This picture depicts a group of Fallshirmjäger Mg-34 team on the Eastern Front during World War Two.
The Fallshirmjäger were first used at a massive scale during the German invasion of Crete in May of 1941. While the German paratroopers were successful in the offensive, and captured the entire island by June 1st, it was costly, and the German sustained around 5,000 casualties. Because of this, Hitler did not see himself ordering any more large scale aerial invasions, and thus changed their role.
As the war progressed, they filled more of an infantry based fighting force.
Since Fallshirmjäger were highly trained, elite German troops, along with the Waffen SS, they performed very well on the ground with the rest of the German troops, and were known for their battle skill and ferocity.
The main way to distinguish a Fallshirmjäger soldier from regular German Heer troops was their helmet. If you look, it was seemingly smaller, and did not have the same shape, looking more like a bowl.
So while Hitler was putting all his hopes in his Infantry and tanks, putting large airborne attacks aside indefinitely, the allies were just getting into it.
After the Battle of Crete, allied nations including the United States and Great Britain went through extensive measures to create airborne assault units along with Airfield-defense forces.
In the years that followed, many allied operations included large airborne drops including Operation Overlord (D-Day) and Operation Market Garden.
There were many instances on the western front when allied paratroopers fought the Fallshirmjäger, and many allied troops remark upon the elite fighting skill of their enemy and show their respect. (Colorized by WW2 Colourized Photos)