Ulster Bofors Work

Official caption: “British Sergeant instructs U.S. gunners. A British Sergeant taking some of the U.S. troops in Northern Ireland through a course of light A.A. gun drill.”

Library of Congress, LC-USE6- D-008293.

Note the Yanks’ soon-to-be-replaced M1917 Brodie helmets, especially the camo-painted specimen used by the coverall-clad gunner. In the distance are two early M3 half-tracks. The gun is, of course, a British single-barreled Q.F. 40 mm Mk. 1 (L60 Bofors) mount, likely made in Canada and recently shipped over when this image was taken.

The first American troops, largely Midwestern National Guardsmen of the 34th “Red Bull” Division, under Maj. Gen. Russell P. Hartle, arrived in Uster on 26 January 1942– 80 years ago this week– fresh from the Louisiana Maneuvers. They were deployed as part of Operation Magnet just days after the U.S. entry into WWII as a result of Pearl Harbor– although advanced elements would arrive as early as 19 January. In all, over 30,000 Americans would be in Northern Ireland by summer.

They would soon begin training arm-in-arm with the Brits, including Hartle’s ADC, Capt. William Orlando Darby, who, along with 281 other volunteers from the 34th, would soon start running about with the Commandos. But that is another story.

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