Paras: Illustrated History of Britain's Airborne Forces by David Reynolds
The maroon beret of Britain's airborne forces has a special significance to every man who has ever worn it, from the wartime units of 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions to the parachute soldiers of today. Supported by a host of specialist units from within the British Army, the modern airborne soldiers have become a household name and are better known as the "Paras". Since their creation in June 1940, Britain's airborne forces have been called on to carry out some of the most difficult military operations in recent history, often destined to result in loss of life for the regiment. From Arnhem to Ulster they have always been in the front line of the action, winning 31 battle honours and hundreds of bravery decorations, including eight Victoria Crosses. This guide tells the story of the birth of the Parachute Regiment during World War II and its rapid development into one of the British Army's pre-eminent fighting regiments. Today they are Britain's "fire-brigade" shock troops, trained in hostage rescue. As part of the UK's Joint Rapid Deployment Force (JRDF), they are on permanent stand-by to react to the unexpected anywhere in the world, in a tradition echoed by their regimental motto, "Ready for Anything".