2/1st North Australia Observer Unit

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2/1st North Australia Observer Unit
Troopers of the North Australia Observer Unit during a morning parade in October 1943
Troopers of the North Australia Observer Unit during a morning parade in October 1943
Active 1942–1945
Country Australia
Branch Army
Type Light horse
Role Reconnaissance
Size Peak strength of 559 soldiers and 59 guides
Garrison/HQ Katherine
Nickname Nackeroos
Equipment Small arms, ships
Commanders
Notable
commanders
Lieutenant Colonel Bill Stanner
Insignia
Unit Colour Patch NORFORCE UCP.PNG

The 2/1st North Australia Observer Unit (2/1 NAOU) was an Australian Army reconnaissance unit of World War II. Formed on 11 May 1942 under the command of Lieutenant Colonel Bill Stanner, its headquarters were in Katherine, Northern Territory. The unit was tasked with patrolling remote areas of northern Australia on horseback to provide warning to the Northern Territory Force of Japanese activity. Other tasks included manning fixed coast watch stations and signals work. At the peak of its strength it numbered approximately 550 men, including 59 Aboriginal personnel who were employed as guides and labourers. As the threat of Japanese landings declined 2/1 NAOU patrols were reduced in July 1943 and the unit was disbanded in March 1945.[1]

In 1972 Stanner summarised the unit in the following terms to Amoury Vane, the author of the Unit history:

"The Unit was organised somewhat on the lines of a Light Horse regiment but with commando-type flexibility. It had a strategic and tactical role with duties of reconnaissance, scouting and coast-watching and was widely dispersed on and off the coasts and inland, between Cambridge Gulf and the Gulf of Carpentaria. The members of the Unit tended to operate in very small groups, often of section strength, over an enormous area, manning observation posts or in fixed or mounted roving patrols, so as to answer for the flanks of Northern Territory Force. They seldom assembled as troops, companies, or squadrons, and never, while I was in command, as a single Unit, after once taking up their field stations."[2]

The modern Australian Army's Regional Force Surveillance Units have a similar role to 2/1 NAOU, with NORFORCE tracing its history back to 2/1 NAOU.[3]

Notes[edit]

  1. ^ Dennis et al 2008, p. 397.
  2. ^ Vane, Amoury (2000). North Australia Observer Unit, The History of a Surveillance Regiment. Australian Military History Publications. ISBN 1-876439-25-4. NL 940.541294 V249. 
  3. ^ "Unit History—North West Mobile Force". Australian Department of Defence. 2009. Archived from the original on 27 September 2011. Retrieved 12 June 2010. 

References[edit]

  • Dennis, Peter; Grey, Jeffrey; Morris, Ewan; Prior, Robin; Bou, Jean (2008). The Oxford Companion to Australian Military History (Second ed.). Melbourne: Oxford University Press. ISBN 9780195517842. 

External links[edit]