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  • #46
    I forgot. the last German 'airbourne' operation was at Breslau in 1945. A battalion was flown in as a emergency reinforcement. The enemy was at the edge of the airfield and the 'paras' went into the attack straight off the aircraft. Technically not a parachute operation, tho a example of the use of airmobility & aggresive infantry.

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    • #47
      Originally posted by Carl Schwamberg View Post
      Aside from many thousands reinforcements on the east side of the river there was a considerable mass of artillery, including antiaircraft artillery. Plus the pioneer regiments operating the ferrys and many of ther rear service battalions. On some days as many as fiftythousand men were on the east side of the river, mostly armed. Five thousand or even tenthousand paras would have a tough time with all that. Plus there were the tank corps assemblying both to the north and south for the big November attack. Either tank group could have spared a brigade or two for counter attacking the paras.
      Hmm, put's a new light on things for me. I had assumed that early on there would not have been as many Soviets there. Makes me realize how hard it must have been to use airborne. Thanks Carl, Pruitt

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      • #48
        The Germans had airfields to the West of Stalingrad which they used to fly in supplies and replacements. Wounded troops were flown out here. The Red Army took these fields when they launched their offensive. Red Air Force Fighters were a nuisance to the relief effort, but the Red Flak was worse. Don't know of any Red Air Force airfields to the east of the city.

        If you can't reach the Paras after a couple days what do you think happens to them? The Germans had no way to cross the river to reach them.

        Pruitt
        Pruitt, you are truly an expert! Kelt06

        Have you been struck by the jawbone of an ASS lately?

        by Khepesh "This is the logic of Pruitt"

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        • #49
          I always found the use of Ariporne to plug gaps in encirclements an idea that was worth exploring.

          imagine at Falaise in 1944, dropping an airborne div (held in reserve) to plug the hole! I think in Russia in 1941, the german 7th airborne could be used for that role - with of course the 22nd airlanded to support the seizing of airfields.

          but indeed, all this cannot be done in strategic depth, it can be a very usefull tactical advantage to have the enemy guess where the airborne can be used - seize an HQ, seize a depot, a bridge, etc. and thus force it to cover everything against that eventuality.

          now, of course any use of the airborne on the Ostfront would be costly in casualties... so perhaps it would be like a "fleet in beeing" more of a threat than a real use... I certainly would have used it more.
          "Freedom cannot exist without discipline, self-discipline, and rights cannot exist without duties. Those who do not observe their duties do not deserve their rights."--Oriana Fallaci

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          • #50
            Originally posted by piero1971 View Post
            I always found the use of Ariporne to plug gaps in encirclements an idea that was worth exploring.

            imagine at Falaise in 1944, dropping an airborne div (held in reserve) to plug the hole! I think in Russia in 1941, the german 7th airborne could be used for that role - with of course the 22nd airlanded to support the seizing of airfields.
            Hmm... dropping them on the Seine river bridges would have momentarily stalled more Germans and allowed a few of the airbourne to survive the battle. Dropping them into the Falaise 'gap' would have placed them over the Allied anitaircraft guns. Something that often was a bad thing. Lifting the Allied artillery fires for this air drop would be a relief for the Germans trying to escape. Every German account of escape from the pocket agrees that the artillery fires were intolerable and turned the march out into a rout.

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            • #51
              What Seine bridges? - removed by the allied air forces before d-day

              While using the Polish airborne briagde to reinforce the armoured division blocking the exit seems a good idea, using gliders rather than parachutes would probably work better

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              • #52
                Originally posted by Aber View Post
                What Seine bridges? - removed by the allied air forces before d-day
                And the Germans still crossed the Seine on ferrys and pontoon bridges. My father was a ordinance officer in the 555th Sqdn. B26 medium bombers He described changing the bomb size and mix for attacking the new bridge and ferry sites, after they had dropped the original structures. The Germans quickly learned to take in the pontoon bridges and ferrys at dawn and camoflage them along the river. The 9th AF reconissance planes and intel officers did their best to spot the daytime hides with photographs, and lowlevel high speed passes with P38s and single engine aircraft. Some of the books he left discuss the same.

                The bulk of the Germans who escaped Normandy fled to the North East and across the Seine. German witnesses describe the ferrys and bridges operating each night right up until the Allied ground forces advanced across the river. Despite Dads efforts and losses amoung the pioneers and their equipment many of the crossing sites remained in operation each night.

                Originally posted by Aber View Post
                While using the Polish airborne briagde to reinforce the armoured division blocking the exit seems a good idea, using gliders rather than parachutes would probably work better
                If I am reading the German side of this correctly there were some 30,000 men holding the shoulders of the 'Gap' and containing the Allied battlegroups that had entered it. More were deployed to the north and south of the pocket exit covering the wider flanks. Then another 50,000 passed through the gap. I'm skeptical five or ten thousand lightly armed parchute or glider infantry will survive long. And, as mentioned before the entire gap was saturated with near continual artillery fires, and regular airstrikes. Stopping all that to allow dropping airbourne divsions into the German mass would give the enemy some appreciated relief.

                You have the right concept, but a bad target. Using the airbourne to further disrupt and capture the Seine River crossing sites not only channelizes more retreating Germans towards paris and the path of the 3rd Army, it can also aid the British in getting across the Seine faster.

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