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Carl Schwamberger
01-20-2009, 08:28 PM
I'm casting about for sources on ship to shore transfer of cargo in unimproved ports & anchorages, or open beaches. Need details on how this was done, where, and when. Directions to books and gov docs appreciated.
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Rising Sun*
01-22-2009, 07:08 AM
I'm casting about for sources on ship to shore transfer of cargo in unimproved ports & anchorages, or open beaches. Need details on how this was done, where, and when. Directions to books and gov docs appreciated.
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What qualifies as an 'unimproved port'?

I recall reading of a troopship in Papua or New Guinea, possibly Port Moresby, loaded with battle-hardened Australian soldiers on their way to the front. With their usual contempt for lesser beings, they were leaning on their ship's rails watching wharfies (stevedores) unload a ship in a ramshackle port. It was done so quickly and efficiently under difficult circumstances that they broke into spontaneous applause, which was high praise for the wharfies.

Not, I might add, something that would have been likely to occur in Australia during the war when the wharfies were often seen as more of an obstruction than an aid to the war effort. :(

Carl Schwamberger
01-22-2009, 03:17 PM
What qualifies as an 'unimproved port'?

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No dockside crane is a big indicator. docks suitable for smaller fishing craft, lack of paved roads about the dock & storage area, little or no warehouse area roofed over. Mainly I am trying to get a handle on how heavy cargo like artillery ammunition and vehicals including tanks were moved ashore without a proper port and before the LST & other large amphibs were available. Did find a small bit on the Japanese.

Rising Sun*
01-22-2009, 05:53 PM
There were several jetties which were important at Milne Bay in 1942. Maybe the following will help your research or put you on a path to finding what you're looking for.

The main jetty was at Gili Gili. It was, in its early incarnation, described as "The dock, at Gili Gili, at the very head of the bay, consisted of two barges placed side by side with a ramp leading to the small and inadequate jetty that had been there when the military first arrived." http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Papua/USA-P-Papua-6.html

A bigger one was later constructed. http://ibiblio.org/hyperwar/USA/USA-P-Papua/img/USA-P-Papua-p88.jpg It may fit your criteria for an unimproved port as I not sure whether there is a crane on the jetty as I can't make out whether there are two ships alongsided at the head of the jetty or whether there is a crane on it.

There are a few photos and captions here which show a ship which appears to be using its derricks to unload beside another sunken transport and a bulldozer constructing the new jetty which is noted at 860 feet long.
http://ajrp.awm.gov.au/ajrp/remember.nsf/pages/NT000022BE
http://cas.awm.gov.au/photograph/026665
http://cas.awm.gov.au/photograph/054057

Landing stores was also an issue for the Japanese at Milne Bay, made more difficult when it had to be done at night because Allied planes made it dangerous during the day. I can't recall any sources for that.

I recall reading scattered references to small coastal cargo ships run by the RAN and the Australian merchant marine during the New Guinea campaigns. They were useful because they could get into places larger ships couldn't. Most were civilian craft requisitioned for war purposes. They ranged from craft such as tugs to motor yachts to small ships. I've seen a few brief accounts of ships using their derricks to load into barges or boats which then took the supplies to shore, again in the New Guinea campaigns. Unfortunately I can't recall my sources.