|No, I wasn't scared - they pushed you out the door!|
|Herr Grimm has vivid memories of his 1941 Fallschirmjaeger training in Wittstock, northwest of Berlin. "It was the best training school at this time - top notch." He remembers eating only two meals a day, getting up early, and working out to be in top shape. The Junker 52 aircraft held twelve paratroopers and four leaders with the weapons stacked in a center rack. Unlike the US Airborne, the Fallschirmjaegers wore only one chute and were part of the Luftwaffe (Air Force), not Army. Herr Grimm says when it was time to jump three men at a time moved to the back of the plane where they were joined by a fourth and "pushed out" for what sounds like a prolonged free fall. He can still recount the meters/second, calculate the effect of wind velocity, and tell you how to fold a chute! The chutes themselves were "the best" and came from the "Autoflug" company in Berlin.
After his stint in the USA as a POW (most of which was spent in the hospital), Herr Grimm returned to Germany on a secret prisoner swap and was called back to Wittstock even though he was wounded. When the war ended, Herr Grimm returned to Baumholder carrying 56 square meters of parachute silk - more than enough for Frau Grimm's wedding gown!
In April 2008, the Grimms returned to Wittstock to visit his old training camp. The buildings were gone but Herr Grimm recognized the area and the nearby village.