The newly raised Fallschirmjäger formations took part in airborne and glider operations from April to May 1940 in Norway, Denmark, Belgium and Holland to attack and hold vital airfields, bridges and in one case an impregnable Belgian redoubt in support of ground operations in the west. On 20 May 1941, Fallschirmjäger formations would take part in their largest airborne assault of the war, Operation Mercury, the airborne invasion of Crete. Due to the heavy losses incurred during this operation, Hitler vetoed any further large scale airborne operations. With the exception of several small scale parachute and glider missions, Fallschirmjäger were mainly utilized as elite infantry for the remainder of the war fighting on all fronts and often used as a fire brigade to support conventional forces. This book is the result of several years of written correspondence, telephone interviews and meetings with veteran Fallschirmjäger between 1999 and 2006 and contains the memoirs of seventeen pre to mid-war volunteers and one late war conscript.
The following stories and diaries feature vivid battlefield memories that reflect the reality of war. On the other hand many of the stories convey the lighter hearted moments or gallows humor that has remained etched in their memories. The one common factor shared by almost all of these men is captivity, whether captured during bitter fighting or surrendering at the end of hostilities. These men and thousands like them would be shipped off to POW camps in the USA, Britain and France until their repatriation, in some cases from several months to several years after the end of the war.
Their words provide a fascinating insight into their training, combat, capture and subsequent captivity, creating an important historical record of their military service during the Second World War. Sadly, many of these men have now passed away and oral histories such as these now belong to an ever decreasing number of elderly veterans.
There are several excellent publications that utilize extracts from veteran’s first-hand accounts to compliment the historical text of a battle or campaign. Rarely do you see a book purely containing veterans oral histories describing their military experience from their personal perspective and in their own words.
The veterans featured in this book took part in the both the airborne operations and ground campaigns on many fronts during the war from the heat of Crete and Africa to the frozen battlefields of Russia and East Prussia and from the fields and hedgerows of Normandy to the mountains of Italy. Their words provide a fascinating insight into their training, combat, capture and subsequent captivity, creating an important historical record of their military service during the Second World War.
|Publisher:||Helion and Company|
|Product dimensions:||6.75(w) x 9.75(h) x (d)|
About the Author
Table of Contents
Fallschirmjäger Rank Structure xiv
Glossary of Terminology & Abbreviations xv
Précis of the Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger operations and campaigns 1939-1945 xix
1 Dr Kurt Erich Schulz 25
2 Wolfram von Beck 46
3 Rudolf Jackl 62
4 Sebastian Krug 81
5 Wilhelm 'Willi' Schulte 101
6 Friedrich 'Fred' Wilhelm Kranefeld 112
7 Helmut 'Bolle' Bollmann 126
8 Karl-Heinz 'Charlie' Pollmann 134
9 Kurt Engelmann 146
10 Josef 'Sepp' Jendryschik 168
11 Bernd Bosshammer 179
12 Carl Bayerlein 190
13 Erwin Bauer 215
14 Robert 'Bob' Frettlöhr 227
15 Rudolf Müller 237
16 Volker Stutzer 252
1 Bernd Bosshammer 269
2 Heinrich Gömpel 278
3 Franz Rzeha 289