During World War II the German Fallschirmjäger – paratroopers- carried out many successful and daring operations, such as the capture of the Belgian fortress of Eben Emael in 1940 and the invasion of Crete in 1941. Hitler’s Sky Warriors is a detailed example of all the battles and campaigns of the Third Reich’s airborne forces, illustrated throughout by many previously unpublished photographs.
Beginning with an examination of the origins of airborne forces in Germany and Europe during and after World War I, Hitler’s Sky Warriors goes on to look at how the concept of airborne assault was developed by the Nazis in the 1930’s, leading to the creation of the 7th Flieger Division. The first two years of World War II illustrated the effectiveness of the Fallschirmjäger, as German airborne forces won a string of victories in Norway, Belgium, Holland, mainland Greece and Crete. And though the invasion of Crete was to be the last large-scale German airborne operation of the war, the Fallschirmjäger would continue to see heavy fighting in the élite infantry role. From the scorching sands of North Africa to the frozen wastes of Russia, paratrooper units fought with courage and skill to win the respect of friend and foe alike. Hitler’s Sky Warriors includes detailed accounts of all the ground campaigns of the parachute divisions, especially in Italy, where their epic defence of Monte Cassino entered military legend.
As well as being a comprehensive account of Fallschirmjäger battles and campaigns, Hitler’s Sky Warriors includes information on the specialist weapons and equipment developed for Germany’s airborne forces. These include the paratrooper helmet, the FG 42 automatic rifle, the so-called “gravity knife”, the different jump smocks, parachutes and harnesses, transport aircraft, and gliders.
Hitler’s Sky Warriors also contains biographical details on all the main parachute commanders, such as Kurt Student, Bernhard Hermann Ramcke and Richard Heidrich, and includes appendices that contain information about divisional orders of battle and Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross winners. In this way Hitler’s Sky Warriors builds into an extensive and exciting account of one of the élite formations of military history. This is a book that fills an important niche in the World War II library.
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