Z Special Unit


10 February 2022
Z Special Unit Z Special Unit
New book details the exploits of the elite Allied WWII guerrilla force active in the southwest Pacific.

In this fascinating new book, expert Gavin Mortimer tells the remarkable origin story of a wartime Special Forces unit that defied the odds.

Z Special Unit, one of the most audacious but arguably the most unsung of Allied Special Forces of World War II, waged a guerrilla war against Japan for two years in the South-West Pacific. On some of their 81 operations, the unit slipped into enemy harbours in canoes and silently mined ships before vanishing into the night; on others they parachuted into the dense Borneo jungle to fight with local tribesmen against the Japanese.

However, the Japanese weren’t their only adversary in this brutal terrain. In the mango swamps and the dense jungle of the South-West Pacific they were faced with man-eating crocodiles and deadly diseases. But it was the enemy soldiers who proved the most ruthless foe, torturing and beheading those Z Special Unit commandos who fell into their hands.

Drawing on veteran interviews as well as operational reports and recently declassified SOE files, Gavin Mortimer dramatically brings to life the incredible history of this remarkable unit whose forward-thinking training, techniques and sheer guile remain a model for Special Forces operations to this day.


  • Osprey Publishing
  • Publishing date: 14 April 2022
  • ISBN 978-1-4728-4709-6
  • Hardback. £25




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