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Old 18-07-21, 02:09
Lang Lang is offline
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Join Date: Jan 2004
Location: Brisbane Australia
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Mike Cecil in his usual thorough way has given us a great insight into the instructions surrounding the 12th Australian Division in the Northern Territory. I wanted to reply to his information but it was getting away from the Back to the Track thread which is dedicated to the current event and probably will fill several pages by the time everyone reaches Darwin.

Mike Wrote:

Hi Lang,

Actually, I think you accorded 12 Aust Inf Division a much shorter life than it actually had, and listed units that were not part of the 'Division'.

On 19 Dec 1942, NT Force HQ issued an instruction which stated that 'to give formation identity to units now classified as Force Troops, they will be re-designated as shown below ...' The list has two columns: the left being the NT Force name, the right being the new designation. A few examples: HQ RAA NT Force became HQ RAA 12 Aust Div; NT Force Cipher Section became 12 Aust Div Cipher Section; NT Force Provost Company became 12 Aust Div Provost Company, and so on. These units continued, while they existed, in the order of battle (OOB) for NT Force as 12 Aust Div units, and later 12 Aust Div (AIF) units, until a reorganisation in 1945. Correspondence for all units in NT was still to be addressed to 'HQ NT Force' and signals to 'NORFORCE'. The units you listed as part of 12 Inf Div, unless I've missed a subsequent instruction, remained as part of the over-arching formation, that is, NT Force.

So NT Force was never renamed '12 Aust Div', only units of Force Troops within NT Force, and those designations were retained for the duration, although some documents, just to confuse things, seem to use the two designations interchangeably. The differentiation between Force and Field Troops (ie NT Force and 12 Inf Div) for command and administration was retained until 7 October 1944, when all Field Troops (12 Aust Div units) came back under direct command of NT Force HQ.

The formation sign of a Buffalo over a boomerang, in white on a black background: during 1942, NT Force issued specific instructions on several occasions that all formation insignia in the form of emblems be removed from vehicles, with a horizontal bar above or below the unit sign, either white or grey depending upon the unit's designation, used to indicate NT Force Units. The earliest official reference I have to the buffalo over boomerang formation sign for NT Force (and hence, all the units within NT Force, including those designated as 12 Inf Div) is a list of approved formation signs dated 7 April 1943. Secondary sources (eg Taubert) state the sign dates from Dec 1942, but nothing I've seen to date in either LHQ or NT Force instructions supports that. I may well have missed an instruction, of course, but the above is what I have at the moment. The formation sign remained extant for the duration.

Hope that clarifies things a little. Very nice car: should be a pleasant motoring holiday in the company of many like-minded enthusiasts.

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