1944: Paratrooper Mohawks Chris August 23, 2012 1940-1949, People, War 9 CommentsFavourited 527 times Add to favourites Via The Leaf Chronicle 9 Responses Cranios August 23, 2012 Anyone know the story behind this? Real native Americans? or not? Reply Chuck Clark August 23, 2012 No, these men are not Native Americans, but chose the hair style to demonstrate their commitment to combat and impress their foes with their ferocity. The earliest example of this practice in WWII that I’ve found was during Operation COTTAGE, the invasion of Kiska Island in Alaska’s Aleutian archipelago in August of 1943. Among the assault force were members of the 1st Special Service Force, a “commando” unit composed of soldiers from both the United States and Canada. Some of the men in this unit shaved their heads into a “Mohawk” pattern, and others used a lightning bolt design. Most of the pictures above were taken just prior to the invasion of Normandy–Operation OVERLORD–on June 6th, 1944, and depict members of the U.S. Army’s 101st Airborne Division. Reply Michael August 23, 2012 @Cranios I suspect that there were some paratroopers with a native blood line, but most were just anglo-americans who adopted the Mohawk as a way to show there battle-ready, warrior side. Reply Sassafras75 August 23, 2012 D-Day was in 1944 not 1945. Reply Doug Santo August 23, 2012 These were Pathfinders of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. They were the first soldiers to be dropped into Normandy on the eve of D-Day. They anticipated about half their number would not survive the first few hours of their mission. They were all volunters. They set up markers for subsequent planes and gliders to direct drops, attacked certain infrastructure targets, and had to hold their positions against any and all enemy forces until the last man or relieved. Doug Santo Pasadena, CA, USA Reply Jason August 23, 2012 A combination of Esprit de Corps and psychological warfare. Reply Joe August 24, 2012 The ones with the face paint were members of Jake McNiece’s demo squad “The Filthy Thirteen”. They were not Pathfinders at Normandy, they were tasked with blowing a bridge, not guiding troop transports. Jake later became a pathfinder and jumped into Bastogne to guide in supply drops for the 101st who were under siege there. Google “Filthy Thirteen” for all the info. The top photo was taken later in the war and I can’t remember what unit it was. Reply Joe September 25, 2012 I’m sure the Krauts would have found those mohawk cuts scary indeed, had they not been covered up by their helmets. Reply Jamie Mac November 10, 2012 These specific “Mohawk Paratroopers” belonged to the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division. Part of Easy Company of the 506th was known as “The filthy 13″ since they were always dirty and never washed, not even after training. Their Squad Sergeant was part Native american. That’s what started the trend, which after D-Day became a little more popular due to the 506th’s actions on D-Day Reply Leave a Reply Cancel Reply Your email address will not be published. Name* Email* Website Comment Notify me of follow-up comments by email. Notify me of new posts by email.