Images of War, Fallschirmjager: German Paratroops 1939-1941, Rare Photographs From Wartime Archives

The very popular Images of War series has established a format with a large number of rare photographs in each book and clear concise text supporting the photographic selection. This new addition follows the proven format to provide a graphic history and analysis of German paratroopers in WWII. – Highly Recommended

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NAME: Images of War, Fallschirmjager: German Paratroops 1939-1941, Rare 
Photographs From Wartime Archives
FILE: R2795
AUTHOR: Francois Cochet
PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword
BINDING: soft back 
PAGES: 109
PRICE: £14.99
GENRE: Non Fiction
SUBJECT: WWII, World War 2, World War II, Second World War, paratroops, 
airborne troops, light infantry, assault troops, vertical insertion

ISBN: 1-52674-066-4

IMAGE: B2795.jpg
BUYNOW: http://tinyurl.com/y3bw42kp
LINKS:  
DESCRIPTION:  The very popular Images of War series has established a f
ormat with a large number of rare photographs in each book and clear concise 
text supporting the photographic selection.  This new addition follows the 
proven format to provide a graphic history and analysis of German paratroopers 
in WWII. - Highly Recommended

The Russians pioneered the use of parachutes to insert highly trained shock troops, although parachutes 
had been used in war by the Germans and the British in WWI. During WWI the parachute was 
employed almost exclusively to enable the observation crews of captive balloons to escape when 
attacked by fighter aircraft. Both sides considered that issuing parachutes to aircraft crews might 
result in them jumping when they should have been fighting. Strangely, neither side considered using 
paratroopers to break the deadlock of trench warfare. When the Soviets started building paratroop 
units, they often dispensed with the parachute, requiring troops riding on the aircraft's wings to jump 
and rely on the snow beneath the low flying aircraft to break their fall.

When Germany began developing a new air force on Soviet soil to get around the prohibitions of the 
Treaty that followed WWI, they learned from their hosts about the Soviet development of airborne 
forces. This led to the formation of the Fallschirmjager as part of the new Luftwaffe in 1937 when all 
pretence of observing the Treaty requirements was abandoned.

The Germans decided to develop an airborne force that could be deployed by parachute from transport 
aircraft, or inserted by glider. This allowed the Germans to assault Belgian fortifications and bridges 
that would have otherwise been difficult and costly to overcome. These assaults were critical to the 
success of the German invasion of neutral Belgium as the means to invade France, avoiding the main 
French Maginot Line fortifications that were strongest East from the Belgian frontier. The 
Fallschirmjager were again critical to the invasion of the British defended island of Crete. However, 
the losses sustained in the assault on Crete were to discourage the use of paratroops by Germany on 
any subsequent airborne operations. As a result, the Fallschirmjager had a very short operational life 
as an airborne force and were subsequently used as light infantry in land battles as an elite force.

Their main contribution to warfare was to encourage the British to make extensive use of paratroopers 
and glider troops. Initially, the British used small numbers of airborne troops as Commando raiders 
after the Dunkirk evacuation to maintain a level of direct contact with the Germans in Occupied 
Europe. Mostly, this involved dropping units of less than company strength by parachute behind their 
targets. The commandos would then attack their target, being extracted by boat or submarine. Gliders 
were used occasionally but, as in raids on targets in Norway, with loss of gliders and their cargo. 
That did not discourage the British and they steadily increased the size of the airborne force in 
preparation for the invasion of Sicily and Italy where they were deployed in some numbers by 
glider and parachute. The results were very encouraging and, while the Fallschirmjager fought on 
foot in Italy, notably in the defence of Monte Cassino, the British continued to expand their airborne 
forces for the Normandy landings and the strikes into Germany. 

Having built a considerable level of experience of airborne operations in strength, the British began 
transferring knowledge to the Americans, resulting in a considerable Anglo-American strength and 
capability in time for the liberation of Europe.

The author, a Belgian, has a main interest in the battles of WWII and this is his first image-based 
book. Hopefully the first of many.