A Photographic History of Airborne Warfare, 1939–1945

Simon Forty, Jonathan Forty

On 10 May 1940, German Fallschirmjäger stormed the Dutch fort of Eben-Emael, south of Maastricht.
Date Published :
January 2022
Publisher :
Pen and Sword
Illustration :
400 black and white illustrations
Format Available    QuantityPrice
Binding : Hardback
ISBN : 9781399011143

Dimensions : 9.6 X 6.7 inches
Stock Status : In stockPages : 232
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On 10 May 1940, German Fallschirmjäger stormed the Dutch fort of Eben-Emael, south of Maastricht. The brilliantly executed operation was the first signal success by airborne troops in the Second World War and it made the military world sit up and take notice. Improved parachutes and the creation of gliders that could carry troops meant that assault forces could be dropped or landed behind enemy lines. This was a significant new tactic which had a dramatic impact on several of the key campaigns, and it is the subject of Simon and Jonathan Forty’s in-depth, highly illustrated history.

They tell the story of the development of airborne forces, how they were trained and equipped, and how they were landed and put into action in every theater of the global conflict. The results were mixed. German airborne forces were victorious on Crete, but the cost was so great that Hitler vowed never to use them in the same way again. The Allies saw things differently. After Crete they built up elite units who would play important roles in later battles – in Normandy, for example, where the British 6th Airborne Division took vital bridges prior to the D-Day landings.

These are just two examples of the many similar operations on the Western and Eastern Fronts and in the Pacific which are covered in this wide-ranging book. It offers the reader a fascinating insight into airborne warfare over seventy years ago.

About The Author

Simon Forty was educated in Dorset and the north of England before reading history at London University’s School of Slavonic and East European Studies. He has been involved in publishing since the mid-1970s, first as editor and latterly as author. Son of author and RAC Tank Museum curator George Forty, he has continued in the family tradition writing mainly on historical and military subjects including books on the Napoleonic Wars and the two world wars. Recently he has produced a range of highly illustrated books on the Normandy battlefields, the Atlantic Wall and the liberation of the Low Countries with co-author Leo Marriott.


"The book’s simple title belies its rich substance. It not only chronicles the history of the war’s airborne operations, but gives readers detailed insights into training, equipment, vehicles, techniques and methods of airborne troops of the many nations involved in the global conflict."

- HistoryNet

"...the photos may help [wargamers] and modelers tinker with the look of figures and models."

- Historical Miniatures Gaming Society

"​Highly recommended."

- AMPS Indianapolis

"...great as reference for any modeler or historian."


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