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.