David, before I get into this, let me say that I've got a lot of admiration and respect for guys like you who with apparently no prior jump experience, go for the Pathfinder/ADT opportunity to jump. From what you posted, I take it that you had not jumped before, were/are not a former military jumper, and perhaps may have absolutely no prior military service. I think it's great!
Good for you!
I am, however, a bit baffled by the motivation behind this. Like, why not just go sport jumping? Is it the reenactment persona, the military airborne trooper wannabe? Forgive me, but I don't really understand the motivation behind reenactors. I say this in spite of the fact that there are gobs of reenactors who belong to this website, some of whom will readily pounce on me for my heresy. What motivated you to go to all the trouble and expense to jump with Pathfinders in Europe?
Now, having said this, I've got to admit that I almost flew over to Europe to take part in the 50th Anniversary jump over Normandy but could not get away due to commitments. But I'm a former army paratrooper. To me, there's a difference. Does that make any sense at all?
As for the guys who go all over the world making a couple of jumps just to get "qualified" for another set of jump wings, well, in my mind, they might as well get them out of a box of Cracker Jacks. Who the hell needs fifty million sets of jump wings? What are they trying to prove? So at least you know where I stand.
You mentioned helping the injured jumper by collapsing his 'chute. Were the winds high on the DZ?
Was he being dragged? Were the winds too high? Military training jumps are usually called off if the wind exceeds 15 mph. (Don't ask me what that is in klicks - I've been in the US too long.)
And on the guy who had to use his reserve, if he did have two more stows remaining in his reserve pack tray, he certainly didn't have a full canopy, and most certainly nothing to support his weight. In order for the reserve to support even part of his weight, the lines would have had to have been fully extended. So the next question would be directed at the amount of air in his malfunctioned main. Simply because a suspension line is snagged on part of the equipment does not necessarily mean that the main has fully malfunctioned. In situations like this, every little bit of air counts. This is not meant to diminish that poor guy's pain and suffering in any way.
You also mentioned a guy who neglected to "flare" or "bend his knees upon landing approach". What kind of parachutes was he jumping? Round one? If it was a round one, you can't "flare" a round parachute. That's only possible on a square which flies like an airplane. Round ones just go with the wind.
For what it's worth, I was with the original group that developed the approach procedures for the squares and the "flare" landing. One of the things I did back then was to write and illustrate the user manuals for the first production squares, the Parafoil and the Para-Plane. Back then, we had to develop a whole new way of flying an accuracy approach upwind as opposed to the normal Paracommander or Papillon downwind approach into the pit. As a note to history, the round canopy jumpers laughed at us! We sure took a lot of heat from them!
As far as "bending the legs" goes, if a jumper assumes the correct position for landing (military style), the legs are bent upon assuming the PLF position, and no further "bending" is required. Adopting the PLF position makes it all happen together.
Anyway, you've obviously gone to great expense and effort to go "military" jumping. Who am I to say anything to discourage you and others like you from doing so?
Who knows, maybe one of these days when I'm old and gray, my grandkids will take me out to a drop zone, and some young jumper will tell me to stand at a certain spot, then go up and fly a newfangled parachute and land a foot in front of me, just like I did with Tiny Broadwick, flying one of the first squares.
Tiny. Now, that was a gal to respect. At the age of about fourteen, Tiny made the first free fall jump in the world, long before Leslie Irvin who is usually credited with doing so ever did.