Early Italian paratroopers

Look at this photo; it shows Italian paratroopers of the early times of paratroops. 
Something isn't right.

Perhaps more obviously, this photo shows WHAT isn't right:
Yes, face first. Landing on all fours.
With some pads on elbows and knees.

Somehow this technique of parachuting (supposedly meant to enable the paratrooper to use his personal weapon during the descent) didn't quite make it into mainstream, not even in Italy. 

It was too dumb, even more dumb than the contemporary German idea of letting paras jump separately from all weapons bigger than a pistol (kind of the exact opposite of the Italian technique documented above).

I wrote this in part to entertain you, in part to remind you that new and shiny stuff usually has teething problems. I've encountered lots of people and articles who believed a bit too much in the promises of something *new* (or something that actually returns once per generation as *new*).

No, it was really just for laughs! ;)

S Ortmann


  1. i could not help but notice (in the second photo)
    that the Italian parachute has all of the suspension lines converging onto a single
    harness-bundle above the parachutist's torso.

    for stability, don't you normally need to have them bundled into two harness-bundles
    (or risers) ?
    one over each shoulder of the parachutist ?

    and i can't readily discern how they have steering lines connected for directional
    (e.g http://www.madehow.com/images/hpm_0000_0005_0_img0132.jpg )


  2. "normally"

    That's the point. Pioneers don't know the "normal" procedure yet. They learn the hard way.