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Pacific Service: the story of the new Zealand Army Service Corps Units with the Third Division in the Pacific


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The function of the Army Service Corps is to provide supply and transport services for a formation, except where those services are part of a unit's internal administration. Expressed very briefly and broadly, supply services may be said to consist of the provision of rations for personnel, petrol and lubricants for vehicles, and ammunition for all weapons; transport services may be said to consist of the provision of all requirements between base facilities and units of the formation, and the carriage of infantry units' troops where necessary. In modern warfare a feature of the supply system is its flexibility. Although the principles remain the same the system can be adapted to any set of conditions as occasion demands. If this contention required further proof, which it did not, the proof would have been provided when the Third Division moved up to the Solomon Islands.

Up until the time when the division arrived at Guadalcanal, ASC services had functioned more or less along orthodox lines and, except for one small exercise and some training en route from New Caledonia, personnel had little experience in amphibious operations. However, by the time they left the forward area, ASC personnel had experienced all phases of amphibious and jungle warfare, and they had proved that they were capable of carrying out efficiently any task which they were asked to perform. On Vella, Lavella, and subsequently on the Treasury and Green Islands, ASC units serviced US organisations in addition to their normal duties with the division. That involved handling huge quantities of all kinds, and entailed long hours of work under arduous conditions but throughout a high level of efficiency was maintained. In particular, the ability to improvise to meet unexpected conditions was most marked.

This interim history contains no reference to ASC personnel who were under command of other corps—their work is being page breakrecorded in the histories of the formations to which they were attached. There were large groups of ASC men with field ambulances and other medical units, and smaller ones with dental and other miscellaneous units. At all times ASC personnel attached to other units did good work and performed with credit to themselves and to the ASC generally.

This foreword would not be complete if a tribute were not paid to all ranks of the ASC for the excellent work which they performed at all times. I shall always be proud to have been associated with them, and extend my very best wishes for a happy and successful future. It has been said that soldiers away from home attain a spirit of comradeship far greater than is possible under more civilised conditions. I hope that this book will help to remind us of friendships made in the South Pacific.