On March 24, 1945, a giant triple stream of transport planes, packed with Allied paratroops, poured across the skies of Central France. Behind them 1,347 gliders cruised silently in tow. Overhead roared a cloud of 5,000 fighters. The scene of the greatest air invasion ever witnessed.
Down below, the desperate Germans were ready and waiting. Their last and most powerful anti-aircraft guns were concentrated on the shores of the Rhine. Networks of stakes, wires and mines were planted in the fields. German gunners were ringed around the fields, prepared to shoot down any survivors.
An observer, watching the clouds of men parachute down through the haze, would never have believed that not quite five years before this fateful flight over the Rhine the first United States paratroop unit had been called up at Fort Benning.
In the story of the paratroops George Weller tells how the miraculous training of the first "infantry of the clouds" was accomplished. Starting with man's first desire to jump into space, he traces the development of the parachute from the early days of balloons and daredevil stunt jumpers to the organization of trained regiments of courageous fighting paratroopers. The Allied victory in World War II owed much to the gallant paratroops, and this is their exciting story.
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