Kurt Student was a General of Paratroops, a Knights Cross recipient and the highest ranking Fallschirmjager officer of WW2. He led the Fallschirmjager in their air assault on the Hague in 1940 and despite the Germans taking three airfields on their first day of operations against the Dutch, they lost all three airfields the same day due to counter attacks by spirited Dutch troops supported by armour. Student was himself shot in the head during the assault on the Hague. Not an auspicious start for Germany’s airborne assault arm.
However things went much better in Belgium where 85 German Paratroops landed by glider and overwhelmed the strongest fortress in the world at Eben-Emael. In a few hours they managed to destroy/disable many of the fixed gun emplacements and pin down the 650 Belgian soldiers manning the guns, until the main German attack force arrived by land. The total casualty toll on the German side being 6 dead and 21 wounded. For this achievement Student was awarded the Knights Cross and all the surviving Fallschirmjager who took part were personally decorated by Hitler (yes Adolf was definitely pleased with his boys on this particular day!)
Student was of course involved in the airborne invasion of Crete where many Fallschirmjager died or were wounded, something like a 25% casualty rate is considered to be accurate for the Crete landings. Crete has always been dubbed a Pyrrhic victory for the Germans due to the high casualties suffered. Throughout the remainder of the war, Student served in France, Russia and Italy where he also directed the successful rescue of Mussolini.
In the final days of the war Student surrendered to the British and post war was put on trial for war crimes committed in Crete. He was sentenced to only 5 years in prison and escaped a heavier sentence mainly due to the efforts of Brigadier Lindsay Inglis, commander of the 4th NZ Brigade, who also took part in the defence of Crete but was on the opposite side!
Scale 1:30/ 60mm