Polartec Military

Archive for the ‘Guest Post’ Category

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Australian Z and M Special Units WWII

Sunday, January 19th, 2020

I wanted to something for our brother in Australia, they are the only country that has supported the U.S. in every war we have been in since WWI. When I was growing up, “Attack Force Z” was and still is, one of my favorite movies. I have always wanted to be inserted by Klepper kayaks and blow up ships in harbor or an old bridge. 

SOE-Australia (SOA) was a WWII Special Forces and covert operations organization operating in the Pacific theater behind Japanese lines. It was made up of men and women from Australian, British, New Zealand, Canadian, South African, Indonesian, Timorese and Malay. SOA fought a secret, undercover war against the Japanese occupying force on the islands north of Australia. With the success of the British SOE unit in the European theater, Winston Churchill ordered that a similar unit be formed in the pacific. SOA was made up from many different units like the Royal Australian Navy’s  Coastwatcher’s, a propaganda unit the Far Eastern Liaison Office (FELO), the Secret Intelligence Service (SIS/SIA), a Dutch East Indies intelligence unit (NEFIS), the United States’ Philippine Regional Section (PRS, operating in the southern Philippines) and an Australian/British Special Operations group, which was to carry out missions behind enemy lines. The SOA took part in hundreds of covert operations against the Japanese and were directly responsible for eliminating thousands of enemy troops and sinking tons of ships and supplies, they paid a high price with more than eighty SOA commandos losing their lives. To maintain security, the SOA was given a cover name – Inter-Allied Services Department (IASD, mostly referred to as the ISD). It had British SOE agents that had escaped Singapore and the Dutch East Indies before it fell to the Japanese. That helped get it up and running.

SOA operators could operate in parties as small as two men, ISD Operatives faced overwhelming odds against a barbaric and increasingly desperate enemy. They conducted similar operations as many other SF groups in WWII. From Jedburgh’s type of missions (training indigenous guerrilla forces) to conduct direct action missions and raiding targets of opportunity. They also performed special reconnaissance missions close to enemy forces behind the lines.

The ISD men kept quiet about their exploits for over 50 years, and even today, the full story has never really been made public. The whole story of ISD operations during WWII is one that has been largely overlooked and misunderstood for the past 75 years. One of the main reasons for this is the misunderstanding that ISD was named Z or M Special Unit. The Z and M just referred to their administrative arm of the units. Z Special Unit was also used for requisitioning stores and transport through Australian Army channels. There are cases where Colonels were removed from transport aircraft to make room for ISD Corporals. Such was the administrative power of the Z Special Unit. So, this is how it was broken down, for Australian Army personnel and civilians assigned to ISD, and later to SRD, and as such, Z Special Unit appears on the service records of every Australian soldier who was assigned to either of those organizations. Another reason for some of the confusion is that in early 1943 the SOA was giving a new code name the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD), and the term SOA was only to be used at the highest level. Z Special Unit does not appear on the service records of RAAF, RAN or British, NZ, Canadian, or South African personnel assigned to ISD or SRD since they weren’t enlisted in the Australian Army. However, Z Special Unit or Z Force became a common term in the post-war years, even among SRD Veterans. Although it is historically inaccurate to refer to the Special Operations as Z Special Unit. So, where do M Special units fit in? During the war an Allied Special Forces Reconnaissance Team under the command of the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD.) It was the successor of the Coastwatcher’s unit. Raised in Queensland, Australia, in 1943, the unit operated behind enemy lines for long periods in the Pacific theatre, collecting intelligence such as enemy troop movements and shipping details. It was disbanded at the end of the war in 1945.  

Unlike its sister unit, M Special Unit wasn’t as well known for direct action missions. Z Special Unit was comprised of about 81 members and generally inserted via small boat, submarine, or airplane and conducted quick hit and run missions. They would also conduct intelligence-gathering operations. M Special Unit, on the other hand, operated behind enemy lines for extended periods and did long-range intelligence collection; as such, they tried to go undetected and, as such rarely engage the enemy.  

Also, all personal assigned to ISD were still listed as attached to the parent unit they came from. The reason for this was to help maintain secrecy. It was also used as a way to hide the funding for the ISD. As one of the best ways to keep something secret is never to show that money is going to them. The units never had an official insignia. You will often see a Z of M with a dagger through it. This was not made until 1970 and unfortunately, is mistaken for the units WWII symbol. 

One of ISD/SRD’s most famous Operations was called Jaywick. They used a 68-ton wooden ship. British authorities had seized the Kofuku Maru in Singapore following Japan’s entry into the war. In 1943 she was renamed Krait and assigned to the SRD. The objective of Operation Jaywick was for SRD members to attack Japanese shipping in Singapore. SRD commandos paddled into Singapore harbor in kayaks and attached limpet mines to Japanese enemy shipping. The stealthy raiders sank seven ships and about 39,000 tons of supplies and equipment before escaping home to Australia. By the time they returned nearly seven weeks later, the crew of 14 had carried out one of the most successful clandestine raids in Australian history. Throughout the war, the 70-foot wooden-hulled boat involved in the Jaywick raid, MV Krait, sank more shipping than any other ship in the Australian navy.  

In a subsequent mission to Jaywick called Operation Rimau, the raiding party was detected by the enemy, hunted down and executed. Seventeen of SRD members lie in graves at Kranji War Cemetery in Singapore. In Operation Copper, eight men landed on an island off New Guinea to disable enemy guns before the Allied landing. Discovered by the Japanese, three commandos were captured, tortured, and executed. Four others escaped and fled out to sea, but only one made it home.

No matter what their name was or what they are called now, the units of WWII are the forefathers of today’s Special Forces in Australian and New Zealand and helped end the war.

www.australiansas.com/Establis%20SF

 

Kit Badger – AMTAC Shooting Force on Force Review

Saturday, January 18th, 2020

Kit Badger attended the AMTAC Shooting Force on Force class and provides this review.

For full details including kit he used, visit kitbadger.com/force-on-force-with-amtac-shooting.

FirstSpear Friday Focus – SHOT Show 2020

Friday, January 17th, 2020

Be sure to add FirstSpear to your list of must sees at the SHOT Show, Booth 6203 on the 1st floor in the Casanova Ballroom. Check out the latest advancements in land and maritime based protective equipment and technology and while your are there enter to win the first prototype design sample of the Streetwalker, just one of the new items FS is debuting at the show. Stay tuned for more details and photos from the show floor.

first-spear.com

Brigantes Present: UK visitors and Brigantes at SHOT Show 2020

Wednesday, January 15th, 2020

The Shot Show has long held an important role in the capability development of the UK.  This key opportunity to discuss needs with businesses and engage with our cousins across the pond is invaluable to the ongoing evolution of British military units.

At this time of flux the need is greater than ever, with the UK land forces looking closely at the missions it conducts and the equipment that it uses.  The proliferation of non-state actors using conventional tactics and state actors using unconventional tactics has required a deep rethink on how the British conduct business and therefore leads to opportunity for innovative companies.

Key to the interests of the brands and business at Shot is the desire to decrease the time required to develop capability and deliver effect to the men and women on the front line.  To that end Brigantes will be working alongside its partners in Team Wendy, Outdoor Research and Point Blank to discuss developments in personal protection and clothing with UK military units.

In addition to helping host UK visitors Brigantes is, for the first time, bringing some of the product developments that it has worked on with Helix, Silva, Scarpa, Snigel and Montane to the show for US visitors to get a chance to see and touch.  These items will be with Mountain Horse on the Global Ordnance stand (3017).

If you wish to chat through any of the products covered by Brigantes or have questions about engaging with UK and European opportunities then please do not hesitate to get in touch.

For more information contact warrior@brigantes.com

For international enquiries: international@brigantes.com

 

SureFire Field Notes Ep 53: How to Control a .308 AR with Barry Dueck

Tuesday, January 14th, 2020

SureFire Field Notes is a multi-segment informational video series with tips and techniques from subject matter experts of all backgrounds. In this episode, Barry Dueck discusses how to control large caliber semi-auto carbines.

Barry Dueck is a former Marine, owner of Dueck Defense Inc, champion competitive shooter and VP of Suppressors and Weapons at SureFire LLC. Barry is also the architect of SureFire’s SOCOM suppressors, winner of the most rigorous and extensive suppressor evaluation in history. Barry’s knowledge comes from his military experience, expertise in the firearms industry as a designer, and also from being a 3-Gun Champion, IPSC Grandmaster and USA Team World Shoot gold medalist.

dueckdefense.com

www.surefire.com

 

SCUBAPRO Sunday – Extra Masks

Sunday, January 12th, 2020

When you first learn how to dive, whether it is a military school or civilian. They will talk about, extra items you should carry with you. One of the most important is an extra mask/ mask strap. When I was going through training, we were doing our final FTX dive. It was a ship attack in San Diego harbor on a ship that was used for paintball training for the fleet. I was not the driver, so my job was to hang out and make sure my dive buddy didn’t hit his head on the pier, ship, or anything else. About 10 minutes in my mask started to flood. No matter what I did, I couldn’t get it to stop. I checked my hood, the strap, the seal, took it off and put it back on. I had no hair at that point, so that wasn’t it. Nothing that I did fixed it. As we were in training, we were not allowed to have two masks. So, I spent 3 hours with my mask filling up and me draining it. As I was doing this, my swim buddy hit his head twice. After the dive, I blamed it on him saying he was swimming too fast, and that was why he kept hitting his head. He knew I was lying, and I ended up buying him a steak dinner. When I got to a team and went through STT diving, the first thing I did was get an extra mask. I have never dove without two masks ever since.  

As you can probably tell, I didn’t go through training last year, it has been a while, and there have been a lot of advancements in gear that is used on the land and in the water. So here are just a few things to think about before you dive.

Let start at the beginning of the dive. You are about to jump in the water you put your mask on and the strap breaks. At some point, almost all straps will break. Rubber can dry rot over time. It will most likely happen when you are putting it on, as this is the time you stretch it the most. This is why all dive supervisor kits should have extra mask and fin straps. If they have one, use theirs before you use the one on you. There are new mask straps called Comfort straps from SCUBAPRO. They are made from a similar material to ski goggles, and they will not break. At some point, they will lose their elasticity, but again this should only happen at the start of a dive, and they are straightforward to change out.  

Now you are in the water, and you are turtle-backing to the point you are going to start your dive; it is cold; the seas are crap, and you are getting pushed around. You and your swim-buddy get to your start point as you are putting you mask on a penguin pops up out of the water. Your swim-buddy screams and throws his mask and it sinks to the bottom. He goes by the theory of (travel light and mooch) so he doesn’t have an extra mask. But you were taught to have an extra mask, so you give him yours. An excellent place to keep an extra mask is in an old M16 pouch on the belt that holds your rebreather to your waist. It is right at hand and easy to find in the dark. These are one of the best pouches ever made if it unbuckled anything inside won’t dump out. It was designed to hold three fully loaded 30round magazine upside down and not lose anything, even when unbuckled. I usually put a extra mask and fin strap in it.  

You can carry an extra mask or just the strap. If you are doing a longer dive and you have to cut back on the size of additional items, some people like to carry a smaller mask as their extra one. There are some excellent smaller masks out there. The Scubapro’s Steel Pro is a great mask if you need to carry something smaller. It uses the same comfort strap and can be tucked away in a small pocket without doing any harm to the skirts.  

Now let’s say you are on a dive. You are sent in to cut the steel net that will keep your submarines from getting into shore, and you come upon some other combat swimmers. They were sent out to stop you. While you are fighting underwater, you know with knives. In the heat of the battle, you lose your mask. So, once you win the fight (let’s hope you have been to underwater knife fight school) (if there is one, I am not saying there is) (I signed paperwork saying I wouldn’t talk about it). Now since you have an extra mask, you can pull it out and slap it on and go back to cutting the net. 

 

All kidding aside, having an extra mask and/or mask strap will make your life a lot better, something else you can put in there is some defog, that you can put on your mask if it keeps fogging or if you are putting your extra one on that hasn’t been treated. Again, this will make your life underwater a lot better. 

 

 

Jaws Spit is nice and thick and can be applied underwater, so it is ideal for use on a mask underwater, and it is small and can be kept in the same mag pouch as the extra mask. It is also good for use before the dive.

 

If you never have to use any of this stuff when you are underwater, you are a lucky person, but I hope you won’t take that chance, and you keep this stuff on you or make your swim buddy carry it. (travel light and mooch)

Air Force to Solicit 75th Birthday Theme Ideas

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

ARLINGTON, Va. (AFNS) —

In preparation for its 75th anniversary, Sept. 18, 2022, the Air Force is soliciting birthday theme ideas from Total Force Airmen and civilians. Every year in September, the Department of the Air Force dedicates a theme to celebrate the Air Force’s birthday.

Some of the past themes include, “Frontiers of Blue… This is 72!”, ”Focusing on heritage, warfighting capability and innovation,” “American Airman… Wingman, Leader, Warrior,” and “Breaking Barriers!”

Concepts for the 75th birthday theme should consider inclusiveness of multi-domain operations, capture Airmen’s innovation and reflect the Air Force’s heritage over the last 75 years. Considered themes should be short, concise, catchy and memorable (e.g. the 70th anniversary theme was “Breaking Barriers”). Submissions must also be in good taste.

All submissions and voting will take place through the IdeaScale website.

The submission and voting timeline is as follows:

– The competition submission period will be from Jan. 6-31, 2020.

– The voting window will be from Feb. 24 – March 6, 2020.

The best qualified submissions will be considered and sent to the chief of staff of the Air Force, the vice chief of staff of the Air Force, the Air Force director of staff and the chief master sergeant of the Air Force for the final decision.

The winner will be announced around April 1, 2020.

The winner will receive an all-expense paid trip to the Air Force Association’s Air, Space & Cyber Conference in September 2022, to attend the 75th Air Force birthday celebration and meet the CSAF and CMSAF.

Airmen and civilians with ideas should submit them online at usaf.ideascalegov.com/a/ideas/recent/campaigns/101, when the submission window opens.

Keen – The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Hiking Boots

Saturday, January 11th, 2020

The Ultimate Guide to Choosing the Right Hiking Boots

Keen has a blog post on their site detailing how to choose the right hiking boots for your needs. The post goes into the various styles of boots, how to fit your boots, materials and composition, and even care. You can check out the full post at the link below.

www.keenfootwear.com/guidesreviews/blog-article-20039