Michael’s book and the images provided detail the stories, history and tragedies of the US Airborne Divisions during the period 1942-1945. He also provides a thorough research of the development of the TO&E for these units. As an experienced paratrooper I look at this aspect with a certain amount of individual skepticism. Not due to the content of the material but more towards the context. Why? Paratroopers by nature are light Infantry that have repeatedly been at the bottom of the list when it comes to getting the latest equipment WHEN they so desperately need it. In garrison, they are in a position to test, rehearse with, train with new equipment with little interference. However, to try to field a new TO&E item mid deployment, during a war, invites disaster. This has occurred many times during WWII and other conflicts over the years.
The value of Airborne forces; Paratrooper drops during war inherently have huge risks. As the author covers in the book, “the Germans inflicted heavy casualties (on D-DAY) …Overall losses was over 50 percent, which was well below the expected 70 percent loss”. Clearly a risk reward equation that ended favorably for the Allies. The Paratroop Assault on D-Day complimented with the beach landings in Normandy overwhelmed the defending forces, disrupted all German troop movements and resupply operations from that day forward. Paratroopers, aircover, partisan operations all had a significant play in this disruption that was key to the overall success of the initial landing and follow on operations.
The book also does an outstanding job of covering glider borne forces from the US Airborne Division as well. Bear in mind that when planners originally laid out the personnel and TO&E, they had envisioned 2 Glider Regiments and only one Parachute Regiment. Fortunately, leadership identified the lopsided balance and adjusted this later to 2 Parachute Regiments and only one Glider Regiment. This change was significant in the operational and strategic planning leveragability for these Airborne Division that increased their ability to put more effective soldiers on the ground immediately.
Although the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions get the most good press there was also great units as part of the 11th, 13th, and 17th Airborne Divisions that participated in the European Theater and the Asia Pacific Theaters. These unit legacies and evolution are just as important to history of Airborne Forces as the 101st and 82nd. You may want to look for some of these titles as well.
About the author; Michael Green
Michael Green is a freelance writer, researcher, and photographer. He specializes in military subjects and has authored and coauthored over 100 non-fiction books, for both children and adults. His books have been translated into several languages. Mr. Green is an honorary lifetime member of the “Marine Corps Tanker Association,” as well as the U.S. Army Brotherhood of Tankers.