Guns of Muschu


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"...a book as thrilling as it is important..."

Hear the ABC Radio interview with the lone survivor of the mission.

"Recently it has been quite difficult for me to find a non-fiction book I have been unable to put down – until now."
Pacific Wrecks Website

"A book that I found really engrossing "

Frank Crook, 2GB Radio June, 2007


About The Guns of Muschu

The true story of Operation "COPPER"

During the night of 11 April 1945, eight Australian Z Special commandos landed on Japanese-held Muschu Island, off the coast of New Guinea near Wewak. Their mission was to reconnoiter the island's defenses and confirm the location of two concealed naval guns that commanded the approaches to Wewak Harbour. This was vital to ensure the security of the coming landings by the Australians in one of their final major actions of WW2.

The eight Australians were dropped from their patrol boat - HDML 1321 - just on midnight, five miles north east of Muschu. They began the long paddle to the island in four kayaks but within an hour they found that unexpected ocean currents were pushing them south of their objective.

Exhausted, hours later they reached Muschu, however the mission then went horribly wrong. Unknown to them, their presence had been discovered soon after they landed.

With no means of escape, the island became a killing ground, with the Australians being hunted relentlessly by the Japanese garrison. Four of the patrol went missing during an attempt to escape by sea, and three others were captured, tortured and executed by the Japanese.

Nine days later, after fighting his way off the island, swimming the shark infested waters of the Muschu Straight to the mainland, then fighting through more Japanese patrols, the only survivor reached the Australian lines north of Wewak. The information he carried allowed the guns to be put out of action and casualties in the subsequent landings at Wewak were minimised.

This is the remarkable but true story of the only survivor.

Taken from the survivor's own diary, interviews with Australian and Japanese military personnel of the era plus Australian Army war archives, the author faithfully reconstructs the events leading up to, during and after that fateful mission.

Available in e-book and paperback


Readers' Comments

"Your detail of the operation is incredible. There are times when reading I would swear you 'd been sitting alongside me in the radio cabin of the patrol boat during our five day vigil."

Ron Reynolds
Radio Operator 1321

"I was able to visualise the descriptions of the
bush and terrain, hills and rivers, as I myself have crawled through
the jungle in those exact locations..."

"Thank you for writing the book and informing the rest of Australia of the deeds carried out by our forebears."

HDML 1321

Located in Darwin



HDML 1321, the patrol boat skippered by Lieutenant Ernie Palmer, RAN, that inserted the Z Special Patrol off Muschu Island and then assisted with the search for the lost patrol, has been located in Darwin, refitted as an adventure-dive boat and renamed MV Rushcutter.

It is hoped to raise funds to move the vessel to Sydney and restore it to its wartime configuration. An ambitious plan certainly, however HDML1321 was the first Australian built version (Featherstone's shipyards in Hobart,1943) and its war record of supporting Z Special and independent operations against the Japanese in New Guinea so impressive, makes it worthy of preservation either as a floating memorial or on permanent display.


19 October 2016

1321 SINKS!

After years of searching and negotiation, HDML1321 suddenly sank at its mooring during the night of 19th October.

A crowd funding campaign had just commenced and for a time it was assumed all was lost, however examination of the hull indicates that the sinking may have been due to a corroded sea cock.

The Darwin Harbor authority plan to raise the vessel next week and place it on hard standing. From there an assessment can be made of its condition. Preliminary examination though indicates that no major damage has been done, and provided care is taken during its raising, 1321 should still be able to be restored and returned to wartime condition.

To assist funding the raising and later restoration a new crowd funding campaign has been authorised by the owners. For information follow the links below:

NT NEWS editorial - Save HTML 1321

Make a donation here



All MIA found and identified

DNA tests prove conclusive


November 2011: Gathering of veterans involved in Operation Copper


Missing soldiers victims of War Crimes?
MIAs Identified
Read the full story of how the search was organised after information was received from a reader in the USA, and how subsequent DNA tests have confirmed their identities.
Click here to read

Commandos' horrific end


by Investigative journalist

4th October, 2013
New Releases by the Author
E-Books Available for KINDLE, IPad and other e-readers

The odds were against them

You’re the pilot of a World War Two B-17 bomber. Your mission is to fly from your base in England and bomb a target inside Germany. It’s an eight hundred mile round trip as the crow flies, but you won’t fly a direct route – instead you’ll divert over the North Sea in a feint to keep the enemy guessing. Because of this you’ll cover almost twelve hundred miles.

During the flight you’ll face swarms of German fighters and intense flak. If you manage to find the target and drop your bombs, you’ll confront the same enemy defences on the way home.

After more than six hours flying, with heavy battle damage, most of your radios shot out, fuel tanks near empty and wounded on board, you finally approach England. You’re now descending from 20,000 feet, but the weather has closed in and the cloud cover totally obscures the countryside ahead.

You have to get your aircraft down through the murk, find an airfield and land before you run out of fuel or the wounded on board die for want of medical attention. If you can’t find a break in the weather, you may have to abandon your wounded and bail out.

So what would you do?


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great space race

Now complete with Book Two - The Race to the Moon.

Did you know that the US Government intentionally prevented Wernher von Braun from launching a satellite a year before Sputnik? Or that one of his engineers had a satellite hidden in the trunk of his car, just waiting for an opportunity? That mousetrap springs were used in the Vanguard rocket to save costs?

Approx 1100 Kindle pages, including more than 250 color photos and diagrams plus links to more than 10 hours of videos on a supporting website formatted for tablet and phone screens, this e-book takes full advantage of the multimedia capability of the new generation of e-readers and tablets. For those with e-readers not having video capability, codes are provided to enable viewing on PC, mobile phone or other tablet devices.


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vietnam diary VIETNAM DIARY

February 1968. The TET Offensive

Exploding flags that attack helicopters, a sergeant who smuggles bar girls into an American field hospital, a one eyed Quartermaster who talks like a pirate, an Australian soldier who is accidentally awarded the Purple Heart and a paranoid ball bearing clicking staff officer who thinks he's Napoleon, make up just some of the characters and events in this true story.

There's even a plot to kidnap a visiting Australian politician, strip him naked and leave him in a rice field out in the boondocks - such were the sentiments towards those who were supposed to be looking out for the soldiers' welfare.

Ironically years later the same politician was found wandering in a daze, trouser-less in a Memphis hotel.

Available in e-book and in paperback (Paperback AMAZON ONLY)

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View a movie filmed in 1967 by the author from one of the squadron's aircraft



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B-52 Strike B-52 STRIKE

Big Ugly Fat Fella

The B-52 is a remarkable aircraft. First flown in 1952 as a nuclear bomber, in 1965 B-52s were modified to carry more than 60,000lbs of conventional bombs.

In the Vietnam War, using a combination of ground and airborne radar to guide formations over the target, B-52 “Arc Light” strikes were directed at VC base camps located underground and in thick jungle.

These strikes were deadly accurate, eliminating entire regiments of North Vietnamese and Vietcong troops, despite propaganda to the contrary.

This is the story about one such Arc Light Strike.

One that almost went terribly wrong.

This story is now also included as Part 2 of Vietnam War Diary February '68


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Would you disobey an Order?

Review on AMAZON

"A riveting snippet of the Vietnam War.

While out on a reconnaissance mission Recon Pilot Peter Taylor and his friend, Ned Kelly, discover an old man stranded on a strip of beach off the coast of Nui Dat. They Radio Task Force to send someone to come retrieve the man. Task Force refuses. He could be an enemy. Peter insists this is not the case. A decision has to be made.

Herein lay the crux of this powerful story. Life and death decisions have to be made. That's what this story does. For a brief time it transports you into the life and death struggles our servicemen make - not just on the battlefield but in their hearts and minds.

This is a very powerful narrative for those interested in stories about the Vietnam War."

Look Inside
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