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Wednesday, July 12, 2017

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  1. Sonderkommando "Special Command" Elbe "River of Elbe" "Sonderkommando "Elbe" was the name of a World War II Luftwaffe task force assigned to bring down heavy bombers by ramming aircraft into them mid-air. The tactic aimed to cause losses sufficient to halt or at least reduce the Western Allies' bombing of Germany. The pilots were expected to parachute out either just before or after they had collided with their target. The chances of a Sonderkommando Elbe pilot surviving such a practice were low, at a time when the Luftwaffe was lacking sufficient numbers of well-trained pilots. The aircraft of choice for this mission was usually a later version of the Messerschmitt Bf 109, stripped of armor and armament, The heavily stripped-down planes had one synchronized machine gun usually in the upper engine cooling. One of the most famous reports of cockpit ramming was against a Consolidated B-24 Liberator heavy bomber, nicknamed "Palace of Dallas", along with another bomber that the German plane careened into after slicing the cockpit of the Palace of Dallas". A 1944 drawing by Helmuth Ellgaard illustrating "ramming". A damaged B-17 bomber that managed to land after a ramming attempt by a Bf 109. "The Messerschmitt BF 109 of Unteroffizier Heinrich Rosner that took part in the ramming down the B 24 Liberator “Palace of Dallas” (of the 389th Bomb Group) as well as a second and unknown B 24 Liberator. The fact he successively rammed two planes with a single fighter and lived is nothing short of amazing." The Absoloutely brilliant documentary on the Luftwaffe's Deadliest mission.
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