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US Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance

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Often abbreviated as Force Recon or even FORECON, the US Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance special operations, a top US special forces team, provide certain elements regarding military intelligence to the command sector of their Marine Air-Ground Task Force, supporting their force commanders as well as their subordinate operating units, the Fleet Marine Force (FMF).

FORECON performs both deep reconnaissance and direct action missions, though the majority of the direct action operations are now under MARSOC – the US Marine Special Operations Command, and their Marine Special Operations Team (MSOT).  This change in responsibility freed Force Recon to place most of their focus on their intelligence-gathering missions.

FORECON operates independently behind enemy lines, often performing unusual missions that support the conventional warfare.   They, like the Navy SEALs, receive land, sea and air training for insertion and extraction missions.  Their focus generally remains primarily in supporting Marine operations.  FORECON has two different types of missions:  Green operations and Black operations

A Brief Look at Green Operations

Green operations involve the collection of vital intelligence using both amphibious and ground reconnaissance.  They often travel deep into enemy territory far beyond any artillery or gunfire support, so their safety greatly depends on their ability to move about undetected.  If even one round is fired, the mission is said to be unsuccessful.

A Brief Look at Black Operations

FORECON black operations require direct action.  Unlike the green operations which are out scouting to locate potential problems, black operations require direct action and are almost always carried out within fire support.  Close air support is one vital skill that is often exercised in a direct action mission.  They also provide protection – or Personal Security Detail – for vital personnel.

Training

FORECONFORECON training has a number of phases.  Within each phase, candidates are specially trained both as an individual and as a unit in areas such as recon and surveillance and combatant diving.  They also must successfully complete a number of programs including a Basic Airborne Course, Multi-Mission Parachute Course and Scout Sniper Course.  They also receive six month’s training in Special Operations.  Once certified, they go into a six month deployment phase.

This is but a brief overview highlighting a few of the many detailed tasks and missions of FORECONs highly trained soldiers.  The US Marine Corps Force Reconnaissance is an incredible group of specialized Marines whose motto is “Swift, silent, deadly”.

US Navy’s DEVGRU

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The US Navy’s DEVGRU, or Special Warfare Development Group, is the elite group who used to be known solely as the Navy’s Seal Team 6.  Most of DEVGRUs information is highly classified.  DEVGRU is considered one of the top (if not the top) special operations unit in the US military.

View brief video on DEVGRU’s Operation Neptune Spear and movie – Zero Dark Thirty

Initially, head of the Seal Team 6 – Richard Marcinko – was given just six months to get this team ready.  Marcinko was looking for soldiers with combat experience, which let him know they could perform even under fire and those who had good language skills, which would allow them to communicate and blend into various cultures while involved in an operation.  Since then, the selection and training process has properly evolved assuring team members are the “best of the best”.

Selection

Team training for this top US special forces team is intense and to this day remains highly classified.  One former SEAL member stated that in one year, the entire Team Six (DEVGRU) force will shoot off more rounds of ammunition than the total allowance for the entire US Marine Corps.  Along with shooting skills and range firing, SEAL Team 6 recruits are also trained in close-quarter combat and stress shooting under a number of different conditions.  Drop-out rate during the training is believed to be close to 50%.

Responsibilities

Initially, SEAL Team Six was dedicated exclusively to counter-terrorism, which includes international maritime responsibility.  Their objectives often include ships and oil rigs and any type of coastal embassy, naval or civilian base or any other type of military or civilian base that is accessible from any type waterway (sea or inland).

In addition to counter-terrorism, the SEAL Team Six extended responsibilities includes the covert infiltration of known international “hot spots” where they carry out recon and/or security assessments of any US military bases or Embassies.  Their input is then used to better secure these bases and Embassies – as well as prevent casualties – should a terrorist attack occur.  They also are called in when a personnel/hostage situation is deemed high-risk.  Some changes in their mission did occur once the team was renamed.  However, counter-terrorism still remains one of their primary missions.  DEVGRU tandem trains with the US Army’s Delta Force and the teams are generally deployed together.

Most recently, this US Navy DEVGRU SEAL Team 6 was applauded for their cover mission – Operation Neptune Spear – which ended with the killing Osama Bin Laden.

Top Ten Special Operations Forces in the World

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Countries throughout the world train special operation forces within their military, so coming up with a list of top special operations forces in the world is difficult at best.  All special ops forces train their military men to be the best of the best, to take the impossible task and make it possible.  In that respect, all Special Operations units are top.  While the list below may not be everyone’s top ten, some of those listed would certainly be a part of any top ten lists.

Step back in time as you step into the Firearms and Ordnance Gallery at the Armed Forces History Museum.  Here, reality awakens within, as you marvel at the weapons and feel the power of destruction housed throughout this extensive gallery.  Authentic weapons from around the world (including some used by Special Forces) dating throughout history can be witnessed in this astonishing collection.  The oldest piece on display is a rare bayonet from the Revolutionary War.

View a recent AFHM video on the movie – Zero Dark Thirty

10.  Russian Spetsnaz

What sets the Russian Spetsnaz apart from other specially trained special ops units around the world is their daily exposure to physical punishment.  The purpose for this portion of their training is to teach them to endure physical pain and to work the mind to “enjoy” it since it is impossible to ignore it.  They are permitted to leave the training anytime they desire.  Their missions generally involve reconnaissance and close quarter combat.   Many of the bodyguards chosen for the high-tanking political figures of Russia are chosen from the Spetsnaz.

9.  Pakistan Special Service Group – This Pakistan Special Service Group (SSG) is also known as “Black Storks” a name derived from their unique headgear the “Maroon Beret”.  The SSG has ten specific missions for which they are trained:

  • Asymmetric Warfare
  • Special Operations
  • Counter-Proliferation
  • Unconventional Warfare
  • Foreign Internal Defense
  • Special Reconnaissance
  • Direct Action
  • Hostage Rescue
  • Counter-Terrorist
  • Personnel Recovery

This elite group from Pakistan is somewhat similar to the US Army’s Green Berets and the British Army’s SAS.  They often conduct exercise missions with Special Forces from other countries such as China and the UK.

8.  Austria Eko Cobra

This special ops tactical unit is involved mainly in counter-terrorism.  The group retains a low profile, despite their high-speed involvement in the war on terror.  In Europe, they are known for their competitive edge over other countries at S.W.A.T. and other competitions throughout Europe.  Though their covert missions are carried without with little or no media, they are still considered by many as one of the best trained counter-terrorist units in the world.

 

7.  French Army Special Forces Brigade

This French Special Ops group has one of the most rigorous qualification training programs in the world.  This group is subdivided into three specially trained areas:

  • 1er Régiment de Parachutistes d’Infanterie de Marin which is based in Bayonne.
  • 13e Régiment de Dragons Parachutistes based in Martignas-sur-Jalle.
  • 4e Régiment d’Hélicoptères des Forces Spéciales, the unit based in Pau.

6.  Polish GROM

Activated in July of 1980 in response to terrorist threats, GROM is one of five Special Ops units in Poland.  They are trained to respond to a variety of threats and unconventional warfare roles.  Their existence was not even acknowledged by the Poland until 1994.  Within five years, the group converted to a special military formation in compliance with NATO standards.  They are revered among the newest members of NATO as the best commando unit.

5.  German GSG9

The GSG9 is a special operations unit of the German Federal Police, specializing in counter-terrorism.  The group was formed after the failed attempt of the German Police to successfully free 11 Israeli athletes who were kidnapped in Munich in 1972 during the Summer Olympic Games.   They recognized, as a result, that their forces were not properly trained or equipped to handle such situations.  They have since been trained in deployed in situations when hostages are taken, kidnapping is involved or in cases of terrorism or extortion.

4.  Israeli Shayetet 13

This Special Ops group shares the Israeli Army motto:  “Never Again”, referring to the Holocaust.  Though they are one of three special units, the Shayetet 13 bears the closest resemblance to the US Army’s Delta Force.  They are specially trained for rescuing hostages and in counter-terrorism.  Though they remain an extremely secretive group, the most public noted mission was Operation Spring of Youth.  During this operation, the Shayetet 13 went into Beirut Lebanon where they hunted down and killed all the terrorists involved in the 1972 Munich massacre of 11 Israeli athletes.

3.  US Army Delta Force

The US Army’s Delta Force is the only official US counter-terrorism unit focused on hostage rescues, counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism.  To be selected for this specialty force team, an individual must undergo a rigid physical test that begins with sit ups and push-ups and a 3 mile run – all to be completed within an undisclosed time frame.  Next, the each prospective member must complete an 18-mile hike over rugged, mountainous terrain carrying a 35 lb backpack and compass, but no a map.  This physically grueling entrance test does not end there.  Another 45-mile hike is then required, this time with a 45 lb backpack and an even shorter time limit.  Afterwards, each individual must further undergo a number of mental exams where examiners attempt to confuse and thus break the individual.  Once the above requirements are successfully completed, the recruit is then permitted to enter into the actual 6 month training program for the Delta Force.

2.  US Navy SEAL Team 6 – DEVGRU

The first commanding officer of SEAL Team 6 was Dick Marcinko – a US Navy representative for the Joint Chiefs of Staff task force Terrorist Action Team.  The team was created in October of 1980 after a failed attempt in 1979 to rescue American hostages being held in Iran.  As a result, the US Navy recognized the imminent need for a specially trained counter terrorist team.  SEAL Team 6 (or currently DEVGRU – Naval Special Warfare Development Group) consists of four line squadrons – Red, Blue, Gold and Silver.  The men within these units are the elite of the elite of special op forces and are trained on Sea, air and land, making them a well-rounded, highly trained group of individuals.

1.  British SAS

The British SAS follow the sea, air and land training of the SEALs; however their training in counter-espionage is more in-depth and complex than the SEALs.  Both the SAS and SEALs receive comparable training as they sometimes work closely.  They are trained in numerous fighting techniques and remain the primary model in which most national commando units are based.

The above Special Ops Forces list may not be a conclusive top list for everyone.  Given the number of excellently trained units around the world, they all maintain the highest integrity and require their team members to constantly challenge themselves under some of the most extreme grueling circumstances experienced by man.  They must always be ready for the worst of the worst, but who better to be ready than the best of the best.  The ten Special Ops units above have certainly proved themselves time and again and therefore have earned them a spot on this particular list of the top ten Special Operations Forces in the world.

WWII Weapons and Tactics

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During WWII, both the Allies and Axis continually designed, produced and implemented advanced weapons and tactics in their endeavor for supremacy.  Industrial advancements and military leadership was crucial as battles raged in the air, on the land and on the sea.

Step back in time as you step into the Firearms and Ordnance Gallery at the Armed Forces History Museum.  Here, reality awakens within, as you marvel at the weapons and feel the power of destruction housed throughout this extensive gallery.  Authentic weapons (including some used by Special Forces) from around the world dating throughout history can be witnessed in this astonishing collection.  The oldest piece on display is a very rare bayonet from the Revolutionary War.

Air Warfare

In the air, strategic and tactical warfare was executed, along with airborne assault.  When bombers were sent to destroy the enemy’s industry and towns, it was referred to as strategic air warfare.  But, when the bomber-fighter planes were employed to attack opposing troops on the ground, they were said to be using tactical warfare.  Airborne assault involved dropping troops behind enemy lines.

Strategic – Strategic warfare was utilized mainly by the US and the British against Germany.  The heavily conducted air raids used newly developed long-range aircraft, allowing them to penetrate deep into German occupied areas.  Daytime missions proved to be too dangerous, but night time bombing missions were found to be inaccurate and basically ineffective.  Once long range fighter planes were developed, they assisted the bombers and provided additional protection on the daylight missions.

Tactical – Fighter-bomber aircraft were employed for tactical missions.  These aircraft were heavily armed and capable of withstanding steep dives and rapid maneuvers.  Their heavy armor protected them from some of the ground fire they encountered on low-level missions.  Their missions included striking enemy armor and their defense positions, destroy any supplies or communication centers located in close proximity to the battlefield and also to hassle troops positioned behind the lines.

Airborne Assault – Paratroopers and glider troops became highly utilized during WWII.  By dropping these troops behind enemy lines, these forces could impair the enemy’s key positions and installations.  Airborne assault was widely utilized during the Normandy invasion.

Sea Warfare

Naval warfare of World War II included submarines, battleships and aircraft carriers and amphibious tactics.

Submarines – Submarines during WWII adopted a form of attack known as “wolf-pack”.  This type of attack coordinated large groups of submarines to assault shipping convoys.   The US adopted this technique in the Pacific theater where it proved successful in hindering Japanese shipping.

Battleships and Aircraft Carriers – Battleships were instrumental throughout WWII, but it was also discovered that aircraft carriers could be used as the main warship of a fleet.  Prior to the war, carriers were viewed as support for battleships by the air protection and reconnaissance they provided.  However, once their potential as an offensive weapon was realized, the aircraft carrier’s role changed and it became the dominant warship throughout the Pacific.

Amphibious – With the introduction of the amphibious landing crafts, troops could now be beached easily and in large numbers.  This type of assault tactic was used frequently in the Pacific, with the largest assault occurring during the landings at Normandy.

Land Warfare

Tanks, artillery and small arms all played major roles for both the Allies and the Axis in the land warfare of World War II.

Tanks – The WWII tank took on a whole new persona and evolved throughout the war as they became actively involved in their own independent offensives.  Tanks were heavily armored and provided ample fire power with turret mounted machine guns.  Many consider the Soviet tank – T-34 – the most impressive tank of WWII.

Artillery – During WWII, artillery became more mobile.  Also introduced during this time frame was the recoilless rifle.  This rifle was light in weight but fired a powerful shell.  Also developed and highly used during WWII were hand-carried rocket launchers and anti-aircraft weapons.

Small Arms – During WWII, many of the American soldiers (and even some troops from other nations) were armed with semi-automatic weapons.  Light machine guns were more widely used in this war than in previous conflicts and some troops – predominantly the Soviets – used submachine guns in WWII.

The weapons and tactics of WWII took on a new dimension.  Some of what was used at the beginning of the war was obsolete just a few years later when the war ended.  During the war, developments occurred at rapid speed in an effort to maintain superiority over the enemy.  In the end, the weapons and tactics used throughout WWII provided significant lessons for both the Allies and the Axis.

Highest Scoring Tank Ace of WWII – Kurt Knispel

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The highest scoring tank ace of WWII was Germany’s Kurt Knispel.  Knispel total tank kills were confirmed at 168, with some unconfirmed estimates stating that total could actually be closer to 195 kills.  Knispel is considered by some as the greatest tank ace in history.  His awards included the Iron Cross, Panzer Badge and German Cross in Gold.

Step close and get a sense of the strength of the cold metal on AFHMs authentic, fully restored, fully operational battle tanks, which are prominently displayed throughout the museum.  Get a sense of the combat they endured throughout their service.  Take a moment, put yourself in the turret – feel the power, feel the fear, feel the pride.

Knispel’s Early Service

Kurt Knispel began his basic training at Panzer Replacement Training Battalion.  He later received tank training on the Panzer I, Panzer II and Panzer IV tanks.  Knispel was also instructed on the Panzer IV as a loader and gunner.  When training was completed in June of 1941, Knispel was assigned as gunner of a Panzer IV under the leadership of Lt. Hellman and he began his World War II service.

Later in the War

Tiger II Tank

In January of 1943, Knispel returned for training on the newer Tiger I tanks.  At that time, he was already credited with 12 kills.  His squadron – 1st Company of the 503rd Heavy Panzer Battalion – participated in various battles throughout World War II, eventually upgrading to the Tiger II tank.  Knispel is said to have accomplished an incredible 24 hits in one action with the Tiger II tank.

A Closer Look

Kurt Knispel was recommended four different times to receive the Knight’s Cross – a coveted award received by many of the other German tank aces.  Knispel, however, did not mind that he was consistently passed over.  The purpose of his mission was not for decoration.  He is even said to have credited others with kills he could have easily disputed as his own.  His rise in ranks was slow which is attributed to a few conflicts he encountered with Nazi authorities and his lack of typical military uniformity – sporting longer hair than most and a goatee.

War’s End

Kurt Knispel – an individual who fought in every type of German tank as a loader, a gunner and a commander – received a fatal wound just ten days before the end of the war.  At age 23, the highest scoring tank ace of WWII – Kurt Knispel – was dead.

WWI and WWII US Navy Nurse Corps

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In 1908, US Congress established the United States Navy Nurse Corps.  Up until this time, women nurses had been working unofficially on Navy ships and in Navy hospitals.

First Introduction

The concept of women being formally added to Navy hospital staff was first introduced by Dr. William Barton in 1811.  But the official service of women as nurses would not be established until much later – in 1908 with the formation of the Nurse Corps.  At that time, 20 women were chosen and assigned to the Naval Medical School Hospital in Washington, DC.  This first group, however, had to provide their own room and board.

WWI and the Nurse Corps

Just prior to WWI, the Nurse Corps had already grown to 160 nurses.  With the onset of WWI, the duties of the Nurse Corps were greatly expanded, including overseas service and working under difficult battle field conditions while on loan to the US Army.  In all, 19 female nurses lost their life during this time – more than half of them dying from influenza.

World War II

The World War II era saw a great influx in the number of nurses in the Nurse Corps.  In November of 1941, close to 800 were on active duty, with an additional 900+ on reserve (inactive status).

When the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, Navy nurses were on duty throughout the Pacific and played a vital role in minimizing the overall loss of life and limb.  The need to place them under the War Manpower Commission became apparent and, despite the shortage of qualified nurses, the Navy upheld its standards and enrolled those nurses with outstanding credentials and exceptional skills.  The nurses selected received further training in specialty areas such as orthopedics, surgery and psychiatry.  The Navy nurses were also responsible for training Hospital Corpsmen.

The Navy nurses participated in WWII throughout the Pacific theater and in Europe, as well as stateside.  Some were assigned to naval hospitals aboard ships and were eventually given permission to travel off ship to pick up the wounded.  By the mid-1940s, flight nurses were graduating after additional training in swimming and rescue missions.  Upon graduation, they became an active member of a flying team.

Post WWII 

By the end of the war, over 10,000 nurses were serving over six continents.   After WWII, the US Navy Nurse Corps played important roles in the Korean War and the Vietnam War.  The US Navy Nurse Corps, far removed from the worn torn battlefields of WWII, remain active to this day with nurses deployed throughout the world.

Top US World War II Generals

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A number of excellent military leaders emerged from World War II, including the top World War II Generals.  When such a list is compiled, it could be disputed for a number of reasons.  Facts are not always a decisive factor as each individual may have shown exemplary leadership in a number of different ways.  However, over the years, the history books, the stories and any additional information provided points consistently to a handful of World War II generals and leaders.

Below is a list of some of the top World War II Generals and leaders.  They are presented in alphabetical order.

General Omar Bradley –

Previously an instructor at an infantry school, Bradley entered WWII under the command of General George Patton – only to later become Patton’s boss.  At the time of the Normandy Landing, Bradley commanded all of the US ground forces in WWII.  Commanding a total of 43 divisions – totalling 1.3 million men – it was the largest US troop command ever under a single US field commander.

General Mark W. Clark –

Clark was the youngest US Army Lieutenant General.  During WWII, he served as US Commander in Italy and is known for his triumphant march into Rome.  In 1945, he was promoted to General – once again the youngest ever in US Army history.

 

Dwight D. Eisenhower –

Eisenhower entered WWII as an assistant to senior officers such as MacArthur and Patton.  He proved his value as a commander during the North Africa Campaign.  Afterwards, Eisenhower was appointed by President Roosevelt as the commander of SHAEF – Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force – command headquarters for Allied forces in northwest Europe.

 

General Douglas MacArthur

MacArthur was reinstated in the military just before the Pacific war began.  After he was unable to stop the Japanese from taking possession of the Philippines, he stood on his promise to return.  In 1945, he did just that and presided over the Japanese surrender.  Due in part to MacArthur’s strategies, casualties under his command were relatively low.

 

General George Marshall

Marshall – Chief of Staff – commanded the US Army during World War II.  As US Army Chief of Staff and chief military adviser to President Roosevelt, many of the US generals were issued their top command posts based on Marshall’s recommendation or as a result of his personal choice.  General Marshall is attributed to leading the rapid growth of forces in the United States and known for his co-ordination of the Western Allies and his promotion of postwar reconstruction in Europe.

 

General George S. Patton, Jr. –

General Patton utilized aggressive tactics throughout his military career.  His abrasive personality lay at the source of several reassignments throughout the war but no one could dispute his brilliant strategies – strategies that many feel made him one of the most outstanding field commanders of the United States.

The summaries above are brief and do not completely reflect the excellent, long-standing careers of these outstanding men.  These top US Generals of WWII were met with some of the fiercest fighting of our time, but they brilliantly used the circumstances as a reason to rise to the challenge, not become defeated by it.

World War I Snipers and Their Rifles

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Throughout World War I, snipers were often used in the trenches in an effort to take out enemy soldiers as their heads peered over the top of the opposing trench.  At the start of WW I, only Germany issued scoped rifles to their troops.  The effectiveness of the German snipers resulted in their reputation – which was due in part to their training, but also due to the high-quality lenses manufactured by the Germans – as the deadliest and most efficient sharp shooters during the war.  The lack of Russian counter-parts, also allowed their specially trained snipers to execute their kills with no danger of a sniper counterpart.

As success of the German snipers spread, the British Army opted to begin its own training school, dedicated specifically to sniper training.  Major Hesketh-Prichard founded and headed up this first school and is credited with developing a number of sniping techniques, including spotting scopes, working in pairs and developing observational skills.

Sniper Rifles of WWI

Though rifles were used throughout the infantry, they were a critical component for a sniper. Below is a list of some of the more common rifles used by snipers throughout World War I:

  • German Mauser Gewehr 98 – In service from 1898 – 1935

British Pattern 1914 Enfield – Designed 1914-15 – declared obsolete in 1947

British Lee-Enfield SMLE Mk III – SMLE:  1907 – present day

US M1903 Springfield – US issue 1905 – 1937

Russian M1891 Mosin-Nagant – 1891 – present day

Sniper rifles in WW I were noted for their range and accuracy.  However, despite the sophistication of the weaponry, they were not a substitute for the training, dedication and marksmanship of the sniper.  The history of the sniper dates back as far as the American Revolutionary War, and their story continues on to present day.  Snipers have been an integral part of wars throughout history – World War I snipers are no exception.

Last (and Most Unique) Dogfight of WWII

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Throughout the extensive air-to-air combat missions of WWII, no one can dispute the last – and most unique dogfight of the war.  The fight ensued on April 12, 1945 as two Americans in a low-flying piper (an L-4 Grasshopper) spotted an enemy piper during a routine scouting mission near Berlin.  The enemy aircraft was a German Fieseler Storch.

The two aircraft were not prepared for fighting.  However, the Americans – pilot and co-pilot Lt. Duane Francis and Lt. Bill Martin – took advantage of their air position above the Germans, opened their doors and used their service revolvers (.45 caliber pistols) to begin firing on the enemy piper below.  As the German aircraft maneuvered to evade enemy fire, one of its wings touched the ground and caused them to crash.  The L-4 Grasshopper proceeded to land safely close-by, captured the Germans and provided first-aid.

This is the only known WWII aircraft to be taken down using only pistols.

The Storch Rescues Mussolini

Another World War II role for which the Fieseler Storch is remembered is the rescue of Benito Mussolini.  When ousted Italian dictator Mussolini was stranded on a mountaintop, surrounded by Italian troops, paratroopers were sent in to secure the mountaintop.  However, once this was accomplished, an evacuation plan was needed.  A helicopter was originally sent, but broke down en route.  The Fieseler Storch was sent.  Despite minimal space available for landing and take off, it successfully completed the mission.

Brief Summation

The Germans used the Storch in every front throughout the European and the North African theater operations.  A number of these aircrafts were captured during the war and used by various military Allied leaders as personal aircraft.  Throughout WWII, the British managed to capture a total of 145 and gave 64 of them to the French.

However, despite its extensive use and history throughout WWII, the Fieseler Storch will always be remembered for its role in the last (and most unique) dogfight of WWII.

Advancements in Technology in World War II

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In World War II, continual advancements in technology were mandatory to maintain a competitive edge over the enemy.  While technological advancements were made prior to the war, other developments were a direct result of the trials and errors suffered during the war.  The WWII era housed a great many changes which affected weaponry, logistical support, communications and intelligence, medicine and various industries.

Overview

Advancement in military weaponry occurred rapidly during the Second World War, including everything from aircraft to small arms.  At the beginning of WWII, little advancement had been seen since the end of WWI.  However, just six short years later the face of warfare morphed significantly with the military utilizing jet aircrafts and ballistic missiles.

Tanks and Vehicles

 

Due to the increased mobility of troops in WWII (vs. the static front lines of WWI), tanks saw significant advancements, including increased speed, armor and firepower.  The amphibious DUKW was another crucial development during the war and was utilized extensively for troop deployment and as a means to transport tanks to areas in need.

Ships

WWI Navy battleships no longer dominated the sea power.  Newly designed aircraft carriers were equipped with greater range and a heavier striking power.  Due to time constraints in producing new ships, older ships were being retro fitted with newly designed components.

Small Arms

 The production of small arms changed dramatically with the introduction of stamping, riveting and welding.  Semi-automatic rifles and assault rifles were also developed during this era.  A number of transformations emerged throughout this time that would affect future small arms advancements.  WWII small arms have continued to be a favorite among collectors of WWII weapons or weapons in general.

Aircraft

Aircraft development was crucial during WWII due to its increased use throughout the war – as bombers, fighters and reconnaissance.  Massive bombing raids were being utilized as an alternative to static trench warfare.  Air superiority was the goal of both the Allies and the Axis, each dedicating as much man/woman and machine power as possible to produce the ultimate air weapon.  By the end of WWII, pilots were flying jet aircrafts.  Other advancements in armament, maneuverability and radar assisted with the continual advancement of military aircraft.

Conclusion

No doubt WWII played a critical role in the industrialization of many of the nations around the world on which every military greatly relied.   As a result, incredible advancements in technology – necessitated by the advancements of the enemy – were witnessed throughout World War II.

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