Video From:1944 Imperial Japanese War Movie Colonel Kato’s Falcon Squadron (Kato hayabusa sento-tai).
Rakkasan may be translated from Japanese as “man falling under an umbrella.”
Because elite units of highly trained Imperial Japanese Army paratroopers suffered very high casualty rates in 1942, most were withdrawn to the mainland. In late 1944 they were re-deployed in the battle of the Philippines were once again their losses were very high; often complete units were destroyed.
The “Rakkassans” of the U.S. Army 187th Infantry Division were the only military unit whose nickname (still in use today) was designated by an enemy. Deployed to the Pacific in mid-1944 with the 11th Airborne Division, the 187th Rakkasans saw combat in New Guinea, Leyte and Luzon. The 187th Rakkasans also met and destroyed a a paratroop attack on their positions when Japanese airborne units tried to recapture airfields on Leyte taken earlier by the Rakkasans.