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Huckebein_UK
07-12-2005, 11:52 AM
Hi there all. I was just describing the part played by elite forces of various types during World War Two to a friend, and realised something horrible: I could list offhand the SAS and 617 Squadron for Britain, the Sturmgruppe and Jagdverband 44 for the Germans (I know JV 44 wasn't the same sort of elite unit, but I explained that to him http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif ) and the Kamikaze units from Japan, but couldn't think of any comparable American or Russian units. Please help me! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_frown.gif

I don't think the Guards Regiments count, as they were just fighter squads honoured for being particularly successfull. What I mean is elite (and usually small) units/ services formed specifically to or who ended up undertaking especially dangerous and difficult specialised missions.

Thanks. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

Aero_Shodanjo
07-12-2005, 11:58 AM
How about the Red Guard(?) for the Russian side?

I read it somewhere that the Germans considered them more dangerous in the air than the rest of Russian pilots. Their planes were painted all red.

Then how about Eprobungsgruppe 210(?) in the German side that specialized in precision bombing attack (using Me-110) during battle of britain? That unit was considered as an elite squadron in the luftwaffe.

Ofcourse, I may be wrong though. So please someone correct me.

VW-IceFire
07-12-2005, 12:02 PM
Any of the Russian Guards units were considered elite and the German pilots usually regarded these pilots with more respect and consideration than the regular Russian pilots.

One Luftwaffe pilot remarked that he thought that the British were the best flyers followed by the Americans followed by the Russians, except the Red Guards which he thought were as good as the British. Just what he said...

Not sure if this Luftwaffe pilot ever met the USAAFs 56th Fighter Group in action...may have re-evaluated the list a bit. Apparently these guys were top notch fighter pilots...flying P-47s almost exclusively from start to finish of the USAAFs involvement in Europe.

Anyways, add the the 56th to your list. Very good combat record.

Not sure if any RAF/Commonwealth squadrons really stand out in my mind. They all seemed to have good records. The Polish RAF units were considered very dangerous to fly against.

horseback
07-12-2005, 12:37 PM
For infantry type units, any British or American parachute infantry would have to be considered elite, and certainly the British SAS.

The 23rd FG, heirs to the Flying Tigers would also have to get consideration as an elite outfit-they more or less all by themselves gave the Japanese fits in China, flying P-40s until mid 1944. 112 Squadron has to get a mention for their job in the Western Desert (and for originating the Shark-Mouth scheme for P-40s).

Many US Navy and Marine fighter squadrons would deserve consideration, although since each combat tour made it an almost entirely new incarnation of the unit, you might want to specify dates and COs. Put Fighting 15, led by David McCampbell from June to November 1944, near the top of the list. The ENTERPRISE seemed to consistantly field a good combat team in the air as well...

Also, the 475th FG, formed in the Southwest Pacific on P-38s with the best of the combat pilots GEN Kenney could pry away from their original units, is as close as you would get to a 'hand-picked' elite group in th ePacific USAAF.

In the naval arena, Arleigh (Thirty One Knot) Burke's 'Little Beavers' Destroyer Group was quite effective, and US submariners did establish a pretty good record, both in the Pacific. Someone else will have to name the outstanding RN ASW units in the North Atlantic, but they did a helluva job...

cheers

horseback

Kernow
07-12-2005, 12:41 PM
KG100 was the original pathfinder unit from the night blitz on Britain and was regarded as 'special' throughout the war. Although I read recently that they had lost combat experience by the time they started using the remote controlled glider bombs during the Italian campaign. Although still elite in the sense of specially trained they apparently released the glider bombs too early on occasion due to relatively light flak, which wasn't really dangerous. However, by that stage of the war the German bomber arm had lost most of its experienced crews. The RAF - and USAAF - borrowed the idea and had specially trained, experienced crews in their own pathfinder sqns.

These are all elite units, the SAS and the like, which you also mentioned, are special forces. If there are any air equivalents they would not be fighter or bomber units, but transport and liaison types flying Dakotas, Lysanders, Storchs, even gliders etc.

The closest to a proper 'special' air unit might be Cochran's 1st Air Commando, an American unit set up to support Wingate's second Chindit operation in Burma. After the 'fly in' to various jungle clearings behind Japanese lines, engineers rapidly set up airheads into which the 300 ac of the Air Commando were flown.

At first Wingate just wanted air transport for the fly in and for resupply, but Cochran convinced him that it would be better to have a whole lot more: B-25s, Mustangs as well as the liaison and transport types.

To operate and maintain his 300 ac Cochran chose just 300 men - clearly the ability to do more than one job was needed! Pilots who had just located an enemy target in their Stinson would land and straight away go and attack the same target in something a little more suitable.

Results of the second Chindit were disappointing, largely due to the death of Wingate in an air crash at an early stage. No one else really had the vision to conduct the sort of war Wingate had in mind. Despite that the support provided by the 1st Air Commando was everything, and more, that could have been desired.

Cochran went on to Europe and drew up ambitious plans to seize airheads deep inside Germany, which, with almost total allied air supremacy, could have been supplied by flights into the captured airfields. However, by then the ground war was moving so quickly that the plans were not needed.

Chuck_Older
07-12-2005, 01:21 PM
How about P-51 units made up of ex-bomber pilots? Pathfinders, if I recall? They'd scope out the bombing areas prior to the raids, note actual weather, etc

The US Army wasn't really taken with the idea of special units in general before and even during WWII. Groups like the 82nd and 101st and Ranger outfits were notable exceptions but in the main, special units were deemed unnessecary. Even snipers

stathem
07-12-2005, 01:58 PM
As far as I recall, the Russians had some s*** hot partisan groups behind the lines, but I think they were kind of irregular, not sure how much control the Red Army had of them. Similar jobs to the SAS in the desert.

No details thou'.

Huckebein_UK
07-12-2005, 02:12 PM
Thanks for the replies.

I forgot about KG 100 and Eprobungsgruppe 210; they should probably make it in. As Kernow noted though, I really meant 'special forces', that were either originally conceived in order to, or ended up being used to take on special duties. 617's Dambuster and Bielefeld Viaduct raids are a good example, the SAS' numerous 'commando-style' raids, and the Sturmgruppe's 'Sturmbock' attacks.

The Red Guards, 56th FG etc. etc. were crewed by outstandingly good pilots, but always remained standard fighter squadrons, performing bog-standard fighter squadron duties...

Thanks for the help - I'll keep looking, just in case. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

ronison
07-12-2005, 03:37 PM
Chuck_Older I have done some reading about the path finders but in none of it did I read about x bomber pilots flying any kind of aircraft. What I did read was about Navagators and crews going to spcial schools set up to path find from their spacific bomber. These crews usuly lead their groups to the targets. I will have to find the book I have and give you the title so you can read what I have.

As far as what you said I am not disputing it because though I know alot about WWII there is simply too much for one person to know it all. If you have a title of a book that has this infromation I would be very interested in it.

Also as far as elite groups two come to mind that are kinda in that line. US Navy Seebees and the US Navy underwater demilitions squads, the precursers to todays Seals.

Chuck_Older
07-12-2005, 03:55 PM
Well, I guess I got the name wrong, but that's why I said "if I recall correctly"

But I am quite sure of the group's existence. Note that that doesn't mean an entire "fighter group".

horseback
07-12-2005, 03:57 PM
Before that particular misconception gets any farther, the SeaBees are simply the Naval equivalent of the Army's combat engineers. Since the Marines don't do a lot of that sort of thing, it fell to the Navy to provide expeditionary construction battalions. My last assignment in the USN was at the Naval Amphibious Base Coronado, where both the SEALs and SeaBees can be found in numbers.

Believe me, the difference is night and day. SEALs are very fit, very smart, very motivated, intensely trained and educated troops. SeaBees are construction workers who wear camoflaged fatigues.

cheers

horseback

Chuck_Older
07-12-2005, 04:53 PM
Coronado in California? Beautiful place, although I only saw the Navy base in San Diego- my friend's sister still serves, I'm 100% civvie.


As far as the ex-bomber pilots thing goes:
http://www.littlefriends.co.uk/sfx.html

I was thinking special forces, airborne, D-Day pathfinders apparently

Navigating Littlefriends is easy, menu is on the right. Very nice site, actually

I think the Scouting Forces qualify as a Special Unit of the USAAF

~EDIT
Actually, that seems a great idea for a campaign...

Chuck_Older
07-12-2005, 04:55 PM
Horseback- i just re-read ronison's post.

I am 100% sure he means that two specials groups are 1) Seabees and 2) UDT/Frogmen, not that the Seabees were UDT/Frogmen/SEALs, but it can seem that way when you read it http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_smile.gif

ronison
07-12-2005, 06:27 PM
Correct Chuck in my meaning. Yes I can see the confusion. As for the "eleitness" of the SeaBees yes they were not a super fighting force. But if you take into concideration what they went through to build airstrips and bases for operations in hostile teritory I think they should be mentioned. Also take into concideration that the first batch of SeaBees were actully civilian workers put into frount line fighting it becomes more amazing what they accomplished.

p1ngu666
07-12-2005, 07:49 PM
well, theres the photo recon pilots, and weather reporters too. the RAF pathfinders where crews who where very good at what they did, the cream of the crop, they where picked from combat experienced crews.

the russian guard units, where units who had distingused themselves in battle.

i cant really suggest any mossie squadrons, as different squadrons where involved in teh gestapo raids, theres the banff strike wing tho, great anti shipping group.

budvar62
07-13-2005, 09:12 AM
Ok, so they aren't American or Russian, but in the spirit of Forgotten Battles, I have to mention a couple of unique Brit "units", both involved in Malta: Adrian Warperton, said at one point to be the single most valuable RAF (or was it Allied) pilot, and the HMS Upholder, the most successful Allied submatine ever IIRC...

Back to the Russians and Americans, wasn't the sniper that "Enemy at the Gates" is based on partly true and part of a "special" unit that did in fact mirror an equivalent German unit, or actually train at the same place before the war?

And as has already been mentioned, the paratroops with all the nations were considered to be elite units (eg Easy Company of the 101st? immortalised in Band of Brothers)? And the Enola Gay and other atom bomb crews? Were they chosen "randomly" or were they part of a specially trained unit a bit like 617 Sqn?

p1ngu666
07-13-2005, 09:37 AM
617 was normal crews and where the best who volentiered for 617 (alot didnt want to) and they got special training after, relating to there missions.

i think the abomb crews where picked, and then sent out to practise and do normal bombing missions.

Ankanor
07-13-2005, 10:13 AM
Ok, this might turn out to be some legend, but the story goes like this : in the summer of 1942, during the offensive that led to Stalingrad, the Germans created a special fighter unit, made of Aces. they were used as a surpressor force, constantly moving to the areas where the VVS was showing spirit. They were called the "cardmen" as they had playing cards painted on their Me109s, G-version. Their leader sported a 3-headed dragon. As the VVs was losing more and more aircraft to "the cardmen" they formed a "black group" of 64 excellent pilots, who were in prison for whatever reason. AS "ordinary commanders"declined the offer to lead such a group, a "hooligan pilot" named Ivan Efgrafov(who might turn out to be the best Allied Ace, btw) volunteered and led the "black Polk" A few days later, when the "prisoners" had refreshed their skills, they were sent to the area where the "cardmen" were currently operating. In 3 days of fierce battles, the cardmen were annihiliated. The prisoners' polk was filled with new pilots(they too suffered heavy losses) and eventually became a polk of aces.

That's all the article said, maybe some of you with better knowledge can prove the existence of the "cardmen" and the "black polk" of Efgrafov, I.F. Cheers! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif

LStarosta
07-13-2005, 01:11 PM
Originally posted by Ankanor:
Ok, this might turn out to be some legend, but the story goes like this : in the summer of 1942, during the offensive that led to Stalingrad, the Germans created a special fighter unit, made of Aces. they were used as a surpressor force, constantly moving to the areas where the VVS was showing spirit. They were called the "cardmen" as they had playing cards painted on their Me109s, G-version. Their leader sported a 3-headed dragon. As the VVs was losing more and more aircraft to "the cardmen" they formed a "black group" of 64 excellent pilots, who were in prison for whatever reason. AS "ordinary commanders"declined the offer to lead such a group, a "hooligan pilot" named Ivan Efgrafov(who might turn out to be the best Allied Ace, btw) volunteered and led the "black Polk" A few days later, when the "prisoners" had refreshed their skills, they were sent to the area where the "cardmen" were currently operating. In 3 days of fierce battles, the cardmen were annihiliated. The prisoners' polk was filled with new pilots(they too suffered heavy losses) and eventually became a polk of aces.

That's all the article said, maybe some of you with better knowledge can prove the existence of the "cardmen" and the "black polk" of Efgrafov, I.F. Cheers! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/25.gif


I heard a similar story at a campfire once.

Except there were Oompa Loompas.

Eagle_361st
07-13-2005, 02:23 PM
For the Americans if you want elite units, or what they at that time considered elite units.

Carlsons Raiders (Forerunners to Marine Force Recon)
OSS (Later became CIA, but heavily involved in ocupied Europe pre D-Day)
MIS
Rangers
Airborne