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Tactics 101 050 – Airborne Fundamentals

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  • Tactics 101 050 – Airborne Fundamentals

    Four fundamentals in airborne operations are explored in the continuing monthly series Tactics 101 on ArmchairGeneral.com.


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  • #2
    Awesome... A fine addition to the series here...


    "When we jumped into Sicily, the units became separated, and I couldn’t find anyone. Eventually I stumbled across two colonels, a major, three captains, two lieutenants, and one rifleman, and we secured the bridge. Never in the history of war have so few been led by so many.”

    - General James Gavin on Jumping into Sicily in WWII.
    "This life..., you know, "the life." You’re not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you don’t shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

    BoRG

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    • #3
      Assembling after a drop takes lots of practice and can be difficult in the best of circumstances. WWII era airborne drops were always confused and the troops widely scattered. Patching together a scratch force from mixed units after a drop got to be almost expected. What they were able to accomplish with these improvised teams is nothing short of amazing.

      Good summary article, I look forward to more in the serries.

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      • #4
        Not Market Garden

        Originally posted by llkinak View Post

        WWII era airborne drops were always confused and the troops widely scattered. Patching together a scratch force from mixed units after a drop got to be almost expected.
        Not always. The jump in Market Garden, as far as the 82nd Airborne goes anyhow, was the highlight of accurate parachuting in WWII.

        My grandather's company only suffered one injury (a sprained shoulder) and nobody got lost at all... And that seems typical of the rest of the division according to Hoyt's book, Airborne: The History of the American Parachute Forces.
        Last edited by Paul Mann III; 06 Aug 10, 00:09.
        "This life..., you know, "the life." You’re not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you don’t shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

        BoRG

        Comment


        • #5
          True, good example, and the ops did improve to a degree as the war went on. As a general rule, however, they often started out pretty confused. Hell, I've seen guys scattered hither and yon on training jumps if the winds are high, and their ability to find DZ's in the dark wasn't near as developed as it was when I was in. I have a very high estimation, and a ton of respect for what the old timers did.

          By the by, do I understand correctly that your grandpa was 1/504 PIR? I ask because that was my old unit and I got to meet some of the old vets in 1994 during the 50th aniversary of the Normandy jump.

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          • #6
            Staff Sergeant Paul Mann Sr. B/504th, 82nd Airborne Division 41-46

            Originally posted by llkinak View Post

            As a general rule, however, they often started out pretty confused. Hell, I've seen guys scattered hither and yon on training jumps if the winds are high, and their ability to find DZ's in the dark wasn't near as developed as it was when I was in. I have a very high estimation, and a ton of respect for what the old timers did.
            Understood. I'd bet the old-timers would have loved a chance to use out modern parachute equipment, but they did their best with they had.

            There are fewer problems as the WWII went on though. And some have thought that the attention to focusing drop zones resulted in the setback that was Operation Varsity. That, and the crappy new plane.




            Originally posted by llkinak View Post

            By the by, do I understand correctly that your grandpa was 1/504 PIR? I ask because that was my old unit and I got to meet some of the old vets in 1994 during the 50th aniversary of the Normandy jump.
            Yeah, Paul Mann Sr. joined the B/504 in 1941 after volunteering for Airborne out of the National Guard. He served with them until the war's end. He was training to jump on Japan when we dropped the bombs.

            I'm a member of a 504th PIR forum, and I've been lucky to speak and write to both veterans and the sons of veterans of the 504th in WWII. Also, I'm friends with a historian who focuses on the outfit.

            Here's a link to a thread that has some details of my grandfather's outfit's exploits. Paul Mann WWII Stuff Thread Link

            And here's a link to my favorite battle of WWII, the 504th's engagement at Cheneux during the Battle of the Bulge. 1st Battalion/504th PIR at Cheneux Thread Link













            "This life..., you know, "the life." You’re not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you don’t shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

            BoRG

            Comment


            • #7
              Thanks for the pics. I think my favoite is the one of him at the table with the pretty girl because they both look so happy. (Your grandma?) Appreciate your sharing them.

              Looks like the Cheneux thread will tamke me a while to read. Thanks for posting it as well.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by llkinak View Post

                Thanks for the pics. I think my favoite is the one of him at the table with the pretty girl because they both look so happy. (Your grandma?) Appreciate your sharing them.
                Yeah, that's my grandma. She's the one who gave me the pictures. He wanted to date her older sister, who already had a man, but I guess grandma turned out to be better looking anyways. The older sister sort of passed him along.

                They were divorced and his live-in girlfriend stole his weapons, his dirt jars, his unit pictures, and all his awards when he passed. I lost his uniform in a hectic move too, I'll never stop hating myself for that one.

                Originally posted by llkinak View Post

                Looks like the Cheneux thread will tamke me a while to read. Thanks for posting it as well.
                The research is mostly credited to Frank Van Lunteren. He's gathered an unreal amount of information about the 504th through interviews and research.

                He gave me a phone number for a platoon leader from Cheneux and a girl who had sent my grandfather a letter from Belgium, both still alert and active at their respective ages.

                Frank is the man.
                "This life..., you know, "the life." You’re not gonna get any medals, kid. This is not a hero business; you don’t shoot people from a mile a way. You gotta stand right next to them... blow their heads off."

                BoRG

                Comment

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