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A Photographic History of Airborne Warfare 1939-1945

...from Pen & Sword

Title: A Photographic History of Airborne Warfare 1939-1945
Author: Simon & Jonathon Forty
Publisher: Pen & Sword
ISBN: 978-1-39901-114-3

One of the differences between WW1 and WW2 was the employment of Airborne forces, including both paratroopers as well as air-landed infantry, either by transport aircraft or glider. In this new 223-page book from authors Simon & Jonathon Forty, we are not just told the story of these new units and their operations during WW2, but also shown to us in an excellent collection of over 400 archive images.
The book is spread across 9 chapters, plus another 10 Appendices. From the first airborne units in the 1930s, it was the German Fallschirmjager who first went into action and made a mark on the Blitzkrieg assaults of 1940. Blitzkrieg saw them in action in Norway, then Holland and Belgium. One of the most famous actions was Operation Granit at Fort Eben-Emael, involving glider assault while other parachute drops were used, none attracted the notoriety of Eben-Emael. Then it moves on to the invasion of Crete, Operation Mercury, where despite their success, the German paratroops and their Ju 52 transports took heavy casualties and prompted Hitler to stop future large scale parachute drops. The Allies took the opposite view and began to create their own specialised units. British and US units were used in plenty of high profile operations, but with mixed results and some quite costly in terms of casualties. There is more though, as how much do most of us know about Russian airborne operations, of of both Japanese and US parachute operations in the Pacific? There is also coverage of how parachute troops were used as Elite ground troops in a number of places, plus there were plenty of planned operations which were cancelled before they could be staged. The 10 appendices cover more specific details, including different styles of parachutes that were used, aircraft (including gliders) from all sides, along with personal equipment, training and more. Everything is illustrated with over 400 archive images and various diagrams, many of which I hadn't seen before, as well as others which are very well known.
I am sure anyone interested in the use of airborne forces in WW2 will like this book, and for the modellers among us there is a lot of useful detail in the collection of photos, as well as many diorama ideas. I felt this to be a fine reference on the subject, and one that I think should prove popular.
Thanks to Pen & Sword for our copy.


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