Friday, June 11, 1999 Published at 13:59 GMT 14:59 UK
The Paras: Britain's elite fighters
Paratroopers undergo seriously tough training
In the 50 years since Winston Churchill called for the formation of a parachute regiment, the Paras have earned a reputation for being one of the toughest regiments in the British Army.
And now the focus of these world-famous crack troops is on Kosovo with around 700 ready for action.
During World War II, the Paras, wearing their traditional maroon-coloured berets, became known as the Red Devils after several successful campaigns in Europe and North Africa.
But their most famous exploit was the drop at Arnhem in 1944.
There were not enough planes to bring in the whole air-land bridgade, and the lightly armed 1st Parachute Brigade were left to secure the bridge over the Rhine until the second battalion came in.
Unknown to British intelligence, the German army had sent in extra troops of the SS Panzer Corps to protect the bridge.
Of the 10,000 men sent in from various regiments, just 3,000 returned. Five Victoria Crosses were awarded for bravery - two of them for members of the Parachute regiment.
The 3 Para and 2 Para battalions were the first troops to enter the capital, Port Stanley.
It was victory but at a price. They had sustained 40 dead and 93 wounded. The two battalions were honoured with 68 awards including two posthumous VCs.
More controversially, during a demonstration in Londonderry in January, 1972, 13 people were shot dead by soldiers from the First Parachute Regiment. The shootings are once again the subject of public inquiry.
'You don't have to be superman'
Training has been described as the toughest in the world.
"You don't have to be superman to complete training - all you need is some guts and determination and the will to be a paratrooper!" says its Website.
Over a period of 19 weeks at a base in Catterick, North Yorkshire, new recruits are trained in marksmanship, field firing, trench warfare, and finally parachute training.
Those who have earned the Maroon Beret are based at Aldershot in Hampshire.