The German Fallschirmtruppe 1936-41: Its Genesis and Employment in the First Campaigns of the Wehrmacht

The German Fallschirmtruppe 1936-41: Its Genesis and Employment in the First Campaigns of the Wehrmacht

by Karl-Heinz Golla

Hardcover(Revised Edition)

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The German Fallschirmtruppe 1936-41: Its Genesis and Employment in the First Campaigns of the Wehrmacht by Karl-Heinz Golla

The Fallschirmtruppe of the Wehrmacht won recognition for their valor and endurance not only from their fellow German soldiers, but from their former enemies as well. On the basis of careful and comprehensive research, including utilizing extensive unpublished documentary and personal materials, the author covers the history of the Fallschirmtruppe from its genesis and early training to its employment in combat in Scandinavia, the Albert Canal in Belgium, Holland, the Greek mainland and, of course, at Crete.

The reasons for the remarkable successes of the German Fallschirmtruppe during this period are analyzed, as are also the conceptual weaknesses inherent in its formation and the faults in the command and control during its combat employment.

The author, himself a former Bundeswehr Fallschirmjäger and General Staff officer, has also utilized accounts from those who fought the Fallschirmtruppe, and has thus been able to correct many errors perpetuated in previous books on this subject, besides providing more complete coverage.

The text is supplemented by approximately 100 b/w photos and more than 25 detailed color maps.

This is a remarkably detailed study, firmly based on documentary sources, and is destined to become one of the definitive works on its subject in the English language. This revised edition has been prepared exactly according to the author's instructions.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781909384569
Publisher: Helion & Company, Limited
Publication date: 07/19/2013
Edition description: Revised Edition
Pages: 640
Product dimensions: 6.40(w) x 9.40(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Karl-Heinz Golla, born in 1939, joined the Fallschirmjäger of the Bundeswehr in 1958. After completion of officer training, he served as a platoon leader and company commander and then passed the General Staff course. He undertook several assignments as a General Staff officer in the fields of operations, war planning and doctrine in senior national and NATO commands. In between he was also a commander of an armored infantry battalion. He retired in 1994 with the rank of colonel. Since then he has authored several military history books, including Zwischen Reggio und Cassino: Das Kriegsgeschehen in Italien im zweiten Halbjahr 1943 (2004) and Der Fall Griechenlands 1941 (2007).

Table of Contents

List of Photographs 5

List of Maps 16

Introduction and Acknowledgements 17

Glossary and List of Abbreviations 19

Part I The Genesis of the German Fallschirmtruppe 1916-39

1 The use of the parachute for military means enters German strategic thinking 25

2 The formation of the German Fallschirmtruppe, their testing, and the search for a conception of their employment 29

3 The concept for the employment of Parachute and Air-landing Troops derives from Hitler's aim to form the Wehrmacht into an instrument for his aggressive politics 39

Part I Photographs 54

Part II The Fallschirmtruppe between the Campaign against Poland and the Offensive in the West

1 Preparations for Fall Gelb 63

2 The employment of the Fallschirmtruppe in Operation Weserübung 85

Part II Photographs 115

Part III The employment of the Fallschirmtruppe during the Campaign in the West

1 Sturmabteilung Koch paves the way across the Albert Canal for the Heer 121

2 Parachute and Air-landing Troops force entry into Fortress Holland 143

10 May 156

11 May 233

12 May 260

13 May 276

14 May 291

The preparation of parachute assaults by air attack forces 299

The outcome of the parachute assaults 300

The abilities of parachute forces to prevail and to persevere 305

Final comments 307

Part III Photographs 312

Part IV The Fallschirmtruppe during the time between operations in Holland and the Balkans Campaign

1 Fallschirmjäger reinforce the defense at Narvik 331

2 The parachute force is enlarged from a still-incomplete Division to a Flieger-Korps 352

3 The role of the parachute force in the military-strategic planning of the German High Command between Autumn 1940 and Spring 1941 360

4 Reinforced Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 2 seizes the Isthmus of Corinth 375

Part IV Photographs 392

Part V The Fallschirmtruppe in the battle for Crete

1 The German plan of attack and the provision of the troops for Undertaking-Merkur 411

2 Enemy dispositions for the defence of Crete 425

Maleme / Galatas Sector 431

Souda Bay Sector 435

Rethymnon / Georgioupolis Sector 436

Heraklion Sector 438

3 The assault from the air 440

4 The struggle for the initial objectives 475

21 May 475

22 May 488

23 May 498

24 May 506

25 May 510

26 May 514

5 Onward to Victory 521

27 May 521

28 May 525

29 May 528

30 May 531

6 The battle for Crete. Touchstone for the German Fallschirmtruppe and turning-point in its history 533

Part V Photographs 547

Appendix: Order of Battle of Luftflotte 4 for Operation Merkur, Crete 1941 567

Bibliography 568

Index 575

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