Indian Anti-Aircraft Training Centres 1940-45

The first Anti-Aircraft Training establishment was the No 1 Technical Training Battery raised at Colaba, Bombay in 1940. 

A group of British officers and NCOs from the Battery and some VCOs of the Indian Artillery reported to the Gun Carriage Basin in Colaba, Bombay and established the 1 Indian Technical Training Battery, on September 14, 1940. It included the nucleus of the first AA unit of the Indian Artillery; the ‘R’ HAA Regiment. In December 1940, the Training Battery was moved by sea to reach Drigh road, Karachi, while the ‘R’ HAA Regiment stayed back to complete the raising. 

Earlier the responsibility of training of recruits and to conduct refresher training was that of the Royal Artillery Training Centre (RATC) at Mathura. With only one AA Battery located in India, this arrangement was found to be satisfactory and no need was felt to establish a separate training centre for AA gunners.

With the proposed raisings of AA units, a separate Anti-Aircraft and Coastal Defence Wing was established in June 1940 by the School of Artillery, Kakul near Rawalpindi for training of Indian officers, VCOs and NCOs in AA techniques and for refresher training of British All Ranks transferred to India from the AA Command in Britain.

As this arrangement was also not able to meet the demands of new raisings,  No 1 AA Technical Training Battery was raised at Gun carriage Basin, Colaba, Bombay. As mentioned earlier, the Training Battery moved to Karachi in December 1940 and was renamed as the first Anti-Aircraft Training Centre(AATC) in 1941 with the expansion of the Training Battery. 

With the expansion of AA Artillery, induction of newer guns and raising of Light AA Regiments, a need was felt to have separate training centres for Heavy and Light AA Artillery. Accordingly, AATC was renamed as ‘1 AATC’ and was meant for training of Heavy AA gunners only. For Light AAA,  No 2 AATC was established at Deolali near Nasik with the ‘B’ Training Battery of 1 AATC.

As the Madrassis were the preponderant class in the AA Regiments by 1942; and the existing AATCs were not able to take on the load of providing trained manpower for the new raisings, it was decided to establish a new AATC and accordingly No 3 AATC was raised at Deolali in April 1942. This was to cater exclusively for the Madrassi recruits. In December 1942, 3 AATC had moved to Mehgaon near Jabalpur.

To cater to the new requirements, 1 AATC also took on the load of training Madrassis only with all North Indian recruits being trained at 2 AATC at Deolali. All drivers, irrespective of the area of recruitment, were however trained at 2 AATC only.

In 1944, as the tide in South East Asia had turned and the demand for AA Regiments and Batteries was winding down, No.s 1 and 2 AATCs were disbanded and merged into 3 AATC to train all categories of AA personnel and it was renamed as the Anti-Aircraft Training Centre (AATC).  

It was to be one AATC in the end, as it was in the beginning.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *