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Complete Luftwaffe paratrooper's parachute, type RZ20, originally packed since the war: This type was introduced just before the invasion of Crete,
and saw limited use during that battle. Most parachutes used there were its predecessor RZ16, which was an improvement of the first type, the RZ1.
The RZ20 (RZ for "Rückenpack-Zwangsauslösung", backpack (parachute with) automatic deploy) was the type which saw the longest service time, starting
early 1941, until the end of the war (also another improved type was designed late in the war - the RZ36 - but it was only produced in small numbers and therefore saw only limited service), so the RZ20 is the classical parachute of the German paratrooper.
Typical construction, harness made of natural color woven belt material with 4 nickel-plated quick-release buckless. The sewn-on bag made of olive green
canvas stores the camouflaged canopy made of 28 segments. Its 28 risers are fixed to a short hemp rope which in turn connects via 2 snap hooks to 2 big
D-rings fixed on each side of the harness.
Both harness and bag feature an identical cloth tag showing the parachute's production number, which also matches the "Prüfschein", the parachute's
identity pass, which is stored in its small pocket underneath the back part of the harness.
The 9m long static line is made of natural fibers and has a snap hook fixed at one end, while the other end is fixed on the inner bag, which is not visible in this ready-to-jump-condition. Also fixed on the static line, is a small metal pin which holds the whole parachute together, until it gets pulled out during the jump, releasing the canopy. Next to that pin are 2 markings, "Ju52" and "He111". These show the position the pin should point to, depending what type of aircraft was used for the jump (those were the two main types used). Each of these aircrafts required complete different ways of leaving the aircraft - head first from the Junkers Ju52, feet first from the Heikel He111. The pin also needs to be pulled out in different ways- downwards (Ju52) and respectively upwards (He111).
This very parachute is shown on page 300 and 301 in volume 2 of the book series "Deutsche Fallschirmjäger" by Karl Veltze.