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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

Chapter 7: The Met With the Army and the Navy
With the Army
With 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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With The Navy (continued)

Fleet weather broadcasts were subsequently provided every three hours. These were supplemented by detailed information on coastal areas. Forecasts of wind, general weather, cloud, visibility, state of sea and swell were supplied. From July 1941, special reports and analyses of winds were provided for mine-sweeping in the Pacific. Cyclone warnings were also broadcast for the Queensland and Western Australian coasts during the cyclone season—November to June.

The movement of small ships and the conveying of supplies and troops to operational areas by sea required constant care. During the early days of the war, shipping was just as important to the Allies as aircraft—and almost as scarce. To send a ship abroad—say from Australia to Milne Bay—in early 1942, was simply asking for its destruction. D.Met.S. was therefore asked to advise when the terminal base would be closed in by weather for an extended period so as to enable the safe hidden passage of a ship, and the discharge of its cargo at a destination without interruption from the enemy lying in wait in New Britain and the Solomon Islands.

The predominance of airpower that emerged in World War II became quickly apparent by the bombing and sinking of many naval vessels on both sides. The swift and spectacular destruction of the two major RN battleships, Repulse and Prince of Wales, by the Japanese air force in December 1941 was illustrative. Aircraft carriers assumed growing importance, and figured significantly in the decisive naval-air engagements in the Coral and Bismarck Seas and off Midway Island. The extent to which the weather could affect such operations has been described in the brief accounts of the first of these two engagements given in an earlier chapter.

Using the weather in warfare was always a gamble, especially in the tropics where no forecast was ever infallible. If weather conditions reversed during an operation—as they often did—the planner who had relied on the original conditions was indeed hoist by his own petard

Organisations in Australian Science at Work - Directorate of Meteorological Services (D.Met.S)

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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
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