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"SAARF Special Allied Airborne Reconnaissance Force " Topic

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258 hits since 1 Aug 2018
©1994-2019 Bill Armintrout
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Tango01 Supporting Member of TMP01 Aug 2018 11:56 a.m. PST

"In early 1945, with the Allied forces closing in on Germany from the west and Russian forces from the east, there was concern on the Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Force (SHAEF) staff about the continued safety of Prisoners of War (POWs) in the hands of the Germans. Some intelligence reporting indicated that the Germans may be moving POWs out of camps in areas where Allied military forces were near at hand. Fears of German maltreatment of POWs in the event the war was lost had been raised earlier but planning for those contingencies did not receive a high priority.

As the situation became more of a reality and concerns were raised that camp personnel might decide to massacre prisoners, the priority for planning was raised. The new plans centered on establishing Contact Teams which could be parachuted into or near POW camps to observe and report activities relative to prisoner safety or to intercede in the event of any observed untoward actions being directed against prisoners. Based on limited intelligence reporting, conditions in some of the camps were believed to be bad. There was also uncertainty about whether Hitler might order that actions be taken against prisoners in view of Germany steadily losing ground in the war. One scenario imagined prisoners being killed; another that the camps would simply be abandoned and the prisoners might starve or otherwise be left to fend for themselves. The renewed planning called for parachute battalions to be held on alert in reserve, prepared to jump in on camps if any Contact Team notified them of imminence of killings or mass evacuation of prisoners. Initially, the 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment of the U.S. 101st Airborne Division was designated as the unit on stand-by…."
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