Edwin J. Zufelt



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This book was prepared for the members of the 411th Engineer Base Shop Battalion, as a pictorial record of its achievements in "The Land Down Under" during the period from 1943 to 1944 in the war against Japan. Although the book deals principally with the construction of power barges, the powerful influence of Australia is strongly felt in the background.

During the early stages of the war against Japan, when port facilities in the South-West Pacific Area were practically non-existant, and the problem of supplying troops in forward coastal areas of New Guinea posed a critical problem, the Engineer Amphibian Command was formed at Camp Ed wards, Mass. One of the organizations in this command was the 411th Engineer Base Shop Battalion.

Although the members of the 411th were selected for particular technical skills, further specialized training occupied the rest of the year. Some of the men were sent to various schools and industrial plants, principally in New England and the Middle West. In the fall of 1942 Company A was ordered to Caribelle, Florida, for training, and Companies B and C were sent to New Orleans, La., for a period of intensive training at the Higgins plant. By December of 1942 all the companies of the 411th had made the trip to the Pacific coast and were located at Ford Ord, California, awaiting orders to proceed overseas.

Company C had the distinction of preceding the remainder of the Battalion to service overseas; but on January 7, 1943, the 411th passed under the Golden Gate aboard the Dutch ship "Tabinta." Irresistably the great ship plunged into the gathering darkness, symbolic of the uncertainty; but confidence which we felt.

Now we were told. We were bound for the mysterious Island Continent of Australia, and our new home was to be at Cairns, in the tropical north. Our job was to build the LCV landing barge. Let us see just what happened.

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United States Army, World War 1939-1945, Regimental histories, 411th Engineer Base Shop Battalion


Military History

The odyssey of the 411 Engineer Base Shop Battalion, 1943-1944: a pictorial narrative of the 411th Engineer Base Shop Battalion in Australia and New Guinea

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