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World War II Quarantine Anti Aircraft Site, East Arm Darwin

Discussion in 'Living History' started by NT_Australia, Nov 5, 2021.

  1. NT_Australia

    NT_Australia Member

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    World War II Quarantine Anti Aircraft Site, East Arm Darwin
    From above with the drone.
    Being a strategic Allied military base during World War II, Darwin was the target of multiple Japanese air raids, with the first in February 1942. More bombs were dropped on the city in this raid than on Pearl Harbor two months earlier. Savage air raids continued to rain across the Top End during World War II, leading to a repositioning of armed forces in the Darwin region. Adelaide River, 113km south of Darwin, become a huge base for Australian and American headquarters. During the period February 1942 to November 1943, Australia came under attack on nearly 100 occasions by the Japanese!
    Located just 8.53kms east of Darwin, the East Arm Quarantine Anti-Aircraft Battery Site is the only complete gun-site of its type remaining within the Darwin area. Established in 1941, it was highly significant as it was a design that was discontinued by the Defence Force in the mid 1940s and one which is unique to the Northern Territory. The present structures were built in September 1942 by the Civil Construction Corps and personnel of the 2nd and 14th HAA Batteries. The site was used to defend the South West section of Darwin Harbour and was a backup for the Berrimah Station.
    Local stone was used in the construction. The entry post was constructed solely of local stone with the remaining structures built of aggregate made from local stone. The original structures consisted of four revetted emplacements, a central instrument bunker, accommodation, administration hut, mess kitchen and rifle range. The site comprised four 3.7" Heavy AA guns, a Bofors gun, a Vickers Predictor Mark IV a Height and Range Finder Mark IV Lewis Machine guns and Radar Equipment. During the Japanese raids on 22 February 1942 the guns maintained fire at the enemy with one heavy bomber being shot down. Today the site consists of the revetted emplacements the central bunker and slabs where the administration mess and kitchen buildings stood. The 3.7" guns were removed on 27 November 1944.
     
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  2. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    So the ready ammo lockers are flush with the walls. That's a very unusual layout for the pits, as well as the CP.
     
  3. NT_Australia

    NT_Australia Member

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    Would that be because its a secondary location to store? The main ammo location was aroun 150m away.
     
  4. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    No, they usually had ready ammo lockers in each gunpit with rounds ready just to be fused. Try and find some pics later.
     
  5. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    Here's an idea of what I meant by the layout of British batteries; there were a few different designs, but I can't find a link to any of them. This is a 4.5" battery in the village of Cairneyhill, just West of Dunfermline in Fife. It was one of the sites that guarded the Royal Navy Armaments Depot at Crombie, about a half mile to the South.
    Ready ammo lockers were provided to enable rapid response to aircraft sightings; on 16th October 1939, German aircraft raided the Firth of Forth. This battery's war diary records that the crews were having a practice drill with dummy rounds as the alert sounded, and had to rapidly dump them for live ones. They managed to fire about four rounds before the aircraft moved out of range.
    This was built immediately prewar, and there was a steel door at either side of the pit to allow access. You can see the ready ammo lockers jutting into the pit. To start with, there were no crew shelters, but in light of experience of strafing in the Battle of Britain, a shelter was hastily built on the outside of each pit and waste from nearby slag heaps hard-packed around each pit to the top of the walls to provide extra protection. Each pit also had it's own nearby magazine.
    Mire End | Canmore
     
  6. GRW

    GRW Pillboxologist WW2|ORG Editor

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    And here's another design at Mugdock, just North of Glasgow. This was built in the early years of the war, and in addition to the ready ammo lockers each pit had two shelters- one for the crew, the other for servicing the gun-
    Mugdock Wood, Battery | Canmore
     

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