131 Locators

This is a Battery community site to keep locators, family and friends in touch with each other. However, let’s start with an explanation of the Battery’s evolution, function and ongoing presence...

The Battery was first raised in 1952 as 31 Battery and was re-designated as 131st Locating Battery on 10th July, 1954. Our role in South Vietnam began when the advance party of Detachment 131 Div Loc Bty RAA departed Sydney N.S.W. aboard H.M.A.S. Sydney on 22nd April 1966; two days after the fourth intake of National Servicemen had commenced their military training. The remainder of the advance party departed from Richmond R.A.A.F. base on the 4th May 1966.

The Detachment formation remained in South Vietnam until May 1971 and was disbanded on the 31st July 1971.

The Detachments’ role in South Vietnam got its roots back in World War 1 when the task to identify enemy artillery became more necessary, then with the establishment of our predecessor, 31 Battery; in 1954 the world of Locating took on a professional edge.

The Battery in the 60’s continued the development of the art of “enemy artillery” detection with various methods and equipment along the lines of observation through outposts called Listening Posts (LP) where muzzle flashes, suspicious movements were noted and bearings from the LP relayed to the Artillery Intelligence (Arty Tac) centre for collation and response action. Radar became an integral part of early warning and tracking of enemy hostilities along with Sound Ranging which used a system of microphones to track the same activities. Intermingled amongst these activities was the necessity for Artillery Surveying which heightened the need for exactness in positioning and measurement. As a post exercise actual physical Crater Analysis was carried out to determine the direction that the projectile came from, also distance calculations from projectile entry angle and the type of weapon that was used. Later sensor equipment has included infra-red, thermal imagery acoustic and seismic devices and add to that today’s technology of unmanned drones – Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAV), hence the development of Surveillance and Target Acquisition (STA), which evolved with the new 131 STA Battery. This Battery currently serves in Afghanistan.

131 Battery Symbol

During the 1966 to 1971 period of the Vietnam War, Detachment 131 Divisional Locating Battery became the longest continuing Detachment in the Royal Australian Artillery having been deployed for five years and two months (1886 days). During this period 476 soldiers served on a rotational basis, with some completing multiple tours with never more than 70 members in country at one time. Also, because of our Radar deployment there were 41 RAEME personnel attached to the Detachment who we proudly consider as members of our group and have always welcomed their involvement in our activities. The Association’s name - “131 Locators Association”, and the plaque, featuring OUR dragon, have inherent value to our Association. “131” in the name represents the history part of our Association, as it was during the 60’s that that the Battery and possibly “Locators” came of age, and the legacy still exists on even now with the newer Batteries that have followed and currently exist – namely the 131 STA Battery, which is part of the 20 STA Regt.

The inclusion of the number (131) does not preclude Locators from any Locating Battery to feel a part - it is just symbolic. We had RAEME blokes attached and their participation is welcomed. Neither is it meant to be an exclusive Veteran’s association. There is no place for exclusivity, rank or length of service as a priority – we were all dependent on each other, wherever we were, and we hope that this mutual respect continues on today. The inclusion of the plaque design with the Dragon is very emotive and belongs very much to our band of brothers and our presence would not be complete without it.

The 131 Locators Association has been instigated to create and establish a very personal bit of historic memorabilia for which we need all incumbents to join in and feel a part of it.

We welcome you to browse the site and contact us.