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The helmet you see there was the helmet for paratroopers. It had to give a certain amount of protection from gunfire and shrapnel, it had to be able to resist hard knocks which could be encountered on difficult landings and third it had to be designed so as not to snag in any of the shroud harness or rigging of the parachute. The neck part was removed to prevent injuries at the neck when hitting the ground.
For example the Stg.Abt. of the 1.Ski-Jg.Div. was also equipped with paratrooper helmets as they were better in the narrow compartment of a Sturmgeschütz.... well equipped.... they "organized" them
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In Latin known as Memento Mori, remember that you too shall die. You'll find the equivalent, or origin of it, in gazillions of medieval and rennaissance tombs and sarcophagi all over Europe, the deceased depicted in various degrees of decomposition, rather than as they looked in life.charlie don't surf wrote:The totenkopf means the death's head (You know, like Jolly Roger). It was used as a symbol by the various SS formations. Originally it's a Christian symbol which is used as a symbol for overcoming death.
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This gives a great history of the origin, structure and evolution of the HG Division and HG Corps. The 1st Fallschrimjager unit was created from a small group of troops from the HG Regiment who were trained as the first German paratroopers.
What is interesting are the photos in the book. Since the HG Division were used as flak troops, infantry,and later armored troops, they wore infantry or panzer uniforms with the Luftwaffee insignia. The panzer troops had the panzer collar tabs(chapless skull). The book has many photos of the HG troops wearing the M-40 helmet and of course the Luftwaffee visor cap(even with the black panzer uniform). There is NOT one photo of them wearing the paratrooper helmet, show in previous post. This was surprising because I thought the Luftwaffee units that fought at Cassino were paratroopers. Well, they were. The HG Division fought on the north edge of Anzio and the paratroopers fought at Cassino and Anzio(I guess).
There is one photo of a trooper in summer uniform wearing an M-43 cap with an SS skull on the side(similar to where the Mountain pin was worn). Odd.
Previously I initiated a forum about the Luftwaffee Field Divisions. See the Fact book for the list of the 20 LFD's. The LFD's were again Luftwaffe troops that fought as Infantry, only. Not paratroopers.
There were different German terms used to descibe these troops, some were dropped.
Fallschirmschutze - parachutist riflemen
Fallschirmjager - parachutist, light infantry
Fliegertruppe - aviation troops- flown into battle but did not use gliders or parachutes.
If anyone would like to explain some of these terms more fully and give examples of which were used at Crete and Sicily, etc, please do so.
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