Equipment used

Equipment carried in the folboat canoe

  • Haversack with carrying straps
  • 24hrs military rations for 2 men
  • One tin opener
  • Two emergency 24hrs rations
  • Two water bottles and two thermos flasks
  • Extra clothing
  • Bundle wrapped in splash proof cover
  • Flexible map case
  • Protractor and divider
  • Pencils and stationery
  • Parallel ruler
  • Two primed mills grenades (for signaling purposes)
  • Two sten gun with magazines
  • P8 steering compass
  • Night binoculars (Taby-k model)
  • Signal distress two star red
  • One water tight torch + Six spare torch batteries
  • Four spare sten gun magazines
  • One spare compass
  • Spare torch bulbs
  • One tin adhesive tape
  • Two airbags
  • Two blow-up tubes to be laid within reach
  • First aid
  • Anchor (CQR type)
  • Brandy flask
  • Sounding lead and line
  • beach gradient reel
  • Wrist watch (water tight container)
  • Under water writing tablet and Chinagraph pencil
A depiction of the auger used by COPP to take beach sand/soil samples.
A depiction of how the naval officer used a sounding line and a distance line to take depth soundings from the beach point.
A depiction of the infrared or ‘RG’ signaling equipment.
A depiction of the rod sounder or ‘bong stick’ used to signal submarines for pick-up.
24hrs emergency rations.

Refer to the below highlights for more elaborate information on specific items from the above list:

Manufactured by Mill munitions factory, back in 1915 and remained in use for British military through World War I up till the 1970’s. These grenades were used by COPP for SUE (Signal underwater Explosive) purposes and not offensive. The grenade was primed in such a way that when the need arises, the commandos would throw it into the sea to signal the submarine their position (explosion sound picked up by submarine sonar).

This compass was provided for navigational purposes; it was fixed on a wooden bean in the canoe to help the paddler monitor his direction. Being an RAF compass model it could be adjusted just like that of an aircraft. THe P8 model was chosen since it was not disrupted by metallic objects which were carried in the canoe.

A 7 pounds non-magnetic anchor made from brass, for use with light canoe-type craft. The design used is exactly the same as the admiralty CQR pattern, used with landing craft.

Weapons and small arms used

Webley & Scott Mk IV

Manufactured by Webley & Scott, England.

Calibre: .38

Total rounds: 6

Colt 1911

Manufactured by Colt, United States of America.

Calibre: .45

Total rounds: 7

Sten Mk II

Manufactured by Birmingham Small Arms Co. / Royal Ordnance Factory, England.

Calibre: 9mm, parabellum

Total rounds: 32

Thompson M1928 A1

Manufactured by Auto-Ordnance Corp. / Savage Arms Corp, United States of America.

Calibre: .45

Rounds: 20, 30 and 50 (drum magazine)

William Ewart Fairbairn
Eric Anthony Sykes

F & S Fighting knife

Designed by Fairbairn and Sykes (pictures above) and manufactured by Wilkinson Sword Ltd, England.

This knife besides being very hand for hand-to-hand combat, became a symbolic weapon for the commandos and was used widely in conjunction with guerilla warfare training. Both Fairbairn and Sykes gave valuable support to the British army and helped create manuals for a new style of combat/warfare.

Having succeeded in inserting myself, I fastened round my waist a belt containing my revolver, commando-dagger, compass, and the gadgets necessary for taking soundings and sat down to wait for our surfacing

Lt Ralph Neville Stanbury. commanding officer,copp5

Rubberized swimming suit

Manufactured by Siebe Gormans, the rubberized swimsuit was an innovative piece of technology uniquely requested by Nigel Willmott for sole use by COPP personnel. This rubberized swimsuit was utilized by the officer which would carry beach reconnaissance, whilst the paddler behind the officer would be wearing camouflaged waterproof garments. The rubberized swimsuit offered protection against the elements and other perils eg: fish stings. Additionally it also offered positive bouncy (designed with internal inflatable tubes) to prevent drowning and aid in better swimming. Although the design of the swimsuit was made of diving rubberized material, tight-fitting cuffs, ankles and hood, the swimsuits leaked a lot of water and sometimes were very cumbersome to use. Many COPP personnel spent hours training (including training in Malta) in these suits and reported that they ended up drenched in seawater. Click here to view the original swimsuit preserved at the Imperial War Museum.

Quoting Ian Tenowden’s book – stealthily by night:

”Canoe paddlers wore camouflaged, water resistant clothing, designed to protect them from rain, wind and weather; though not designed to swim in. The officer on the other hand wore a swimsuit, designed to give him positive buoyancy and to protect him from cold, abrasions, fish stings etc. These suits were made of rubberized fabric, they had tight-fitting cuffs, ankles and hood. The suit embodied a life-jacket, inflated by mouth”.

Night vision monocular (Taby-K)

Peculiar name and top secret technology, this piece of equipment was ground zero at the time and COPP personnel put it to the test. The purpose of the Taby-K , also known as the British Type K monocular RG (Red-Green) receiver, night vision technology. The purpose of this equipment was to signal the submarine for pick-up at the rendezvous point and to also peep onto the enemy beaches at night. More technical details can be found here.

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