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Thread: Unusual and unsung units

  1. #16
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    During WWII, after the discovery of a couple of German infiltration, espionage, and sabotage teams, the U.S. Coast Guard formed the Beach Patrol. Many of them were mounted on horseback in addition to manning observation posts along the U.S. coastlines:



    n September 1942, horses were authorized for use by the beach patrol. The mounted portion of the patrol soon became the largest segment of the patrol. For example, one year after orders were given to use horses, there were 3,222 of the animals assigned to the Coast Guard. All came from the Army. The Army Remount Service provided all the riding gear required, while the Coast Guard provided the uniforms for the riders. A call went out for personnel and a mixed bag of people responded. Polo players, cowboys, former sheriffs, horse trainers, Army Reserve cavalrymen, jockeys, farm boys, rodeo riders and stunt men applied. Much of the mounted training took place at Elkins Park Training Station and Hilton Head, the sites of the dog training schools.
    http://www.uscg.mil/history/uscghist...hoto_Index.asp

    They also used canine patrols...

  2. #17
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    Quote Originally Posted by Nickdfresh View Post

    Any special reason, apart from neatness in the photo, for the sling being tight against the magazine?
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  3. #18
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    Australian horse mounted border patrol and observation unit.



    Caption to this Australian War Memorial photo: A troop of horsemen of the North Australian Observer Unit (NAOU), crossing the Katherine River in the Northern Territory, led by an officer. The majority of the NAOU (known as Nackeroos) are skilled bush and horsemen. They are scattered all over the Northern Territory on guard against any surprise landings in isolated places. Many of the men have ridden over 2000 miles on horseback during the course of their patrols. http://cas.awm.gov.au/art/058457
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  4. #19
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    Air Transport Auxiliaries
    are well worthy of mention in this thread.
    Initially formed from personnel who had been in the pre-war "airclub" movement in the UK, the various units later included several hundred women pilots who had volunteered. Jacquie Cochran and Jacquie Mockridge are women in this category.

    UK Law of the era did not allow women to serve in combat.

    This is not to say though, that the personnel of ATA did not see combat.
    Indeed, part of their ATA training included air-to-air gunnery and dogfighting, precisely because it was foreseen that the Luftwaffe could and would send "intruder" raids into UK airspace, and that some of those aircraft, usually FW190's or Me.109's on fighterbomber attacks, would in fact cross the transport routes ATA employed.

    Mockridge's book ("Woman Pilot") includes a brief description of a dogfight with an FW 190 on a fighterbomber attack. The German couldn't shoot her down, but each managed to put a bullet hole in the other's aircraft, much to her annoyance, as her plane had only an hour before left the factory.

    The unusual aspect of ATA pilots is that they were Type-Rated for everything the Allies flew. They had to be: they delivered these aircraft from the factory to the squadrons receiving the replacement aircraft.
    It would have been a surprise, for example, to see a Lancaster land at an airbase, and the only person to emerge from it be a slim, 5-ft 4-inch brunette.

    As indeed happened throughout her ATA career.

    That these people, many of them women, are these days never heard of, or even known to have existed, is a disappointing thing.

    Near enough to 25 years ago I directed the funeral for one of these women, and I was deeply disturbed that none of my colleagues even knew that she was Service Personnel, nor how vital a role she and many others like her had played during World War Two.

    I'd think the ATA would even today be one of the most vital yet unsung and unknown organisations.

    Let this be a small, but personal, record of memory to the ATA, whose many members Also Served.

    Kind and Respectful Regards, Uyraell.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
    "Ill unto he who ill of it thinks."
    Edward III, Rex Britania, AD1348.

    "Wenn Schon, denn schon."
    "Be It Done, Best be It Be Done Well."
    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

  5. #20
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    Quote Originally Posted by Uyraell View Post
    Air Transport Auxiliaries
    are well worthy of mention in this thread.
    Yes, generally and most unfairly overlooked.

    A related group is the women ferry pilots, such as the American Nancy Love, who:

    "convinced Col. Tunner that the idea of using experienced women pilots to supplement the existing pilot force was a good one. He then asked the 28 year old Love to write up a proposal for a women's ferrying division. Within a few months, she had recruited 29 experienced female pilots to join the newly created Women's Auxiliary Ferry Squadron (WAFS). Nancy Love became their Commander. In September, 1942, the women pilots began flying at New Castle Army Air Field, Wilmington, Delaware, under ATC's 2nd Ferrying Group.

    By June, 1943, Nancy Love was commanding four different squadrons of WAFS at Love Field in Texas, New Castle in Delaware, Romulus in Michigan and Long Beach in California. The WAFS' number had greatly increased because of the addition of graduates of the Women's Flying Training Detachment (WFTD) at Avenger Field, Sweetwater, Texas.

    On August 5, 1943 Love's ferrying squadrons merged with the WFTD and became a single entity: the Women Airforce Service Pilots (WASP). Nancy Love was named as the Executive for all WASP ferrying operations. Under her command, female pilots flew almost every type military aircraft then in the Army Air Force's arsenal, and their record of achievement proved remarkable.

    Between September, 1942 and December, 1944, the WASP delivered 12,650 aircraft of 77 different types. Over fifty percent of the ferrying of high-speed pursuit type aircraft in the continental United States was carried out by WASP, under the leadership of Nancy Love. Her personal contributions included some equally remarkable accomplishments. She was the first woman to be checked out in a P-51. By March, 1943, she was also proficient in fourteen other types of military aircraft. She was the first woman in U.S. military history to fly the B-25, flying it coast-to-coast in record time, and was one of the first two women to check out in a B-17. The WASP were disbanded on 20 December 1944. across the Atlantic.
    http://www.wingsacrossamerica.us/wasp/bio_love.htm

    Other units covered here http://www.centennialofflight.gov/es...Women/AP31.htm
    Last edited by Rising Sun*; 08-14-2010 at 08:09 AM.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  6. #21
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    War graves / graves registration units had to be about the worst job not involving being shot at.
    ..
    A rational army would run away.
    Montesquieu

  7. #22
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    War graves / graves registration units had to be about the worst job not involving being shot at.
    Almost. I'd hazard the Chem-Detachments and UXO's were nearly as fraught with nerve-wracking danger.
    Granted, War graves/Graves Registration were certainly overlooked, or, worse, known as the "Ghoul Brigade".
    But at least the WG/GR units were not, as such, at risk of life and limb as Chem and UXO units.

    Similarly, Naval Diving parties seem to be overlooked, despite being to a man volunteers and working at extreme hazard due to the still largely unknown and unresearched effects of distribution of various otherwise innocuous gases through the bloodstream and muscle tissues. Add the often dreadfully primitive (though then state-of-the art) equipment with which these men trained and later went into combat, and one can only admire them.

    Yet these too, outside all but the most esoteric of military history circles are basically ignored/overlooked.

    Kind and Respectful Regards RS* my friend, Uyraell.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
    "Ill unto he who ill of it thinks."
    Edward III, Rex Britania, AD1348.

    "Wenn Schon, denn schon."
    "Be It Done, Best be It Be Done Well."
    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

  8. #23
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    A few forgotten units

    Liberation of Death and Concentration Camps

    Bergen-Belsen – List of British units known to have been involved in liberating the camp and in the provision of subsequent humanitarian assistance (15 April to 8 June 1945)

    HQ 10 Garrison (subsequently relieved by 2 Control Section (later 102 Control Section))

    63 Anti-Tank Regiment (Oxfordshire Yeomanry)
    113 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment, Royal Artillery
    1575 Artillery Platoon Royal Army Service
    Corps att. 113 Light Anti-Aircraft Regiment
    35 Pioneer Group
    32 Casualty Clearing Station
    35 Casualty Clearing Station
    30 Field Hygiene Section
    76 Field Hygiene Section
    11 Light Field Ambulance
    163 Field Ambulance
    9 (British) General Hospital
    29 (British) General Hospital
    81 (British) General Hospital
    30 Field Transfusion Unit
    7 Field Transfusion Unit
    22 Field Transfusion Unit
    7 Mobile Bacteriological Laboratory
    104 Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit
    314 Mobile Laundry and Bath Unit
    Bath Unit Section 8 Corps
    Bath Unit Section 11 Armoured Division
    Bath Unit Section 6 Airborne Division
    Bath Unit Section 15 (Scottish) Division
    10 Displaced Persons Camp Staff
    3 Military Government Inland Depot
    224 Military Government Detachment
    618 Military Government Detachment
    904 Military Government Detachment
    908 Military Government Detachment

    Six British Red Cross teams, medical students
    from the London hospitals, Medical Research
    Council nutritional teams, and both Jewish
    and Quaker relief teams arrived later to assist.

  9. #24
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    In the UK, it was known as the "Y" Service, part of the GCCS.
    In the USA, the entire science becomes known as SigInt: Signals Intelligence.

    In neither case it a direct connection to "Ultra" or "Purple" to be assumed, though without doubt indirect connections exist.

    However: Vital, and to this very day largely unsung and un-noticed work was done by these units, in often appalling conditions, by men and women alike, working and serving side-by-side.

    As such, These units also merit recognition in this thread.

    Kind and Respectful Regards, Uyraell.

    "Honi-Soit Qui Mal'Y Pense." :
    "Ill unto he who ill of it thinks."
    Edward III, Rex Britania, AD1348.

    "Wenn Schon, denn schon."
    "Be It Done, Best be It Be Done Well."
    Known German adage.

    "Until you have looked into a veteran's eyes and actually seen it,
    you'll never fully understand."
    ^Uyraell^

    "Aligaes : Amore vel Ira." :
    "^Winged Ones^ : Love or Wrath."

  10. #25
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Any special reason, apart from neatness in the photo, for the sling being tight against the magazine?
    Maybe his magazine keep falling out?

  11. #26
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    I've read the the Queen manned an AA Gun during the War.

  12. #27
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    Quote Originally Posted by Rising Sun* View Post
    Any special reason, apart from neatness in the photo, for the sling being tight against the magazine?
    Also the Coastie is carring a Reising SMG

  13. #28
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    Default Re: Unusual and unsung units

    Although not military I’ve always admired the Firefighters and volunteers who responded to bombings in England (and, I assume, all cities suffering this fate).

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