Title: ‘Z’ Special Unit’s Secret War – Operation Semut 1 – Soldiering with the head-hunters of Borneo
Author: Long, Bob
Edition: 2nd Edition
Publication Date: 1999
Cover: Soft Cover without Dust Jacket – 608 pages
Comments: An account of the operations of ‘Z’ Force commandos. Now a scarce and highly sought after title.
The author’s personal experiences with Australian Special Forces ‘Z Special Force’ Services Reconnaissance Department which involved guerrilla soldiering with the head-hunters of Japanese held Borneo during World War 2.
Z Special Unit (also known as Special Operations Executive (SOE), Special Operations Australia (SOA) or the Services Reconnaissance Department (SRD)) was a joint Allied special forces unit formed during the Second World War to operate behind Japanese lines in South East Asia. Predominantly Australian, Z Special Unit was a specialist reconnaissance and sabotage unit that included British, Dutch, New Zealand, Timorese and Indonesian members, predominantly operating on Borneo and the islands of the former Netherlands East Indies.
The unit carried out a total of 81 covert operations in the South West Pacific theatre, with parties inserted by parachute or submarine to provide intelligence and conduct guerrilla warfare. The best known of these missions were Operation Jaywick and Operation Rimau, both of which involved raids on Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour; the latter of which resulted in the deaths of twenty-three commandos either in action or by execution after capture.
Although the unit was disbanded after the war, many of the training techniques and operational procedures employed were later used during the formation of other Australian Army special forces units and they remain a model for guerrilla operations to this day.