Hitler's Paratroopers in Normandy (ePub)
The German II Parachute Corps in the Battle for France, 1944
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In June 1944, Allied forces fighting desperately to establish a foothold in Normandy and then breakout of the confining bocage found themselves opposed by a bewildering array of formations of the German Wehrmacht. Among them were the newly formed German II Parachute Corps.
This gripping new account examines the exploits of Germanys II Parachute Corps and its commander, Eugen Meindl from the Allied invasion on 6 June to the end of August 1944. Meindl was the epitome of the senior German airborne commander in the Second World War. Tough, experienced, and aggressive, he cared deeply for his troops. His Parachute Corps fought stubbornly for three weeks, before being forced to fall back.
Trapped along with the bulk of the German Seventh Army in the Falaise pocket, Meindl and his paratroopers maintained their discipline and were selected by the Commander in Chief of OB West to lead the German breakout to the east. That they managed to do so, despite suffering grievous losses, while so many around them died or surrendered, is a testament to their dedication and fighting ability. Theirs is a story that deserves to be told.
The excellently trained and equipped II Parachute Corps was certainly amongst the more formidable German units to contest the Normandy landings, and was continually embroiled in some of the hardest fighting. Gilberto Villahermosa's superbly researched book first outlines the history and composition of its four divisions, and begins with the 6th Fallschirmjager Regiment's ill-fated counter-attack against the 101st Airborne Division and then its outstanding defence of Carentan. With the remainder of the Corps committed to the battle over the following weeks, it goes on to describe the fighting around Hill 192 and St Lô by the 3rd Parachute Division, Hill 122 and Mont-Castre by the 5th Division, and the defence of the port of Brest by the 2nd Division. With numerous maps, photographs, official reports and first hand accounts, it is throughout a tale of skilful and dogged defence in the face of overwhelming odds. Trapped inside the Falaise Pocket, the remnants of the Corps led the successful break-out, only for the 3rd Division to be wiped out at Mons as it covered the withdrawal. The final pages make for sombre reading as they consider the cost of the campaign; although the Corps continued to fight until the end of the war, its casualties had been horrendous, with only a relative handful of men emerging from Normandy.Pegasus Archive
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Rating: 5 out of 5 starsAmazon Customer, Lars Gyllenhaal
This is a terrific book if you are researching German paratroopers in Normandy, and especially if you wish to understand where and when the different Fallschirmjäger units fought.
As featured on ArgunnersArgunners, Christopher 'Moon' Mullins
This is a solid history of the German Paratroops engaged in the Second Battle of France. The paratroops were an elite unit and it is interesting to compare their performance with that of the Waffen SS and the Wehrmacht’s Brandenburgers, who were also elite special forces units – Highly Recommended.Firetrench
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This excellent book is a compelling and fascinating account of Hitler's Fallschirmjagers in their latter-war role as elite infantry defenders, as opposed to their early-war role of airborne attackers, and more specifically the part played by II Parachute Corps in the Normandy '44 campaign... I loved reading this book, and would highly recommend this to those interested the Fallschirmjager, their leaders, and this period/theatre of WWII.A Question Of Scale, Seb Palmer
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As featured on WW2 TodayWW2 Today
A wonderfully constructed account of the German Fallschirmjager troops fighting in Normandy. The narrative and sources are excellent and it is well supported by maps and photographs. Essential reading for anybody seeking authoritative details about the deployment of these excellent soldiers in an ever eroding defensive battle.Michael McCarthy
Michael McCarthy. Battlefield Guide