The most dangerous job in WWII?

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Jon G.
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by Jon G. » 10 Oct 2011 18:19

For contrast, see this thread:

Best postings for a german soldiers in the war
forum.axishistory.com/viewtopic.php?f=76&t=47010

...for most dangerous job in the war, my money would be split between later war U-Boat crew, first expedition Chindit, later war Japanese infantryman in Burma, Polish Home Army 1944, or Soviet penal battallion.

But I haven't bothered doing the maths, and we are all assuming that dangerous=high risk of dying. Some of the jobs listed are of an all/nothing nature, as outlined by Mark V: either you die, or you're fine, but other jobs - say German infantryman in Stalingrad early 1943 - probably mean a somewhat lower risk of dying, but a much higher risk of getting maimed/wounded/ending up as a POW under possibly horrible conditons.

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Mauser K98k
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by Mauser K98k » 10 Oct 2011 18:32

I can believe U-Boat crewman is most dangerous!

Another candidate is ball turret gunner in a USAAF bomber. I don't have statistics, maybe it's just the thought of the cramped helpless claustrophobic horror of being jammed into a fishbowl hanging under a bomber, in the stream of fire from any fighter attack from rear/below. Also, if the plane is going down, I would think the ball turret gunner has the most difficult task of bailing out.

Brings to mind the poem:

The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner

"From my Mother's sleep I fell into the state,
and I hunched in it's belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth,
loosed from it's dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the Nightmare Fighter.
When I died, they washed me out of the turret with a hose".

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Berthier92
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by Berthier92 » 11 Oct 2011 09:25

Mauser K98k wrote:I can believe U-Boat crewman is most dangerous!

Another candidate is ball turret gunner in a USAAF bomber. I don't have statistics, maybe it's just the thought of the cramped helpless claustrophobic horror of being jammed into a fishbowl hanging under a bomber, in the stream of fire from any fighter attack from rear/below. Also, if the plane is going down, I would think the ball turret gunner has the most difficult task of bailing out.

Brings to mind the poem:

The Death Of The Ball Turret Gunner

"From my Mother's sleep I fell into the state,
and I hunched in it's belly till my wet fur froze.
Six miles from earth,
loosed from it's dream of life,
I woke to black flak and the Nightmare Fighter.
When I died, they washed me out of the turret with a hose".

very true, because the ball is shut closed behind the gunner, one of the waist gunners has to open the ball turret hatch. also in B-17s there was a chance of getting crushed in a forced landing if no one could help open the hatch. B-24's solved that problem by having the ball turret retracted into the main fuselage until needed.
3rd Recon battalion ,DAK , First in Tripoli, First at front

Ali M J
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by Ali M J » 12 Oct 2011 00:57

The Germans didn't name Shermans "Tommy Cookers" for no reasons
I agree!
This has been dealt with quite a few times.
Why would the Germans say ' Shermans 'tommy cookers' for no reason at all? The Germans probelary loved the Sherman tanks as for they killed the British for them.

Michael Kenny
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by Michael Kenny » 12 Oct 2011 01:44

Ali M J wrote: The Germans probelary loved the Sherman tanks as for they killed the British for them.

How many did they 'kill'?
Perhaps you have the numbers to back up the claims?

It may interest you to know that on the night of Goodwood (18/7/44) one British tank Regiment claims it lost more men to a bombing raid than it lost in all it's tanks knocked out during the day.

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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 04 Nov 2011 22:23

Leaders of the major Axis powers. 3 in , 3 out.

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Helmut0815
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by Helmut0815 » 04 Nov 2011 23:33

What about medics?
They had to recover their wounded comrades under hostile fire. AFAIK they had a very high casualty rate.

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Christoph Awender
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by Christoph Awender » 06 Nov 2011 12:11

Hello,

No medic recovered comrades out of enemy or under enemy fire. If possible the comrades (or in some circumstances - Hilfskrankenträger) brought them back... but also not under fire. "Hausverstand" was also existing in these times. Of course single acts of bravery (or however you want to call it) existed.

/Christoph

ChristopherPerrien
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 06 Nov 2011 13:09

Helmut0815 wrote:What about medics?
They had to recover their wounded comrades under hostile fire. AFAIK they had a very high casualty rate.
Technically, Medics are covered under the Geneva Connections as to not get shot at :milwink: . Medics were more often in the "2nd line" (In the rear , with the gear :milsmile: ) waiting for casualties to be brought back . There were not that many of them, for them to be "out-front", in all the fighting. Some medics, of course, ended up right out front, with 'assault units" (like the USMC landing units) but those units as a whole, were a dangerous place to be on occasion.

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BillHermann
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by BillHermann » 01 Feb 2012 01:16

Ali M J wrote:
The Germans didn't name Shermans "Tommy Cookers" for no reasons
I agree!
This has been dealt with quite a few times.
Why would the Germans say ' Shermans 'tommy cookers' for no reason at all? The Germans probelary loved the Sherman tanks as for they killed the British for them.
The bad Sherman, dangerous Serman argument is getting old, really old and come from an opinion that has been built around a small number of vetran stories that support a fan base that is bias towards the German cool factor.

The description of how a German round tears through a Sherman can be used for an allied round or rocket that goes through a German tank. I have read many a story of a German tank brewing up or cooking with only ashes of crew being left in the tank.

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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by David Thompson » 01 Feb 2012 15:12

A post from darringm, which contained racial slang, was removed by this moderator pursuant to forum rules - DT.

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dgfred
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by dgfred » 01 Feb 2012 22:37

ChristopherPerrien wrote:Kamikaze pilot

Chris
That IS super dangerous. 8O

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BillHermann
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by BillHermann » 01 Feb 2012 23:58

There are many factors to this, obviously suiside missions would be at the top of the list.

Reconnaissance being one of the most in some cases

JamesL
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by JamesL » 08 Mar 2012 00:27

I'd consider being a tank commander a pretty dangerous job. Essentially he has his head exposed most of the time, looking for targets, ambushes, and giving the driver directions.

ChristopherPerrien
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Re: The most dangerous job in WWII?

Post by ChristopherPerrien » 08 Mar 2012 11:56

JamesL wrote:I'd consider being a tank commander a pretty dangerous job. Essentially he has his head exposed most of the time, looking for targets, ambushes, and giving the driver directions.
Generally tanks in WWII fought buttoned up, Where tank commanders and crew got most often wounded (more than half the time), was when they were outside their tank. (At least for the US army, IIRC a discussion with RichTO in the past on severity of wounds).

Even currently, the only army I know that has tanks fighting unbuttoned as doctrine is the Israeli army,which I think is by default almost, given desert conditions and a lack of enemy artillery fire.

In WWII tankers were going against doctrine and "orders", sticking their head out in battle, IIRC Otto Carius talks of this in "Panzers in the Mud".

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