The Clearance Diving Branch is the specialist diving unit of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) whose versatile role covers all spheres of military diving, and includes explosive ordnance disposal and maritime counter-terrorism. The Branch has evolved from traditional maritime diving, and explosive ordnance disposal, to include a special operations focus.
|Clearance Diving Branch|
Clearance Diving Branch Badge
|Branch||Royal Australian Navy|
|Part of||Mine Warfare and Clearance Diving Group|
|Garrison/HQ||HMAS Waterhen, New South Wales|
HMAS Stirling, Western Australia
|Motto(s)||United and Undaunted|
|Decorations||Meritorious Unit Citation|
Presidential Unit Citation (United States)
Navy Unit Commendation (United States)
Meritorious Unit Commendation (United States)
The RAN has used divers on a regular basis since the 1920s, but it was not until World War II that clearance diving operations came to the fore, with RAN divers working alongside Royal Navy divers to remove naval mines from British waters, and from the waters of captured ports on the European mainland such as Hugh Syme, John Mould, George Gosse and Leon Goldsworthy all highly decorated. RAN divers were also used in performing duties including reconnaissance of amphibious landing sites. The skills learned in the European theatre were brought back to Australia, and used in the war against Japan. After the war, RAN divers were used during the clean-up of Australian and Papua New Guinea waters of defensive mines.
The utility of clearance and commando divers demonstrated during and after World War II prompted the Australian Commonwealth Naval Board to establish a clearance diving branch within the RAN in 1951. Divers were initially attached to the Underwater Research and Development Unit, based at HMAS Rushcutter. In 1956, they were organised into a separate Mobile Clearance Diving Team. In March 1966, the divers underwent further reorganisation, splitting into two Clearance Diving Teams. Clearance Diving Team 1 (CDT 1) was the operational team assigned to mine clearance and reconnaissance operations throughout the Australia Station, while Clearance Diving Team 2 (CDT 2) was dedicated to mine warfare in the Sydney area, but was not cleared for operations outside this area.
In late 1966, Clearance Diving Team 3 (CDT 3) was established specifically for deployment to the Vietnam War to assist the overworked United States Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal units, and to give RAN personnel in clearance diving work in an operational environment. Sending CDT 1 or CDT 2, in full or in part, would have impacted on the teams' existing commitments, along with the continuity of training and postings. CDT 3 was formed from available personnel; this was sufficient to keep a six-man team on station in Vietnam from early 1967 until early 1971, with six-month deployments. CDT 3 was disbanded at the end of the Vietnam War, but the designation is reactivated for overseas wartime deployments, including in 1991 for the Gulf War, and again in 2003 for the Iraq War.
The Clearance Diving Branch consists of units:-
For overseas operational deployments, the designation of Clearance Diving Team Three (AUSCDT3) is used for a specifically formed team.
The Royal Australian Naval Reserve has eight Reserve Diving Teams (ANRDT) which provide supplementary or surge capability in support of regular CDTs in addition to localised fleet underwater taskings:
5. Maritime counter terrorism-explosive ordnance disposal (MCT-EOD):
A Clearance Diver may be posted to a Clearance Diving Team, Huon Class Minehunter Coastal ship, training position in the Australian Defence Force Diving School at HMAS Penguin and can apply to serve in the Tactical Assault Group-East (TAG-E).
Since January 2002, Special Duties Units of Clearance Divers from AUSCDT1 and AUSCDT4 have provided the maritime counter terrorism element of Tactical Assault Group-East (TAG-E), attached to the Australian Army 2nd Commando Regiment, which became operational on 22 July 2002 to respond to terrorist incidents in the Eastern States of Australia. Clearance Divers need to successfully pass the Army Special Forces Screen Test and then successfully complete specific elements of Commando Reinforcement Training before serving in either the water platoon as an assaulter or in the water sniper team in the sniper platoon. Service in TAG-E is normally 12 to 18 months online before rotating back into the Branch with divers able to rotate back into TAG-E after 12 to 18 months offline.
The RAN's diver training program is centred on a 10-day clearance diver acceptance test (CDAT), colloquially known as "hell week". Recruits begin each day at 02:00, and are put through over thirty staged dives designed to test their strength and endurance.
Upon passing selection recruits must successfully pass a number of specialist course to become fully qualified. The Basic Clearance Diver Course spans 37 weeks whilst the Advanced Clearance Diver Course and the Clearance Diving component of the Mine warfare and Clearance Diving Officers course spans 41 weeks.
The MCT-EOD role requires clearance divers to be familiar with TAG specialist insertion techniques including diving, fast roping and parachuting to be able to integrate into the unit to provide IED expertise.
Clearance Diving Team refers to a team of Clearance divers, originally specialist naval divers who used explosives underwater to remove obstructions to make harbours and shipping channels safe to navigate, but later the term "clearance diver" was used to include other naval underwater work.
Clearance Diving Team may also refer to:
One of the two Clearance Diving Teams of the Clearance Diving Branch (RAN), unit of the Royal Australian Navy (RAN), which is responsible for combat diving, clearance diving, maritime counter-terrorism and underwater repairsFrogman
A frogman is someone who is trained in scuba diving or swimming underwater in a tactical capacity that includes police or military work. Such personnel are also known by the more formal names of combat diver, combatant diver, or combat swimmer. The word frogman first arose in the stage name The Fearless Frogman of Paul Boyton in the 1870s and later was claimed by John Spence, an enlisted member of the U.S. Navy and member of the OSS Maritime Unit, to have been applied to him while he was training in a green waterproof suit.The term frogman is occasionally used to refer to a civilian scuba diver. Some sport diving clubs include the word Frogmen in their names. The preferred term by scuba users is diver, but the frogman epithet persists in informal usage by non-divers, especially in the media and often referring to professional scuba divers, such as in a police diving role.In the U.S. military and intelligence community, divers trained in scuba or CCUBA who deploy for tactical assault missions are called "combat divers". This term is used to refer to US Army Special Forces (aka Green Berets) Combat Divers, Navy SEALs/Naval Special Warfare, operatives of the CIA's Special Activities Division, elements of Marine Recon, Special Amphibious Reconnaissance Corpsmen, Army Ranger Regimental Reconnaissance Company members, Air Force Pararescue, Air Force Combat Controllers, United States Air Force Special Operations Weather Technicians, and the Navy Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) units. In Britain, police divers have often been called "police frogmen".Some countries' tactical diver organizations include a translation of the word frogman in their official names, e.g., Denmark's Frømandskorpset; others call themselves "combat divers" or similar. Others call themselves by indefinite names such as "special group 13" and "special operations unit".Many nations and some irregular armed groups deploy or have deployed combat frogmen.Index of underwater diving
See the Glossary of underwater diving terminology for definitions of technical terms, jargon, diver slang and acronyms used in underwater diving
See the Outline of underwater diving for a hierararchical listing of underwater diving related articles
See the Index of underwater divers for an alphabetical listing of articles about underwater divers
See the Index of recreational dive sites for an alphabetical listing of articles about places which are recreational dive sitesThe following index is provided as an overview of and topical guide to underwater diving:
Underwater diving can be described as all of the following:
A human activity – intentional, purposive, conscious and subjectively meaningful sequence of actions. Underwater diving is practiced as part of an occupation, or for recreation, where the practitioner submerges below the surface of the water or other liquid for a period which may range between seconds to order of a day at a time, either exposed to the ambient pressure or isolated by a pressure resistant suit, to interact with the underwater environment for pleasure, competitive sport, or as a means to reach a work site for profit or in the pursuit of knowledge, and may use no equipment at all, or a wide range of equipment which may include breathing apparatus, environmental protective clothing, aids to vision, communication, propulsion, maneuverability, buoyancy and safety equipment, and tools for the task at hand.Minedykkerkommandoen
Minedykkerkommandoen (MDK) or Norwegian Naval EOD Command is a clearance diver group. MDK is subordinate to Norwegian Navy Special Warfare Group Marinens Jegervåpen, which is a division of the Royal Norwegian Navy. MDK is located at Haakonsvern Naval Base in Bergen and Ramsund Naval Base, in vicinity of Harstad.
The Commando is part of the naval contribution to the Norwegian Armed Forces Intervention Force, and the command's personnel have taken part in operations in Afghanistan, Iraq, Baltic states and Mediterranean, among others. The unit is often on assignment for the Norwegian Police Service with bomb disposal.Minentaucher
For other nations' naval work divers, see Clearance Diver.Minentaucher (Mine Clearance Divers) are particularly trained military divers of the German Navy. Their operational areas are:
Searching, identifying, and removing or salvaging underwater weapons such as mines or explosives in the water.
Servicing underwater drones.
Removing weapons in water and ashore, in particular removing explosives attached by enemies to hulls and underwater equipment.
Rescuing and salvaging.Mine Clearance Divers are highly qualified specialists, who are stationed partly on board schwimmenden Einheiten (= "swimming units"), which can be ordered to be in standby if necessary. A part of the trained mine clearance divers is available as a special-purpose force in the mine clearance diver company in Eckernförde.
In 2001 the Bataillon Spezialisierter Kräfte (= "Battalion of Specialized Forces") was separated from the German commando frogmen group.
The Bataillon Spezialisierter Kräfte (SEK M) (= "Specialized Task Forces Battalion" was formed by the transformation of 2003. SEK M was divided further into the Kampfschwimmerkompanie (= "combat diver company", one mine clearance diver company, and two naval companies for special employments (e.g. boarding ships), a training inspection, and further support elements. On 1 April 2014 the Minentaucherkompanie became an integral part of the newly formed Naval Force Protection Battalion (Seebataillon).See de:Bild:MiTa Wappen.JPG for the coat of arms of the Minentaucherkompanie.Outline of underwater diving
The following outline is provided as an overview of and topical guide to underwater diving:
Underwater diving – as a human activity, is the practice of descending below the water's surface to interact with the environment.Royal Australian Navy minesweeping after World War II
Following World War II the Royal Australian Navy (RAN) was required to clear naval mines from the waters around Australia and New Guinea. Minesweeping in these areas began in December 1945 and was completed in August 1948. One ship, the Bathurst class corvette HMAS Warrnambool, was sunk during these operations.Tactical assault group
A Tactical Assault Group (TAG) is an Australian Defence Force special forces unit tasked with responding to counter-terrorism incidents in Australia on land and maritime environments and also with conducting overseas special recovery operations.At present there are two tactical assault groups based on opposite sides of the country. As such they are individually identified as being either TAG East, based in Sydney or TAG West, based in Perth. Both groups are structured to conduct offensive domestic counter-terrorist operations focusing on direct action and hostage recovery.Each assault group maintains a short notice capability to conduct military operations beyond the scope of State and Federal Police Tactical Groups. These aims are achieved through various highly specialised skill sets, niche capabilities and supporting Australian Defence Force (ADF) units such as those from the Special Operations Engineer Regiment and 171st Aviation Squadron.
|Royal Australian |