German Airborne Troops 1939–45

Osprey Men-At-Arms Series 139

German Airborne Troops 1939–45, Osprey Men-At-Arms Series 139.

Airborne operations have often been called a vertical envelopment, and therein lies one of the best descriptions of their value. The essence of an envelopment is to pin the enemy in place so that it can be destroyed. A strong enemy force to one’s rear disrupts supplies and communications and makes one more vulnerable to an attack from the front. It also has a major psychological impact. To an aggressor the value of airborne troops, used properly, far outweighs their numerical strength. Bruce Quarrie’s engaging text tells the story of the German airborne troops of the Second World War.


  • Title: German Airborne Troops 1939–45
  • Period: World War Two, 1939–1945
  • Type: Uniform Guide
  • Author: Bruce Quarrie
  • Illustrator: Mike Chappell
  • Format: 40-page book
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Osprey Publishing, London, England
  • ISBN: 0850454808
  • Published: 1983


  1. The Fallschirmjäger Role
  2. Fallschirmjäger Operations
  3. Ground Operations
  4. Equipment
  5. The Plates
    • Obergefreiter, II/FJR 1; Brunswick, Germany, 1939
    • Jäger, Fallschirmjäger-Regiment 1, 1941
    • Unteroffizier, FJR 1; Stendal, 1939
    • Oberleutnant, I/FJR 1; Western Europe, spring 1940
    • Jäger, Low Countries, May 1940
    • NCO, Low Countries, May 1940
    • Jäger, Luftlande-Sturm-Regt.(?); Operation Merkur, May 1941
    • Feldwebel, 7. Flieger-Div.; Operation Merkur, May 1941
    • Leutnant, 7. Flieger-Div.; Operation Merkur, May 1941
    • Jäger, 7. Flieger-Div.; Operation Merkur, May 1941
    • Major, III/FJR 1; Crete May 1941
    • Hauptmann, Fallschirmjäger-Bde. Ramcke; N. Africa, 1942
    • Feldwelbel, Fallschirmjäger-Bde. Ramcke; N. Africa, 1942
    • Jäger, I/FJR 5; Tunisia, spring 1943
    • General der Flieger Kurt Student, 1944
    • Major, 1. Fallschirmjäger-Div.; Berlin, 1944
    • Jäger, Italy, 1944
    • Oberleutnant, Russia, 1942–43
    • Ski trooper, 1. FJD; Russia 1943
    • Jäger, 5. FJD; Ardennes, December 1944
    • Jäger, 2. FJD; France, 1944
    • Oberfeldwebel, StuG-Bde. XII; Reichswald 1945
    • Unteroffizier, 9. FJD; Eastern Front, spring 1945

Bruce Quarrie’s book is an excellent resource for wargamers and figure painters interested in recreating Fallschirmjäger units of World War Two in miniature. Mike Chappell’s superb illustrations show the changing uniforms, insignia, weapons, and equipment of Fallschirmjäger airborne troops operating in the Low Countries, Mediterranean, North Africa, Italy, Germany, and on the Eastern Front from 1940 to 1945. High-quality black-and-white photos illustrated the campaign dress adopted by individual Fallschirmjäger in the field.

Unfortunately, there must be a printing error to blame for the bluish grey jump smocks illustrated in plates A1, A2, C1, and H3, all of which are described as “green” (A1, H3) or “greenish” (A2, C1) in the text which accompanies these illustrations. The “greenish field grey” special paratrooper‘s trousers mentioned in the text have been printed neutral grey or bluish grey throughout the illustrations.

The chapter on equipment covers light and heavy weapons used by the Fallschirmjäger, but does not explain the haphazard way in which personal equipment is carried by German paratroops.

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