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Jump into Hell: German Paratroopers in World War II Kindle Edition

25 customer reviews

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From the Author

Franz Kurowski, who served as a journalist in World War II, has written numerous books and lives in Germany.

From the Inside Flap

In this action-packed account--appearing for the first time in English--Franz Kurowski straps readers into the harness with German paratroopers, the elite Fallschirmjäger, as they jump into the inferno of combat in World War II.

When the war erupted, airborne troops joined nose-diving Stukas and thundering panzers as a crucial--and fearsome--part of the Nazi juggernaut that swept across Europe. In April 1940, the Fallschirmjäger cascaded into Denmark and Norway, where they seized important air bases. A month later, in one of the war's most daring assaults, gliders landed paratroopers at Eben Emael and captured the Belgian fortress.

The most famous German airborne offensive came in May 1941 with Operation Mercury, the invasion of Crete. The Fallschirmjäger encountered difficulties right after jumping but ultimately drove the British from the island, though they suffered such high casualties that Hitler would not allow another large-scale drop.

After Crete, the paratroopers served mainly as motorized infantry for ground attacks. In this role, they fought on Sicily; at Monte Cassino and elsewhere in Italy; in Normandy, where they defended against the Allied invasion starting on D-Day in June 1944; and on the Eastern Front.

A master of reconstructing small-unit actions, Kurowski captures all the drama, excitement, and terror experienced by German paratroopers, from the nervous anticipation inside a darkened airplane to do-or-die assaults under heavy fire and the deep comradeship that bound the Fallschirmjäger for life.

Product Details

  • File Size: 7538 KB
  • Print Length: 372 pages
  • Page Numbers Source ISBN: 081170582X
  • Publisher: Stackpole Books (January 1, 2010)
  • Publication Date: January 1, 2010
  • Sold by: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0040ZN3SM
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Lending: Not Enabled
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,130,847 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 22 people found the following review helpful By david l. poremba VINE VOICE on May 23, 2010
Format: Hardcover
German World War II veteran Kurowski does for the paratroopers what he has done previously for other branches of the German Armed Forces - recount their complete battle history from the small unit viewpoint in an informative narrative, replete with first-person accounts.
Beginning with the formation of airborne forces, Kurowski describes the proposed World War I drop by American forces led by General Billy Mitchell (which never occurred as it was scheduled for 1919). He then moves to the Russians, who were developing their airborne tactics as early as 1923. During the same time period, he states that the Germans were acquainted with the idea of airborne envelopment but it remained in the theoretical stage until the mid-1930's, when the Fallschirmjager was established and kept secret until the invasion of the Lowlands in 1940.
The main event in Jump Into Hell is the large scale paratroop drop onto the island of Crete in May, 1941. Although the Germans eventually secured the island, casualties were so high that Adolf Hitler forbade any more massive drops. The chapter on the campaign in Russia, followed by Sicily and Italy to the end in 1945.
Based on eyewitness interviews after the war, Jump Into Hell is an excellent history of one of Germany's elite fighting units.
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24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By Michael A. Rocco on March 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
If you want to read the authorative source on German paratroopers, this book is for you! Crisp writing with personal narratives makes this a must have for anyone interested in this aspect from WWII.
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Sci-fi and history reader on July 11, 2010
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Franz Kurowski writes another excellent history book on German World War Two fighting forces. This time it is about the Sky Hunters, paratroopers. Chapter One is extremely helpful in introducing airborne operations concept from World War One, as mentioned in American General "Billy" Mitchell's memories. The author then explains how airborne operations were then advanced and developed by the Russians in the 1920's and 1930's, but later placed on hold due to Joseph Stalin's purge of the top Russian Generals and military leaders/ thinkers. It was not until the Germans observed the Russian airborne maneuvers in 1935 did the Germans start to develop their own airborne program.

The author narrates how the initial paratrooper units were formed and who led them. Once World War Two began, the main battles are briefly mentioned with the exception of the invasion of Belgium and Holland and battle for Crete. In these battles, many first person accounts are told of the fighting and casualties suffered. The author provides an excellent overview as to the strategic, operational, and tactical battle in these cases.

There are many maps and diagrams from the German Army of the key battles and actions described in the book, along with photos of the key leaders and Knight's Cross awardees for Valor. The author does not go into detail of major battles already covered in other history books, such as Cassino, Normandy, Market Garden or Battle of the Bulge. What the author does is present the major airborne units and which battles they participated in as an excellent reference for further research. After reading this book, it encourages additional reading to learn more about the specifics of the battle or campaign that the paratroopers participated in, such as Anzio.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By gkak17 on February 14, 2011
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is a great book. Incredible detail of almost every minor and major German Fallschirmjager battle, or raid. Maps are detailed, pictures of the soldiers tie into their stories so you actually have a face to put with the names of these extremely motivated warriors. Well written by a German WWII Journalist veteran. After reading this book, I learned just how skilled these paratroopers were, and just how respected they were amongst their own military, and that of the Allies. This book gave me a better understanding of the Fallschirmjager leadership, and just how much those commanders cared about the men under their commands. Book covers the aborted Polish attack, Ebaen Emael, Holland, Belgain, the aborted attack on Great Britian, North Africa, Italy, Russia, Normandy, Ardennes, right up to the surrender of the individual bands of paratroopers at the end. Their defense of the Rhineland was nothing less than amazing.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By James D. Crabtree VINE VOICE on June 22, 2010
Format: Hardcover
This book is a study of Germany's airborne forces in World War II. However, the emphasis is on the airborne invasion of Crete in 1941 and much of the book is dedicated to this chapter. This is understandable as Crete marked the high point of the use of German paratroopers in the war, both in scope and in casualties.

Very little of the book is dedicated to doctrine or equipment but much is written about the paratroopers themselves and their experiences. It is almost a German version of the D-Day saga, discussing the unfortunate, the lucky and the surreal circumstances that paratroopers found themselves in. Because it is focused on the stories of individual soldiers material is repeated in a manner, covering different aspects of some tactical engagements of battles fought, instead of discussing the battle as a whole.

The text is supported by photos and maps. The maps are sometimes difficult to follow as they tend to be focused on battles and strategic situations and not on the small-unit actions most often discussed in the book. More (and newer) maps would have been more helpful. Nevertheless, a great book on the subject.
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