German Fallschirmjäger Paratroopers of World War Two, 1939–1945

German Fallschirmjäger Paratroopers with 2.8 cm s.Panzerbüchse 41 heavy anti-tank rifle

Fallschirmjäger wearing tropical uniform and tan aqueous camouflage smocks during the 1943 campaign. The kneeling anti-tank gunners are conversions, combining body parts of two standing and two kneeling ESCI figures. The standing figure wears a typical Luftwaffe side cap taken from Airfix Luftwaffe Personnel. The 2.8 cm s.Panzerbüchse 41 heavy anti-tank rifle is from the old Airfix Afrikakorps set. The s.PzB. 41 proved inadequate against medium and heavy tanks encountered on the Eastern Front, and many of these weapons were handed down to Italian forces which kept them in inventory until the Armistice in 1943.

Green Devils

As is common among professional elites, Luftwaffe Fallschirmjäger and British Paras developed mutual respect when they encountered eachother for the first time in North Africa. Apparently, elements of the Fallschirmjäger contingent deployed in Tunisia ignored the standing order that enemy parachutists were to be shot summarily, and they saw to it that captured and wounded Red Devils from John Frost's 2 Para were treated correctly.

The German army tried large-scale airborne operation only once, when Fallschirmjäger and gliderborne infantry assaulted the island of Crete in 1941. The island was taken, but at the cost of very heavy casualties, and the practise was not continued. After Crete, the Fallschirmjägers fought primarily as elite infantry, with the occasionally battalion-sized drop to secure limited objectives.

Miniatures

  • Leutnant 1. Fallschirmjäger Regiment, 1:16 Kirin 21521
  • Fallschirmjäger 1944, 1:16 Dragon 1603 D
  • Fallschirmjäger, 1:35 Italeri 311
  • Fallschirmjäger at Monte Cassino, 1:35 Dragon 6005 D
  • Fallschirmjäger with Donkey, 1:35 Dragon 6077 D
  • Fallschirmjäger 1940, 1:35 Dragon 6070 D
  • Fallschirmjäger with 2.8 cm PzB 41, 1:35 Dragon 6056 D
  • Fallschirmjäger 1943-1945, 1:72 ESCI P-244
  • Fallschirmjäger 1943-1945, 1:72 Italeri 6045
  • Fallschirmjäger, 1:72 Revell 02500
  • Fallschirmjäger, 1:72 Orion 72018
  • Fallschirmjäger, 1:72 Sojers SP215
  • Fallschirmjäger Panzerschreck Team, 1:72 Sojers ST21F
  • Fallschirmjäger section including officer and MG 42 (10), 1:76 C-P Models FJ1
  • Fallschirmjäger 81mm Mortar team moving, firing (7), 1:76 C-P Models FJ2
  • Fallschirmjäger Feldgendarme patrol (5), 1:76 C-P Models FJ3
  • Fallschirmjäger Communications team, radio, telephone (6), 1:76 C-P Models FJ4
  • Fallschirmjäger Casualty pack, inc. stretcher bearer (5), 1:76 C-P Models FJ6
  • Fallschirmjäger Pioneers, flame-thrower, pole charge (5), 1:76 C-P Models FJ7
  • Fallschirmjäger StuG assault gun crew (5) 1944-45, 1:76 C-P Models FJ8
  • Fallschirmjäger, 1:76 Airfix 01753
  • Fallschirmjäger Platoon Pack (30 figures), 1:76 AB Figures FJPP
  • Fallschirmjäger Officers & Radio Operators (6 pcs), 1:76 AB Figures FJ7
  • Fallschirmjäger MG 42 tripod mounted & crew (3 pcs), 1:76 AB Figures FJ12
  • Fallschirmjäger MG 34 tripod mounted & crew (3 pcs), 1:76 AB Figures FJ4
  • Fallschirmjäger Panzerschreck & panzerfaust (3 pcs), 1:76 AB Figures FJ3
  • Fallschirmjäger Section advancing (10 pcs), 1:76 AB Figures FJ1
  • Fallschirmjäger Section kneeling & prone (10 pcs), 1:76 AB Figures FJ2
  • Fallschirmjäger 8 cm mortar & crew (7 pcs), 1:76 AB Figures FJ5
  • Fallschirmjäger 2 cm Flak crew (3 pcs), 1:76 AB Figures FJ6
  • Fallschirmjäger BMW 750 motorcycle combination + 3 crew, 1:76 AB Figures FJ11
  • Fallschirmjäger Medics & Wounded (10 figs.), 1:76 AB Figures FJ8
  • Fallschirmjäger Dead/Casualties (4 figs.), 1:76 AB Figures FJ9
  • Fallschirmjäger Pak 40 crew (4 figs. & accessories), 1:76 AB Figures FJ10
  • Fallschirmjäger Weapons Containers (5), 20 mm BP Cast BA118
  • Fallschirmjager Company, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GBX08
  • Fallschirmjager Platoon, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GE762
  • Fallschirmjager Platoon (Battleworn), 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GE763
  • Glider Assault platoon (Fallschirmjager), 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GE767
  • Fallschirmjager Command team, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GSO21
  • Fallschirmjager Command team, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GSO22
  • Fallschirmjager Observer team, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GSO23
  • Fallschirmjager HQ/Staff team, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GSO24
  • Fallschirmjager Artillery Crew, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GSO25
  • Seated Fallschirmjager, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GSO27
  • Fallschirmjager Pin Markers, 15 mm Battlefront Miniatures GSO28
  • Fallschirmjäger, 1:300 Heroics & Ros

Historical Employment

  • Norway and Denmark, 1940
  • France and Low Countries, 1940
  • Greece and Crete, 1941
  • Eastern Front, 1941-1945
  • North Africa, 1942
  • Tunisia, 1942-1943
  • Italy, 1943-1945
  • Yugoslavia, 1944
  • France, Low Countries, and Germany, 1944-1945

Possible Conversions

  • Fallschirmjäger with cloth helmet cover, 1941-1945,
    using heads from the Revell Fallschirmjäger set.
  • Fallschirmjäger in Luftwaffe side cap, 1940-1942,
    using heads from the Airfix Luftwaffe Personnel set.
  • Fallschirmjäger in Luftwaffe tropical uniform, North Africa 1942,
    mounting Fallschirmjäger heads on ESCI or Airfix Afrikakorps infantry.This conversion works very well for officers, machine gunners and MP40 gunners who did not wear the paratroop rifle bandolier. In fact, Afrikakorps miniatures in Feldmütze caps may be used without conversion to represent paratroopers in tropical uniform.
  • Fallschirmjäger in Meier-Mütze, 04/1942-1943,
    using heads with Naval officers' soft caps taken from a 1:72 torpedo boat kit.
  • Fallschirmjäger in Einheitsfeldmütze field cap, 1943,
    using heads from the Airfix Afrikakorps set.
  • Fallschirmjäger in army steel helmet, due to equipment shortages beginning 1944,
    using heads from regular German infantry figures.
  • Romanian 4th Parachute Battalion in grey-blue one-piece jump suits, 1944.
    The leg of the German jump suit can be trimmed carefully, to blend it into the trousers. The Romanian paras abandoned the German paratroop helmet in favor of the air force side cap in the course of the 1944 fighting, because they were too easily mistaken for Germans. Romanian paratroopers were equipped with ZB24 rifles, MP40 machine pistols, ZB30 light machine guns, ZB35 heavy machine guns, 60 mm and 81 mm Brandt mortars, flamethrowers, and Böhler 47 mm infantry guns. There was a motorcycle para recon platoon in the HQ company.

Bibliography

Related Films

  • The Eagle Has Landed, a thriller based on Jack Higgin's best selling book, starring Michael Caine, Robert Duvall, Donald Sutherland. German paratroopers infiltrate into England in November of 1943, in an attempt to kidnap Winston Churchill.

Clever wargamers will raise their Fallschirmjäger units for the 1943 Tunisian Campaign, in which case they will get away with mixing Afrikakorps machine gunners, MP40 gunners, and officers into the batch. All it takes is a head swap, placing Fallschirmjäger helmets on the Afrikakorps soldiers. Some figures need no conversion at all, provided that they are already wearing the practical Feldmütze cap which quickly replaced the Luftwaffe side cap in Fallschirmjäger units. Tropical uniform was to be worn between 1st of May and 30th of September each year, and these figure conversions would serve well in a 1943 Italian scenario. That year also saw the introduction of the more attractive tan aqueous camouflage smock, which was often seen alongside the earlier grey-green and splinter camouflage smocks.

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