Yeah, Campaign Watcher does bear out that experienced crews do stay and they do take a small hit to experience when their equipment changes.
I personally like special forces in the long campaign for HQ hunting. Going for the VH's is suicide, but setting up infiltration hexes in rough/forest terrain within 6 hexes of the rear VH's will give you a good view of who's hiding out in the rear. Usually it's the HQ, along with some AA and/or ATG's. You can usually get the HQ with your first infiltrator, or at least kill a few of the squad, then the next infiltrator will finish them off. I have got burned doing this though, I played against the Italian AI once and he surrounded the rear VH's with Motorcycle squads who gunned down my infiltrators soon after they appeared. Because of their high mortality rate, I usually buy them with support points.
"Conan, what is best in life?"
"To crush your enemies, to see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women!"