Images of War, Hitler's Sky Warriors (ISBN 978 1 47388 668 1)

Images of War, Hitler's Sky Warriors (ISBN 978 1 47388 668 1)

Christopher Ailsby
ARRSE Rating
4.5 Mushroom Heads
During WWII,the German Fallschirmjager (paratroopers) carried out many of the most daring and successful operations by airborne forces. While still in it's infancy, the Germans took parachuting and adapted it for military purposes. Raids like the capture of the Belgian fortress at Eban Emael in 1940 and the invasion of Crete in 1941 highlighted the use of well-trained, hard-hitting shock troops. Britain were slow to catch onto this.

The book includes detailed accounts of a the parachute divisions, especially in Italy, where the epic defence of Monte Cassini took it's place in the annals of military history. There is also information on the raid by Otto Skorzeny's paras to successfully rescue Mussolini (1943) and the SS attempts to give credit to themselves for it!

As well as being a comprehensive account of all Fallschirmjager campaigns, the book also details the specialist equipment used by the paratroopers. These include the Para helmet, the FG42 automatic rifle, the stocks, equipment and harness and the so-called gravity knife.

Alongside details of the various unit commanders, there is a very useful section showing the order of battle for the Fallschirmjager Division and an annex showing which members of the division were awarded the Knight's Cross. Out of 192 awarded to the division, only 31 were awarded to NCO's!

Also contained in the book are pocket biographies of the principal parachute commanders, such as Kurt Student, Richard Heidrich and Bernard Ramcke.

The book is a very interesting and extensive history of one of Germany's Elite WWII Units. I would have preferred some colour plates to see the different shades on uniforms, but beggars can't be choosers.

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