16 August 2011

Sound Off! Airborne or Air Assault

Which has more relevance on the modern battlefield?

Airborne! HALO, static-line, it doesn't matter - just get me there on a 'chute.

Air Assault! Fly me in and rope me down - but I want to be tethered to something.

By: Brant


Anonymous said...

Air Assault has more relevance. After being part of testing for all sorts of whiz bang helment mounted, GPS guided, high glide chutes and stuff; I think they are just there to justify jump pay every month. Outside of Korea and Vietnam (French in particular) there has not been a need for mass airdrop. These days it is all about airfield seizure for mass insertion and rapid infil with small units is all air assault.

RangerX3X said...

If I had to build an Army to attack/defend and only had one choice, it would be Air Assault. While both have their inherent dangers, if the enemy flooded a field suspected of being a potential drop zone and you parachuted in, many could perish simply from drowning with the weight of their packs taking them to the bottom. If it was a helicopter insertion, you would always have the option to pull up and abort. Not so once you jump out of a plane.

Matt Purvis said...

It's a tough decision. Air Assault operations have been predominant in conflicts since Vietnam. The flexibility of helicopters has done wonders for the modern infantryman giving ground pounders high mobility and excellent logistical support.

Unfortunately, a UH-60 or CH-47 doesn't have the range or capacity of a C-17. It is called the Globemaster for a reason. An Air Assault Operation just isn't going to give you the ability to put a brigade+ with artillery, vehicles, etc... on the ground anywhere in the world, all at the push of a button.
Gotta have both. We need the mobility of Air Assault capabilities along with the force projection capabilities offered by modern Airborne units such as the 82nd Abn Div.

Ranger, i hate to be contrary towards you again, but
your argument against Airborne operations is why Pathfinders go in before a mass tac drop. They assess drop zones prior to the actual jump. Plus, any cherry worth his wings can quick release his combat equipment(ruck, weapons, etc...) in half a second. It's a good thing that stuff is on a 15 foot tether dangling below the jumper.

As a disclaimer, I'm biased since I grew up in the Eighty Deuce.

(Cue Music)
Put on your boots, boots, boots
And Parachutes, chutes, chutes
We're going up, up, up
And coming down, down, down......

Brant said...

"As a disclaimer, I'm biased since I grew up in the Eighty Deuce. "

We all have our crosses to bear... :P

RangerX3X said...

It happened in Normandy: "At 700 feet, the descent took less than one minute. By this time, German flak artillery and AAA were shooting at anything in the sky...including the parachutists themselves. Many were hit on their way down or drowned upon landing in the flooded plains of the Douve and Merderet rivers. Although the plains were mostly only 2 to 3 feet deep (in some places more), the weight of the men, in conjunction with the dragging of the parachute could easily prove fatal."