1. COMPOSITION OF THE REGIMENT
On account of its composition, the 5th Parachute
Regiment resembles an infantry regiment in every respect:
3 identical battalions of 4 companies each,
1 infantry cannon company (13th),
1 AT Company (14th),
1 regimental engineer platoon of about 50 men.
2. THE ENGINEER PLATOON
Theoretically, the regiment should have an engineer company of the same strength and general structure as an ordinary company. This engineer company actually existed before and during the Cretan Campaign in the various parachutist regiments, and especially in the 1st Parachute Assault Regiment which gave birth to the 5th Parachute Regiment. Owing to the lack of manpower, this company was reduced to the size of a strong platoon.
3. ACTIVATION OF THE REGIMENT
The 5th Parachute Regiment was formed at the end of February or the beginning of March 1942 from the following elements:
a. About 750 men remaining from the 1st and 3d Battalions of the 1st Parachute Assault Regiment upon arrival from Russia, beginning February 1942. The 2d Battalion had been broken up subsequent to September 1941 to complete the two other battalions before their departure for Russia.)
b. About 90 men remaining from the 14th Company of the 1st Parachute Assault Regiment when it returned from Russia at the beginning of March 1942.
c. A total of 180 men in the stations of Halberstadt, Hildesheirn and Goslar-Heimstett, formed the "Rest-Kommandos" (rear party) of the 1st Parachute Regiment (during the stay of the latter in Russia).
d. The 13th Company of the 1st Parachute Assault Regiment, which had not been sent to Russia.
e. An increment of 160 men furnished by the 9th Company of the 1st Parachute Regiment of Dedelstorf.
f. About 100 men supplied by the 11th Company of the 1st Parachute Replacement Regiment.
g. About 1,400 men furnished by the 2d Battalion of the 1st Parachute Replacement Regiment at Weissewarte and the 4th Battalion of the 1st Parachute Replacement Regiment at Tangermunde.
4. REDUCTION OF EXCESS STRENGTH
In any case, when the general call took place at Grossborn during the first 10 days of May, it was found that the 5th Parachute Regiment had a total strength of 3,000 officers, NCO's, and men. This strength appears to have surpassed the actual authorized strength, since, when a verification took place in early June, there was found in the regiment an excess of 600 men, who were to be transferred before June 25 into an aviation unit stationed in the region of Bremen. (On this occasion the company commanders made a selection of their men and got rid of the worst.)
5. THE REGIMENTAL COMMANDER: LIEUTENANT COLONEL KOCH
Lieutenant Colonel Koch, a personal friend of Marshal Goering, is only 28 years old. He distinguished himself by the capture of Fort Eben Emael and by the crossing of the Albert Canal. As former commander of the 1st Battalion, 1st Parachute Assault Regiment, during the Cretan Campaign, he was twice wounded in the head by bullets. Promoted to a lieutenant-colonelcy near Leningrad, he came back from Russia on May 15, 1942, 2 days before the departure of the 5th Parachute Regiment for France.
6. DEGREE OF SPECIAL INSTRUCTION OF THE 5TH PARACHUTE REGIMENT
On June 18, 1942, the 5th Parachute Regiment was short of many trained parachutists. Only the following units contained trained parachutists exclusively: The Regimental Headquarters, the 2d Battalion, the cannon company, and the antitank company. These units had been at the Wittstock "jumping school" from April 15 to May 15, 1942, while the 5th Parachute Regiment was at Grossborn camp. The other units of the Regiment did not contain more than 20 to 25 percent of trained parachutists. About June 15, rumor had it that the 3d Battalion was to be sent to a "jumping school" functioning in the neighborhood of Paris.
7. SPECIFIC INFORMATION CONCERNING THE REGIMENT AS OF JUNE 1942:
a. The Regiment did not have its parachutes with it, these having been left at the former stations of Halberstadt, Hildesheim, and Goslar-Helmstett, with two men from each company as guards. The regiment was consequently not ready for immediate combat parachute duty.
b. The Regiment had khaki tropical uniforms, similar to the uniforms worn by English colonial troops.
c. As soon as it arrived in France, the Regiment had received the following order:
"In all telephonic conversations and in all verbal and written orders, the Company should be called Battalion, the Battalion should be called Regiment, and the Regiment should be called Division: This is all for the purpose of fooling the enemy as to our strength."
d. On the Channel coast, the 5th Regiment had enormous quantities of munitions. The 3d Battalion alone had at Avranches 65 tons of different munitions, including many mines.
e. On June 18, 1942, the equipment of the regiment in heavy weapons was far from being complete. It especially lacked heavy mortars and most of its allotment of AT rifles.
f. About June 15, 1942, the following rumor circulated in the Regiment, "The 2d Battalion is leaving for Libya immediately." By June 18, nothing had happened to confirm this rumor.
g. Since its arrival in France (on May 20, 1942) the 5th Regiment had received 60 Russian ponies which were to be trained to be dropped by parachutes from special airplanes, with opening bottom.
8. SPECIFIC INFORMATION CONCERNING THE 3D BATTALION:
a. Component companies:
9th Co (Rifle) -- Capt. Baeker
10th Co (Hv Wpn) -- 1st Lt. Kiar
11th Co (Rifle) -- 1st Lt. Christufek
12th Co (Hv Wpn) -- 1st Lt. Hohge
b. Ground transportation of the companies: In June 1942 each company
had drivers assigned, one chauffeur per motorcycle and one chauffeur
and one assistant chauffeur per other vehicle. Men other than trained
parachutists had to ride in vehicles requisitioned on the spot, for
the normal transportation available consisted of 1 Opel passenger
vehicle (with AA pedestal for twin machine guns), 4 motorcycles
with side-cars, and 10 trucks of such varying makes as Opel, Diesel, and Ford:
1 Trk, Co Office
1 Trk, Ord Workshop
2 Trks, Am
1 Trk, Bag (wearing apparel and equipment)
1 Trk, Bag (food for 1 day)
2 Trks, Ki (two rolling kitchens and provisions)
2 Trks, Cargo (parachutist transportation)
9. MISCELLANEOUS SUPPLEMENTARY INFORMATION:
a. The Regiment should theoretically have been equipped (but was not, up to June 1942) with 1 smoke-shell mortar platoon of 40 men, and 1 communication platoon of about 40 men having radio transmitters and receivers with a range of about 40 miles.
b. The cannon company was armed with 9 infantry cannon of 105-mm caliber.
c. The antitank company had six 37-mm AT guns and six 20-mm AA guns. (The latter were rapid-fire cannon with magazine.)
d. The battalion should theoretically be equipped (but was not, up to June 1942) with 1 communication platoon of 30 men with radio transmitters with a range of about 8 miles.
e. The company should theoretically be equipped (but was not, up
to June 1942) with 2 small flame throwers with a range of
about 38 yards. The several companies were equipped with
radio transmitters of a type normally allotted to platoons (with a
range of about 8 miles).