Last year, I was watching one of those old black and white war films and imagining what a powerful rush of emotion must be accompanied with parachuting into enemy territory. Even in the blackest part of night, you’re just floating to the ground and hoping that nobody has spotted you – powerless to do anything if someone has.
If you’re fortunate enough to put both feet on solid ground unseen, the “adventure” is just beginning. Imagine trying to navigate a world completely foreign to you, with a primary mission objective to complete before even thinking about your rendezvous point – and all the while knowing you can’t be anything less than a ghost.
Paratroopers risked everything in times of war.
That movie renewed my interest in finding yet another great book on past wars. I’m a history buff anyway and I’ve probably read more books on the first two World Wars than all other books combined. Parachuting though? Not yet.
What I found was a new favorite. If you want to absorb the feeling of a paratrooper during World War II, check out Parachuting into Poland, 1944: Memoir of a Secret Mission with Jozef Retinger.
This first-hand account of Operation Salamander in 1944 leaves the reader breathless at times, as Tadeusz Chciuk (writing under the name Marek Celt) parachutes into German-occupied Poland with Dr. Jozef Retinger and describes many close accounts of being under fire from German fighter planes.
Chciuk also provides vivid detail in this history lesson and there’s something beautiful in his reflection of the skies at sundown and the beauty of the world that exists in the view up near the clouds.
Check it out if you’re into great war stories – or even if you are looking to make this your first. It’s a great read and offers more than enough detail on what it’s really like to parachute into enemy territory.