Fall Weiss...

 

... German Paratroopers in the Poland Campaign 1939, from Pen and Sword

 

Title: Fall Weiss

Author: Stephan Janzyk

Publisher: Pen and Sword Books

ISBN: 978-1-47389-461-7

The use of German paratroops, the Fallschirmjager, in the Blitzkrieg operations of 1940 are well known, perhaps less so in relation to the earlier invasion of Poland.  This book addresses that, written by a modern day officer in the German parachute regiment.  In reality they didn't make any combat jumps in Poland but did go in as ground troops in support of other operations plus specific tasks to secure supplies of strategic raw materials.  What is does demonstrate however is a foretaste of what the Allied airborne forces also experienced later in the war.  Operations were planned, even to the extent that the troops were on board their aircraft but the missions were cancelled at the last moment as the speed of advance of the ground forces meant the objectives were taken even before the paratroopers could take off.

The book starts with an Introduction that provides the background to the creation of the Fallschirmjager and then the details of 7th Fliegerdivision (Air Division) and then each of the constituent units one by one of the three Fallschirmjager regiments.  As well as the details of what each one did during the operations in Poland, they are backed up with a lot of archive photos from the period and modern photos of a variety of preserved documents.  The Appendix includes a list of all the officers in the Command structures of each of the individual units and a small section right at the end of some colour photos during the invasion taken by Gerhard Becker, who was in the Witzig engineer platoon at the time.  An especially good book for all those interested in the opening stages of WW2 and in airborne forces operations  during the war as a whole.

Thanks to Pen and Sword for this review copy.

Robin