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Britain's Airborne Forces of WWII (Hardback)

Uniforms and Equipment

WWII Frontline Books Photographic Books Colour Books WWII Photographic Books Frontline: WWII

By Mark Magreehan
Frontline Books
Pages: 168
Illustrations: 290 b&w & colour illustrations
ISBN: 9781526779465
Published: 16th March 2021



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The Second World War saw huge advancements in military tactics and technology occurring at an unprecedented pace. One such development was the employment of forces able to deploy at short notice by parachute across the globe, utilising the opportunities created by the advancements in aeronautical technology. These forces were created to deliver an in-depth shock effect, and few have attracted more attention than Britain’s famed Parachute Regiment. This formation was born from the humble beginnings of a fledgling unit drawn together from the British Army and Royal Air Force after Winston Churchill called for a new capability to be created following German airborne successes in the opening stages of the Second World War.

Despite being initially poorly equipped, operating outdated aircraft and wearing clothing copied from captured German examples, the Parachute Regiment rapidly grew into what would become two complete airborne divisions – formations which played a key role in the destruction of the Axis forces. The equipment needed by these men rapidly changed as the war evolved and this is clearly illustrated in the author’s fine and unique collection of rare airborne items from that period, several of them being the sole surviving items known to exist.

The chronological historical information on Britain’s paratroopers’ role and development during the Second World War in this highly illustrated book is not only supported by a comprehensive and rare collection of items displaying the development and expansion of their equipment for each operation, but also by hundreds of original pictures which embrace the entire period. Additionally, the book also briefly covers the Polish Parachute Brigade and the Canadian parachute formations embedded into the British order of battle.

This book provides a comprehensive pictorial display of Britain airborne forces which will prove to be a ‘must have’ tool for military history enthusiasts, airborne collectors, re-enactors and modellers, as well as current serving soldiers linked by service to this truly special military formation.

From his first days as Prime Minister, Churchill was determined to fight on and to take the battle to the enemy. He encouraged the formation of airborne and shipborne commando forces, starting a development process that produced airborne forces for mass drops in direct support of conventional forces. – Very Highly Recommended

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With extra material included from the Airborne Assault Museum, based now at the IWM Duxford this is an amazing collection and marvellous that the author is able to share it with the rest of us via this book. It will be especially attractive to re-enactors and modellers, let alone miliaria collectors and historians of British Airborne forces.

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Military Model Scene, Robin Buckland

The author has done great service to those interested in British Airborne forces history and I am confident that this volume will become a standard reference work for photographs and imagery of the British paratroopers and glider borne infantry of World War 2. It is well priced and worth every penny.

Dr Stuart C Blank

There are some great photos of both uniforms and equipment, because we’re just seeing the uniform on the outside but also the whole layers of clothing worn by the men down to their underwear. What’s more is that in this book it’s not all about the uniforms and equipment but you also get a bit of history about the raids too. A really fascinating book indeed, one I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through. Certainly one for all those who love their detailed history.

5 stars

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UK Historian

'The book is published to a high standard on glossy paper and is logically organised. It is a very useful tool for historians, re-enactors, and collectors alike. The famous Denison Smock and the lesser known “Whitley Bag” sleeping bag for use inside an airplane with your parachute on are just two examples of the kit shown in this book. It is a superb book and uses a unique approach to show the pace of innovation for one of the most famous fighting formations in World War Two and it will appeal to all readers with an interest in the British Airborne forces'.

Todd Shugart

This is a great book for reenactors looking to portray airborne servicemen and will provide the ability to help them portray specific campaigns during WW2. I would highly recommend this book for anyone looking at learning about the parachute regiment and airborne forces evolution in World War 2.

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Medieval Sword School

About Mark Magreehan

MARK MAGREEHAN was born on 13 June 1975, at the British Military Hospital, Munster in Germany. A serving member of the Parachute Regiment from 2000, he has undertaken duties in an operational capacity in Macedonia, Northern Ireland, Afghanistan and Iraq. He has a strong family link with the British Army with consistent service by his great grandfather, grandfather and father. He has delivered several presentations on military actions and conducted several battlefield studies for the British Army. Alongside contributing to the Airborne Forces Museum, British Army Remembrance videos and articles for Soldier magazine. Alongside of all of this he is a father to four children and is supported by his long-suffering partner, Sarah.

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