Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

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John Withill
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Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby John Withill » 07 Dec 2015 20:49

Hello Guys

I am really interested in the training and operational criteria used by the Luftwaffe in its 'delivery' of the FJR's from the redoubtable Ju 52's and other aeroplanes . I know it is an obscure question but does any one know the 'Heights' from which the troopers were dropped .... did this vary or was it an OPTIMUM which had to be attained ? What sort of speed did they get down to , how long the drop time was ??????

Please also advise if this would be the same from planes such as converted He 111 H20/R series , Ju 252 , FW 200 , Ju 290 etc .......


Any one have any idea if a similar criteria was the case for the Italians and other Nations which had an Air borne capacity .

Any help would be greatly appreciated .


Regards

John Withill :milsmile:

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jwsleser
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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby jwsleser » 08 Jan 2016 16:03

This is an interesting question. I can't answer about the FJ as that is not my area of interest. I can discuss the paracadutisti italiani to an extent.

Nino Arena in his book Folgore: Storica del paracadutismo militare italiano states that the jump altitude in combat could vary from 7,000 meters to 30 meters [page 34 "Le altezze dale quali si lanciarono gli aviator in pericolo variavano da Massimo di 7,000 metri a un minimo di 30 metri."]. Pages 649-656 discusses the types of parachutes used by Italy. The main wartime chute, the IP/41, had a decent rate of 5.5-6 meters per second. That is slower than the US T10 (my first military jumps) that had a rate of 6.7-7 meters per second. Full deployment of the IP/41 takes 2 seconds after traveling 20 meters. A 5 meter static line was used.

I had to reach out to an acquaintance in Italy to get some more details. He is an expert on Italian paratroopers. He recommended the book World War II Troop Type Parachutes Axis by Guy Richards. I have ordered a copy.

He stated that training jumps were between 300-350 meters, while combat jumps were normally between 80-90 meters. Total combat drop time was 5-6 seconds. I am trying to clarify aircraft speed as his initial numbers appeared excessive.

The SM 75, SM 82 and the Caproni 311 were used for combat jumps. The Caprino 133 was used for training jumps.

I hope this is a start.

Pista! Jeff
Last edited by jwsleser on 09 Jan 2016 14:58, edited 1 time in total.
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Sheldrake
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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby Sheldrake » 08 Jan 2016 16:48

John Withill wrote:Hello Guys

I am really interested in the training and operational criteria used by the Luftwaffe in its 'delivery' of the FJR's from the redoubtable Ju 52's and other aeroplanes . I know it is an obscure question but does any one know the 'Heights' from which the troopers were dropped .... did this vary or was it an OPTIMUM which had to be attained ? What sort of speed did they get down to , how long the drop time was ??????

Please also advise if this would be the same from planes such as converted He 111 H20/R series , Ju 252 , FW 200 , Ju 290 etc .......


Any one have any idea if a similar criteria was the case for the Italians and other Nations which had an Air borne capacity .

Any help would be greatly appreciated .


Regards

John Withill :milsmile:


The Germans did have a song about their jump height. The clue is in the title ;)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UNfJXhIgYRo
The 1960s Australian band "The Seekers" were big Fallschirmjaeger fans and their cover version is quiet well known.
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z4ZipKdI1sY

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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby Knouterer » 10 Feb 2016 15:15

According to Karl-Heinz Golla, Die deutsche Fallschirmtruppe 1936-1941, probably the most authoritative work on the subject, normal operational jump height from the Ju 52 (with the early RZ1 parachute) was 150 m. The chute would open after 2.3 seconds on average, and it would take a Fallschirmjäger of average weight 17 seconds to reach the ground.

When dropping paras, the JU 52 would throttle down to about 40 m/sec, makes 150 km/h or a even a bit less, pretty slow.
"The true spirit of conversation consists in building on another man's observation, not overturning it." Edward George Bulwer-Lytton

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Pips
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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby Pips » 01 Apr 2016 01:02

Fascinating topic. I'm really surprised at the low levels jumps are performed. All around 1,000ft.

Does the same hold true for the US and British Airborne forces? Especially key jumps such as D-Day, Arnhem and Varsity?

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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby ROLAND1369 » 01 Apr 2016 13:31

As a former military parachutist with over 300 military jumps I find 1000 feet quite high. The current regulations on training jumps when I was active in the 1990s and 2000s was 800 feet wit an aircraft speed of 125 knots. The lowest I have personally jumped from is 450 feet at 90 knot aircraft speed. Bear in mind that all the WW II jumps and most of my jumps were static line and not freefall. Freefall jumps were required to open at 300 feet. The us and British combat jumps during ww II were generally planed for 600 feet but due to crew errors could be lower

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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby ROLAND1369 » 01 Apr 2016 13:38

Correction: Military freefall should read 3000 feet not 300. Big fingers, little keys make for errors. Also the WWII parachutes opened much faster and with a much greater Opening shock than modern static line military parachutes and actually could be used at lower altitudes than modern ones,

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jwsleser
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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby jwsleser » 01 Apr 2016 18:32

Agreed, my military mass tac jumps were mainly at 700-800ft, lower if an insertion. 1000ft is quite high. It all depends whether a reserve is carried. No need to carry a reserve at lower heights. No reserve used by the Italian paracadutisti in 2GM.

Pista! Jeff
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ROLAND1369
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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby ROLAND1369 » 02 Apr 2016 12:25

As a general rule of thumb in military static line parachuting, the lower the drop altitude the less scattered the troops are and the less exposure to enemy ground fire is experienced. Causalities experienced by enemy firer, while important, were relatively low during the world combat jumps once the parachutists ha left the aircraft. Due to the fact that the parachutist are both dispersed and moving in at least two axis simultaneously, they make difficult targets. When I went thru our parachute training they did a demonstration where they dropped a dummy equipped with a T10 reserve from the 250 foot training tower. It opened, and fully deployed in 150 feet and would have saved the dummy's life. It does not take into account the reaction time required for the parachutist to realize he has a malfunction, make a decision, and react to that decision and pull his ripcord. There is a curve of diminishing returns however. below 300 feet the quantity of injured or dead parachutists increases dramatically, particularly among inexperienced parachutists, which most WWII Troopers were. Another factor was the training and capability of the WW II transport aircrew to fly at night at altitudes below 500 feet at night. The best pilots went to the fighters and bombers. The transports got the rest. As an example my father flew B-24s with the 8th Air Force in England and onece told me he flew his first combat mission as a 2nd LT with 100 hours total flight time. In the area of equipment the WWII transport did not have adequate instrumentation or equipment to fly at very low level at night. Thus while the parachutes may have been capable of lower level operations the men and transport were not. As a result the best compromise seems to be 500 to 600 feet seems the ideal for tactical operations. However the 1000 foot or higher jump would have been for non-combat training or proficiency .

John Withill
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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby John Withill » 07 Dec 2017 07:40

HI Guys - thank you very much for this authoritative set of posts I'll have a good think before putting stuff down in my novel .

Also am reading up on the Italian Folgore / Nembo / Cyclone Divisions - can any one advise what happened to Balbo's Libyan parachute regiment ?

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Re: Fallschirm-Jäger Jump Heights

Postby jwsleser » 07 Dec 2017 16:44

John

The reggimento fanti dell'aria was originally two battalions but had been reduced to one by May 1940. The unit was organized as the gruppo mobile "Tonini" with the Battaglione paracadutisti nazionali della Libia in January 1940 and used in ground combat during the UK offensives in 40-41. The battalion participated in the attack on Solum in Sep 1940, then moved into reserve. It was destroyed defending Benghazi and during the retreat at Beda Fomm. I have more information at home.

Pista! Jeff
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