Did you know that German paratroopers had to jump without their guns?

A German paratrooper during a practice jump (Photo: unknown photographer)

The German Fallschirmjäger (paratroopers) were highly trained but hampered by a terribly designed parachute. The jumper was attached to the chute at a single contact point (as opposed to the lift webs of American and British chutes), which made it almost impossible to control the descent and also forced the wearer into an awkward forward-leaning posture.
This posture meant that they could only land safely while wearing knee and elbow caps and had to perform a forward roll on touchdown. The forward roll, in turn, posed a serious hazard to anyone carrying anything larger than a pistol or grenade, maybe a submachine gun, as the weapon would get entangled during the maneuver. Fallschirmjäger therefore jumped without their rifles and machine guns, which were dropped after them in a color-coded canister attached to a separate parachute.
Once on the ground, the soldiers had to get the parachute off (a difficult task in itself), find and approach the weapons canister, and arm themselves – all the while potentially taking enemy fire. To add insult to injury, the Germans actually had perfectly good, controllable parachutes available and used by Luftwaffe pilots. It’s not clear why paratroopers were saddled with a much worse design.

Fallschirmjäger helping themselves to equipment from a canister after landing
(Photo: fallschirmjager.net)

Save up to 15% until Veterans Day

WWII veteran, Jack Appel celebrated by the visitors of the Normandy American Cemetery (Photo: Author’s own)

On the occasion of the upcoming Veterans Day we are offering most of our tours in 2023 and 2024 at a discount price until November 11, 2022. You can either save 10% if you pay the registration fee of $490 now, and the rest of the tour price 90 days before the tour, or 15% if you choose to pay in full now. This promotion applies only in case of new bookings. This promotion is valid only in case of new bookings. Please note that this offer cannot be combined with other special promotions and does not apply to those 3 tours in 2024 which include the 80th anniversary commemorations of D-Day in Normandy.

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Veterans Day originates from Armistice Day marking the end of World War I, which formally ended on November 11, 1918. It is still known as Armistice Day in France and Belgium, while the UK and Commonwealth countries celebrate Remembrance Day or Poppy Day.

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