Title: The ‘Letter’ Batteries – the History of the ‘Letter’ batteries in World War II

Author: Kidd, Reg and Neal, Ray

Condition: Near Mint

Edition: 1st Edition

Publication Date: 1998

ISBN: 0646351370

Cover: Hard Cover with Dust Jacket – 415 pages

Comments: The detailed history of the Australian ‘Letter’ Batteries during World War 2. Now a scarce and out of print title.

At the outbreak of World War II in 1939 the Australian Government had almost completed the upgrading of the coast defences of Australia and its Territories.  Most of the major strategic ports and important industrial locations were protected by some coast artillery installations, but the degree of armament was limited by the funds available and the strong competition for larger armaments urgently required by Great Britain for placement elsewhere in the Empire.  Great Britain was then striving to strengthen its own defences and its outposts against possible assault. 

The devastating assault by Japan on the United States fleet and Fleet Base at Honolulu and the sudden and unexpected fall of the Philippine Islands changed all previous priorities and General MacArthur’s arrival in Australia and the setting up of a South West Pacific Area under his command led to an urgent strengthening of defended ports of Australia by the provision of United States guns and equipment manned by Australian gunners.  This gave rise to the establishment of nineteen batteries each of two 155mm guns supplied and equipped by the USA but manned by Australians.  These were identified by letters of the alphabet and became known generally as the ‘Letter ‘ Batteries.  Their establishment, life and demise is the subject of this book.