Airborne forces

Eisenhower speaks with U.S. paratroops

Eisenhower speaks with U.S. paratroops

Airborne troops are, in general, units of the army which are carried into battle by means of air and dropped by parachute, helicopter or trademarks in airborne operations, said mobile large-scale operations.

We can call them in the Belgian paratroopers and new nations to the sport, or so-called paratroopers as in most countries of the world parachutists, they are hunters on foot, artillery, engineering, train, riders in French, or just among British paratroopers and their pupils countries. There is a variant or pathfinder scouts who are wanderers DZ, the drop zone, and intelligence observers in France, it is 13 RDP that is part of this work (the former Parachute Dragoon intelligence brigade and currently in Special Forces Land Component). Do not confuse those paratroopers and commandos (although in some countries their commandos fringe of a regiment or battalion paratrooper) because their use is different, the commandos are the coup, or zip intelligence and go, they are airborne offensive mass and hold the ground until over the rest of the large ground offensive.

During World War II, the glider s have also been used as vectors, particularly during the Normandy landings, allowing for their payload to land more material means: jeep, light armored.


Before 1940

Skydiving, already invented by Leonardo da Vinci, is experienced in 1797. It is the first military application that during the First World War, in the ballooning: balloonists jump their ball before it crashed to the ground, it is used by the aviator s German forces in the conflict.

In France, the Air Force does not develop any concept from the parachute until 1937, except for safety equipment for the crews of aircraft. In 1935 was created a training center for the aircrews, some observations drove the creation of the Infantry Air after two years.However, the defensive strategy chosen in 1940 were not allowed to use, and two infantry Air groups were disbanded.

The Nazi Germany on the contrary, had everything to gain in a spirit of revenge, the use of shock troops dropped to an unexpected place for the enemy. It was she who made the earlier a great job of these troops at the beginning of the conflict.

The Red Army, which was the first to create large airborne units in the 1930s and used heavily especially during the winter offensive against-1941-1942. Soviet paratroopers, poorly trained, proved relatively ineffective and units were converted into infantry.


The Second World War, with its large offensive based on breaks front, multiplied employment of airborne units. The first major coordinated airborne operation is organized in spring 1941 by the Germans, who thus seized Crete. Some gaps in the preparation of this operation provoked heavy losses, since the Germans used the Airborne paratroopers in their specificity sparingly and were therefore more often used as elite infantry.

The end of the war saw the use in large operations airborne and air transported by the Allies in Normandy and the Operation Market Garden, where the Allies suffered terrible losses in these roles always light troop PTO limited objectives (bridge, road junction) or cover the Normandy beaches (to slow the advance of German reinforcements).

The post-war

Large airborne operations air defense and the imposing mechanized forces in Europe we saw very little since 1945, during the Cold War reduced it for the benefit of large airborne units on the continent. They were, especially in the French army, used extensively during the wars of decolonization (Indochina War, the war in Algeria, Suez campaign) but these operations were not far from it, except Castor the operation, the size of those of the Second World War they were mainly used as infantry shock.

From 1960, the paratroopers were increasingly used as infantry helicopter, first and mainly by the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

In 1978, the rescue Kolwezi was the last major parachute assault conducted by French forces. However, in November 2004, the 8th regiment of marines paratroopers parachuted in Kosovo ahead of elections in the context of deterrence.

The U.S. Army effected in 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom largest parachute assault since the war in Indochina with the 173rd Airborne Brigade operation but this was mostly a diversionary tactic.


Airborne operations of the Second World War to provide some key Kolwezi to the doctrine of the use of airborne elements:

•the need for surprise;

•the need to collect the best possible information before acting;

•clear definition of objectives clearly limited, both in time and space (light troops that can easily withstand a major offensive against-they are only there to seize the objective and store shortly before the arrival of the main body);

•close to release these objectives, and as concentrated as possible, both in time (once: carpet troops, or the fewest assists) and space (to avoid the dispersion of units, loss of equipment fatal to units of the U.S. Army in Normandy);

•good overall coordination.

Airborne operations allow the use of shock troops, to seize limited objectives and hold them against the enemy. However, these troops are light, even air transported (gliders or planes landing), their impact is mainly due to the effect of surprise, and resistance can not last over time without quick support heavy items. Removal difficult is also a limit with respect to amphibious operations.

Some famous Paras

•Commander Sauvagnac, French pioneer of the use of paratroopers with Captain Berger convinced de Gaulle create infantry air companies in September 1940, with 601 ° and 602 ° ancestors of paratroopers of the air created for peace in Algeria by General Maricourt. Their first patron was the commander François Coulet, lieutenant-colonel replaced by Lieutenant-Colonel Emery in 1960 because it did not agree with de Gaulle on what to do in Algeria. The first set was the commando CPA 10 under the command of Captain Meyer died in 2006 with the rank of general.

Colonel Geille was, as captain, the first in France to become a skydiving instructor after a training period in the Soviet Union in 1935. Upon his return, he was at the origin of Infantry Air Force (to which he belonged as a fighter pilot) companies and was responsible for organizing the first training of parachutists, the center instruction Skydiving the Air Force, he took command of September 9, 1935. He was appointed permanent controller technical instruction parachuting in future 601 and 602 Infantry air group.

•General Falley (91 German DA, killed in an ambush by the paratroopers of 82 Airborne in Normandy in 1944);

•General Ridgway (82 Airborne in 1944);

•General Sosabowski, commander of the Polish Parachute Brigade during Operation Market Garden;

•General Massu, General of the French army;

•General Bigeard former chief of police and media of 6 Colonial Parachute Battalion and the 3 Colonial Parachute Regiment.

Airborne units

Historical airborne units

•1st Allied Airborne Army

British 6th Airborne Division

101st Airborne Division (United States)

82nd Airborne Division (United States)

•1st Independent Parachute Brigade (Poland)


Regiments Belgian paratroopers

•Para-Commando Regiment

French paratroop units

Ground forces

11 BP (11 Parachute Brigade)

•1 Hussars paratroopers (1 RHP) – Tarbes (65)

•35 Parachute Regiment Artillery (35 RAP) – Tarbes (65)

•17 engineering Parachute Regiment (17 RGP) – Montauban (82)

•1 Airborne Infantry Regiment (1 RCP) – Pamiers (09)

•2 Foreign Parachute Regiment (2 REP) – Calvi (2B)

•3 parachute regiment of marines (3 RPIMa) – Carcassonne (11)

•8 parachute regiment of marines (8 RPIMa) – Castres (81)

•1 train Parachute Regiment (1 RTP) – Toulouse (31)

BFST (Special Forces Brigade ground)

•1 Regiment Marine Infantry Parachute (1 RPIMa) – Bayonne (64)

•13 Parachute Dragoon Regiment (13 RDP) – Martignas-sur-Jalle (33)

Other expenses

•School of Airborne Troops (ETAP) – Pau

•3 regiment equipment (3 RMAT) – Muret (the regiment is not intended paratrooper but both companies are supporting the 11th Parachute BP).

•2 Regiment Marine Infantry Parachute (2 RPIMa) – Saint-Pierre, Reunion.

•57 Artillery Regiment (57 RA) – Bitche (one of the batteries is to bring paratrooper component ground-to-air airborne force).


•the School of the Marines – Lorient (56)

•Base Fusiliers Marins and Commandos (Basefusco) – Lorient (56)

•six Navy Commandos:◦Commando Hubert – St. Mandrier (83)

Commando Jaubert – Lorient (56)

◦Commando Trepel – Lorient (56)

◦Commando de Montfort – Lorient (56)

◦Commando Penfentenyo – Lorient (56)

◦Commando Kieffer – Lorient (56)


•school of fusiliers commando air (EFCA) – Dijon (21)

•three Commandos parachute air:

◦Paratrooper Commando Air # 10

◦Paratrooper Commando Air # 20

◦Paratrooper Commando Air # 30

National Gendarmerie

•the intervention group of the Gendarmerie Nationale (GIGN)

Airborne units of the U.S. Army

•U.S. 18th Airborne Corps

82nd Airborne Division

101st Airborne Division

•U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade

Airborne units of the Russian army (ex-Red Army)

•Vozdushno-Desantnye Vojska or VDV

◦7 Airborne Division

◦76 Air Assault Division

◦98 Airborne Division

◦106 Airborne Division

◦31 Airborne Brigade

Military Unit

Military Parachuting

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