Ramcke Parachute Brigade:
Ramcke Parachute Brigade was formed in 1942 and sent to join the Afrika Korps in North Africa.
Ramcke's unit fought during the Afrika Korps's assault towards the Suez Canal, fighting alongside the Italian 25 Infantry Division Bologna before British opposition solidified near the town of El Alamein. The British action resulted in the separation of the Brigade from German forces, and, lacking motorized transport, unable to move as fast as the lines. Taking heavy losses (about 450) fighting surrounded on all sides, they captured a British supply convoy carrying food and fuel, about which Ramcke later remarked the most welcome surprise was the tobacco and luxury goods. Using those trucks, about 600 survivors returned to German lines.
The brigade was then engaged in the Second Battle of El Alamein, later retreating into Tunisia. Ramcke was transferred back to Gremany where he was awarded the Oak Leaves to the Knight's Cross and command passed to Major Hans Kroh. The remaining brigade was part of the capitulation of German Panzer Army Afrika in May 1943.
Parts of Ramcke's Battalion were given special training and given the job of slipping behind enemy lines to carry out reconnaissance and gather intelligence on enemy forces, which led to the last airdrop to be carried out by the Luftwaffe Fallschirmjager in North Africa.
The men of the 3rd Company, Pioneer Battalion was chosen for the airdrop.
The objectives would be airfields and bridges in the Souk el Arba and Souk el Ahras areas, behind the allied lines. These objectives were being used by the Allies to resupply and reinforce their troops.
Unfortunately for the German Paratroopers, the British troops who patrolled the areas where they dropped, soon started to round up the Engineers. Within a few days they had all been rounded up, many suffering from dehydration and sunburn.
This last ditch effort to disrupt the Allied advance on Tunis had been very unsuccessful.
This replica helmet represents one worn by a member of the Ramcke Parachute Brigade as part of the Afrika Korps.
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