German parachute units and equipment are specially adapted to fit into the Ju-52 system of transportation. In both Crete and Holland it has been demonstrated that the following loading practices are customary:
a. Transportation of a Parachute Company
One company of parachute troops is transported by one squadron (Staffel) of Ju-52's (12 aircraft). In the case of the parachute rifle company, every Ju-52 carries 12 men and 4 arms containers. The precise loading units for the parachute heavy weapons company are not known. Each Ju-52 takes rather more than one section, and each flight (Kette) of three aircraft rather less than one platoon. There seems to be no rigorous attempt to fly by platoon, though aircraft must fly in the order planned, and land their men on the right spots with the right arms containers. The real working unit is the company.
b. Light Relative Load
The weight of the load carried by each Ju-52 in a squadron lifting a parachute rifle company is about 4,000 pounds, including the plane's own crew of three men. Considerations of bulk and of speed in leaving the plane dictate this relatively light load, which allows 100 pounds of equipment per man:
|15 men with clothes and equipment on person||2,400 lbs|
|4 arms containers||1,200 lbs|
|19 parachutes||450 lbs|
|Total load lifted by each Ju-52||4,050 lbs|
c. Transportation of a Parachute Battalion
One parachute rifle battalion is transported by one group (Gruppe) of Ju-52's (53 aircraft). The four companies are transported by the four squadrons of the group; and the battalion headquarters with its communication section is transported by the headquarters squadron (Stabsstaffel) of five aircraft.
d. Transportation of a Parachute Regiment
One parachute regiment is transported by one wing (Geschwader) of Ju-52's (220 aircraft). The three parachute battalions are transported by three of the groups in the wing; and the "fourth battalion," or regimental headquarters with regimental troops, is transported by the fourth group.
e. Transportation of a Parachute Division
One parachute division could be carried by four wings of Ju-52's (880 aircraft). The three parachute regiments would be carried by three wings, and divisional headquarters with divisional troops (signal company, artillery battery, machine-gun battalion, and antitank battalion) by the fourth wing. But up to the spring of 1942 no division had yet been transported at a single lift.
f. Loading of Non-Divisional Units
Not much is known of the loading of non-divisional parachute
units (engineer battalion, antiaircraft machine-gun battalion, and
medical unit). It seems probable that each would be carried by one
group of Ju-52's, in the proportion of one company to one squadron.