German glider trooper posing with a FG 42 rifle before a DFS 230 C-1 glider, Gran Sasso, Italy, 12 Sep 1943

Caption   German glider trooper posing with a FG 42 rifle before a DFS 230 C-1 glider, Gran Sasso, Italy, 12 Sep 1943 ww2dbase
Source    ww2dbaseGerman Federal Archive
Identification Code   Bild 101I-567-1503A-01
More on...   
DFS 230   Main article  Photos  
Operation Eiche   Main article  Photos  
FG 42   Main article  Photos  
Photos on Same Day 12 Sep 1943
Photos at Same Place L'Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy
Added By C. Peter Chen
Added Date 4 Dec 2010
Licensing  Creative Commons. According to the German Federal Archive (Bundesarchiv), as of 21 Jul 2010, photographs can be reproduced with if these preconditions are met:
- quote the "Federal Archives" as source,
- add the signature of the pictures and
- of name of the originator, i.e. the photographer.
You also can use fotos from the Federal Archives for free on Wikimedia Commons

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
6 Jul 2011 09:24:16 PM


This paratrooper took part in the liberation
of Benito Mussolini on the Gran Sasso Mountain in Italy.
He's wearing the long paratrooper coat (Knockensack) bone bag he's armed with the Gewehr FG 42 it was an excellent weapon, but too costly to produce. Glider in background is DFS 230.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
11 Jul 2011 12:04:48 PM

The airborne soldiers were part of the Luftwaffe, they were volunteers, training was hard and tough many failed to qualify, those that did received their parachutists badge after six jumps.
Airborne forces were used during campaigns in the west against Fort Eben-Emael, Belgium
Holland and France in 1940. The role of the airborne forces, were to surprise the enemy,
take objectives and hold until ground forces arrive. Later airborne forces were used against Norway, Denmark and Crete, and other special operations.


The airborne assault against Crete was the last major operation, Hitler was shocked by the losses, of 22,000 troops 5,500 were killed wounded or missing, with the loss of over 300 aircraft and gliders.
Hitler never again approved another large airborne operation, many of the causalities were experienced NCOs and Officers. During the first hours of the invasion, one company of the III Battalion, 1st Assault Regiment lost 112 killed out of 126 men and 400 men of the Battalions 600 were killed before the end of the day.
The operations that followed paras were used as ground troops, small operations continued
but after Crete it was the end of the German airborne forces. After 1944 the Luftwaffe was no longer training paratroops. The last paratroop division fought during the battle
of Berlin in 1945.


German paras didn't jump with their weapons
they carried holstered pistols and knife's
rifles and other gear were dropped in special
containers. The paras had to run to get weapons and equipment, many were killed because they didn't have weapons on them to defend themselves
9mm Luger P-08, 9mm Walther P-38 and PPKs
captured foreign weapons were issued.

7.92mm Mauser K98, 9mm MP-38/MP-40 submachine
guns weapons were issued to NCOs and Officers, FG-42 automatic rifle this weapon was developed for the German airborne troops. Other foreign weapons were issued.

7.92mm MG-34 and NG-42 machine guns, as well as foreign weapons.

Blue-Gray w/Luftwaffe eagle over right breast
collar patch denotes rank w/gold yellow piping. Modified rimless version of the standard M-1938 steel helmet, special jump boots, jump smock, loadbearing equipment "Y"
straps w/belt, two canteens, medical packs,
breadbag, gas mask, bayonet, shovel, pistol holster and ammo pouches. Ammunition was carried in bandoleers to hold 7.92mm ammo for K98 or FG 42 magazines. NCOs and Officers
carried the MP-38/MP-40 magazines pouches and
LG 40 75mm and 105mm LG 42 Recoilless Rifles,
and other crew served weapos as mortars. Later troops carried anti-tank weapons, mines, disposable Panzerfaust and the re-useable rocket launcher Panzershreck.
All troops carried stick grenades and other explosives.
After WWII the German airborne forces were disbanded.

The German Bundeswehr has a Special Division
w/Brigade, Independent Companies and Battalions with 10,000 troops.

Had airborne infantry formations, and was under the Command of the Army High Command
the airborne units, were disbaned after the fall of East Germany.


By James Lucas
Published by Castle Books
ISBN-10 078581602x

Personal note*

After AIT many of us did volunteer for airborne training, however I wasn't one of them.
Later assigned to Self-Propelled Artillery unit in W. Germany, later volunteered for duty in S. Vietnam and served from 1967 to 1970.

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Modern Day Location
WW2-Era Place Name L'Aquila, Abruzzo, Italy
Lat/Long 42.4433, 13.5600
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