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"The Germans call them... the Bastards."
General Fenech, Inglourious Basterds

Soldiers in a large army may feel rather unimportant being identified as a member of the 103rd Orbital Magic Fighter Group or the 486th Combined Rapid Assault Platoon or whatever. To make themselves feel more distinct, they or their commanders come up with a more colorful nickname for The Squad. This might just remain a private joke, or it may eventually come into use among the higher-ups. In some cases, the name may be officially attached to the squad.

Standard issue for any regiment with a particularly fearsome reputation. Compare Nom de Guerre for individual combat nicknames.

This has been Truth in Television since at least the days of the The Roman Empire.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Gundam:
    • The Black Tri-Stars from Mobile Suit Gundam may count, though they are a bit small for a squad.
      • UC Gundam in general tends to arrange Mobile Suits in squads of three. See also the White Dingo team in Rise from the Ashes.
    • Gundam ZZ's Gundam Team of three Gundams, the golden Hyaku Shiki and a giant hoverbike.
    • F91 has Zabine Chareux's Black Vanguard squadron.
    • Crossbone had the Jupiter Empire's Death Gale squadron, and later the ThouCus ("Thousand Custom") team.
    • Victory has the ill-fated, all-female Shrike Team.
    • Turn A has the militia's Jalopy Team, lead by Joseph, and Gavan Gooney's "Suicide Squad" (which is not actually a Meaningful Name).
    • Also maybe, Phantom Pain from Gundam SEED Destiny (their official designation is "81st Autonomous Mobile Group").
    • In Gundam AGE, the Diva's MS squad is named after the leader—Woolf and Seric, respectively. On the enemy side we have the Magicians 8 in Gen 2 and the Phantom Three in Kio's time.
  • All major military units in Berserk have nicknames of varying coolness. The Band of the Hawk is the one Guts joins.
  • Pumpkin Scissors: Imperial Army State Section III, a.k.a. "Pumpkin Scissors". Rather subversive, seeing as they're a war relief unit rather than a combat force, not to mention how silly it sounds. Squad leader LT Alice Malvin, who came up with the name, pictures it as a metaphor of the unit acting as a pair of scissors to cut through the thick pumpkin rind-like corruption in the Empire.
  • Strike Witches: The 501st Joint Fighter Wing, better known as the Strike Witches. The Blu-ray booklet also elaborates on other joint fighter wings, each with their own nicknames. The 502nd is known as the "Brave Witches," and goes further with "Break Witches" as an extension of the original nickname due to their penchant for destroying Striker Units. The 503rd is called the "Typhoon Witches"; the 504th "Ardor Witches"; the 505th "Mirage Witches"; the 506th "Noble Witches"; the 507th "Silent Witches"; the 508th "Mighty Witches" "Glorious Witches" for HMW, "Storm Witches" for the Afrikacorps, and "Shinigami" for Fuso's 42nd Joint Fighter Corps.
  • Macross has several:
    • First and foremost, the famous Skull Squadron, the most elite Valkyrie pilots of the UN Wars and the Zentraedi War.
    • Macross M3 has Max's and Miria's personal squad, the Dancing Skulls.
    • Macross 7 had Sound Force, the rather unique squadron made up of members of the band Fire Bomber.
      • 7 also had the Jamming Birds, an almost completely unsuccessful attempt to replicate Sound Force.
      • A more conventional squadron from 7 was Diamond Force, made up of the most elite military pilots on the 7th Fleet. Over the course of the series it loses some members, the survivors of which are re-organized into Emerald Force.
    • Macross Frontier has another Skull Squadron (named in honor of the original).
    • Macross Delta has Delta Squadron and the Walkure (who are a cross between a combat unit and an Idol Singer group, using songs in combat rather like Sound Force did). There are apparently Alpha, Beta, etc. Squadrons as well but so far they haven't been relevant.

    Comic Books 
  • From Sgt. Fury and his Howling Commandos, the Howling Commandos is the nickname for the First Attack Squad of Able Company in the United States Army Rangers
  • From Marvel's The Transformers comics, The Wreckers for Autobots and the Mayhem Attack Squad for Decepticons.
  • The title team of Suicide Squad is officially designated Task Force X.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (Archie Comics) used the Team suffix from Sonic Heroes to name a three-man team of heroes. Beyond Team Dark (which is the only Sega-canon group formed), there was Team Rose (Amy Rose, Cream and Cheese, and Blaze the Cat), Team Hooligan (Nack the Weasel, Bean the Dynamite Duck and Bark the Polar Bear), Team Fighters (Sonic, Tails and Amy) and Team Freedom (Rotor, Cream and Cheese, Big, Heavy and Bomb)

    Films — Live-Action 

  • The title character of Sharpe commands the Chosen Men. According to the novels, Chosen man was actually a rank replaced by Lance corporal in more modern eras.
  • The warriors under Tsubodai's command in the Conqueror books are referred to as the Young Wolves. Following this lead, Jochi names his tuman the Iron Horse, and decides to refer to Jebe's tuman as the Bearskins, much to the latter's annoyance.
  • The Wheel of Time has banners such as Edorion's Hammers, Carlomin's Leopards, and Reimon's Eagles among the Band of the Red Hand. And there's the Fists of Heaven too.
  • Starship Troopers: Mobile Infantry units usually have Alliterative Name nicknames, based on the commanding officer. Protagonist Juan Rico is assigned to Lieutenant Rasczak's "Rasczak's Roughnecks"; other units with similar names are mentioned, like "Anton's Apaches" and "Smith's Centaurs".
    • After Rasczak dies early in the novel, the men decide to rename the unit "Jelly's Jaguars" after acting C.O. Sgt. "Jelly" Jelal, but Jelal vetoes it—they remain the "Roughnecks" to the end of the book when Rico takes command, and they become Rico's Roughnecks.
  • In Jim Butcher's Codex Alera, we have Rufus Scipio's Battlecrows Cohort and the Knights Pisces, which come from an Insult Backfire.
  • The Malazan Book of the Fallen has a bunch of these, like the Bridgeburners and the Bonehunters.
  • Star Wars Legends:
    • Star Wars gives us squadron names such as Rogue Squadron, Wraith Squadron, Twin Suns Squadron, the Tierfon Yellow Aces, or the Screaming Wookiee Squadron. The Rebel Alliance seems to eschew numerical designations altogether, and the most generic they get are color-based names (Red Group, Gold Squadron) for ad-hoc starfighter organizations. (In contrast, most individual pilots have numeric callsigns such as Rogue Two or Red Five instead of a Nom de Guerre.) The Empire usually avoids this, or at least we don't hear about it very often, but the 501st Legion Division is commonly known as Vader's Fist. The 181st squadron was called the One-Eighty-Worst until Fel shaped it up, at which point it was usually called "One-Eighty-First" in respectful tones, by Imperial and Rebel pilots alike.
    • The Wraiths are a curious example. As a fighter squadron, "Wraith Squadron" is their official title, but after their transfer to Intelligence, they don't appear to have an official name (Intelligence assets being much less flashy than fighters, after all) but are always and only referred to as "the Wraiths" because of their exploits.
    • In Star Wars: Allegiance, the five defecting-but-still-Imperial stormtroopers liberate a spaceport from corrupt officials. The grateful natives want to know who they are, and the leader of the stormtroopers, who hadn't intended to call attention to them, panics and says, "Mostly, we're known as the Hand of Judgment," and instantly regrets picking the name. As soon as they're alone, the other four stormtroopers mock him vigorously.
      Quiller: You could have just picked a unit number at random. It's not like he could have checked before we got offplanet.
      LaRone: Fine. Next time you can be the officer and group spokesman.
      Quiller: Great. Does that mean you're promoting me from finger to thumb?
      Grave: No fair. I want to be the thumb.
    • Speaking of the 501st, it's a Shout-Out from Lucasfilm to one of their most devoted groups of fans: an entire regiment (literally) of Cosplayers who show up in Imperial armor or uniform. As for the in-canon 501st, they're the ones Vader leads in the Jedi Temple massacre, the attack on the Tantive IV, and the assault on Hoth.
  • Monstrous Regiment gives us the "Ins and Outs" or the "Cheesemongers", named after a story about cheese, a soldier, and a young lady. Jingo gives us Colon reminiscing on his time in the "Pheasant Pluckers" regiment. Apparently, their official song was a little tough to sing right.
  • In the Anita Blake book series, the police squad the titular character works with is the Regional Preternatural Investigation Team (RPIT), nicknamed "Rip It" or simply "The Spook Squad".
  • Each of the Wasp Armies in Shadows of the Apt- so far we have (in no particular order) the Hive, the Gears, the Barbs and a couple of others I can't remember right now.
  • Although not a professional squad, the Animorphs group was nicknamed by Marco. It's short for "Animal Morphers". Or "Idiot teenagers with a death wish." Whichever.
  • In the Tortall Universe, once the Queen's Riders have become established, most Rider Groups have nicknames- for example, the Seventeenth is "Group Askew" and the Sixth is "Thayet's Dogs". The exception is the First Rider Group, which is just called the First.
  • In the Cut and Run series, Ty Grady's Force Recon team was codenamed Team Sidewinder.
  • From Grunts!:
    "Sir! Permission to call this squad Black Squad, sir!"
    "Denied. We already have fifteen Black Squads, twelve Dark Squads, four Raven Squads, three Midnight Squads, one Sable Squad, one Ebony Squad and one," she glanced at a sheet of paper, "Pink Squad. Yes... we're all a little worried about Pink Squad."
  • The Lusthog Squad from the Vietnam War novels The Short-Timers and The Phantom Blooper by Gustav Hasford
  • Ask someone in the Warhammer 40,000-'verse about the Tanith 1st Reconnaisance Regiment (or worse, the 81/1st Beladon Light Infantry (Recon)), and you will more likely than not get "Huh?" as a response. "Tanith First-And-Only" might raise a few eyebrows, but no more. Mention Gaunt's Ghosts, and people start paying attention.
  • In Martin Caidin's WW2 novel Whip, Whip Russell's bomber squadron is officially named the 335th Medium Bombardment Squadron. Unofficially, it's known as the "Death's Head Brigade".

    Live-Action TV 
  • Babylon 5 has the Black Omega Squadron of Psi-Corps fighter pilots.
  • The "Wild Cards" squadron from Space: Above and Beyond. In the final episode of the series, The Captain, at first, orders a different squadron to launch at the incoming Chig fighters. Then belays his first order and instead orders to "deal out the Wild Cards", despite the squadron being on suspension at the time.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Cyberpunk has the C-SWAT (Cybernetic Special Weapons & Tactical Squad), PSYCHE-DIV, CYBEnforcement, and MAX-TAC (Maximum Force Tactical Division) police forces, all collectively known as the "Cyber Psycho Squad". They are the elite police forces that hunt down and arrest "Cyber Psychos" and who may be as close to cyberpsychosis as the people they arrest, if they weren't already Cyber Psychos before they were cops.
  • Tech Infantry has several, including the Raptors led by Colonel Arthur Clarke, the Red Scorpions, and Alastair Dimiye's Dead Boys Battallion.
  • Warhammer's most famous mercenary units, the Regiments of Renown, have names like this: "the Marksmen of Miragliano," "Ruglud's Armored Orcs," "the Bearmen of Ursulo," "Richter Kreugar's Cursed Company," "Menghil's Manflayers," "Long Drong's Pirate Slayers," etc.
  • Warhammer 40,000:
    • The original twenty Space Marine legions started with mere numerical designations like the Roman Legions of old, but quickly picked up a more evocative name as they participated in the Great Crusade, then usually another name after the legion's Primarch was returned to them. For example, Legion XIII was known as "The Warborn" until they were reunited with Roboute Guilliman, after which they became known as "The Ultramarines." Meanwhile, Legion XVI was known as the "Luna Wolves" for most of the Crusade, were renamed the "Sons of Horus" in honor of their leader's victories, but then after their defeat in the Horus Heresy, their new leader Abaddon rebranded them as the "Black Legion" to break from their past failures.
    • Individual Imperial Guard regiments can pick up names like this. The Tanith 1st Reconnaisance Regiment is better known as the "Tanith First-And-Only," or simply as "Gaunt's Ghosts" after their commander, while the 13th Penal Legion is infamous as Colonel Schaeffer's "Last Chancers." Some Imperial worlds also become so famous for their soldiers that their troops get a descriptive name - Cadian Shock Troopers, Mordian Iron Guard, the Death Korps of Krieg - regardless of whatever an individual regiment from that world specializes in.

    Video Games 
  • The Marine squads in Quake IV are named after various animals: Badger, Bison, Cobra, Cougar, Eagle, Fox, Grizzly, Kodiak, Raven, Rhino, Scorpion, Viper, Warthog and the Wolf Squads.
  • Star Control has the Black Spathi Squadron who painted their ships black and performed "Acts of daring and near-suicidal heroism." This is from the race whose hat is Dirty Coward.
  • Advance Wars Days of Ruin: "Brenner's Wolves" for the Rubinelle 12th Batallion.
  • The "Aggressors" and "Cry Wolves" in Super Robot Wars. Also arguably the ATX and SRX team (those were named after projects, however), and the Octo Squad.
  • FreeSpace 2: The "Suicide Kings" (flying light fighters down the barrel of Wave Motion Guns), among others. In fact, all squadrons in Freespace seem to have a name attached to them, some more memorable than others.
    • Fan-mod Derelict has the player's squad, the 212th Silver Scythes.
    • And Blue Planet: War in Heaven has the protagonist's squad, who get the nickname "the Wargods" among both allies and enemies. There's also the top-secret black ops group known only as "the Fedayeen".
  • In Frontlines: Fuel of War, the player is part of the 125th Strike Division, known as the "Stray Dogs".
  • Welkin Gunther of Squad 7 tends to call his own squad 7s
  • A staple in the Ace Combat series. Practically every Player Character will be part of a named squadron with a distinct name, and the enemy squadrons often get a nickname or two:
  • Mass Effect:
    • One trailer for Mass Effect 2 refers to Shepard's team as the Dirty Dozen, although no one in-story ever invokes this. They probably don't have a squad nickname because saying "Shepard's Team" is scarier than anything else you can make up.
    • During the mission to the Citadel Archives in Mass Effect 3: Citadel, the two fireteams that aren't with Shepard dub themselves Team Mako and Team Hammerhead after the series' two iconic combat vehicles. They then proceed to rib each other on the strengths and weaknesses of their respective namesakes. Javik later declares himself Team Prothean, and would like to let the other two fireteams know that he has a higher bodycount than both combined.
  • According to some of Starcraft's fluff, Jim Raynor once belonged to the 321 Colonial Ranger Battalion, Heaven's Devils (probably a sort of reversal on the Hells Angels' name). The back cover of the art book is the fancy version of their unit emblem, and features The Grim Reaper holding a a machine gun in one hand, and a hammer in the other.
    • Their name came from a POW saying "They fell from the heavens, and fought like hell to free the Confederate POWs held deep inside KM territory. No one else could have done it. No one else did. That's how the Heaven's Devils earned their name".
    • According to the book Heaven's Devils, young Raynor had his Powered Armor painted black with a skull on the visor. In Starcraft II, he still wears it to battle.
    • Mercenary squads are beefed-up versions of units, from War Pigs and Devil Dogs for Marines and Firebats to Hel's Angels and Siege Breakers for Vikings and Siege Tanks. The Thor doesn't get one until the sequel, which breaks away from the Norse Mythology by being called the Blackhammer.
      • Emperor Mengsk's Praetorian Guard at his palace on Korhal in Heart of the Swarm are known as the Sons of Korhal (in reference to his former revolutionary movement), and include such sub-units as the Prometheus Company firebats, Sky Fury and Night Wing fighter squadrons, and Bulwark Company goliaths.
    • In the manual for the original game, the blandly-named Confederate military units all have more impressive-sounding nicknames, e.g. the "Blood Hawks" for Alpha Squadron and the "Death's Head Legion" for Omega Squadron.
  • Most of the action in Madou Souhei Kleinhasa centers around the 502nd Independent Company, aka the Tiger Lilies.
  • Front Mission has plenty of these.
    • FM Alternative has the IMAC (Independent Mobile Assault Company), Bamia, Sinsemilla, and the Cerberus Garde
    • FM 2089 and FM 2089-II have the Storm Unit, Chariots, and the Vampires
    • Front Mission has the Canyon Crows, Hell's Wall, Black Hounds, and the Silver Lynxes
    • Front Mission 2 has the Muddy Otters, Dull Stags, and the Dark Geese
    • FM Online has the Chasm Owls, Iron Hearts, and the Proud Eagles
    • Front Mission 3 has the Purple Haze and the Wulong
    • Front Mission 4 has the Durandal and the Blauer Nebel
    • Front Mission 5 has the Strike Wyverns and the Barghest
    • FM Evolved has Apollo's Chariot
    • FM Gun Hazard has the Crimson Blow.
    • In the other media, there's the Akatsuki (The Drive), Smile Dogs (Dog Life & Dog Style), and the Strike Eagles (Dog Life & Dog Style).
  • Dwarf Fortress used to have randomly generated squad names, resulting in such classics as "The Washed Bodices" and "The Frilly Corridors".
  • The Trooper storyline from Star Wars: The Old Republic has Havoc Squad (Officially Infantry Squad 326), commanded by the Player Character, and the Safecrackers, a team that specializes in bunker assaults.
  • In Halo, the ODSTs (Orbital Drop Shock Troopers) of the 105th Shock Troops Division are more commonly known as "Helljumpers", due to how hot their drop pods became when falling through the atmosphere.
  • In Spec Ops: The Line, the 33rd Infantry Battalion is more commonly known as the Damned 33rd due to their tendency to perform Suicide Missions and always come back alive despite that.
  • The Resistance in Sonic Forces uses animal-themed squad names, appropriately enough. As did Infinite's old mercenary unit, the Jackal Squad; all of its members were jackals.
  • Several squads in Girls' Frontline have their own nicknames:
    • AR Team, comprised of M4A1, M16A1, ST AR-15, and M4 SOPMODII, with Colt RO635 joining later on. While AR officially stands for "Anti-Rain" (the significance of this isn't explained yet), it also references the fact that all members use guns based on the AR platform.
    • Squad 404, taking their name from Common HTTP Status Code. They are a group of covert specialists who wipe out any traces of their existence, up to wiping out the memories of other Dolls they encounter.
    • Task Force DEFY, "those who dare defy destiny". Originally called the "Wolfpack" after the Wolfpack Initiative that commissioned them (and their Animal Motifs), the squad was renamed after their creator's philosophy: that a Doll will become closer to humanity by giving them "the right to defy". It is implied that RPK-16's status as the only T-Doll who openly betrayed her comrades is connected to this.
    • RO635's previous squad is called Palette Team, likely alluding to the vibrant colors present on each members' uniform.
  • All rare Blades in Xenoblade Chronicles 2 have a different squad nickname when placed as leader of a mercenary mission. This includes the main game's, DLC, and New Game Plus only Blades, and even story Blades once New Game Plus is reached. Even Poppi's different forms have unique names despite being the same character.

    Web Original 

    Western Animation 

    Real Life 
  • 617 Squadron of the Royal Air Force are known as the "Dambusters" for, well, that World War II mission. Today they fly F-35B Lightning strike aircraft.
  • The Easy Company of the United States' 101st Airborne Division counts to some degree: the name "Easy" comes from "E Company" spelled in a pre-NATO radio alphabet (it would be nowadays "Echo Company"), but after its major role in the World War II and the fame brought by Band of Brothers, "Easy Company" eventually became their moniker.
    • The 101st Airborne as a whole calls itself the "Screaming Eagles" after the eagle on its unit patch.
      • Interservice Rivalry being what it is, they're also called the "Chokin' Chickens" and "Puking Buzzards"...
    • The rival 82nd Airborne Division were known as the "All-Americans," as when the division was originally raised, it was made up of soldiers from each of the then-48 states in the Union (hence the "AA" division patch).
    • Another unit patch related nickname is the 1st Infantry Division. It's called "The Big Red One", because well....
  • From World War II onwards, the Eighth Air Force, which earned the nickname "The Mighty Eighth" for their daylight precision bombing raids over Western Europe throughout the war.
  • The 332nd Fighter Group of the US Air Force, aka "Tuskegee Airmen", named after its initial home at Tuskegee, Alabama, and famous for being the first African-American fighter squadron.
  • Many Eighth Air Force fighter groups had similar monikers:
    • 4th Fighter Group - Eagles
    • 56th Fighter Group - Wolfpack
    • 352nd Fighter Group - Blue Nose Birds/Bastards of Bodney
    • 353rd Fighter Group - Slybirds
    • 357th Fighter Group - The Yoxford Boys
    • 361st Fighter Group - The Yellowjackets
  • "The Flying Circus". Monty who? I meant the Red Baron's fighter squadron in World War I. Many German fighter squadrons were known as "circuses" to their British adversaries because German pilots were allowed to paint their aircraft in whatever individual colours they liked, with frequently rather gaudy results, but "The Richthofen Circus" was the most (in)famous, a hand-picked squadron of Germany's best pilots led by the original Red Baron.
  • "The Rats of Tobruk". During World War II, Australian troops managed to halt a blitzkrieg launched by Rommel's Afrika Corps (the first Allied force to do so) and subsequently spent over six months besieged in the city of Tobruk in eastern Libya. They survived first by hiding out in their intricate tunnel system and then by going on highly-cooridinated offensives against their besiegers. Nazi radio broadcaster Lord Haw-Haw tried to discourage the defenders by refering to them as "poor desert rats of Tobruk". The Aussies took the name and ran with it.
    • A similar thing happened with the Scrap Iron Flotilla.
  • The British Parachute Regiment are occasionally referred to as the 'Red Devils', in reference to their distinctive scarlet berets, but this seems to have fallen out of use in favour of simply referring to them as 'Paras'.note 
    • It's more usually used now to refer to their display team instead.
  • The Royal Marines are sometimes referred to as 'Bootnecks', presumably a reference to a close-fitting leather collar issued to infantry at the turn of the 19th century.
  • The U.S. Marines are called "Leathernecks" for the same reason.note  They are also referred to as "Devil Dogs"; Corps legend states this is because during an attack on a German position in WW1 the gas mask wearing Marines began to foam at the mouth from the heat and gas, while the steep hill they had to climb made them clambor up on all fours. Seeing these rabid, four legged figures charging them, the Germans dubbed them "Teufel Hunden". Like with the "Old Contemptibles" mentioned below, there are no German records of this, so it may have been made up by Allied propagandists, given that "Teufel Hunden" is orthographically and grammatically incorrect German (it should be 'Teufelshunde'). Also worth noting: The "Devil Dogs/Teufel Hunden" thing already was used in American newspapers two months before the battle (Belleau Wood) in which according to legend it was coined.
  • VMF-214 in World War II was known as the 'Black Sheep,' because the squad had essentially been cobbled together by replacements and volunteers and had never trained as a squad before their first combat missions.
    • This is pretty much the norm for US Navy and Marine Corps air squadrons. Nicknames exist for practically all squadrons ranging from cool (VF-1 Wolfpack, VFA-154 Black Knights) to absurd (VF-114 Aardvarks).
    • The "Black Sheep" for (the second iteration of) VMF-214 during WWII was actually a case of bowdlerization, as the initially suggested "Boyington's Bastards" nickname was deemed not suitable for various publicity reasons.
  • 1st Special Service Force: a WW II joint American and Canadian commando force known as The Devil's Brigade.
  • According to an apocryphal story, quite possibly invented by British propagandists, the Kaiser, upon hearing that German forces were being held up in France while on their way to Paris, is said to have referred to the British Expeditionary Forced as "General French's contemptible little army" in an order dated 19 August, 1914 (no evidence for this order being real was ever found). This became the name adopted by those British regulars who had fought in the 1914 campaign, "The Old Contemptibles".
  • The United States 42nd Infantry Division, also known as the Rainbow Division, so named because when the National Guard was first Federalized for World War I, they formed the first such division with regiments from twenty-six different states to avoid problems with regional and state politics.
  • The US 32nd Infantry Division was named Les Terribles (The Terrifics) by their French comrades during WWI.
  • The American Volunteer Group, a fighter group assisting China against Japan in the early days of WWII with no official support or recognition by the United States Government was named "The Flying Tigers" by the Chinese for their ferocity in combat.
  • Thanks to downsizing and regiments being merged, the British Army may actually have more squad nicknames than units. Most of them either have a long history (such as the Diehards, or the Ever-Sworded), or are very bad jokes (the Agile and Bolton Wanderers, or Hell's Last Issue).
  • The Soviet WWII 46th and 588th Guard Night Bombers, all-female regiments, were known as "The Night Witches". If you don't know, a night bomber is an old WWI-esque wooden bomber that is light enough to glide unpowered for a relatively long time; the pilots used this tactic to stealthily fly above enemy lines after dark. Yes, they were badass Action Girls that made the Germans actually be afraid of those old pieces of junk.
    • After all, the Germans actually gave them that name, Nachthexen.
      • In part due to how low the planes were forced to fly, because of being old pieces of junk. They were too close for a lot of the standard anti-aircraft weaponry. That is, if you could even find the plane. Even after the bombs had been dropped and the engine on the plane had started, there was no guarantee of locating it because the cackling sound of the engine would bounce off every tall building and mountain within ten miles. Of course, the downside of the planes being old pieces of junk is that sometimes they refused to start after the bombs were dropped dumping the unfortunate pilot behind enemy lines and far from her comrades. Not that the rest of the Soviet airforce had better equipment, especially late in the war.
  • The US Second Armored Division was known as "Hell On Wheels". Alas, it was deactivated in 1995.
  • During World War II, one of the most legendary units was the 7th Panzer Division, commanded by Erwin Rommel. While the Battle of France was raging, the group earned the nickname "Ghost Division" because of its speed and the fact that nobody seemed to know where it was, not even the German High Command.
  • During the American Civil War a number of larger units had nicknames, the most famous probably being the Stonewall Brigade (2nd, 4th, 5th, 27th and 33rd Virgina Regiment) of the Confederate Army of North Virginia and the brigade first nicknamed the Black Hat Brigade and then the Iron Brigade (2nd, 6th and 7th Wisconsin, 19th Indiana and 24th Michigan) of the Union Army of the Potomac.
  • During The Napoleonic Wars, the French Old Guard, specifically its four infantry regiments, were known (as they are to this day in France) as les grognards (the grumblers).
  • During the Wars of Liberation, the soldiers of General Yorck's I Corps (summer 1813-spring 1814) were known as Heurichs throughout the Prussian army. Heurich was the name of a commissary officer who was the constant butt of jokes within the corps and, and this name, which is very easy for French-speakers to mispronounce, was used as an impromptu password/Shibboleth during the French campaign of 1814.
  • The 100th Infantry Battalion, a US Army formation in World War II composed of Japanese-Americans, earned the nickname Purple Heart Battalion for casualties incurred in the battle of Monte Casino.