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List of "Elite" units

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1939 - 1942' started by KiwiTT, Mar 8, 2010.

  1. KiwiTT

    KiwiTT Member

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    I need to compile a list of Elite Units. My original thoughts are

    British Commandos / Airborne
    US Rangers / Airborne
    Some SS / PG Units
    Some Spetznaz

    I had considered the US Marines, but consider them less than the above in punch per man.

    Any others.
     
  2. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    Hey Formerjugghead ;):D:D are you reading this? he,he,he

    Hello KiwiTT,

    I think you got it almost right - besides some USMC recon fellows might not agree with you :D. Don't forget the German Fallschirmjaeger.
    Are you refering to WWII? - Noooo Spetznaz

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  3. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    yes Fallshirm in the area of pre to mid-1944, after Cassino things seem to degrade for LW ground forces
     
  4. hucks216

    hucks216 Member

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    Additionally, for the British you also have the SAS and the Long Range Desert Group and for the Germans Lehr und Bau Kompanie z.b.V. 800 which then formed the Brandenburg Battalion in 1939.
     
  5. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    1st Special Forces Brigade Canadian Army/US Army
    77th Indian Infantry Brigade/3rd Indian Infantry Division (Chindits) - British Army/Ghurka
    5307th Composite Unit (Provisional) (Merrill's Marauders) US Army
    1st - 4th Marine Raider Battalions USMC
     
  6. Heinrich

    Heinrich Member

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    Salvation Army ..for them being there where many gouvernments fail to take care !
     
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  7. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    Foreign Legion
     
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  8. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    I don't like your choices, and IMO you can't compare divisions with formations that never fought in greater than regiment strength at a time.

    Assuming that by "elite" we mean units that consistently performed better than their army's average, and were assigned the toughest jobs because of it, try this list:

    British Empire (Regiment and above) : Gurkas, airborne, some individual units like 7th Armoured, Guards, etc. ANZAC troops were also well above average in the ETO. My main interest being pre-1943 I know too little about relative performance of the Canadians to express an opinion, Dieppe was too loopsided to judge.
    British Empire (Special forces) : LRDG, SAS, Commandos.

    Germany (Regiment and above) Up to 1944 army panzers, jaegers and alpenjaegers and LW paratroopers. Some SS divisions (1, 2, 3 & 5) also qualify, after 1941, but other SS divisions like Nord and Polizei were well below army average and the foreign SS units were usually very poor (with the notable exception of Wiking/5th SS).
    Germany (Special Forces): Brandenburgers.

    Soviet Union: (Regiment and above) Guard units of course, they got the guards designation after they performed exceptionally as a "normal" unit and they probably got enough better than average replacements to keep the "elite" status afterwards. Soviet marines also make the grade.
    Soviet Union: (Special forces) As somebody noted I think spetznaz were post WW2 but I believe they were the derivation of a WW2 equivalent that was used for long range infiltration, scouting and mantaining contacts with partisan units though I can't recall what they were called.

    USA (Regiment and above): Marines are an obvious choice, volunteers usually do better than conscripts, paratroopers are also selected to be an elite unit and get a high percentage of the best recruits but some "regular" divisions also deserve "elite" status despite having the same "official" TOE and training as regular units.
    USA (Special Forces): IMO the Salerno debacle rules out any claim to "elite" status for the rangers. This leaves me without obvious candidates.
     
  9. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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  10. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    As to us marines...I would take very careful cover right now....You may be lucky....Jugs might be misreading and thinking your praising his corps.. You should now do the Royal Marine thing....And beat retreat...very fast retreat...
     
  11. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    The US Marine Corps by definition is an "elite force" and was established as such in 1775.

    For the last 235 years the Marine Corps has been the Expeditionary Force in Readiness for the United States responsible for protecting American interests and those of our allies throughout the world.

    I don't know how much more elite a force can be when they can be projected anywhere in the world within 24 hours on nothing more than a phone call from the President. All this Special Operations crap is something the Marines have been doing since Presley O'Bannon
    ( Presley O'Bannon - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia ).

    The biggest difference is the lack of a catchy name. They don't call themselves "Ranger", "Green Beret", "Paratroop" or "SEaL" ; They are Marines.....first and foremost. You call a Green Beret/Ranger or Paratroop a mere "Soldier" and their bottom lip will quiver. Just try calling a Navy SEaL a "sailor" and see how loud they squeak. Try yelling : "Hey Marine" in the Pentagon and the Commandant himself will come running to see who's looking for him.
     
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  12. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    Well, in addition to what my esteemed collegue has stated above, another thing for sure is that they are also very good at blowing their own horn. That's been going on since 1775 too (except of couse, for the years of 1783 to 1798).

    Not implying what they have been hollering about isn't true, it's that they still have an "inferiority complex" for being part of the Navy. So I guess it's not all their fault.

    I continue to believe, and will always contend that they are a very elite unit, and a great asset to the US arsenal. They just always have to remind everyone....
     
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  13. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    That is correct; the Marine Corps is a Department of the Navy: The Men's Department
     
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  14. Spaniard

    Spaniard New Member

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    the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion and the 1st Canadian Special Service Battalion, which was the administrative name for the Canadian-American First Special Service Force. AKA SSF.

    "Deviles Brigade"

    [​IMG]

    Never even reached the size of a Regiment. The battalion would have 26 officers and 590 other ranks Total men serving the Battalion. Unlike its counterpart in the US Army, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion was entirely Canadian, and had a Canadian commanding officer, and they were assigned to the 6th British Airborne Division throughout combat employment and thus was not under higher Canadian command. Thought I let you know.;)


    For their Heroic Gallantry awarded one Victoria Cross in WWII.
     
  15. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    I knew that was coming....
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Who comes if you holler, "Hey Jarhead!"?

    Everyone has a cross to bear.

    As a Marine friend of mine referred to the Navy, The Ship Drivers.
    I had Devil's Brigade on my mind and just boogered up the name. Glad you corrected it.
     
  17. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    British Commandos definately, British Airborne Units yes, I'd add SAS, LRDG, (hucks216 already mentioned the last two) and Chindits (mentioned by Slipdigit).

    Slipdigit wrote:

    I agree with all your choices and I hate to correct one of my Guru's but I think "1st Special Forces Brigade" should actually be 1st Special Service Force. If so, I fully agree, it was probably one of the best units to serve in the ETO.

    I'd rate the Marine Corps Infantry regiments above US Airborne units and Airborne above Rangers. There were actually more Airborne Units than Marine Corps Infantry units. The Marine Corps eventually fielded six divisions that saw combat. The US had five Airborne Divisions, at least three independant Regiments (divisional equivalent) and at least two independant battalions. The Marine Corps was/is infantry centric and tends to put it's best officers/troops in it's line units, the exact opposite of WWII US Army policy. They also didn't suffer, to the same degree, from the bureaucratic sluggishness of the Army. They tended to quickly assimilate lessons learned from combat and adapted weapons and organizations to optimize combat power. When the Marines landed at Guadalcanal their basic units were organized similar to US Army units. Based on combat experience they reorganized their structure, from the squad up, four times during the war, the 13 man Marine Corps rifle squad, organized into three four man teams, was so effective it is still in use by the Marine Corps today. Each team was built around an automatic weapon (BAR), the squad leader benefited from improved command and control because he only needed to command/control three men, his fire-team leaders, and they in turn only needed to control three men. It gave a great deal of flexibility for employing fire and maneuver and provided a ready source of replacement leaders when casualties were heavy.
    Few units possesed better morale, physical training and proficiency in tactical skills were stressed, and they maintained high levels of unit cohesion and combat effectiveness even when confronted with heavy casualties.
    I really don't understand why many automatically equate airborne status with elite, a parachute drop is merely a means of getting to the fight. I happen to have served in several airborne units and have over a hundred jumps, generally once they're on the ground they're no better than the leg infantry they look down upon. During WWII, given the massive expansion of the Army and the huge number of draftees assimilated, an all volunteer force like the Airborne would have had higher morale and motivation. Put an Airborne unit up against a similar sized, motivated infantry unit like the the 442d Regiment, and the heavier firepower of the infantry regiment would probably put a severe "whoppin" on the sky gods.
     
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  18. Kruska

    Kruska Member

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    How about the Italian Alpini and Folgore? and my absolute favourit the Gordon Highlanders

    Regards
    Kruska
     
  19. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    I think the word you are looking for is "goober."

    And for your Southerners out there, I'm using the term in reference to "goofball," not a "peanut" or that other meaning.
     
  20. formerjughead

    formerjughead The Cooler King

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    I think the word you are looking for is : Dirt Dart
     
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