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Sonderkommando Elbe

Discussion in 'WWII Films & TV' started by PzJgr, Feb 29, 2008.

  1. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Just finished watching a Documentry on the sonderkommando Elbe on the History Channel. This was amazing. Not only the German pilots who flew and survived but also those American pilots who nursed their severely damaged bombers home. I thought I had seen an earlier posting on this group but could not find it.

    Sonderkommando Elbe - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Sonderkommando Elbe was the name of a World War Two Luftwaffe task force assigned to bring down Allied bombers by ramming German aircraft into the bombers. The Elbe is a river that runs through Germany to the North Sea. The term "Sonderkommando" itself in German means "special unit" and was also used to designate work units of Nazi death camp prisoners forced to aid the killing process during The Holocaust, in the case of the Elbe pilots, however, this is not a euphamistic term. While the Luftwaffe had a ready supply of airplanes at this point in the war, well-trained pilots and fuel were two components in short supply. Despite the grim prospects of survival of such a mission, the unit was not a true "suicide unit" in that the pilots were expected to attempt to bail out just before colliding with the Allied aircraft.

    The aircraft of choice for this mission was a Bf 109 stripped of armor and armament. To accomplish this mission, pilots would typically aim for one of three sensitive areas on the bombers. The easiest part of an Allied bomber to damage was the empennage, or tail assembly, with its delicate control surfaces on the elevator and rudder. Another potential target were the engine nacelles, which connected to the highly explosive fuel system. The final target was also the most gruesome--the cockpit.

    Adding to the last ditch nature of this task force, the only mission was flown on 7 April 1945 by a sortie of 120 Bf 109s. While 15 Allied bombers were attacked in this manner, only eight were destroyed.. A 100th Bomb Group B-17 was attacked by a SonderKommando Elbe Me-109 but only damaged; the German Pilot was not killed.
     
  2. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    but the Bf 109's were armed, the centerline cannon was removed but the cowling mg's were retained so once firing the pilot could use it as an aiming point on the tail especailly of the B-17's, though B-24's were also attacked. operated by Schulen pilots JG 300 offered a supply as well as JG 53 and two other single engine units. JG 7 was to be the high cover against the US P-51 escorts but did not follow this and attacked the US heavies with success.

    if you note the keynote German speaker was friend Fritz M. He and I had a lengthy discussion whether or not they would even participate in the History Channel dogfight episode, and I suggested they (meaning former German pilots) not do so because of the track record of the H.S. to get the story simply correct. Well Fritz and the others did give their stories but they were so foreshortened which sad did not fully explain tactics nor outcome of each of the members during the attack, in fact Fritz on two spots in the doc was cut off short I noted, including another one of the German pilots. a month after this was shown from this past fall we chatted again for some time and he was quite upset in the way he was personally handled and the way the doc was applied without their full knowledge of what was to be the true design of the "Kamikaze episode".
     
  3. PactOfSteel

    PactOfSteel Dishonorably Discharged

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    Me too! great special! just insane though, and the fact that the German pilots were able to avoid getting killed as well. The most insane part was when the Luftwaffe plane rammed the rear section and the guy inside the bomber said he saw the plane cartwheel around and saw the swastika on the tail!
     
  4. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    I did not catch if that rear gunner survived. My wife kept distracting me during the show. but I did catch how he hit the bomber, with a damaged plane and wasn't he injured as well. Totally amazing. I just don't know what the Germans were thinking that 30 planes against 1300 bombers could affect/turn the bombing campaign. We can hate National Socialism but you gotta give some credit to those fighter pilots and to the bomber pilots who brought in some of the heavily damaged planes. That is some flying
     
  5. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    the LW attack was to comprise over 500 a/c originally. But delay after delay happened, a total waste of human life and for what ??
     
  6. PactOfSteel

    PactOfSteel Dishonorably Discharged

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    not all the sonderkommando elbe pilots died, actually a lot survived. And if your referring to a waste of human life are you talking about the Allies who died or the Germans who died? The Germans believed they were defending their homeland just like their Japanese counterparts.
     
  7. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    it was a total waste of human effort from the LW side, as always in 1945. sorry but you are wrong in this case the average German pilot of the time knew full well what the result was going to be before they even took off from the airfield on the April date, I have that in writing from several veterans that took part on this goof mission, in fact for years my German friend has proposed a web-site for the Kommando operation including antoher one as well that he has much information about .......
     
  8. PactOfSteel

    PactOfSteel Dishonorably Discharged

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  9. Mussolini

    Mussolini Gaming Guru WW2|ORG Editor

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    For the fatherland? Thats a pretty poor excuse. It's one thing for the Russians Mass Wave Attacks (for the Motherland!) that cost them countless lives but forced the Germans into retreat.

    Flying a few planes into a few other planes 'for the fatherland' doesn't accomplish anything other then death and waste of materials.
     
  10. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    Pof S you obviously do not know what was going through LW minds during 1945........... simply put nobody gave a bloody F*** about the Fatherland anymore, it was a point of survival the best way you could, understandably orders were orders no matter how foolish they were but if you were of any intelligence the writing had been cast right after the Bodenplatte disaster - 1-1-45
     
  11. PactOfSteel

    PactOfSteel Dishonorably Discharged

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    how about on the Doolittle Raid when the Americans crashed their planes into Japanese buildings and killed themselves? oh but thats ok.
     
  12. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    what are you talking about ? My comments concern the year of 1945 and the hopelessness the LW Kommandeurs and younger pilots felt day after day going up in the air facing enormous odds knowing full well they could be taken out at the slightest whim by the might of the US AF escort fighter protection, even getting through the heavy bomber formation was bad enough but then trying to zoom away and then being latched on by 3-7 P-51's, possibly even more .............. good luck. I can only imagine my cousins thoughts during his flight through the 491st bg B-24's and finally shot down by 355th fg Mustangs and killed ......
     
  13. PactOfSteel

    PactOfSteel Dishonorably Discharged

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    Read what I said! its ok for the Americans to do it but not the Germans! please rise above your narrow perpespective of history.
     
  14. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    did you say narrow perspective of history , ah I see you're the experten then on WW 2 history ..........as you change the subject lines continuously with every thread you make. Incidently the thread is about the last days of the war and German 109's attacking US 8th AF bomber formations not Doolittle raiders attacking the Japanese
     
  15. PactOfSteel

    PactOfSteel Dishonorably Discharged

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    thanks for proving my point about your German bias. It is a valid comparison my friend.
     
  16. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Whoa, whoa, whoa there big boy. If you are going to try to slide this bogus claim in here on us, then I'm going to need crash location, air crew and tail number from you for you to begin to prove this whopper.

    I'll be waiting, and trust me, I will bring this back up.

    Nevermind, I'm not going to give you the opportunity to not offer support to your statement.
     
    Otto likes this.
  17. Slipdigit

    Slipdigit Good Ol' Boy Staff Member WW2|ORG Editor

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    Just to clear up any misconceptions on the fate of the B-25 crews that bombed Japan in April of 1942

    AAF serial #
    Nickname
    Sqdn
    Target
    Pilot
    Disposition

    40-2344
    none
    34th BS
    Tokyo
    Lt. Col. James H. Doolittle
    crashed Chuchow, China

    40-2292
    none
    37th BS
    Tokyo
    Lt. Travis Hoover
    crashed Ningpo, China

    40-2270
    Whiskey Pete
    95th BS
    Tokyo
    Lt. Robert M. Gray
    crashed Chuchow, China

    40-2282
    none
    95th BS
    Tokyo
    Lt. Everett W. Holstom
    crashed Shangjao, China

    40-2283
    none
    95th BS
    Tokyo
    Capt. David M. Jones
    crashed Chuchow, China

    40-2298
    Green Hornet
    95th BS
    Tokyo
    Lt. Dean E. Hallmark
    crashed Nanchang, China

    40-2261
    The Ruptured Duck
    95th BS
    Tokyo
    Lt. Ted W. Lawson
    ditched Shangchow, China

    40-2242
    none
    95th BS
    Tokyo
    Capt. Edward J. York
    interned Vladivostok, Russia

    40-2303
    Whirling Dervish
    34th BS
    Tokyo
    Lt. Harold F. Watson
    crashed Nanchang, China

    40-2250
    none
    89th RS
    Tokyo
    Lt. Richard O. Joyce
    crashed Chuchow, China

    40-2249
    Hari Kari-er
    89th RS
    Yokohama
    Capt. C. Ross Greening
    crashed Chuchow, China

    40-2278
    Fickle Finger
    37th BS
    Yokohama
    Lt. William M. Bower
    crashed Chuchow, China

    40-2247
    none
    37th BS
    Yokosuka
    Lt. Edgar E. McElroy
    crashed Nanchang, China

    40-2297
    none
    89th RS
    Nagoya
    Maj. John A. Hilger
    crashed Shangjao, China

    40-2267
    none
    89th RS
    Kobe
    Lt. Donald G. Smith
    ditched Shangchow, China

    40-2268
    (The) Bat Out of Hell
    34th BS
    Nagoya
    Lt. William G. Farrow
    crashed Ningpo, China
     
  18. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Great info Jeff but not needed. We all knew the fate of the Doolittle raiders and recognized whitewash from misguided individuals. Don't know where this came from

     
  19. Erich

    Erich Alte Hase

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    because the previous poster was living in an illusion, and that was my whole point why bring in the Pacific theater and the events surrounding those times with the ETO, the poster somehow got off onto another road, but too late for him, he was shot down by the Penquin
     
  20. PzJgr

    PzJgr Drill Instructor

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    Yes, once I saw him going on that tangent, I tried not to get caught in the riptide. Might have gone down with him. Good postings Erich.
     

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