"You are the chosen ones of the German Army. You will seek combat and train yourselves to endure any manner of test.
To you the battle shall be fulfillment.
#1 Fallschirmjäger 10 Commandments

The history of the Fallschirmjäger begins on May 11, 1936 when Germany began developing its airborne forces with the opening of the first Fallschirm Training School. Led by Major Bruno Brauer who was the first to make a student training jump and first to be awarded the Fallschirmschützenschein (parachuting licence). On November 5th 1936 the Fallschirmschutzen Abzeichen (parchute jump badge) was instituted and soon after both the Heer and Luftwaffe had developed their own airborne forces.

By July 1st 1938 Luftwaffe Generalmajor Kurt Student was appointed overall command of all German Airborne Forces and was requested to form the 7th Fliegerdivision. Then on January 1st 1939 under the orders of Herman Göring the entire Airborne forces where united into one force under the control of the Luftwaffe. On 20th April 1939, the Fallschirmjäger made their public debut at Hitler’s 50th birthday celebration parade in Berlin. Hitler was very proud of his new elite formation and they were given the honour of leading the parade.

By the onset of the war on September 1939, the 7th Flieger Divison consisted of the following units; FJR1, FJR2 (two battalions), LL-Sturm Abteilung. Much to General Student dissappointement, his men were not to be used in an airborne capacity during the invasion of Poland. Despite this the first Fallschirmjäger casualties were incurred in Poland, and they would not be the last. Several months later 7th Flieger Divison were to get their baptism of fire In fact Hitler was quoted as saying "They will certainly see some action in the West"

With in a year of Hitlers comment, the Fallschirmjäger had taken part in the invasion of Norway, Holland and where soon to be part of a history changing invasion never before attempted.

The invasion of Crete or "Kreta" a Greek island in the mediteranian, about 260 km (160 miles) x 56 km (35 miles) at it's widest point and defended by 30,000 comonwealth and Greek soldiers, including British, New Zealander, Australians, Indian soldiers. If the island was to be invaded, it would have to be done completely by air, Fallschirmjäger! So it was this battle and it's out come that would detemine the fate of the German Paratroopers.

The name of Crete is for me- the man who conquered it- a bitter memory.
I made a wrong decision when I suggested this attack, since not only did it
mean the loss of so many paras who were my sons, but also the end of the
Fallschirmjäger, which I created myself." General Student - after the war..

On the Morning of May 21, the men the Crews and Fallschirmjäger prepared for the Invasion of Crete. Before the sun rose they climbed aboard the Junker 52,s . The sky became filled with Ju52's while the red sun rose the Fallschirmjäger contimplated their destiny. Early that morning they arrived and dropped in waves as close as they could to their targets. The Comonwealth and local Cretians troops began defending their positions. Firing AA, Machine gun neven rifle fire. The 7th Flieger Division began to take casualties very quickly.

Once on the ground the Fallschirmjäger quickly began to asses their situations, retrieve their drop canisters wich cariried all their vital weapons and supplies they would need to take their objectives. For many Fallschirmjäger this was the time they where in most danger of being killed or captured. And for many the most harrowing time.

As wave after wave of Junkers dropped their men, they quickly turned around to return to HQ and prepare for the next drop. Meanwhile FJR1, FJR2 FJR3 and the Luft Lande Sturm Regiment began to organize attacks against Comonwealth positions. Some in small groups made their way to other Fallschirmjager positions.

The main objectives for operation Merkur was Chania, Herikilion, and the Maleme Airfiled. It would take days and heavy losses before the Fallschirmjager began to see their objectives met. But depite heavy losses the Fallschirmjager prevaled, captured key points and Airfileds where fresh reinforments from the 2nd Gebirgsjäger Division began to arrive. Under the command of Genral Ringel.

By then the Fallschirmjager had taken many casualties including the Divisional commander General Sussman who's glider crashed and was subsequently killed.

Other casualties included Major Derpa FJR2, Oberleutnant......to be continued.

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