Student, General Kurt, 1890-1978

Student had flown as a pilot in the German Air Force in World War I and joined theLuftwaffe on its formation in 1934. GOERING, who was much impressed by the potentiality of the parachute and the success the Soviets were having in adapting it to military use, chose him to raise an experimental force of parachute infantry (Fallschirmjager), which was soon expanded to divisional size. He also oversaw the development of gliders for the transport of air landing troops. This airborne force contributed considerably to the success of the Blitzkrieg in 1940, particularly by its descents in Holland, at Eben Emael and the crossing of the Meuse which opened the way for the German armored forces to penetrate deep into the Low Countries. The descent on Crete in the following year, though brilliantly conceived and executed, was far more costly in lives and forced HITLER to forbid large-scale parachute operations in future. The parachute force continued to grow, however, since it was valued for its high morale, and in 1944 numbered ten divisions. By then Student, who had had the good fortune to be present at the Arnhem Operation and to read its character correctly, had been appointed to command Army Group G in Holland, which he held until May 1945.

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