Z Special Unit – The Elite Allied World War II Guerrilla Force by Gavin Mortimer

ARRSE Rating
4.00 star(s)
This is an interesting hardback book, printed on quality paper, with lots of photos to support the tale it tells. I hadn’t heard of this unit before, or of the incredibly brave deeds they undertook fighting an isolated guerrilla war against the Japanese in Singapore, Borneo and other islands of Indonesia.

1646670042382.jpeg


The men were a collection of British and Australian soldiers and sailors. From businessmen and farmhands to students, they formed an amazing group, trained in Australia, transported to Indonesia, and blowing up Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour (that was the ‘proof of concept’ project!).

The author has accessed archives from Britain, Australia and Japan, as well as family memoirs, to tell the tale of these brave men, their deeds, their deaths and the lives of those who survived. He explores the politics of the unit, the backgrounds and characters of the men and their selection and training as well as the deeds done during the missions. Some of this is not reading for the faint-hearted or for under-12s, but these men and what they achieved should not be forgotten. There's an awful lot of material here, some of it quite disturbing, but all extremely interesting, and well worth a read.

The final section on what happened to them all after the war ended made difficult reading, as the politics and game-playing of those wishing to cement their own place in history took away from the incredible nature of the achievements of a group of men whose courage, endurance and bravery are indisputable.

I really enjoyed this book. 4 mushroom heads.

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Their operations are well known in Australia. They are regarded as the forerunners of SASR and modern Australian SF together with the wartime Australian Commando Companies. Athough under the command of ISLD and Special Operations Australia (an offshoot of SOE) the successful raid on Singapore in 1943 in the fishing vessel 'Krait' codenamed Operation Jaywick and the doomed follow up in November 1944, Operation Rimau, both led by Lt Col Ivan Lyon, Gordon Highlanders.

A comprehensive history of Z Special Operations 1942-45 by GB Courtney MBE, MC was published in Australia in 1993. He was a British officer from the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment and Army Commandos. He served with Z Special Unit (SRD) from July 1944 and settled in Australia after the war.

His brother, Jumbo Courtney formed the first Special Boat Section, using folboatt canoes, as part of number 8 (Guards) Commando in 1940.

41FDPKE6MAL._SX323_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg


The above book is well out of print and hard to get so Gavin Mortimers book would be a good choice for anyone interested in the subject and probably a lot more readable for someone with a casuel interest in the subject matter. Silent Feet is more of a historical record, which the author in the foreword states that he wrote for the benefit of modern day Australian Special Forces as well as historians.
 
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Grownup_Rafbrat

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Their operations are well known in Australia. They are regarded as the forerunners of SASR and modern Australian SF together with the wartime Australian Commando Companies. Athough under the command of ISLD and Special Operations Australia (an offshoot of SOE) the successful raid on Singapore in 1943 in the fishing vessel 'Krait' codenamed Operation Jaywick and the doomed follow up in November 1944, Operation Rimau, both led by Lt Col Ivan Lyon, Gordon Highlanders.

A comprehensive history of Z Special Operations 1942-45 by GB Courtney MBE, MC was published in Australia in 1993. He was a British officer from the Queens Own Royal West Kent Regiment and Army Commandos. He served with Z Special Unit (SRD) from July 1944 and settled in Australia after the war.

His brother, Jumbo Courtney formed the first Special Boat Section, using folboatt canoes, as part of number 8 (Guards) Commando in 1940.

View attachment 645376

The above book is well out of print and hard to get so Gavin Mortimers book would be a good choice for anyone interested in the subject and probably a lot more readable for someone with a casuel interest in the subject matter. Silent Feet is more of a historical record, which the author in the foreword states that he wrote for the benefit of modern day Australian Special Forces as well as historians.
Thanks for that. Looking at those involved in the setup of the force, names like Stirling appear too.

Folboats were used for Jaywick, but rejected in favour of more complex powered mini-submarines for Rimau. Complexity spelt trouble...

Happy to send you the book if you'd like it to supplement your collection. My bungalow is overflowing!
 
Thanks for that. Looking at those involved in the setup of the force, names like Stirling appear too.

Folboats were used for Jaywick, but rejected in favour of more complex powered mini-submarines for Rimau. Complexity spelt trouble...

Happy to send you the book if you'd like it to supplement your collection. My bungalow is overflowing!
Very kind of you but my gaff is also overflowing with books and SWMBO says that if I snuff it before her, they are all going in the skip.
 
This is an interesting hardback book, printed on quality paper, with lots of photos to support the tale it tells. I hadn’t heard of this unit before, or of the incredibly brave deeds they undertook fighting an isolated guerrilla war against the Japanese in Singapore, Borneo and other islands of Indonesia.

View attachment 645343


The men were a collection of British and Australian soldiers and sailors. From businessmen and farmhands to students, they formed an amazing group, trained in Australia, transported to Indonesia, and blowing up Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour (that was the ‘proof of concept’ project!).



The author has accessed archives from Britain, Australia and Japan, as well as family memoirs, to tell the tale of these brave men, their deeds, their deaths and the lives of those who survived. He explores the politics of the unit, the backgrounds and characters of the men and their selection and training as well as the deeds done during the missions. Some of this is not reading for the faint-hearted or for under-12s, but these men and what they achieved should not be forgotten. There's an awful lot of material here, some of it quite disturbing, but all extremely interesting, and well worth a read.



The final section on what happened to them all after the war ended made difficult reading, as the politics and game-playing of those wishing to cement their own place in history took away from the incredible nature of the achievements of a group of men whose courage, endurance and bravery are indisputable.





I really enjoyed this book. 4 mushroom heads.

Amazon product

Amazon product

"Combined" award there, for your review and the acknowledgement; they were few in number, but great in effect upon the enemy.
 
A couple of good videos about Z Special Unit operations. Also a wiki link to the Borneo campaign in which 1 Australian Corp with 7th and 9th Division AIF carried out an amphibious assault on Brunei, Sarawak and the Dutch part of the island from May to August 1945 right at the end of the war. Z Special Force part of the campaign was code named Operation Semut 1 and Semut II.

Borneo Campaign




 

Bad Smell

Old-Salt
Just a selection of books currently available near me on the subject:

1646918015485.png

This one published last year.

1646918391375.png


And I've just seen a 2002 3rd edition of Silent Feet available. There is also a DVD.

Incidentally, a good friend of mine's father was with Z Special Unit. If he is the image of his father then he was one tough bugger. I'll ask him about what he knows on Anzac Day.
 
Just a selection of books currently available near me on the subject:

View attachment 646141
This one published last year.

View attachment 646147

And I've just seen a 2002 3rd edition of Silent Feet available. There is also a DVD.

Incidentally, a good friend of mine's father was with Z Special Unit. If he is the image of his father then he was one tough bugger. I'll ask him about what he knows on Anzac Day.
This might help

 
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