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(For description of boats see Equipment &  Materiel.Section) 

This week's chapter in the running serial of Zap ramming, lunging, crashing and depth-charging suicide devices is a kind of Naval sequel to the Army "Liaison Boats" of the Japanese "Fishing* Battalions desbribed in Weekly Report No. 77.

The narrators of this new tale of still undaunted Japanese desperation are four PWs - a 2nd Class Petty Officer, a PO3/c, and two leading seamen - who were taken from the water by American vessels while trying to escape by swimming from CORREGIDOR to BATAAN.

These four PWs belonged to as many different Suicide Crash Boat units, and knew of the existence of four additional units. Each unit, normally comprising 150 men, was charged with the maintenance and operation of 30 crash boats. The function was to destroy the enemy by running the speedy mall craft, each operated by one man and carrying a contact-detonated explosive charge of from 250 to 300 kgs in its bow, head on into Allied vessels. In this tactic, then, the Naval Crash Boat was a little more honestly suicidal in its effect than the Army Liaison Boats with their alleged 12-foot getaway space from the hull of the victim vessel. 

The boats of these Naval suicide units were housed in CORREGIDOR tunnels. According to one of the PWs, there were ten of the boats in each of six tunnels 15 meters in from shore just SE of CAVALRY POINT. There were thirty near the N entrance of MALINTA TUNNEL. These 30, the PW asserted, required only 15 men and 5 minutes to be moved on their wheel base from the entrance to the shore. And there were other crash boats in other tunnels. For the Japanese this too was a tale of woe. The PWs reported it: 6o of the boats were destroyed in the vicinity of MONKEY POINT, and, on 15 December, 150 of them were destroyed in the area W of MALINTA HILL. Moreover, at least one of the units, the HORIUCHI, lost all of its boats and its organizing officers when the transport which carried them was sunk by an Allied submarine off the PHILIPPINES.

No instance of the effective use of so much as one of the boats has been reported to date as a reward to the Jap for the pains he took to train these units at the SASEBO Naval Base in the fall of 1944 and to set them up on CORREGIDOR. The concentration of the units in the tunnels of the ROCK suggests again a long-range enemy preparation for "an expected (amphibious)frontal attack on MANILA" and for denying the Allies the use of the Bay.

 The Jap miscalculated. The boats on CORREGIDOR presumably have been destroyed. It is, however, too early to crow. Among the craft we must keep our weather-eye open for in the future are these Naval Suicide Crash Boats.





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Made of light plywood, reinforced by wooden beams. The ones on Corregidor were powered by six-cylinder Chevrolet car engines. They were painted a sickly Sherwood Forest green.




Although nimble, and with a speed of 25 knots, the boats were easily spotted, and were easily damaged when hit. The only defence a ship had is as in the case of the suicide plane, accurate gunfire.




The Chevrolet Motor can be seen in the engine compartment, and in the boat at rear, the engine compartment cover. The design allowed the driver to push himself backwards into the water immediately before impact, theoretically to escape - though the concussion of the subsequent explosion would have made any form of escape a moot point.


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3.   Cut the detonator leads near the detonator and remove the electric detonator. Care must be taken to avoid tripping the pull igniter during steps 1 and 3.

4.   Insert a safety pin in the pull igniter located on the rear of the charge case.

5.      Out the pull wire on the igniter if it is NOT under tension. Remove the igniter and detonator. IF THE PULL WIRE IS UNDER TENSION, DO NOT ATTEMPT TO DISMANTLE, DESTROY IN PLACE.

6.      Remove the two boosters and destroy the detonators.


From the disposal point of view, the boat is inherently very dangerous to anyone unfamiliar with the switch'and circuit details. It would also be very simple to booby trap either electrically or through the pull igniter.


The, boat carries .a large charge that would be very effective against ships, The only defense a ship has is, as in the case of the suicide plane, accurate gunfire.


--Technical data furnished by MEIU
#1, Seventh Fleet Headquarters.







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