M U S E U M  O F  T O S N Y

Paratroopers


Parachute authentic belligerents are presented in the windows of the museum

German Paratroopers
Composed solely of volunteers , paratroopers made their first official appearance in the maneuvers of 1937 . They came from General Göring regiment and furnished the first battalion created in 1936. Meanwhile , a company of paratroopers had been trained by the Army and became a battalion turns very. These two battalions were assembled in 1938 under the control of the Luftwaffe , by Brigadier General Student whose ideas on the design of employment and training of parachute troops were decisive .
At that time, each battalion consisted of a headquarters , an intelligence section , and three rifle companies and a heavy company .
Each rifle company consisted of three groups with three sections each armed with 18 light machine guns , light mortars of 3 and 3 anti-tank weapons .
The company had 12 heavy machine guns and heavy mortars means 6 .
In conducting regular , the parachutist was wearing the uniform tunic short of aviation, with the tight pants in special depth shoes .
Uniformed jump , he wore a kind of jumpsuit with short legs , the Sonderbekleidung , with pockets to zippers .
This pullover garment over the uniform short tunic .
The helmet of a special model was devoid of edges and lined inside with rubber padding . He weighed 1450 grams , 150 grams more than the standard helmet of the Wehrmacht .
The parachute had a bearing surface of 54 square meters and was the type RZ1 and RZ16 .

First campaigns

Contrary to the general statement , the paratroopers participated well in the Polish campaign in 1939 , when crossing the small river Bzura .
These were followed by operations in Denmark and Norway , and the extraordinary feat of Eben - Emael Belgium , prologue to the attack on the island of Crete in 1941 .

After their spectacular demonstration on the Western Front in 1940, German paratroopers took part in the Greek campaign . It is through their decisive intervention on the Corinth Canal had been able to achieve rapid progress of German forces to the Peloponnese .
The next step , the attack on the island of Crete , May 20, 1941 , would be another matter , because this time the opponent was not to be surprised .
Greeted by a roaring fire , the first glider rested in disorder , some even in the middle of a British camp , others crashed .
The parachute battalions had no better debut : 3rd Battalion destroyed almost barely reached the ground, the 3rd company of men who lost health while landing in the trees , and a section of the 2nd Battalion lost 37 men on 40 , killed by supporters . More distressing still was drowning in sea of thousands of paratroopers from the 2nd wave , badly dropped
On the ground, the fighting was extremely violent , particularly where the paratroopers clashed with the New Zealanders , these elite soldiers of the British Empire . Dispersed , often deprived of leaders , the paratroopers had to face desperate situations which they managed to get out by dint of initiatives and fierce will to win.
With a wealth of heroism and the reinforcement of mountain troops led by Ju - 52 , victory favors the invaders . Among them paraded a parachutist little regulatory Colonel RAMK who , surprised by a counter-order , had jumped in boots and riding breeches !
Paradoxically , the conquest of Crete in nine days, 23,464 soldiers of the Reich opposed to 32,000 Britons , 15,000 Greeks and more than 10,000 supporters , and at the cost of 3,986 killed or missing , not only aroused the shelving of this type of operation. It was , instead , the Allies will develop opportunities for them which had been demonstrated paratroopers Student !
The last mass parachute jump took place on bridges of the Duna , the Baltic . In North Africa , a commando operation between Germany and Italy on the allied supply routes ended in a partial failure in 1943 . The three interventions were the ultimate liberation of Mussolini in Abruzzo , in September 1943 and the botched kidnap attempt of Marshal Tito Drwa , Bosnia , then in 1944 in the Ardennes , the jump of the combat group von der Heyde on the back allies .
Formed by divisions from 1943 , paratroopers fought now as the more traditional in the Balkans ( 1st division in 1943 ) , Ukraine ( 2nd Division , 1943-44 ) but especially in Italy ( 1st , 2nd and 4th Divisions ) and France ( 2nd , 3rd , 5th , 6th division) . The past five divisions , numbered from 7 to 11, fought in Holland until the final hour on the national territory alongside the survivors of the oldest divisions .
Composed from : 3 Airborne Infantry regiments , 1 artillery regiment , an armored group , a group of DCA , a pioneer battalion , a communications group and some stewardship units , divisions saw their numbers dwindle from 1944 . It incorporated the remnants of other divisions .
The Battle of Monte Cassino is ever inseparable from the memory of the " green devils "in particular the six survivors of the 7th company of the 3rd Regiment who abandoned the huge mass of ruins after having burned their last cartridge.
We could tax the defenders of Monte Cassino in Nazi fanatics and, indeed , these young soldiers had been submitted from the school to an intensive propaganda which had embedded in them the National Socialist ideals , but is it not more accurate to believe that much better than ideology , it is the camaraderie , the esprit de corps and the combat value which made them do their duty ? Such, in any case , the qualities that enabled the French paratroopers and Anglo American to accomplish the missions bold mark their annals .


1. First equipment. 2. With the Sturmgepäck . 3 . Disguised in overalls with strap cartridges . 4 . Full equipment ( Crete ) . 5 . With lifejacket ( Crete ). 6 . Without Pants ( Crete ) . 7 . Hybrid Equipment ( Italy ) . 8 . In tropical tunic and trousers ( Italy ). 9 . General ( Crete ) . 10 . In summer shirt and pants ( Italy ) .

French version
Deutsche version