From the Author
From the Inside Flap
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.