longer than 48 hours, the Met. was ordered to have a go. No one was keen on forecasting for periods beyond about six hours! The problem was approached by making a thorough climatological study of the region under discussion, and to produce what was called an advice. To the disapproval and discomfort of the Met., general headquarters insisted on calling this a forecast.

Despite the difficulties, considerable success was achieved. For instance, there was the forecast given a month ahead for the Allied landing at Lae on 4 September 1943, featuring the first Allied use of paratroops in the South-West Pacific area. Largely, on the consideration of the behaviour of the upper winds that season, good weather was forecast, and so it came to pass. The landing proceeded with adequate fighter cover—the USAAF downed 23 enemy planes—and, the next day, a successful parachute descent took place at Nadzab, New Guinea.

At general headquarters, Brisbane, the Met. was called upon for all sorts of incidental tasks. Lecturing to the AIF School of Intelligence was one of these. The students of this school were keenly interested in the application of weather factors to army operation, and asked many pertinent questions. They fully realised how important weather was in deciding the nature of air support, and in amphibious, gas and smoke operations.

Frequently on Saturday mornings, weekend forecasts for the Gold Coast beach resorts were sought. There were plenty of Allied personnel at these places all through the war.

People in Bright Sparcs - Gibbs, William James (Bill)

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Joyce, J. 1993 'The Story of the RAAF Meteorological Service', Metarch Papers, No. 5 October 1993, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
Published by Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre, using the Web Academic Resource Publisher