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Table of Contents

War History of the Australian Meteorological Service




Chapter 1: D.Met.S.—Australia's Wartime Weather Service

Chapter 2: The Weather Factor in Warfare

Chapter 3: Met in the Retreat

Chapter 4: Met in the Advance

Chapter 5: Meteorology in Aviation

Chapter 6: Central Forecasting Services

Chapter 7: Met With the Army
How Weather Formations Were Created as Essential to the Army
Establishments Throughout Australia
Meteorological Staff Officer
Disposition of Flights
Successive Movements to Pacific Theatres
The Close of Hostilities

Chapter 8: Research and Personnel Training

Chapter 9: Instrumental Development and Maintenance

Chapter 10: Scientific Developments in the RAAF Meteorological Service

Chapter 11: Divisional Bureaux and Their Work

Appendix 1: List of Reports Provided by D.Met.S. for Advances Operational Planning and Other Purposes

Appendix 2: List of Service Personnel RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 3: List of Civilian Personnel Who Worked Together with Service Personnel of the RAAF Meteorological Service

Appendix 4: List of Locations at which RAAF Meteorological Service Personnel Served


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Chapter 7: Met With the Army

How Weather Formations Were Created as Essential to the Army

Active cooperation by the Directorate in the operations of land forces of the Commonwealth was widespread and many-sided. An important and colourful expression was in the mobile meteorological flights which were formed in Australia and which served with the Army on widespread fronts in the South-West Pacific land campaigns. This facet of the organisation had its origin at the inter-service conference held in Melbourne during June 1939 when it was agreed that the requirements of the Australian military forces in war would involve formation of eight special meteorological units. These included five mobile met units for service with field forces working at considerable distance from permanent facilities and three fixed stations for service to fortified areas. Each unit was to be staffed by a meteorologist and four trained observers. Recommendations on these lines were submitted in early September 1939 after the outbreak of war with Germany, but initially Cabinet approval was given for three mobile units only.

In the early stages of the war the requirements of the RAAF and Navy took precedence, and action to establish the Army units did not follow until considerably later.

In November 1940 the situation had worsened services and the subject was again actively considered. It was decided to recommend again formation of five mobile units, as originally proposed. It was further resolved that the Directorate of Meteorological Services should supply mobile meteorological equipment to the units, and that the Army should supply each detachment with motor vehicles fitted with standardised equipment for use as transport and as headquarters of the unit in the field. W/T communication equipment suitable for interception of synoptic broadcasts from RAAF meteorological broadcasting stations was also to be provided by the Army.

While these recommendations were under consideration, an experimental mobile forecasting unit took part in a combined exercise in the Army Southern Command 'Battle of Corangamite' (in Victoria). Experience in this exercise established the necessity for careful consideration of anticipated weather conditions in planning and executing joint operations between land and air forces. This April exercise was followed in November 1941 by participation of an airborne meteorological forecasting unit in Southern Area combined exercises at Mallacoota (Vic).

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Haldane, T. 1997 'War History of the Australian Meteorological Service in the Royal Australian Air Force April 1941 to July 1946', Metarch Papers, No. 10 October 1997, Bureau of Meteorology

© Online Edition Australian Science and Technology Heritage Centre and Bureau of Meteorology 2001
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