Britain’s Airborne Forces of WWII Uniforms & Equipment

Britain’s Airborne Forces of WWII Uniforms & Equipment written by Mark Magreehan and published by Frontline Books – £25.00 – Hardback – Pages 160

The Second World War saw huge advancements in military tactics and technology occurring at an unprecedented pace. One such development was the employment of forces able to deploy at short notice by parachute across the globe, utilising the opportunities created by the advancements in aeronautical technology. These forces were created to deliver an in-depth shock effect, and few have attracted more attention than Britain’s famed Parachute Regiment. This formation was born from the humble beginnings of a fledgling unit drawn together from the British Army and Royal Air Force after Winston Churchill called for a new capability to be created following German airborne successes in the opening stages of the Second World War.

Despite being initially poorly equipped, operating outdated aircraft and wearing clothing copied from captured German examples, the Parachute Regiment rapidly grew into what would become two complete airborne divisions – formations which played a key role in the destruction of the Axis forces. The equipment needed by these men rapidly changed as the war evolved and this is clearly illustrated in the author’s fine and unique collection of rare airborne items from that period, several of them being the sole surviving items known to exist.

This book is written in a chronological order and follows through WWII the Airborne forces. A really good book for a number of types of people such as model makers, writers and those who love their history in great specific detail. This book details the uniforms and Equipment used by the individual soldiers during WWII, but you get it in the chronological order of the war so start from Operation Colossus, the first Commando attack over Italy in the second chapter up to operations in the Far East towards the end of the war. The best is seeing the different types of equipment deemed essential depending on the theatre of war the soldiers are in. For example, operations over Norway are going to need different uniforms and equipment than operations in the much warmer Far East.

There are some great photos of both uniforms and equipment, because we’re just seeing the uniform on the outside but also the whole layers of clothing worn by the men down to their underwear. What’s more is that in this book it’s not all about the uniforms and equipment but you also get a bit of history about the raids too. A really fascinating book indeed, one I have thoroughly enjoyed reading through. Certainly one for all those who love their detailed history.

Ben Davidson

Hello, I have been studying all aspects of history for about 25 years. I have a BA History from the University of Bedfordshire. My historical areas of interest are anything really, but I specialise in 19th - 20th century Britain, America and Ireland. I am also strongly aligned with most military history, really enjoying WW2 and the US Civil War. Chuck in the king or queen and Bob's your uncle.

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