Ever since the first soldiers exited a ‘perfectly good airplane’ in combat, the capability of an airborne army has been on the mind of leaders. It is one of the few inherently joint capabilities that the military conducts on a daily basis. Both soldiers and airmen work alongside each other, bringing a robust force to the fight.
While competing opinions of the airborne capability have been around since its inception, the facts are simple. An airborne unit can employ a large number of forces, bringing them to the battlefield and hastily dropping them behind enemy lines to create confusion and what can only be described as a tactical ruckus. This results from the fact that paratroopers can often find themselves scattered over a large area. Their objectives, concentrations, and capabilities can therefore be unknown to the enemy resulting in tactical defensive decisions being made with limited accurate information.
During the D-Day landings, the main defensive line of the German defenses was bypassed as paratroopers fell from the sky. In conjunction with this, the French resistance cut a significant amount of communication lines to throw the German coordination into further disarray. The German response demonstrated an indecisive approach to the problem, believing that the main attack from the allies was actually coming from a different direction.
Against a conventional force, an airborne unit breaks up the capabilities of a defensive military, forcing it to array defenses along front lines and to defend against potential attacks in the rear. It is a force projection capability which allows soldiers to move along non-standard routes and quickly amass forces. It also enables follow-on forces to flow in once initial objectives are secured.
Consider the flow of force when an airborne unit seizes as airfield. The airfield now becomes an immediately available resupply capability, as well as a means to deliver follow on forces to the fight. This can come in the form of strykers, Bradleys, tanks, as well as helicopters and aircraft. While the airborne element can take the fight to the enemy for a few days, the follow on forces are able to seize the initiative and break the back of a defense.
Both of these elements will force fixed enemy elements to leave their defenses and move to defend against the attacking forces. This further reduces defensive capabilities along the front lines and allows a secondary penetration to occur along more traditional lines of attack.
Against non-conventional forces, an airborne unit trains to a higher level of standard than many non-airborne units. This is due to the nature of their mission set, which means that the forces which arrive on the battlefield, whether via airborne operation or traditional means, are capable of being employed against the enemy immediately. The esprit de corps of an airborne paratrooper can make all the difference on the battlefield. The lessons over the years have demonstrated that airborne units have achieved, and still do,the decisive point in battles and are a great asset to have in any conflict.
Disclaimer: The content in this article is the opinion of the writer and does not necessarily reflect the policies or opinions of US Patriot Tactical.
Kyle has been with US Patriot Tactical since 2009 and is currently Manager of the Ft. Stewart location and the law enforcement sales representative for the state of Georgia.
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