British Paratrooper vs Fallschirmjager, (Combat, Volume 1) by David Greentree

By David Greentree

By means of past due 1942 Britain had built an airborne power that may receive its baptism of fireplace as opposed to German airborne in North Africa and Sicily. On 3 striking events British airborne infantry fought extreme battles with its German counterpart: two times in North Africa and back at Primosole Bridge in Sicily. either forces have been good proficient and outfitted, with the same ethos and function, either considered themselves as elite devices, and either came across themselves utilized by neighborhood commanders in various roles that tended to be decided by way of the emergencies of the moment.

On 29 November 1942 Lt Col Frost's 2d Para brought to Depienne, Tunisia, with orders to march in a single day to Oudna, smash the airplane there after which go back to Allied strains. discovering no airplane they retreated, again and again battling parts of Oberst Koch's FJR five, deployed in a floor function. 2d Para ambushed and drove again Fallschirmjäger driving on armoured vehicles. approximately surrounded, Frost withdrew to a close-by hill; a conflict ensued as each side raced for the crest. After backing out in a single day 2d Para burnt up an attacking German platoon, and on three December Frost's males ultimately reached Allied strains; all instructed, they'd made 5 evening marches and fought 3 battles, in overall masking 50 miles, and merely one hundred eighty of Frost's 450 males remained effective.

Fighting as infantry, components of third Para encountered businesses of Fallschirmjäger-Pionier Bataillon, supported by means of parts of armour and artillery, in a strongly fortified place at Djebel Azag. at the evening of 4/5 January 1943 a see-saw conflict came about because the hill replaced arms. The Germans have been capable of hold this key place. After weeks of additional sour battling the British parachute brigade was once back pulled out of the road in March 1943, yet there will be no respite for any of the German parachute devices; in may perhaps the vast majority of those that had survived grew to become POWs.

On the evening of 13/14 July 1943, 1st Para Brigade dropped to grab the Primosole Bridge in Sicily and carry it until eventually relieved the next day to come by way of fiftieth department. Unknown to Allied planners, notwithstanding, Fallschirmjager dropped close by within the final large-scale German airdrop of WWII. The Allied airborne was once badly dispersed by means of AA fireplace. even if, the British effectively seized the bridge and held it till an improvised counter-attack retook it. halfway in the course of the night of 14 July components of fiftieth department succeeded in relieving the Paras, retaking the bridge after 2 extra days of sour combating. The Germans withdrew after failing to smash the bridge with a truck-borne improvised explosive device.

The conflict at Primosole Bridge had speedy strategic results for either side: for Britain an inquiry was once held to whether airborne forces have been definitely worth the funding, whereas for Germany the engagement proved the idea that elite infantry in a position to being transported speedy by way of air to hotspots within the line may well stay clear of catastrophe. that includes brilliant first-hand debts, in particular commissioned full-colour art and in-depth research, this can be the gripping tale of the conflict among airborne forces on the top of WWII.

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GoftonSalmond as CO just prior to the transport ship leaving Scotland. He only realized he was heading for North Africa after their ‘convoy turned into the Straits of Gibraltar’ (Frost 1980: 65). com Here in Tunis recently arrived Fallschirmjäger take a break.  3 Kompanie arrived the next day.  Bataillon by 21 November. (Bundesarchiv, Bild 101I-7880006A-04, Foto: Wörner) The Germans were desperate to win the race for Tunis and Hitler, hoping to make Tunisia the ‘Verdun of the Mediterranean’, reinforced the bridgehead rather than organizing a Dunkirk-style retreat.

Other favourites included the Italian 9mm Beretta Modello 38 submachine gun and the 9mm FN Browning P-35 pistol. com the plain – ‘enemy lorried infantry … half tracked vehicles, tanks were also seen and our positions were shelled and mortared’ (Frost 1980: 90). To avoid incoming direct fire and to keep out of sight of German armour the British occupied reverse-slope positions. Soon Rendell ‘could clearly hear the revving of tank motors as they ascended … a most frightening sound … and from my forward slope position the first thing I saw was the swinging radio mast, then the turret and finally the whole vehicle painted yellow’ (quoted in Peatling 2004: 78).

In July Oberleutnant Cord Tietjen’s Nr. 2 Kompanie of Witzig’s FallschirmPionier-Bataillon 11 had been posted there, and on 10 November the rest of the battalion was following, mostly via Greece, when, as Witzig recalled, ‘orders were changed and my battalion landed with many other different units, from South Italy and Athens, by plane at Bizerta’ (quoted in Villahermosa 2010: 124). On 15 November Oberleutnant Ernst’s Nr. 1 Kompanie plus signals and headquarters personnel flew on six-engined BV 222 flying boats from Piraeus via Trapani to Bizerta, with the two other companies soon following in Ju 52 aircraft.

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