The 3rd Parachute Division was an airborne division which fought during World War II. It was formed during 1943-44 around a cadre consisting of the veteran 3rd Battalion, 1st Parachute Regiment. The Division was well equipped with 930 MG42s. Each company had 20 MG 42s and 43 sub machine guns while a squad had 2 MG42s and 5 sub machine guns.
It arrived in Normandy on 10 June, by truck after a night drive from Brittany. It was at full strength and consisted of young German volunteers, and numbered 15,976 soldiers and officers. Its level of training and excellent weapon systems prompted the commander of the US 29th Infantry Division to remark, "Those Germans are the best damned soldiers I ever saw. They're smart and they don't know what 'fear' means. They come in and they keep coming until they get their job done or you kill 'em."
The division went into combat in June 1944 in Normandy and inflicted heavy losses on the Allied forces opposing them. Nominally, the unit was to be motorized, but by June it still had no more than 40% of its authorized motor transport, even after seizing vehicles from French civilians. This was to have an impact when trying to move the division towards the invasion front.
In August it was near virtually destroyed by mass aerial bombing in the area of Falaise. Formed again in Belgium from replacements from 22nd, 51st, 53rd Luftwaffe Field Regiments. During September 1944 it fought as a part of Kampfgruppe "Becker" in Arnhem area before participating in the Battle of Hürtgen Forest. It surrendered in April 1945 to American troops in Ruhr.
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This reserve division was recruited mainly from the Hanover area and was called up for active duty on August 26, 1939. It staff was the former Staff, Infantry Commander 19. Sent to the Saar area while Hitler overran Poland, the 71st first saw major action…