Tag Archives: limpet mines

Museum ship adding to real-world training

In the Western Pacific, both Australia and Japan could see an increase in American flattops crowding their ports in a time of heightened tensions. The thing is, likely opponents in the region who carriers and LHD/LHAs would be arrayed against field well-trained and likely very dedicated frogman forces who can use some decidedly old-school methods to keep such vessels sidelined.

So how do you train for that?

Well, Clearance Divers from the Royal Australian Navy and the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force recently conducted a combined training activity, involving the clearance and removal of limpet mines, on the USS Midway Museum Ship in San Diego, California during the current Rim of the Pacific (RIMPAC) 2022 exercises. Ex-USS Midway (CVB/CVA/CV-41) provides a great static training installation as the 1,000-foot long, 65,000-ton warship is the only supercarrier in the world that is preserved as a museum. 

Now that makes a lot of sense.

Special Z at work

When I was a kid, one of my favorite movies was “Attack Force Z” an early Sam Neil/Mel Gibson flick based loosely on the Z Special Unit joint commandos that ripped up Japanese held islands throughout WWII. Fascinating history behind these units.

Speaking of, above is some really remarkable color footage shot in the remote bush of Fraser Island in Queensland, well away from the public gaze, showing the art of bushwhacking as taught more than 70 years ago to the unit. Besides lots of really great images of the Australian Owen submachine gun in use, there are counter knife attacks, Folboats, Jungle Hammocks, How to use weapons, setting limpet mines to blow up shipping, bush survival skills, and fighting in unarmed combat.

The film was produced by one Dr. Tate.

From ABC.au: 

By the 1940s, Dr. Tate was an accredited army photographer, filming in New Guinea and as far as history records, the only person invited to document the activities of the so-called Z Special Unit.

His son Peter Tate, who inherited much of his father’s slides and film, remembers seeing off cuts of the Fraser Island footage as a child.

“There were a lot of naked guys running around a wrecked ship and fellows pretending to knife each other,” Mr. Tate said.

He recalls his father “going off to the camp and coming back with a lot of sample weapons”.