Sunday, 27 January 2013
Navaho radio operators in WW2
Many people have probably seen the Nicholas Cage film "Wind talkers" about Native American radio operators in WW2. But did you know the USAAF used them too?
From the middle of 1942, the Luftwaffe used a special ops group named KG-200 to infiltrate USAAF boxes on the return from Germany- Can you imagine the effect on morale to see an aircraft that you assumed was friendly open fire on one of its own?
The USAAF designated the flying Fortress YB-40 as the main aircraft after this point. The YB-40 until now had been used for long-range bomber escort as the Mustangs had not arrived in the UK. Now with the extra mid-gunner position and longer ranges they took on a new role.
KG-200 operated all types of aircraft that had been downed over German held territory.Mainly RAF/US bombers but a few fighters and fighter bombers too. In the latter part of the year- a momentous decision was made. Every USAAF aircrew had to include a Navajo Indian-once airborne only the Navajo's could converse.
If you called a plane and it wasn't answered in Navajo- the order from the top was simple-
SHOOT IT DOWN!