The SAS Historical Collection is fortunate to have on display two types of watercraft utilised in World War II Special Operations missions.
The MSC, nicknamed the ‘Sleeping Beauty’, was British designed and manufactured for a submerged attack against static enemy shipping. The MSC could be launched from a larger ‘mother ship’ or dropped near its target by parachute from a heavy bomber.
The MSC pilot wore a diving suit. The oxygen set utilised was the ‘Davis Submarine Escape Apparatus’ and was breathable for a maximum of two hours. When a long approach to target was required the majority of transit time was spent on the surface.
The final approach was made fully submerged to enable the MSC to come alongside or beneath the target ship. One or two limpet mines would then be placed against the ship’s hull. Once actioned, limpet mines had an eight hour initiation delay in order to enable a safe escape to a pick up point or rendezvous with a larger parent craft.
The ‘Sleeping Beauty’ on display in the SAS Historical Collection is a replica, hand made by apprentices of Australian Shipbuilding Industries South Coogee with sponsorship and support from the WA Department of Employment and Training. The
replica was constructed for Z Special Unit (International) Incorporated and was a project of the Australian Bi-Centenary celebrations.
This craft was donated to the SAS Historical Collection in 2011 to give it a permanent home
The MSC, nicknamed the ‘Sleeping Beauty’, was British designed and manufactured for a submerged attack against static enemy shipping. The MSC could be launched from a larger ‘mother ship’ or dropped near its target by parachute from a heavy bomber.The SAS Historical Foundation recently took possession of a World War II era folding canoe known as a FOLBOAT. These two man kayaks, forerunners of the Klepper canoes, were manufactured in the United Kingdom and later in Australia primarily for Special Operations Forces and were used in Operation JAYWICK and RIMAU. Due to their low profile and ability to be launched from a submarine they were used by Z Special Unit sabotage teams to paddle through harbour defences and place limpet mines against Japanese shipping in Singapore Harbour.
This particular kayak was provided to the SASHC from the Australian Army Intelligence Museum in Canungra Queensland as the management staff felt that the SASHC, with its link to WWII Special Operations Forces and a developing display featuring Z Special Unit and the Independent Companies/Cavalry Commando Squadrons would be a more appropriate setting for this very unique item of Special Operations equipment.