The SRD was initiated in Australia in March 1943 at a time when the pacific war was at its peak.

The purpose of Naval participation was to carry out surviellance missions and to launch Commando raids behind enemy lines in the Japanese occupied Pacific Islands north of Australia.

At the time of its formation the SRD had but two craft one of these being the now famous, former, Japanese fishing boat Krait and an Army vessel called Atlanta.

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!


Name Builder Launched Comm. Fate
Black Snake J.J Savage 1944 30/12/44 PO 3/11/45
Diamond Snake J.J Savage 17/5/45 23/7/45 PO 19/10/45
Grass Snake Millars Bunnings Shipbuilding Fremantle WA 1944 24/2/45 PO 6/12/45
River Snake As Above 1944 17/2/45 PO 3/11/45
Sea Snake J.J Savage 18/1/45 31/3/45 PO 6/12/45
Tiger Snake J.J Savage 6/44 22/8/45 PO 3/11/45


Left: HMAS Tiger Snake with soldiers of
D Company, 2/17 Infantry Battalion on the Baram River, New Guinea 14th July 1945.

Contiued next page - "The Mother Ships"
HMA Ships Anaconda and Mother Snake.
Also Sumersibles and launches.
Click Here


Official Armament Consisted of Two x 20mm Oerlikon, 4 x .50 Cal Browning Heavy Machine Guns - with the exception of Diamond Snake 4 Bren Guns .303.

Displacement (Tons): - 80 (Tiger Snake 78)
Dimensions (Feet): - Length 66 Beam 15 Draught 7.6
Machinery: Gray Marine 64 YTL Diesel, Single Screw, 300Hp. Sails available.
Speed: 10 Knots
Range: 500 Miles
Crew: 9

Contiued next page - "The Mother Ships" HMA Ships Anaconda and Mother Snake. Also Sumersibles and launches. Click Here


Previous Page

Z Special Unit

Other sections in Gun Plot about Z Special Unit, Krait,
Services Reconnaisance Department (SRD) & Costwatchers

The Coastwatchers In The Pacific - HERE


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