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Info on WWII Photo with Indigenous Soldiers
Old 06-26-2019, 01:21 PM   #1
Asterperious
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Default Info on WWII Photo with Indigenous Soldiers

Does anyone know what unit this may be? I see some pieces of insignia, but these guys look pretty rough around the edges so I thought I'd ask before I list them for sale.

Thanks!
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Old 06-26-2019, 06:51 PM   #2
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My first impression is New Guinea.
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Old 06-27-2019, 03:47 AM   #3
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Definitely Melanesian native troops. They could be New Guinean's, Solomon Islanders or Fijians. The NZ Army trained Fijians into a tracker and commando force, and these guys could be trackers of some sort typically inserted behind Japanese lines in the Pacific war. The caucasian troops are probably Australian or New Zealand, (Aussie Owen SMG), rather than US troops. The 3rd NZ division in the Solomon Island battles in September 1943 wore US HBT uniforms and "combat utility cap" as seen here. The Fijians were also used at Bougainville and had a good reputation. The New Guinean and Solomon trackers had less military training and less kitted out with uniforms and weapons. So I would lean to this being a Fijian commando unit with it's New Zealand officer (2nd photo) and other NZ troops.

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Old 06-27-2019, 04:41 AM   #4
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Are they in a sub?
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Old 06-27-2019, 05:58 AM   #5
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Could be a sub but hard to tell. It does not look like a RN, RAN or RNZN ship I would say US Navy ans most likley a sub.

Love the assortment of weapons, Owens guns, M1 carbine and I think a 20 gauge shotgun
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:32 AM   #6
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great pics, very interesting
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Old 06-27-2019, 10:58 AM   #7
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I found the link where I had seen this photograph before while trying to locate any information on an Australian coast watcher beret I purchased. Per this article these are West Papuan troops.

https://www.freewestpapua.org/2016/0...of-west-papua/
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Old 06-28-2019, 06:33 AM   #8
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So I had a look at a few book I have about and I think I can definatly say the photo was taken in a US Sub.

It is not the torpedo room but most likely the upper berthing compartment that would be over the main battery just behind the conning tower.

My guess would be a Gato class ship. I will check a few more books I have handy to see it any of the war patrols have trips to drop off PNG soilders behind the lines
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Old 06-28-2019, 07:54 AM   #9
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Wow guys, I never thought this much info would surface. I really appreciate the help thus far!
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Old 06-28-2019, 01:49 PM   #10
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Just found some pics on the web, looking at the very large "eyes" above and below the bunks left and right on the lower pic I believe they are in one of the sub torpedo rooms. Probably aft. The eyes were used to lash down the fish.

I suspect the raiding party is on a specific "drop" and lodged their for the trip, looks like large containers of packages under the bunks. Dingy packs perhaps instead of the torps.

Subs are tight and you cant ditch crew, so something has to give for a party of that size. That leaves the forward torpedo room for defensive/offensive on the way back. Silent/ no attacks on the way out so you don't compromise position or screw the primary task up.

comments welcome
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:31 AM   #11
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No this is the Upper crew berth not the fore or aft TR. They never went to sea without a full load of fish even on a mission to drop someone off. It would be next to impossable to take a pic in a fully loaded TR without seeing a fish.

Normally they would be under orders not to engage until they dropped off thier passengers then it was a regular war patrol after that.


The aft TR was very cramped on all US subs and only a few maybe 6 sailors spept in there. The US subs where cruise ships compared to the other subs especally the British this was remarked on my many non US sailors who visited a US sub.


What you are seeing is the day stoeage (1940s) of the births (racks). With the racks in thier upper possiong so sailors could cross the compartment without having to dodge around racks etc.

Later configution call the Hot berth was used so it was easier to cross the compartment.

Last edited by byterock; 07-01-2019 at 10:36 AM.
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Old 07-01-2019, 10:45 AM   #12
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Great photos would be great to know the story behind them. Rob
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Old 07-01-2019, 01:50 PM   #13
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Finally found the mission for this one

The third war patrol of USS Dace (SS-247) (Gato class) from 18 March~13 May 44

"On 20th March embarked a group of commandos at Langemak Bay"
20~24th scouted the coast around Hollandia, New Guinea, landing the commando parties and taking them back on board at night."

She refueled at Manus on 27 and 28

I will see if I can find thier log on-line or digitized (some have been but might thak a while)

Opps found a fist peson account of the patrol

https://thelastcoastwatcher.wordpres...north-as-a-cw/

Both photos have been cropped and in the cropped phots you can tell it is the main crew bething compartment.

Would have to have a look at the log to see if they left some crew of the first part of the patrol to make room for these 12
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Old 07-01-2019, 09:23 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by byterock View Post
Finally found the mission for this one

The third war patrol of USS Dace (SS-247) (Gato class) from 18 March~13 May 44

"On 20th March embarked a group of commandos at Langemak Bay"
20~24th scouted the coast around Hollandia, New Guinea, landing the commando parties and taking them back on board at night."

She refueled at Manus on 27 and 28

I will see if I can find thier log on-line or digitized (some have been but might thak a while)

Opps found a fist peson account of the patrol

https://thelastcoastwatcher.wordpres...north-as-a-cw/

Both photos have been cropped and in the cropped phots you can tell it is the main crew bething compartment.

Would have to have a look at the log to see if they left some crew of the first part of the patrol to make room for these 12

n 22 March 1944, the party of twelve (including six natives) stood off the coast of Hollandia by submarine. Harris decided to lead a reconnaissance party of five (including two natives) ashore, but the surf had not been recognised as a threat and their rubber boat was capsized, losing much equipment. A prearranged signal to the submarine to abort the following party was misinterpreted as a possible native campfire, and the following two rubber boats were already on their way, with similar results!

The entire forlorn party of eleven (one who was ill had remained on board the submarine) was now all ashore, with little equipment or food, limited weaponry and no radio!

Unfortunately the local natives (who had been under duress from the Japanese occupiers) gave the party up and it was ambushed by the Japanese. After a four hour battle, ‘Blue’ Harris was tied to a tree, tortured and bayoneted to death whilst others were killed, including the signaller who replaced me, Jack Bunning!
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Old 07-07-2019, 04:25 AM   #15
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That's interesting, but doesn't it conflict with the sub's log in the previous post saying the commandos were taken on board at night. If they never returned, why is that not in the log? Dates seem to match.
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