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List of "Elite" units

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

  1. Chi-Ri

    Chi-Ri Member

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    OK. Let' s put in somewhat another way - Japanese guard did not have enough chances to show its strength in WW2.
    Still, I'd like to offer another candidate:
    Japanese Special Naval Landing Forces - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    Regards,
     
  2. yan taylor

    yan taylor Member

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    Well would you adam and eve it, they were just U.S. Rangers after all.
     
  3. Fury 1991

    Fury 1991 New Member

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    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.

    They were called Scouts or razvedchiki.
     
  4. Pelekys

    Pelekys Member

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    Herebelow is the cover page of the LIFE magazine of 16th Dec 1940. Evzones had (and have) not only physically but psycologically training as well and they are superior in battle because of their 'moral'. They are men over 1,88m and they are famous because they are using the bayonettes during the attack.
    They are an elite force indeed - not a special force with special training like SAS or NAVY SEALS.
    I believe they should be included in the list. I also believe the Italian Frogmen should be included in the list.
    View attachment 13692
     

    Attached Files:

  5. FlynTiger

    FlynTiger Member

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    What about Sepp Dietrich and his Leibstandarte? I would say this would be an "elite unit"..IMO


    FT
     
  6. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    Why would the LSSAH be an elite unit,? Thus,being better than the average German division ?
     
  7. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    Late war "first rank" SS units were elite, in the sense that their fighting ability was greater than regular army units and were tough opponents at all times, however much we hate the idea. But they received more and better replacements than regular army units, Grossdeutchland, AFAIK the only "regular" army unit that was so privileged, probably did on average better than the SS.

    The Italian frogmen were small "special forces" not "elite" in the sense of very good line units like the soviet guards.
     
  8. FlynTiger

    FlynTiger Member

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    Leadership, supplies and performance..

    FT
     
  9. LJAd

    LJAd Well-Known Member

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    That they received more and better replacements than the rgular army units is questionable (they had no more Panthers/Tigrs than the army).
    And,IMHO,after Kharkov III(where the German propaganda was attributing the victory to the LSS,the decline of the WWSS started:few or no volunteers,a big shortage of NCO's,shortage of weapons...From what I have read,the situation of the 3 SSPzD in France on 6 june was not brilliant:the LSS only was a shadow of what it was earlier,the HJ had an enormous shortage of NCO's,the only with an average situation was DR (although it also had to use "volunteers" from the Alsace.
     
  10. ptimms

    ptimms Member

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    There is no evidence LAH or Das Reich etc received better equipment than anyone else. When the Allies land in 1944 2nd Panzer was as well if not better equipped.
    For Normandy the following totals come from Zetterling.


    LAH. 103 Pz IV, 72 Panther and 45 StuG III.On 1st July the division had 36 combat ready SPW and 224 in workshops and 1 441 operational lorries (this was 2000 below establishment) and a further 613 in repair.

    Das Reich 83 Pz IV, 80 Panther and 45 StuG III. On 1 July only had 768 trucks in running order, while the number of SPW operational was 227. Units actually remained in Southern France due to lack of transport.

    Lehr 99 Panzer IV, 89 Panther, 31 JagdPz IV, 10 StuG III, 8 Tiger. Lehr had a staggering 5 battalions in SPW's totalling 690 armoured half tracks.

    2 Panzer 94 operational Panzer IV in the II. Abteilung, plus 2 in workshops on 31 May. The I. Abteilung reported 73 Panthers operational and 6 in workshops on 5 June. On 31 May 2 Panzer had 468 SPW's were operational and 8 were in workshops. 220 more than LAH.

    116 Panzer 76 Panthers available when it departed for Normandy. It seems that the division had 86 Panzer IV. The Pz.Jäg.Abt. 228 received 21 JagdPz IV in July. On 15 May it only had 342 cars, 725 trucks and 25 towing vehicles. Also it had 163 armoured troop carriers. This had improved by 1 June, when it had 1 065 trucks, or almost 2/3 of the authorized strength of 1 688.

    The quality of SS replacements was also no better as far as I can see evidence for.
     
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  11. TiredOldSoldier

    TiredOldSoldier Ace

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    It's quite likely that at some times an army division could be "on par" with the SS Panzers but we must compare with the average army unit, look at 11th or 21 Pz, the SS did get replacement equipment faster. BTW 2nd Pz. probably qualifies as elite too, it has a very impressive combat record. Initially the SS were "volunteers" and did not get a percentage of the conscrips, volunteers are a hallmark of elite units, later as the volunteers dried up they recruited from areas outside the the Army's system of switched persaonnel from other branches of the organization with resulting poorer human material. So they did receive replacements trough a different channel than army units allowing them to ne rebuilt when most army units would have lingered as an understrength kampfgruppe for months. It must also be noted that a lot of SS units certainly do not qualify as elite, Polizei and Nord for example.
    For equipment initially the Army resisted giving SS standard equipments it was short of, SMGs are a case, so they setup a parallel system, but it's a fact that the SS got the early Tigers and a good number of "long" Pz IV at a time when a lot of other other Pz units had to do with Pz IIIs, and in one well documented instance Pz38(t).
     
  12. ptimms

    ptimms Member

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    I agree about 2nd Panzer but the SS replacement system was no better than the Heer. 1st SS was getting Luftwaffe ground crew as replacements before D Day. I can't deny the Big three SS had Tiger company's but only for a short while (and Totenkopf do keep the Tigers right through) but GD had Tigers at the same time. The first King Tigers went to the Army battalions. The SS get their Panthers fairly early but if you look at Kursk the SS still have Pz III's as much as the Army and some Army units have no Pz III's whilst the SS still do (and Das Reich has T34's).

    Back to Normandy,

    10th SS has only one tank battalion and it has 39 Panzer IV's and 38 Stug III's. It's other battalion does not join the division until 1945. It's Panzerjager Abt has no vehicles until August. 10th SS has the least tanks and assault guns of any German armoured unit. Also it's PGren regiments are well under strength it's battalions averaged 74% of authorised strength.

    9th SS on 1/6/44 had 46 MKIV's, 34 Panthers and 40 Stugs so not badly equipped, it was well short of transport at less than 66% of it's authorised capacity. The Grenadier Regiments were hugely understrength Regiment 19 was only 69% and Regiment 20 at 79%. Overall the Division was 26% down on Officers and 23% on NCO's these shortages vastly hamper a units combat ability.

    I think the elite SS probably do better than other SS and the non elite Army but some of the chosen Army units are sometimes as well or better equipped than even the top SS units.
     
  13. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    The objective evidence of SS divisions being the elite of the German army is sorely lacking.If professionalism, skill and staff work are the benchmarks of a good unit, it's hard to see how or why the SS Panzer divisions were better than the regular Heer counterparts.
    In western Europe, intelligence officers in the US Army rated the 2nd Pz.D. to be the best German armored division "on the whole western front" bar none. The less-well-supplied 11th Pz.D. was also very highly rated as a crack division, IIRC over 1st or 2nd SS Pz.D. which the Americans also fought. In the east, the Red Army considered the 5th Pz.D. the best and most dangerous German division in 1945.
    The SS Panzer Divisions had a fierce reputation probably because they were the biggest mechanized units and in consequence were far more likely to be used in major offensive operations and desperate rear guard actions than other types of units. They were also ruthless and fanatical, which made a deeper impression on allied veterans. However, in getting the job done, the Waffen SS was not the very best the Wehrmacht could throw at its adversaries.
     
  14. Triple C

    Triple C Ace

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    For example, the 2nd Panzer Division was the only unit to break clean through the US 30th Division in the Battle of Mortain, while the 1st and 2nd SS Panzer and the 17th SS Panzer Grenadier Divisions' attacks failed. During the first battle of the West Wall, the 2nd Panzer mounted a highly organized defense against the advancing Americans, but the 2nd SS sector was in disarray and it almost collapsed under pressure. In the Battle of the Bulge, the unit that raced closest to the Muse river was the old familiar 2nd Panzer, followed by the Panzer Lehr Division. The SS armored spearhead of the Sixth Panzer Army, on the other hand, suffered complete defeat at the hands of US infantry divisions on the first line of resistance. The only exception was the 1st SS Panzer, but Peiper's achievements and failures during that famous drive deserves its own discussion...
     
  15. A-58

    A-58 Cool Dude

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    You might as well nominate the Dirlewanger Brigade as well then.
     
  16. sds

    sds New Member

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    Maori Battalion NZ Army?
     
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  17. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    upload_2018-5-14_13-58-25.jpeg

    Z Special Unit
    aka - Z Force.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Terry D

    Terry D Well-Known Member

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    Too much attention is given to these outfits relative to their importance. Wars are not won by small bodies of elite troops, but by those dull, average main force divisions.
     
  19. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    I would respectfully disagree....if they are doing the right thing they punch well above their weight. They can "allow" the main force division do there job without any "surprises", whatever that maybe. They can make the job of the regulars easier and quicker. Our SAS is always sent out first, no matter what the engagement...sometimes that's ALL we send.
    [​IMG]
    The last two/three VC Victoria Cross winners (2008 and 2010)...Mark Donaldson and Ben Roberts - one Australian Army, the other two are SAS. The first medal in their rows, the marone/maroon medal is the VC.
    (nice excuse to show the pic).
    Keith Payne, the digger on the right (Vietnam)...what a spread of medals! Champions all.
    The little badge above their medals is a/the combat badge.
    [​IMG]
    Dan Keighran - 6 RAR (Australian Army) Received 2010
     
    Last edited: May 14, 2018
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  20. USMCPrice

    USMCPrice Idiot at Large

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    There were a group of Australian SAS with us at Camp Mackall when I went through Special Forces Assessment and Selection. At the end we were dragging ass and were glad to pull ourselves up into the vehicles for the ride back to Ft. Bragg. Those crazy Aussies loaded their rucks on the vehicles and ran a good portion of the way back. Hardest men I was ever around. I've mentioned it before here on the forums. The Lt. in charge of their little detachment was a real skinny, pale almost effeminate looking guy, but he was a PT stud, dude had no quit in him. The Aussie SAS are the real deal.
     
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