The origins of Germanys parachute arm go back as far as 1935 and two units of Fallschirmjagers were later raised, one was under the command of the Luftwaffe (1936) and the other by the army (1937). In 1938 these two battalions were merged to form the 7th Flieger Division and commanded by Major General Kurt Student and became under the overall command of the Luftwaffe.
By 1940 this elite force had grown to three regiments plus supporting units including anti-tank, anti-aircraft, artillery, pioneer battalions. This force committed itself well in 1940 and 1941, but suffered huge losses during the invasion of Crete. After this event all major drops were stopped and apart from minor drops they fought as ground troops.
By 1944 Fallschirmjager divisions were used as elite infantry and no longer trained as paratroopers. They were known as dogged defenders and fought on every front.