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The Swansong of the Fallschirmjägers:the Last Paradrop ' Operation Stosser '

MG is a military specialist having spent quality time in the Indian Air Force. He is also an alumnus of the Defence Services Staff College.

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Background

The Fallschirmjäger is the German name for the paratroop regiment. The Wehrmacht treated them as an elite force and it was used sparingly and only for shock treatment. Known as the Blue Eagles the Fallschirmjager were highly trained and professional and this came to the fore during the battle of France in 1940. As the Panzer divisions moved forward through the Ardennes and then to Belgium to breach the Maginot Line, the paratroopers were dropped in advance in Belgium to secure vital bridges and cross points and await the arrival of the Panzers. They were highly successful as they spread confusion in the Belgian Army and of course as we know the French army was totally surprised that the Germans had struck through the low countries and breached their fortified Maginot line.

Adolf Hitler now turned his attention to 2 islands in the Mediterranean namely Crete and Malta. Hitler and the OKH decided to occupy the island of Crete first because of its strategic importance as a springboard for the onward thrust to the Suez canal. In 1941, the Blue Eagles were airdropped on the island much before the arrival of the actual troops in gliders. The paratroopers landed on airfields to secure them for the coming onslaught of the army. Though the paratrooper fought well the local defenses were pretty strong and the casualty rate was very high. It was a war of attrition and tens of parachutists got caught in the ground fire and were killed. When an analysis of the battle was carried out by the military headquarters the realization dawned on Hitler that it was a Pyrrhic victory and the loss of the Fallschirmjager was too heavy a price for the conquest of Crete. Because of the high rate of casualties in Crete, the paratroop regiment was never used in any similar operation and obviously, the plan to take Malta went into cold storage.

The parachute regiment was used during the Russian operations but it was all on a small scale. Towards the end of 1944, Hitler decided to make one final thrust like he had made in 1940 through the Ardennes and drive a wedge between the American and Britain Army and capture Antwerp. It was a sound plan but at that stage, Germany did not have the manpower to carry out the operation and the quality of the troops used was not of the type that was used in 1940. There was all-round depletion of manpower and the potency of soldiers was just about 50% of what it was in 1940.

"Operation Stösser " was conceived. It was a paratroop drop in the American rear during the Battle of the Bulge. Their objective was to take and hold the "Baraque Michel" crossroads until the arrival of the 12th SS Panzer Division. The command was given to Colonel Freiherr von der Heydte. The Colonel was given only eight days to prepare for the operation and the bigger problem was that most of the pilots who were to pilot the planes and the troops to be used for the shock attacks were highly inexperienced.

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The operation

Colonel Freiherr von der Heydte was the hero of the 1941 invasion of Crete. The overall command was with Field Marshal Model. The operations were kept secret and finally, about 70 JU 52 planes were cobbled together for the operation. It was decided to launch the operation without doing any reconnaissance as there was a shortage of time and in any case, the Germans didn't have the capacity to carry out any reconnaissance. The commander was given about 1300 paratroopers who were to be loaded into the 70 planes and dropped behind enemy lines. A similar operation had been carried out by the paratroopers during the Battle of France but the scenario had now changed and the allies had complete air superiority.

Most of the paratroopers used were inexperienced and in December 1944 there were very few veterans available. The new lot had been hastily trained and their professional competence was suspect but they were high on motivation. Worse was the fate of the pilots who were to fly the JU 52 who had been given their wings in a hurry and their inexperience was to have a telling effect on this campaign. A point to be mentioned here is that Colonel Heytde was under investigation as he was the cousin of Col von Stauffenberg who was involved in the July 20, 1944 attempt to assassinate Hitler.

Heydte had a meeting with Field Marshal Walther Model where he expressed his misgivings about the operation and the lack of resources. The Field Marshal told him that there was only a 10% chance of success of the operation and as such he would have to make do with whatever resources were given to him. He further added that this was the last chance to bring the war to an end with a favorable conclusion for Germany and it was very important for him to manage with whatever he had been given. This was on 13 December 1944 and the operation was scheduled for 16th December.

The operation was however delayed by one day because of the failure of the Luftwaffe to cobble the requisite aircraft. Finally at 03:00 on 17 December; the drop commenced with the objective a zone 7 miles (11 km) north of Malmedy. Their objective was to seize the crossroads and hold it for approximately twenty-four hours until the 12th Panzer division reached.

The drop was a disaster mainly because the JU 52's being used had extremely inexperienced pilots who had never carried out such an operation. Many of the paratroopers landed behind German lines and many were just scattered all around. Another major disaster was that most of the communication equipment which was also parachuted along with the soldiers was completely destroyed and there was no way the commanding officer could get in touch with the operational headquarters. Finally, Colonel Heydte had about 300 men only available and the rest had all spread out or fallen behind lines. Many of the parachutists were also injured while landing and the weaponry which was thrown along with them could not be retrieved and most of these paratroopers were armed only with pistols and a few weapons which they were able to retrieve. It was like fighting a battle with one hand tied. The chaos can be seen from the fact that almost 250 paratroopers were dropped near Bonn which is 50 miles away from the intended area of operation.

Heydte had anticipated this problem and had requested Field Marshall Model for some carrier pigeons which had been laughed off. Heydte decided to bide his time and await the Panzers before making his presence felt. Accordingly, he hid in the forest with his men waiting for the arrival of the Panzers.







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Failure

Colonel Heydte waited for 24 hours in the forest and the food and water the soldiers had brought with them was getting depleted. There was no sign of the Panzers which as we know had been halted by stiffening American resistance. Heydte also could not communicate with the headquarters and he was wondering what to do. With a shortage of food and water, he gave instructions to his soldiers to try and walk back to the home lines. The operation was a failure but in his defense, it can be said that had the Panzers been successful and advanced then the Colonel would have gone into action and the result may have been different.

It was also bitterly cold and many of the soldiers now began to suffer from frostbite. Heydte himself was suffering from pneumonia and frostbite and he was given shelter in a friendly house. He was at his wit's end and the next morning he sent a note through one of the young boys to the American commander nearby declaring his readiness to surrender. On 20 December 1944, American troops arrived at the cottage where Heydte was being sheltered and arrested him and took him to hospital. It was all over bar the shouting.

As far as Heydte is concerned he was held as a POW in England and then released in 1947. He continued his career with the military and became a brigadier general though he was later involved in many controversies. He died in 1994 at the age of 87.


Comments

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 06, 2020:

I have written extensively on Radha Binod Das who was a member of the Tokyo tribunal. His judgment exonerated the Japanese leadership of war crimes. He also mentioned that the American generals who had atomic bombed Japan should be brought to trial for war crimes. Stalin is responsible for the Katyn massacre. That is the reason even now East Europe is distrustful of Russia.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 05, 2020:

Thanks, Alan what you say is possible. Goering sentenced to death and hanging was not the best thing but the Russians are probably insisting on it. All the same the high command definitely had some inkling of what was going on because many did feel that Goering probably just deserved a life sentence and nothing more. Similar was the case with general Tojo who had stepped down as the Japanese prime minister in 1944 and yet was hanged for war crimes when he was not even present.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 05, 2020:

Tom the Poles were always opposed to the Russians especially Stalin who got almost 3000 officers of the Polish army killed during World War II they haven't forgotten the invasion by Russia in conjunction with Germany in 1939. Gorbachev was the most stupid man to come to power in Russia and he will be damned by history for what all did it I have to write an article on that.

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on November 05, 2020:

Goering's wife is understood to have smuggled the cyanide capsules - issued to all the senior Nazi hierarchy - in a jar of his face cream on her last visit. Knowing him to be vain, his US jailers didn't search as thoroughly as maybe the Russians would have. It's also believed the MP in charge of his cell had been won over by Goering's 'charm'. A dramatisation of the trials and fates of the high command who'd been sentenced to hang indicated thus, and it's possible Goering latched onto the man's German name and origins. As you'd pointed out, emge, there was a lot of sympathy in the US for him and his associates.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 05, 2020:

Thanks Tom, some POWs could have joined the east German Army but the mystery is how the East Germans collapsed after the breakup of the USSR.

tom on November 04, 2020:

some german pows joined east german armed forces

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 04, 2020:

I agree that most of the decisions were made at Yalta. Monty had very little say and after he wrote his autobiography general Ike withdrew his friendship. Ike accepted the logic of the decision but he could have ignored and carried on but he stopped. The SS was a breed apart. I am not able to understand how badly they treated Russians, the Slavs, and Jews, and when it came down to the Indian Legion they looked after them very well. Subhash Bose was looked after very well in Germany. He not only married to German girl but was given a good house in Berlin and a monthly allowance.

I think hundreds of SS men escaped and continued to live good lives. This was with the tacit approval of the American intelligence who was more concerned with Russia and Stalin. Most POWs were released by 47-48 though the Russians kept them till 1955 and only about 15% returned, the rest having died in the harsh conditions.

Herman Goering who led the Nazi accused did not expect the death sentence, that was a total surprise to him and somebody from the American military police handed him the cyanide capsule. This could not have been without approval at the highest level of the military. I have a feeling Russians knew about it because they did not make a fuss about his death by cyanide capsule. In retrospect, Goering was not involved in the "Final Solution" and atrocities of the SS; he paid the price for being close to Hitler

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on November 04, 2020:

I think it was already agreed at Yalta, at a higher level than Ike and Monty, that Zhukov should enter Berlin. Of course the generals would've seen the wisdom of the agreement, and Truman would've abided by the decision made on the US' behalf by Roosevelt.

The Germans' goose was cooked. The logistics of having German troops surrender in their droves wasn't brilliant, however. These prisoners needed to be fed and housed at least until their details had been cross-checked against those German records that still existed. Some were escaping SS, cognisant of their fate should they be captured on the wrong side of the Elbe, and took uniforms from dead Wehrmacht soldiers. The commandant of Auschwitz was captured working as an agricultural labourer, previously in a seaman's uniform he'd acquired whilst still in Auschwitz before the Russians reached there.

Himmler wore an ordinary soldier's uniform when he was taken by British soldiers who recognised him even without his trademark 'tash'. Goering gave himself up to US troops in the belief he'd be treated as an 'officer and a gentleman, and could parley with Ike, who left that 'honour' to subordinates.

As I said Mengele got away with it because he didn't have the customary SS tattoo, and there was a multitude of Bavarians with the name Mengele, some of whom he was related to, owned industrial concerns and passed funds to him in South America via his wife, who joined him some time after his departure from Europe. It was hard for many of the US personnel to know what was genuine Wehrmacht and what was bogus.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 04, 2020:

thanks tom

tom on November 04, 2020:

heydte is known as lion of carentan

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

TOM, thanks for all the information you have provided.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

Very true Alan, I am more than sure that most of the Nazi generals were not keen to fight the Americans and wanted to surrender to the Americans which I have pointed out so many times. Ike was a pragmatic general and allowed Russians to enter Berlin as he knew there would be a bloodbath and didn't want to lose American soldiers for anything. Wise decision, Ike also probably knew the Russians had suffered terribly at the hands of the Germans and wanted to let them get their pound of Flesh. The second rung of the Nazi leadership like Himmler did their best to negotiate a separate peace with the West but Churchill knew the true nature of the Nazi regime and did not agree. In fact I read somewhere that Churchill had written that in this war Germany should be finished once for all never to rise again.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

Thank you Tom even Mao Tse Tung converted his guerilla warfare into conventional war to defeat American supported gen Chiang kai Shek and the same thing with general Giap of North Vietnam finally at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954 defeated the French in a pitched battle. The Viet Cong also converted their guerilla war into a conventional war forcing the uS to retreat. Both Shivaji and the Kerala Raja failed in that respect.

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on November 03, 2020:

Getting back to Hitler's 'Ardennes Circus', a parachute drop needs sound radio equipment as much as it needs provisions to last until the force that's meant to relieve it arrives, agreed. The last German campaigns were conducted on a shoestring, their thrust towards Antwerp included. What they lost there they sorely needed to keep the Soviet forces at bay. Rightly or wrongly, I have an idea Hitler's generals hoped to let the Western Allies through beyond the Elbe. They weren't party to the decisions made by all the Allied parties together that it had been agreed for the Russians to advance into Berlin.

Was it maybe thought out between the Western leaders to let the Germans slog it out with Soviet forces in Berlin, and maybe weaken Stalin's hand? Or maybe they were more pragmatic and left the Russians to it because of the damage done by the Germans in the east?

If anything to that effect was ever written down, it probably had a longer D-Notice on it than other sensitive material such as Bletchley Park's possession of German codes.

And you'd right, Hitler sentenced his own forces to an upward struggle, (like climbing the Eiger backwards with your boots off and no ropes in the middle of winter).

tom on November 03, 2020:

yes i agree ,i once read an article in indian defence review on battles of aurangzeb. shivaji failed to defeat mughals,shivaji died in 1680 at the age of 50,gureilla war needs to be converted into conventional war,mukti bahini was helped by india in conventonal war in 1971

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

HelloTom, I do not rate Shivaji also as a great general because in three battles with the forces of Aurangzeb commanded by Raja Jai Singh he was defeated. He died pretty early 1980 and Aurangzeb lived for another 25 years after that. In my latest book, I will be discussing this campaign because in my principles of war Aurangzeb was a very great General. Just imagine his empire extended right from Kabul to South India. The problem with Indians is that we do not have very many heroes who were world Conquerors so we pick up small people like Shivaji and others and make them bigger figures. I wrote some articles on the military campaigns of Shivaji on another site and of course, they raised quite a storm because I studied that period to show how badly Shivaji was defeated by Aurangzeb. He was a good guerrilla fighter but then no guerrilla war has ever won a country unless it has been converted into a conventional war that is why Shivaji remained a Hindu king under the Shahenshah -e - Shahenshah Aurangzeb.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

Tom, Italians were not interested in the war and that is the fact.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

Thanks, Tom haven't seen this movie.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

Alan, you have stated some points but Hitler if he was not swayed by race theories and living space in Russia and had attacked Spain, whether Franco went against him or not was immaterial. At so many places he promised one thing and did something else like attacking the low countries after accepting their neutrality and then Russia and Chamberlain. Even Petain who had become his supporter was unceremoniously sidelined in 1944 as the Germans took over entire France. The French had an army oif 5 million and the Germans made short shrift of it. Spain never stood a CHANCE but Hitler was not in the mind and he was chasing a mirage by attacking Russia. If Gibraltar had been taken the complexion of the war would have changed, Hitler would have 1 million men to do as they pleased. It's a frightening thought. Good that his race theories clouded his mind.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

Tom, I am not sure about what you have stated, have you read about this anywhere because even in Staff College nobody talks or reads about Pazhassi.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 03, 2020:

Thanks, Tom, Tippus sons lost out and so did Pazhassi. Sad story. Tippu had already signed his death warrant by sitting in his fort and waiting for the Duke. He lacked initiative, Indians don't want to admit it.

tom on November 02, 2020:

ohio tanker incident in malta story,italian mini subs chariots,italian naval war movies on u tube ,movie valiant

tom on November 02, 2020:

the movie is the silent enemy available on youtube ,laurence harvey as crabb,tanker is ohio not arizona

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on November 02, 2020:

Attacking Gibraltar without Franco's consent to pass through Spain would've effectively turned Franco into an enemy. The Spanish leader had given Hitler troops to attack Russia because he believed Communism was his nemesis (he'd fought the Republicans, who had a limited amount of help from Stalin in the mid-1930's). He'd refused Hitler permission to cross Spanish territory.

Without antagonising an ally he might wish to draw on later in the war, Hitler had to try and strangle Britain's hold on the Mediterranean with Mussolini's help. As it was Franco allowed the Axis moorings in Spanish territory near Gibraltar, where Italians moored a vessel disguised as a cargo ship. Her crew were Italian sailors who operated mini-submarines to attach explosives to British and Allied vessels in Gibraltar. Commander Crabb's divers investigated the ship and in turn attached explosives, sinking the Italians' floating base. (I think Tom will know this film which featured Laurence Harvey and Sid James).

Malta relied on convoys from Britain, the most famous being 'Pedestal', that included an aircraft carrier and a large oil tanker, the 'Arizona' that entered Valetta harbour assisted by a pair of destroyers as her steering had been affected by a torpedo. She sank in the harbour fortunately after her load had been taken off (something else Tom will know of and can probably add detail).

Anzac troops had been mistakenly sent to try to turn back German forces in Greece, as they were better needed in North Africa to shore up Tobruk's defences against Rommel's Afrika Korps, and were subsequently withdrawn to the Antipodes to counter the Japanese threat to New Guinea.

tom on November 02, 2020:

post war germany had an airborne division ,now disbanded

tom on November 02, 2020:

wellington led spanish guerillas in penisular war and used pazassi tactics

tom on November 02, 2020:

yes this is true ,both fought for their kingdoms,not for india,kipling called suez canal artery of empire,our mentality is durg,pazhassi fought against tipu.later allied with tipus sons

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 02, 2020:

Firstly Tom let me demolish the theory of Tipu Sultan and Pazhassi Raja. Tipu was a poor soldier and strategist. He could have attacked the Duke who was marching from Madras and took two months to reach but Tipu was sitting inside his fortress waiting for him and he was bound to lose. This was the "Durg mentality" on which I have written . . The Pazhassi Raja was small fry. He won a battle here and there but could not consolidate his rule and finally, he made a deal with the British that he would join them to fight Tippu in case after the victory they give him back his kingdom. He joined the English against Tipu but didn't get his kingdom back and died in 1805.

In my book of military strategists, both these worthies do not deserve more than a footnote.

Hitler's best chance of defeating was in 1940 and if he had put all his divisions against Gibraltar Malta and North Africa and gone on to capture the Suez Canal "operation Bajedor" the invasion of India would be a reality. He could have finished the British Empire by 41 but he got bogged down in Russia and that is his foolishness. It's another point that the British won a Pyrrhic victory and Hitler in a vicarious way ensured that within two years of the end of the world war the empire collapsed like a pack of cards. You may like to read my article on this subject and Bose.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Hitler was not the greatest of generals and as far as Napoleon is concerned he had lost his genius after 1812. The Russian campaign was a disaster and out of a force of 600 thousand soldiers only 95000 survived. This had in direct fall out leading to his defeat at Waterloo.

Hitler was on an extremely strong wicket in 1940 after the battle of France. At that time he could have made a bid for Malta and Gibraltar . The British were worried about an invention of England and this was the best time to attack and that time passed away . It never came back. The tactics used in Crete could have been duplicated in Malta and Gibraltar could have been invaded without consent of Franco by sending the German Army through Spain and making use of the Spanish rail system. Hitler held all the aces in 1940 and Russia was an ally. Within a few weeks everything changed and and Hitler missed the bus.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Thank you Pamela for commenting.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Well written Flourish. Yes it is a fact many of the paratroopers who were armed only with pistols were shot Dead By American Troops ; can't blame the Americans because the battle of the Bulge was on.

FlourishAnyway from USA on November 01, 2020:

Not supplying the resources and predicting a 10% chance of success in advance pretty much doomed them from the start. It’s unfortunate that the leader got to live to a ripe old age and all those parachutists died like they did. But no one claimed war was fair.

Pamela Oglesby from Sunny Florida on November 01, 2020:

This is another interesting article about WWII. It sounds like the pilots and paracheutists were not well trained, which explains why the operation was a diaster.

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on November 01, 2020:

He couldn't take Gibraltar with the Royal Navy and Air Force not 'dealt with', nor would he have been advised to try across Spain's air space after Franco gave him the thumbs down on the question of joining him and Mussolini as an axis ally. There was only the sea way open to him. He had cold feet about tackling both the RAF and RN. Also via Morocco wasn't an option. Again, Spanish territory in the way. Franco - even as an ally - was as big a thorn in his side as the RAF and RN.

To sweeten the bitter pill Franco let Hitler have the Spanish Legion for his invasion of Russia, to his regret. The ones that didn't perish in the Russian winter or to Soviet gunnery did so in the Gulags.

As Neville Chamberlain said, 'Hitler missed the bus', although not as he meant but by not intervening in North Africa earlier. NC was dead by then. To my mind Hitler's flashes of genius were as much Guderian's work as his. Hitler had lost his reason long before 1942 but was allowed by them to claim his generals' victories as his own. He was no Napoleon.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Tom, I've been reading all your comments and I will say that you have a fair amount of knowledge on what is an intricate subject. It's always a pleasure to have a discussion with you.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Alan, it's always a pleasure to read your comments. I haven't seen the movie you have mentioned but Malta certainly was a thorn in the Mediterranean for the Germans. I think it would have been much better in place of launching the assault in Crete he had decided to neutralize Malta. Probably Hitler thought he will do it later but the casualty figures were so high in relation to the number of men used in Crete that he began to develop cold feet and I don't think he made any major para invasion later at any time during the war. He made a last attempt in the operations during the battle of the bulge but then it was on a much smaller scale than what he had done in Crete. Operation market garden was the pet operation of Montgomery but unfortunately didn't bring in the results which he expected. Actually by end 1942 Hitler had lost the Midas touch and he became irrational. Just after the battle of France was the best time for him to take Malta and Gibraltar I just cannot understand how this thought did not occur to him and he thought more of attacking in the east that is Russia. He paid the price for this foly with total decimation and defeat. For argument sake if he had captured Gibraltar and Malta I think he would have won the war.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Thanks, Tom, I have already pointed out and he was an intellectual went back to the college and also had a parallel career in the Army where he rose to be a brigadier general. He was one of the two officers of the West German army who were given this rank.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Heydte was under suspicion and watch but I don't think he was involved in the plot to assassinate Hitler.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Tom yes he Ram was broken and he was suffering from frostbite and pneumonia also and he had no choice but to surrender. He was an intellectual and re-joined the university and that is to his credit.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Thanks, Tom, yes Operation Stosser was definitely part of the battle of the bulge but its success was dependent on the movement of the Panzers and once they failed the operation also failed.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on November 01, 2020:

Tom, the airborne divisions were not used for their basic purpose but on the ground offensive and defense and they gave a good account of themselves as you have mentioned like in the battle of Monte Cassino

tom on October 31, 2020:

freiherr means baron,heydte was only german officer who became professor of international law, gen dr von speidel rommels chief of staff later commanded nato forces,only ww2 german general in nato

Alan R Lancaster from Forest Gate, London E7, U K (ex-pat Yorkshire) on October 31, 2020:

'Malta Story' focused on a young RAF reconnaissance pilot (Alec Guiinness) on Malta and showed the dire situation on the island at the mercy of constant German and Italian bombers. AG is told to investigate a freight yard in southern Italy, returns and is told to go and get more pictures in his Spitfire. He doesn't return a second time, but the RAF bombs the yard flying from North African airfields.

Crete was a real eye-opener for Kurt Student, but Hitler was frightened of giving the Allies more 'victories' (Crete was evacuated by British, Australian and New Zealand troops, some being taken into captivity (non-essential personnel and some NZ commandos).

This one sounds as fated as 'Operation Market Garden'. (I've done a page on this one as well as Monte Cassino and the SAS drop in the Vosges Mountains in 1944), where radios didn't work and the British commander on the ground was slated for leaving his HQ to investigate the situation. The Polish paratroopers were unable to leave their airfield due to fog. There was no air support, nor were Typhoon Tankbusters involved, to deal with the SS Panzers there. Although in ratio the Allies suffered greater para losses, they weren't afraid to commit.

Hitler had interesting ideas in connection with his 'elite' forces, holding back the SS in places, to rather deal with civilians and partisans; not being willing to commit his capital ships, leaving them to be bombed at their moorings after the fate met by 'Bismarck'. An odd way to wage a war, that played into the hands of the Allies. Doenitz was left to use his own initiative with the U-Boats, a naval campaign which met with success (unfortunately for the Merchant and Royal Navy initially)

tom on October 31, 2020:

he fought in normandy and arnheim,was called rosary paratrooper,he may have been involved in valkyrie

tom on October 31, 2020:

heydte was a catholic baron ,operation stosser his arm broken,later taught in wurzburg and mainz ,no twurtemburg

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

Thanks, Tom, I appreciate your knowledge Kurt.Student was a German general in the Luftwaffe during World War II. An early pioneer of airborne forces,

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

Thank you, Umesh, It's nice of you to spare time and comment.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

Tom, haven't seen this movie, Alec Guinness was a great actor, his Bridge on the River Kwai is a classic.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 31, 2020:

Well written and well presented.

tom on October 31, 2020:

kurt student raised german airborne

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

Liz, thanks for commenting. I landed in Malta once while proceeding in our Air Force plane to North America for refueling. Wonderful place and climate.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

Yes,Tom. I think Hitler committed a mistake and in place of Crete, he should have attacked Malta. Later Malta was a thorn in the supply line of the German army to Africa.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

YES! Heydte had a checkered career and went back for his education. He regained his position in the West German army and rose to be a Brigadier- general. After the battle of Crete, the Germans who had lost many of their para brigades took revenge on the local population and there are reports that almost 3000 people were executed and shot dead. I wonder if Heydte was involved.

MG Singh emge (author) from Singapore on October 31, 2020:

Yes, Tom, the JU 52 was a versatile airplane, unfortunately, this was the only good transport the Germans had but they didn't have the pilots who had been lost in the battle of Britain and Russia. After Jan 1945 the para regiments were used only in a ground role.

tom on October 30, 2020:

malta blocked german supplies to north africa,movie malta story alec guiness

Liz Westwood from UK on October 30, 2020:

This is an interesting article. I visited Malta a few months ago, so was interested to read the reference here. I have heard about the role of allied parachutists, but little about the Germans. They have an important part to play, but without adequate support, as this case illustrates, their effectiveness and safety is undermined.

tom on October 30, 2020:

heydte became international law professor and brigadier general in west german army

tom on October 30, 2020:

bonn a univesrity town ,first indology chair,later capital of west germany,german paratroop division hermann goring fought as infantry in italian campaign,general kurt student fighter pilot turned paratrooper raised airborne divisions,only german transport aircraft junkers 52 tante ju auntie ju,was good ,since 1930s to 1950s uesd as airliner by latin american countries,but allies had better aircraft,bulk of experienced pilots killed in russia and battle of britain,1940 german paras captured belgian eben emael fort

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