The Combat Performance of the Fallschirmjäger

Discussions on all (non-biographical) aspects of the Freikorps, Reichswehr, Austrian Bundesheer, Heer, Waffen-SS, Volkssturm and Fallschirmjäger and the other Luftwaffe ground forces. Hosted by Christoph Awender.
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fredleander
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Post by fredleander » 07 Jul 2005 00:52

eindhoven wrote:Yes, I am aware of FJ-Pioneer. My term 'softening up' comes from my training in the use of demolitions or artillery/air strike.
I tend to to see the use of explosive box charges as a softening up method prior to direct assault.
The "assault" on Eben Emael was the landing itself. It was performed by ca. 80 men (two gliders didn't make it because of broken towing lines - one of these held the commanding officer of the unit.) The defending force has been quoted as 1000-1500 men, half of which were bivouacked in the village of Eben Emael. The hollow charges weren't used for "softening up" but for actually destroying the various gun and observation cupolas. The attackers had two models of those charges - 25 and 50 kilos. They came in several parts and had to be assembled at site before use. If you go to Eben Emael you can still see the results of these. The low losses of the defenders only show how effective the attackers, and their equipment, was.

WMAdler
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training

Post by WMAdler » 14 Aug 2005 17:47

I am working on a paper dealing with the glider assault at fort Eban Emael- and I am wondering if anyone out there has- or knows of good sources for researching the training of the german parachute soldiers early in the war.

Thanks

Great forum too :D

JamesL
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Post by JamesL » 15 Aug 2005 12:42

A little side story ........

A late business acquaintance of mine served in the 2nd FJD. While in France he fought against the Americans. He once mentioned how the Americans used their chain flail tanks driving over German trenches. The chains turned the German soldiers into hamburger meat.

Maybe this incident could be used by a writer .......

Here's a link to "Airborne Operations: A German Appraisal", US Army Center for Military History.

http://www.army.mil/cmh-pg/books/wwii/104-13/104-13.htm

RichTO90
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Post by RichTO90 » 15 Aug 2005 13:19

JamesL wrote:Maybe this incident could be used by a writer .......
Maybe not, the Americans did not have any "chain flail" tanks in Normandy.... :)

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fredleander
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Re: training

Post by fredleander » 28 Aug 2005 15:13

WMAdler wrote:I am working on a paper dealing with the glider assault at fort Eban Emael- and I am wondering if anyone out there has- or knows of good sources for researching the training of the german parachute soldiers early in the war.

Thanks

Great forum too :D
I suppose you have been to the Eben Emael? It is still there, quite intact - with the blasting holes in the armoured cupolas and all. I believe the unit taking Eben Emael was actually trained on a conquered Polish fortress.

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Post by Epaminondas » 28 Aug 2005 15:38

Eben Emael- According Bruce I. Gudmundsson, in his book On Infantry, the pioneers were the ones who actaully took the fortress down, but the FJ drop and attack got all the press... and for propaganda reasons the role of the pioneers was down played.

Have to dig my On Infantry out of the book shelf when I get home from work and check his cite...

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fredleander
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Post by fredleander » 28 Aug 2005 16:38

Epaminondas wrote:Eben Emael- According Bruce I. Gudmundsson, in his book On Infantry, the pioneers were the ones who actaully took the fortress down, but the FJ drop and attack got all the press... and for propaganda reasons the role of the pioneers was down played.

Have to dig my On Infantry out of the book shelf when I get home from work and check his cite...
As a matter of fact it wasn't a "drop", but a glider-borne attack. The pioneers forced the Albert canal by rubber boats. At that time the FJ's were already on the Eben Emael. The whole idea of taking the Eben Emael in the first place was that it was built to cover the river-crossings and as such needed to be put out of action. A peculiar detail of the Eben Emael was its inward-oriented (3 rows) casemates (75 mm guns?) firing over the opposite fortress walls. The main battery, however, were centrally placed 360 degree cupola-mounted twin 120 mm guns.

The gliders landed virtually on top of these in-between crew and storage barracks. Today, sheep and cows are grazing there. And rabbits in abundance.

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Post by toshi roshi » 19 Sep 2005 08:57

The 1st Fallschirmjäger Division was the finest division in the entire German Army during world war 2, probably even the finest in the world(cause obviously the allied didnt have divisions that could compare with the german ones) they suffered heavy casualties holding Monte Cassino, that depleted its hardened veterans,
remeber that lots of generals, marshalls and leaders affirm that the 1st falls (green devils) was the finest german div

PF
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Irony

Post by PF » 22 Sep 2005 18:08

in 1945 when the Allies pushed across the Rhine River-it is an Irony that two allied Paratrooper Divisions (British and US) were figthing a German Paratrooper Division (fighting as straight infantry)

alf
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Post by alf » 03 Oct 2005 07:00

My father fought the Fallschirmjäger on Crete in 1941 at Rethymno, thats the battle that 2 under strength Australian Battalions compromising largely citizen soldiers clearly defeated the Falllschirmjäger. Bearing in mind the the Australian defenders were out numbered, ill equipped and trying to rebuild after the Greece debacle, oh and the Fallschirmjäger had complete air superiorty, more men, more equipment etc.

Its the battle that never gets talked about it seems, perhaps some here should go and study that battle. The reason why the Fallschirmjäger were defeated isn't because the Australian troops were better, its a good subject to give as research.

I have had a read through and seen a lot of starry eyed adoration here, every country had elite soldiers, its no biggie. The question skirted around here is after Crete the Fallschirmjäger were NOT paratroopers merely infantry (elite infantry yes). They never fought enmasse as a paratrooper divison again and in Russia they would have been desperatley needed.

My dad, his brothers and their mates between them, fought the Italians, the Afrika Korp, the Fallschirmjäger, the SS (briefly in Greece), the Vichy French, the French Foreign Legion (both in the forgotten Syrian Campagain) and the Japanese. I used to ask them who was the best they fought against, to a man they said the Japanese were the toughest and fiercest enemy they fought.

Just for the record I am a combat veteran myself ( Vietnam) and held para wings for time

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fredleander
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Post by fredleander » 03 Oct 2005 11:45

alf wrote:My father fought the Fallschirmjäger on Crete in 1941 at Rethymno, thats the battle that 2 under strength Australian Battalions compromising largely citizen soldiers clearly defeated the Fallschirmjäger. Bearing in mind the the Australian defenders were out numbered, ill equipped and trying to rebuild after the Greece debacle, oh and the Fallschirmjäger had complete air superiorty, more men, more equipment etc.
Is it really correct that the Aussies and Greeeks were outnumbered at Crete? My information is that the manpower figures were approx. equal - in the beginning of the campaign the allies actually had a marked advantage both in numbers and equipment.

According to Churchill's memoirs general Freyberg was quite happy with the situation/preparations before the German attack. As it was they also had ample warning. In a day or two Freyberg was much more pessimistic. This in the period before the German had developed their forces properly.

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Imad
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Post by Imad » 05 Oct 2005 18:40

leandros wrote:
alf wrote:My father fought the Fallschirmjäger on Crete in 1941 at Rethymno, thats the battle that 2 under strength Australian Battalions compromising largely citizen soldiers clearly defeated the falllschirmjager. Bearing in mind the the Australian defenders were out numbered, ill equipped and trying to rebuild after the Greece debacle, oh and the Fallschirmjäger had complete air superiorty, more men, more equipment etc.
Is it really correct that the Aussies and Greeeks were outnumbered at Crete? My information is that the manpower figures were approx. equal - in the beginning of the campaign the allies actually had a marked advantage both in numbers and equipment.

According to Churchill's memoirs general Freyberg was quite happy with the situation/preparations before the German attack. As it was they also had ample warning. In a day or two Freyberg was much more pessimistic. This in the period before the German had developed their forces properly.
I think youre right Leandros, as a matter of fact the Germans were slightly outnumbered iirc. I just read Poppel's "Heaven and Hell" and the author says so.
Imad

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fredleander
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Post by fredleander » 05 Oct 2005 18:43

On the other hand the Germans believed the allied forces were much smaller than they actually were.

PF
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German Paratroopers

Post by PF » 06 Oct 2005 00:14

Remembered a referene in regard to German Paratroopers...
"...tough as leather, hard as Krupp Steel...."
A poem????

JonS
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Post by JonS » 06 Oct 2005 01:11

toshi roshi wrote:(cause obviously the allied didnt have divisions that could compare with the german ones)
Obviously. :roll:

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