Another failing German parachute plan

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a425couple

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Mar 8, 2017, 12:31:28 PM3/8/17
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Another failing German parachute plan.

Also in the April 2016 European trip, I drove in a track day
/ driving experience at the famous Spa-Franchorchamps race
track in Belgium. The current track is much smaller than the
original pre WWII one, or the famous 1950s - 1970s version.
I enjoyed touring the area and viewing areas the old track went
through and some of the area's history.

I had done some searching about ways the area figured in the
Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.

I found this excerpt interesting:
http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/7-8/7-8_11.HTM
(or, when you start running out of people, materials, training ,
and time, bad things just keep compounding!!!)

"The airborne phase of Operation Greif, whose code name was Hohes Venn,
seems to have been completely an afterthought, for the orders setting up the
operation were not issued until 8 December.10 Hitler, like most of the
higher German commanders, had lost confidence in airdrop tactics after the
many casualties suffered by the German paratroopers in the Crete jump. Then
too, in late 1944 the necessarily lengthy training for paratroop units was a
luxury denied by the huge drain of battlefield losses. Apparently it was
Model who suggested that paratroop tactics be tried once again, but
undoubtedly Hitler seized upon the proposal with alacrity although there was
no longer a single regular paratroop regiment active in the Wehrmacht. Model
wanted the jump to be made in the Krinkelt area, and one may wonder what
effect such a vertical attack might have had on the fight put up at the twin
villages by the American 2d and 99th Infantry Divisions. Hitler, however,
had one of his intuitive strokes and ordered the jump to be made north of
Malmédy.

His choice for commander devolved on Col. Friedrich A. Freiherr von der
Heydte, a distinguished and experienced paratroop officer then commanding
the Fallschirm Armee Waffen school where the nominal parachute regiments
were being trained as ground troops. Colonel von der Heydte was ordered to
organize a thousand-man parachute formation for immediate use. Four days
later von der Heydte received his tactical mission from the Sixth SS Panzer
Army commander during an uncomfortable session in which Dietrich was under
the influence of alcohol. The paratroopers were to jump at dawn on D-day,
first opening the roads in the Hohes Venn leading from the Elsenborn-Malmédy
area toward Eupen for the armored spearhead units, then blocking Allied
[270]
forces if these attempted to intervene. Colonel von der Heydte was told that
the German armor would reach him within twenty-four hours.

The preparations for Operation Hohes Venn were rushed to completion. The
troops received their equipment and a little jump training (many had never
attended jump school); 112 war-weary, Junkers troop-carrier planes were
gathered with an ill-assorted group of pilots, half of whom had never flown
combat missions; 300 dummy figures were loaded for drops north of Camp
Elsenborn to confuse the Americans (this turned out to be about the most
successful feature of the entire operation); and the pilots and jump-masters
were given instructions-but no joint training. It must be said that these
preparations for what would be the first German paratroop assault at night
and into woods left much to be desired.

On the evening of 15 December Colonel von der Heydte formed his companies to
entruck for the move to Paderborn, where the planes were assembled. The
trucks never arrived-they had no fuel. Now the jump was ordered for 0300 on
the 17th. This time the jump was made on schedule, although not quite as
planned and into very bad cross winds. One rifle company was dropped behind
the German lines fifty kilometers away from the drop zone, most of the
signal platoon fell just in front of the German positions south of Monschau,
and the bulk of the command and the weapons packages were scattered almost
at random. Despite this bad beginning about one hundred paratroopers reached
the rendezvous at the fork in the Eupen road north of Mont Rigi. Since this
group was obviously too weak for open action, Colonel von der Heydte formed
camp in the woods and sent out patrols to pick up information and harass the
Americans in the vicinity. These patrols gathered in stragglers until some
three hundred paratroopers had assembled, but it was now too late to carry
out the planned operation. On the night of the 21st the paratroopers were
ordered to find their way back to the German lines believed to be at
Monschau. Von der Heydte was taken prisoner two days later. The tactical
effect of this hastily conceived and ill-executed operation proved to be
almost nil although American commanders did dispatch troops on wild-goose
chases which netted little but a few paratroopers, empty parachutes, and
dummies.11 "

a425couple

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Mar 8, 2017, 4:03:55 PM3/8/17
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"a425couple" <a425c...@hotmail.com> wrote in...
> Another failing German parachute plan.
> Also in the April 2016 European trip, I drove in a track day
> / driving experience at the famous Spa-Franchorchamps race
> track in Belgium. The current track is much smaller than the
> original pre WWII one, or the famous 1950s - 1970s version.
> I enjoyed touring the area and viewing areas the old track went
> through and some of the area's history.
> I had done some searching about ways the area figured in the
> Battle of the Bulge in December 1944.
>
> I found this excerpt interesting:
> http://www.history.army.mil/books/wwii/7-8/7-8_11.HTM
> (or, when you start running out of people, materials, training ,
> and time, bad things just keep compounding!!!)
-----------------
> Von der Heydte was taken prisoner two days later.

Oberstleutnant Von der Heydte's arm had been broken in
that disasterous, windy, night time jump.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Friedrich_August_Freiherr_von_der_Heydte
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_St%C3%B6sser
"Since many of the German paratroops were very inexperienced, some
were crippled upon impact and died where they fell. Some were found
the following spring when the snow melted." ----
"Oberstgruppenführer Sepp Dietrich had scoffed at Heydte's request for
carrier pigeons, and none of the unit's radios survived the drop, so he was
unable to report the detailed information he gathered." ----
"Heydte, wounded, frostbitten, and suffering from pneumonia, knocked on
doors in Monschau until he found a German family. The next morning he
sent a boy with a surrender note to the Allies."

Thus, he was taken as a POW and survived WWII in England.
He worked as a professor of military, constitutional and international law
while also becoming a Brigadier General in the Reserves of the Bundeswehr.
And got involved in later controversies:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Flick_affair
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spiegel_Affair
"The magazine was accused of treason -- by publishing details that a hastily
compiled Defense Ministry document claimed were state secrets."

He made a couple of notable quotes:
"The battle for Crete was to prove the overture to the great tragedy which
reached its climax at El Alamein and Stalingrad. For the first time there
had stood against us a brave and relentless opponent on a battleground
which favoured him."

"Regarding the Theresienstadt concentration camp in Czechoslovakia,
Heydte said, "Half a million people have been put to death there for
certain.
I know that all the Jews from Bavaria were taken there. Yet the camp never
became over-crowded. They gassed mental defectives, too."

The Horny Goat

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Mar 10, 2017, 9:25:42 AM3/10/17
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On Wed, 08 Mar 2017 16:03:53 -0500, "a425couple"
<a425c...@hotmail.com> wrote:

>"The battle for Crete was to prove the overture to the great tragedy which
>reached its climax at El Alamein and Stalingrad. For the first time there
>had stood against us a brave and relentless opponent on a battleground
>which favoured him."

Why is this a notable quote? For sure Crete was an airborne operation
but neither El Al or Stalingrad involved serious numbers of paratroops
either deployed by air or strictly as ground troops.

About the ONLY "airborne" element of Stalingrad was the vain attempt
to supply 6th Army by air but to refer to that in the same breath as
Crete is ludicrous.

As for Crete itself, had the British and ANZAC forces been as "brave
and relentless" as he says the Germans would not have taken Crete. For
sure the troops were brave enough but their deployment left a lot to
be desired and Maleme should not have been taken against a properly
deployed defence.

For sure Freyberg was popular with the New Zealand troops but he
certainly was not one of the great Allied commanders of WW2..

Michele

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Mar 10, 2017, 10:52:43 AM3/10/17
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Il 08/03/2017 18.31, a425couple ha scritto:
> Another failing German parachute plan.
>

Another?

Let's see, their part in Weserübung was a qualified success. Eben Emael
was a full success. The Dutch operation too. Crete was very costly but
certainly not a failure. Leros worked. Other minor operations either
succedeed, or failed but through no fault of the paratroopers. Not so
bad a record, I'd say.

a425couple

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Mar 10, 2017, 6:16:12 PM3/10/17
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"Michele" <SPAMmia...@tin.it> wrote in message...
> Il 08/03/2017 18.31, a425couple ha scritto:
>> Another failing German parachute plan.
>
> Another?

Prior to going to Belgium, we had spent time in Norway.
I have read of the parachute drop at Dombas.
The Germans fought hard there, but all ended up
surrendering (or dead).
But the POWs later were freed, and went back into combat.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_of_Domb%C3%A5s

> Let's see, their part in Weserübung was a qualified success. Eben Emael
> was a full success. The Dutch operation too. Crete was very costly but
> certainly not a failure. Leros worked. Other minor operations either
> succedeed, or failed but through no fault of the paratroopers. Not so bad
> a record, I'd say.

You count the "Dutch operation" as a "full success"?
But I've read,
"Kurt Student (12 May 1890 - 1 July 1978) was a German paratroop
general in the Luftwaffe during World War II. He lost the first major
airborne operation of the war, the Battle for The Hague in May 1940."

"The Battle for The Hague was one of the first opposed paratroop
assaults in history. (Unopposed assaults took place on 9 April 1940
against Masnedøfortet and Aalborg airport, Denmark.) (The first
opposed assaults took place on 9 April 1940 against Sola airport,
Norway.) It took place on 10 May 1940 as part of the Battle of the
Netherlands between the Royal Netherlands Army and Luftwaffe
Fallschirmjäger (paratroops)."
They failed in their goals, retreated into sand dunes, until 5 days later
when brutal city bombing forced Dutch surrender. Bad Public Relations.
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotterdam_Blitz
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rotterdam_Blitz#/media/File:Zadkine_II_rb.jpg
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battle_for_The_Hague
"They also lost 182 transport aircraft, including 47 damaged."
"Aftermath The main effect of the battle was unforeseen: the large loss
of German transport aircraft. According to military historian Lt. Col.
E.H. Brongers (ret.), the loss of the transport aircraft had a direct
effect on the planning for the proposed German cross channel invasion
of Britain"
"Because of the failure of this campaign, Hitler lost interest in this
"new weapon" and only used it again in the attack on Crete in 1941"
And after that, he just had them fight as infantry.

The Horny Goat

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Mar 10, 2017, 7:35:57 PM3/10/17
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On Fri, 10 Mar 2017 10:52:40 -0500, Michele <SPAMmia...@tin.it>
wrote:
For sure - and Leros was long ater Crete and during an era where the
Allies had air superiority in most theatres of war.To me that makes it
more impressive even than Eben Emael which for many was the high point
of German paratroop action.

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