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After the fall of France and German domination over continental Western Europe was secure, Britain faced the threat of invasion by sea. The Royal Navy had control of the English Channel and North Sea, so German air superiority was necessary to attempt an amphibious and airborne assault on Britain. Despite determined and constant attacks on RAF airfields and infrastructure, and later factories and other strategic infrastructure for aircraft production, air superiority could not be achieved by the luftwaffe. The planned invasion of Britain (Operation Sea Lion) was called off and German attention turned to the East. The RAF had two of the most iconic and exceptional aeroplanes of the war to defend against the luftwaffe, with the Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire entering into legend alongside their pilots.
Wearing an Irvin Flying jacket made of heavyweight sheepskin, which would protect against potentially sub-zero temperatures at high altitudes, this pilot is ready to take on Jerry.
Volksgrenadiers were formed in Autumn 1944 after the loss of two German Armies to combat the relentless Allied push towers Berlin in both the East and West. The name was intended to build morale by appealing to nationalism (Volk) and Germany's older military traditions (Grenadier). They were organised around small cadres of hardened veteran soldiers, NCO's and officers, and then bulked out with anything the Replacement Army could spare.
In order to maximise firepower while contending with man-power shortages Volksgrenadier units were armed with a higher proportion of automatic weapons, and were issued with considerable numbers of Panzerfaust anti-tank weapons.
The Luftwaffe began to form divisions for service in the field in the summer of 1942 from surplus ground, support and other personnel on the order of Hermann Göring. These divisions would be transferred to Heer control in late 1943 and would be issued with many of their equipment to replace their own over time. Most field units spent much of their existence on the Eastern Front, but their combat effectivness was apparently poor, and were frequently used for rear echelon duties to free up front-line troops.
Until taken over by the Heer, and often afterwards, these units were issued with the standard Luftwaffe feldblau uniforms. These were easily identifiable, and often singled out the wearer to opposite forces. Soldiers would often use their zeltbahn to create makeshift wearable camouflage in the form of ponchos and smocks.
During the Second World War the Japanese had mastered the art of camouflage. They would ferociously defend their captured Pacific Islands using traps, ambushes, and daunting fortifications, in which camouflage would provide a significant advantage when facing the Allied advance towards the Home Islands.
Giretsu Kūteitai ("Heroic Paratroopers") was an airlifted special forces unit of the Imperial Japanese Army formed from Army paratroopers as a last-ditch attempt to reduce and delay Allied bombing raids on the Japanese home islands. Formed in November 1944, Giretsu would wear special hand-made camouflage uniforms and carry special equipment. Operations were to be undertaken at night, beginning with air strikes by bombers. After this, commando units would be inserted onto the target airfield by crash landing their transports with no provision for extraction of the strike force, meaning that the Giretsu ground operations were effectively suicide attacks.
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