As the SRD took
shape the vessels required for such clandestine operations were
either requisitioned from other military service or built specifically
for the navy. The first of these being 4x 66 foot trawlers already
under construction for the Army at Williamstown Naval Dockyard in
Victoria. With some modifications they were all subsequently transferred
to SRD on their completion. Alterations were made to the superstructure
and they were also fitted with more powerful diesel engines imported
from the US.
These were to
become known as the "Snake Class" and were made to look
similar to the types of vessels operating in Sth East Asian waters.
Two more were built in Western Australia but were too late to see
any effective service.
Not unlike the
way German U Boat Wolfpacks operated in the Atlantic, the Snake
Class boats worked in Tandem with a 'Mother Ship' and these were
provided by way of 2x125 Foot Army wooden motor vessels. All these
vessels, along with Krait, were sold off at the end of the war to
the British Civil Aministration in Borneo - (from where Krait was
eventually retrieved and brought back to Australia).
Many of these
vessels were not to live up to their full potential as the completion
of their building was too late in the war for them to be truly effective.
Their value however was never in doubt after the successfull raid
of Singapore Harbour by Krait and its crew in Operation Jaywick
in Spetember 1943. (See menu on left for 'Z Force Heroes'.)
The famous but
highly secretive Z Special Unit, veterans of 'Jaywick' and the illfated
'Rimau' raids used these boats. Crewed mainly by RAN personnel they
were officially commissioned ships.
Many site vistors
email me wishing information and details about the exploits of the
SRD and Z Special Unit. However on speaking to a veteran and member
of their official Association, who lives close by to me here in
Australia states that the organisation was so secretive that even
today facts are still clouded and hard to find, such is the case
that a fellow Commando who went behind the enemy lines in Japanese
occupied Borneo still doesn't rate a mention in the nominal roll
- he knows, for he was with him!
Bunnings Shipbuilding Fremantle WA
HMAS Tiger Snake with soldiers of
D Company, 2/17 Infantry Battalion on the Baram River, New
Guinea 14th July 1945.
next page - "The Mother Ships"
HMA Ships Anaconda and Mother Snake.
Also Sumersibles and launches.Click
Z Special Unit
Other sections in Gun Plot about Z Special Unit, Krait,
Services Reconnaisance Department (SRD) & Costwatchers
The Coastwatchers In The Pacific - HERE
KRAIT - HERE
SRD - HERE