Hitler's Sky Warriors...

 

...a new Images of War book from Pen and Sword

 

Title: Hitler's Sky Warriors

Author: Christopher Ailsby

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-47388-668-1

New to the Images of War series, a 248 page edition which looks at the history of Hitler's Sky Warriors, the Fallschirmjager.  A new edition in this series, of a book first published back in 2011.  To tell the story, the book is organised into 11 chapters plus 3 appendices with additional information.  Each chapter starts of with a section of text,

followed by some appropriate photos which are all accompanied with informative captions.  It starts with the early development story of the Fallschirmjager, at a time when the whole idea of using parachute troops was in its' infancy. That moves on to their organisation and training before they proved themselves in operations during the opening stages of WW1, and that famous glider assault on the Belgian Fort Eben Emael.  Next came the assault on Crete, a successful operation but with heavy casualties that had the consequence of ending the idea of large scale airborne airborne assaults, whereas the Allied armies, both British and US, put more effort into preparing their own.  The Fallschirmjager were relegated to action as ground troops for much of the second half of the war, where they made a name for themselves as very capable fighters.  They went on after Crete to see service in Russia, North Africa. Italy, the action at Casino, the Italian Withdrawal, the Campaign in the West, where they held up the US forces around St. Lo and later in Holland.  Then finally the few Specialist Actions with airdrop and glider operations, including the rescue of Mussolini from the Gran Sasso.  The excellent collection of photos illustrate the story very well and include some detailed images of the specialist uniforms and equipment used by the Fallschirmjager, such as the helmet, jump smocks and the weapons, such as the FG42.

The WW2 historian will enjoy this one, and for modellers there is a lot to like.  Fine detail for the uniforms and equipment they used, including gliders and aircraft, and some useful inspiration for a diorama or two.  From a personal point of view, this one also brought some memories of an old friend of mine who passed away a few years ago.  Horst Kalinke ran Continental Model Supply Company from his home here in the UK for many years, but as an 18 year old had been a member of 2nd Fallschirmjager before being captured by Canadian troops in Holland in 1944 and being sent to the UK as a POW.  He stayed here after the war when his home town was left the 'wrong' side of the East West border.  I am sure he would have been interested to see this book.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin