Author Topic: Future Canadian Airborne Capability and Organisation! Or, is it Redundant? (a merged thread)  (Read 292833 times)

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Offline Moose

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #200 on: May 24, 2005, 01:35:21 »
Also is it going to fall under the regimental system? Relocate ALL the personnel from the light companies from the 3 light infantry units? R22eRs, will they have to compromise their french-speaking :P ???

Offline CBH99

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #201 on: May 24, 2005, 02:32:19 »
Guys, the article wasn't that confusing.

Basically, as I understand it, is that the CDS wants to transform the light infantry battalions into a Tier 2 force, with enhanced firepower, communications, and mobility.  He doesn't want to change the role of the light infantry battalions, he just wants to add to their capabilities so they have the ability to support JTF2 on the ground, or conduct Ranger-style missions on their own.
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Offline Kal

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #202 on: May 24, 2005, 11:08:10 »
Improvements in communications, mobility, firepower and support capabilities of the light forces will allow them to better integrate with a newly created Special Operations Group that includes JTF2.


     So there will be three elements, the light infantry, a special operations group and the JTF?  Or will the light infantry and the JTF become the special operations group?
Maybe you'll understand one day.  I hope you survive it...


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Offline Old Sweat

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #203 on: May 24, 2005, 11:29:55 »
Based not only on the practice in other countries, but also on the statement, the special operations group will include JTF2 and the light infantry battalions.

Offline GO!!!

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #204 on: May 24, 2005, 13:02:12 »
Traditionally, the Tier 1 organisations (like the JTF) who are small in numbers, but truly "elite" are supported by a crack infantry unit. These are referred to in the west as Tier 2 organisations, (like the US Ranger Bns). An good and well known example of their use was seen in Blackhawk Down, when the Rangers cordoned off a building, and Delta force went in and grabbed some "persons of interest"

Having said this, your Tier 1 organisations are of limited value if they do not have a bigger force to back them up (SAS/Brit Paras, Delta/Rangers, JTF2/LiBns???)

We can only hope I guess...
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Offline civvy3840

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #205 on: May 24, 2005, 16:09:03 »
Guys, the article wasn't that confusing.

Basically, as I understand it, is that the CDS wants to transform the light infantry battalions into a Tier 2 force, with enhanced firepower, communications, and mobility.   He doesn't want to change the role of the light infantry battalions, he just wants to add to their capabilities so they have the ability to support JTF2 on the ground, or conduct Ranger-style missions on their own.

Ok I get it now.
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Offline Mark C

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #206 on: May 24, 2005, 20:08:26 »
I will keep this reasonably short, as my time is limited.   I will simply offer up the proposition (based on personal experience) that our collective sights are far too high regarding "SOC" in the international context.  

What am I saying?   Simply this.   Back in the dark ages of 2002 when 3 VP BG was serving with TF Rakkasan in Kandahar, we weren't allowed to employ our Recce Pl as it was intended because such tasks were the sole purview of "Strategic Recce Forces".   What we would consider to be typical "close recce" tasks were the inviolate arena of the international collective of "all-stars" embodied within TF K-Bar and others.   It seemed that the only folks who could leave the conventional fold of immediate aviation support were the various international SF.   To make a long story short, that was a joke, and a mistake which our partners (to their credit) finally realized - albeit just as we were leaving theatre.

When Op CHEROKEE SKY came up (recce-in-force of Zabol Province) in June 02, 3 PPCLI BG were finally able to make a pitch to employ our Recce Pl as intended.   They had fully proven themselves around the K'har area of influence, running countless overt and covert recce patrols, OPs, snap VCPs, etc, in conjunction with the local Afghan militia.   We arranged for the Pl Comd to brief the new U.S. Bde Comd about 3 VP Recce Pl's integral capabilities and qualifications.   To make a long story short, at the end of that briefing our U.S. tactical commander's words were (I was there, so I directly quote) "goddamn - those guys are Special Forces".   And therein lies the rub - in the U.S. (and I suspect NATO lexicon), they were indeed the equivalent of your NATO "run of the mill" SF.   I'm not just talking about our snipers, who had already reached near-legendary status amongst the U.S. forces involved in OEF.   I'm talking about the fact that our 3 Recce Section Commanders were all PPF qualified (with all that it entails) and 2 of 3 were MOI to boot.   Add to that the fact that everyone else was Basic Recce qualified.   Then add on the fact that every #2 and #3 in those Recce Dets was ISCC (now PLQ-Inf) qualified.   When we drew the comparisons of those Canadian qualifications to the U.S. equivalents, they were quite simply blown away by the demonstrated talent resident within our Recce Pl.   Hence their willingness to finally (finally!) let us play in the "big leagues".        

The proof was in the pudding.   During Op CHEROKEE SKY, where we finally had permission to employ Recce Pl in their appropriate role, we "twinned" them with the U.S. SF A Team responsible for Zabol Province.   Well, suffice it to say that it was a match made in heaven.   Our guys immediately went "SF" (tan uniforms & ball-caps, beards, Toyotas) and were seamlessly interfaced with the applicable U.S. SF ODA.   Furthermore, they provided us with the first-hand   information required for the main body to go in and do the "Recce in Force" job in Zabul Province.   This was a critical enabler for our success - having our own guys on the ground - that had been seriously lacking to date, due to the "watering down" of first-hand information that inevitably occurs between "Strat Recce" and "unit of action" feedback.

I could also go on and on about how 3 PPCLI BG's preparations for the Tora Bora mission had the local Ranger company in total awe.   We spent the better part of our 10 days awaiting final mission orders practicing vertical cave shaft entries (inverted rappel with an oxygen mask/tank, swiss seat, and a pistol), close-confines combat, etc, using abandoned buildings around Bagram Airfield.   The Rangers thought (and quite happily told us) that what we were doing was "seriously hard-core".   They were grooving on our "can do/will do" attitude, coupled with typical Canadian "make do" as required attitude - coupled with intensive and extremely detailed mission prep as time allowed.  

There were numerous other incidents wherein it became abundantly clear that 3 VP possessed the capabilities and (perhaps more importanly, the eager willingness) to go "above and beyond" the expectations of a U.S. line battalion.   Basing our Recce Pl outside of the KAF wire to co-locate with the local Afghan Militia when we were in the KAF Defence would be one such highly successful (and soon emulated) "rule breaker".   Our insistance upon physically dominating a 6 km radius of "no mans land" around KAF when we had defensive responsibility for the Coalition base, through the conduct of overt and covert recce patrols, standing patrols, OPs, joint patrols with the Afghans, a concerted CIMIC effort, etc, etc, would be yet another obvious example of 3 PPCLI's willingness to break with formation convention in the interests of doing what we Canadians do best.   It has been my humble experience that more often than not, the "basics" still work....

You can accuse me of being many things, but a sentimental and self-serving/self-forgiving "wannabe" is not one of them.   I have enjoyed the good fortune of serving with numerous international military forces on training exchanges, peace-support operations, and combat operations over the past 25 years.   And the one thing that I am here to tell you which we Canucks often "pooh, pooh" in our desire for modesty, is that at unit level and below, we are still pretty damned good.   And I mean that across the full spectrum of operations.   Given a reasonable opportunity to train (as was 3 PPCLI with our IRF(L) pot 'o money), I have zero doubt that any of the 3 Canadian "Light Battalions" can and will easily achieve "Special Operations Capability" (as far as NATO expectations are concerned) in the natural course of events.   3 PPCLI BG was clearly "there" in the OEF context, and I have little doubt that 3 RCR or 3 R22eR could acheive the same give a similar mission and pre-deployment training opportunities.   It was no coincidence that the TF K-Bar Ranger Battalion came looking to us for a joint op late in the Op APOLLO game, because they'd seen how effective we could be as a "Tier 2" unit.   That particular op never came to pass for a whole bunch of good reasons, but it was nonetheless another solid indicator of our recognized level of in-theatre capability.  

The Canadian Army may be small, but when given the resources to prepare we are also very potent (on an admittedly limited scale).   If we were to actually put our collective minds to it, we could produce a standing Tier 2 SOC that is second to none.   And trust me - unless I seriously underestimate the level of training that 3 PPCLI, 3 RCR and 3 R22eR currently possess, it wouldn't take much to get there from where we currently are.....

There is more that could be said, but if you don't get the message by now then I am unlikely to convince you.   The fact is that back in 2002, there in no doubt in my mind that 3 PPCLI BG was already "SOC".   All that particular unit was missing was the monniker and some of the high-speed kit.   Seems to me however, that we made due with what we had and in typical Canadian Army fashion we "adapted and overcame".  How we as an Army choose to go about formalizing such capabilities and the associated funding/kit in the forthcoming years will be interesting indeed.   I have zero doubt that as an organization, the Canadian Army is fully capable of fielding such units.   I say this because I have seen it occur (on an international basis) in real-time as circumstances dictated.   The question is, how we make it a permanent thing, rather than an inconsistent "child of circumstance".....  

Just my thoughts for this evening....

Mark C
« Last Edit: May 24, 2005, 20:47:01 by Mark C »

Offline Infanteer

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #207 on: May 24, 2005, 20:35:30 »
Ok, now I'm confused - we're talking about a "Tier II" SOC Unit - but from what I gather from LtCol Bernd Horn's article, the Tier II defintion doesn't really fit (from this article, http://www.journal.forces.gc.ca/engraph/Vol5/no3/Special_e.asp).  Where's the mix-up?

Quote
- 'Tier One' SOF consists of primarily 'black operations' or counter terrorism. Normally, only 10 to 15 percent of those attempting selection are successful. What makes this number so impressive is that a large percentage of those trying out are already second or third tier SOF members. Organizations that fall into this category include the US 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment (Delta), the German Grenzschutzgruppe-9 (GSG 9), the Canadian Joint Task Force-2 (JTF 2), and the Polish Commandos (Grupa Reagowania Operacyjno Mobilnego) (GROM) (Operational Mobile Response Group), to name but a few.

- 'Tier Two' SOF reflects those organizations that have a selection pass rate of between 20 and 30 percent. They are normally entrusted with high value tasks such as Strategic Reconnaissance and Unconventional Warfare. It is at this level that selection is separated from training because the skill sets are considered so difficult that the testers are looking only for attributes that cannot be inculcated. The actual skills required can be taught later during the training phase. Some examples include the American Special Forces (also referred to as Green Berets), the US Navy SEALs, and the British, Australian and New Zealand SAS.

- 'Tier Three', consists of those units, such as the American Rangers, that have a selection success rate of 40 to 45 percent, and whose primary mission is Direct Action. At this level, selection is mixed with training. However, the quality control line is drawn here. Generally, units below this line are not considered SOF.
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Mark C

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #208 on: May 24, 2005, 22:07:30 »
Infanteer,

We're talking pure semantics.  If you go with Horn's categorization, then 3 PPCLI was a tier 3 unit, as would likely be any formalized "line SOC" organization within the interim/future force Canadian Army construct.  Unless I am fundamentally mistaken in my read of the wind's current direction, we will not be forming any Tier 2 units IAW LCol Horn's criteria. 

I would happily be proven wrong, but I don't think so....

Mark C

Offline paracowboy

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #209 on: May 24, 2005, 22:15:53 »
okay, my understanding of the "tier system" was similar to Col Horn's as well. Now I ain't so corn-fuzed.
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Offline Infanteer

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #210 on: May 24, 2005, 23:55:26 »
We're talking pure semantics.

Okay, thanks Mark.  I wasn't sure if there was official terminology on SOC units somewhere in the book or not - all this talk of a "Tier II" unit had me thinking of what I had read in Col Horn's definition.

Either way, recognizing that infantry are useful for more than a combat team attack is a plus - you won't see me arguing against us sharpening the spear.

Cheers,
Infanteer
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline TCBF

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Re: Fast-moving troops to fill role vacated by Airborne
« Reply #211 on: May 25, 2005, 00:45:21 »
"it was a match made in heaven.  Our guys immediately went "SF" (tan uniforms & ball-caps, beards, Toyotas)"

Before we knew we were going on Op CHEROKEE SKY, whenever we rolled our Coyote past some VIP's Toyota parked at the edge of the Rose Garden, my crew and I would wonder why it was up on blocks and had no tires.  Later, in Zabul Prov, it all became so clear.. ;D

A great 4 or 5 days.  The scenery was biblical.
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Offline GO!!!

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tcbf, you obviously dont "get it".

The resistance that exists in our military and others to the creation and maintenance of SF is severely aggravated by the insistance of the members of some units to "rub it in" that they do not have to shave, wear all of their uniform or otherwise act differently from regular units when it did'nt really matter (like in a base like Kandahar).

Ask yourself, why did you want to look different? Are the LdSH elite? and what did you prove? In a REAL crack unit, like the Paras or Rangers discipline is strict.

The expression "...and sharpness in the execution of all things." comes to mind.

Guys running around with beards and ball caps only ruffles the feathers on the golden goose that must give us the gold!

Cheers
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Offline TCBF

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Okay, GO!, I wan't you to re-read my post again.

 It was ref the 'Toyota's" on CHEROKEE SKY.  During the lead up to the OP refered to in the post I was quoting, Recce Pll went through 'a lot' of spare tires.  So many, that someone had to strip all of the tires off a Toyota at the rose garden.  Since a large part of the 3PPCLI BG drove/walked past said Toyota on blocks every day, inquiring minds wanted to know what was going on.  Once we rolled into Zabol prov, saw the vehs being used, and the nature of the ground, we saw the need for an 'emerg' replen of Toyota tires previously.

 My comment was not related to the military fashion show that was Kandahar, where guys (not Canadians) whose only job was to burn 45 gal drums full of shite every day dressed like they worked for the CIA.  In the Coyotes, we shaved every day.  The rest of the BG shaved every day. Some of the dismounted troops on ops had better things to do with their water, as they could not carry as much.  Fine.  But we had enough, and we shaved,and when they got Chinooked back to camp, so did they.

"Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda."   - Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axeworthy at a Gun Control conference in Oslo, Norway in 1998.


"I didn’t feel that it was an act of violence; you know, I felt that it was an act of liberation, that’s how I felt you know." - Ann Hansen, Canadian 'Urban Guerrilla'(one of the "Squamish Five")

Offline GO!!!

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Did anyone else get the same impression from that post that I did, or has my gift for misinterpretation surfaced again?
No leader was ever hated for being too hard, but a great many were for attempting to appear that way.

Offline TCBF

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I perhaps should have limited the quote to the 'Toyotas' or said 'Ref the Toyotas above' , but I didn't think it would be an issue.  So, maybe I should more closely ref my quotes.  Moon not in line with Venus, dam is bust, jute mill isploded, etc.

Tom
"Disarming the Canadian public is part of the new humanitarian social agenda."   - Foreign Affairs Minister Lloyd Axeworthy at a Gun Control conference in Oslo, Norway in 1998.


"I didn’t feel that it was an act of violence; you know, I felt that it was an act of liberation, that’s how I felt you know." - Ann Hansen, Canadian 'Urban Guerrilla'(one of the "Squamish Five")

Offline Mark C

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I clearly understood TCBF's comments regarding the Toyotas up on blocks, but then again I already knew the context.... 

Regarding GO's comment about needless "SF affectations", I couldn't agree more.  The "LCF" and associated visual manifestations of "elitism" are completely unnecessary, and could very well prove to be counter-productive within a small Army such as ours.  It tends to breed suspicion and pointless "penis envy".  We're sufficiently small and close-knit as an organization that everyone tends to know who's who in the pecking order of relative capability regardless of "signage".

In the interests of context, I should clarify precisely why it was that 3 VP Recce Pl adopted an "SF" appearance for OP CHEROKEE SKY.  The reason was very simple - camouflage in the interests of OPSEC.  By kitting out the platoon with Toyota trucks and having them adopt typical U.S. SF dress (tan combat pants, t-shirts, ball-caps, chest-webbing, facial hair, sunglasses, etc), they were able to blend in with the ODA responsible for Zabul Province and conduct joint recce of the BG's target AO without arousing suspicion.  The locals were used to seeing the ODA, and were comfortable with their presence.  Conversely, to suddenly see CADPAT-attired soldiers roaming around the area in Iltis gun-jeeps would have aroused a great deal of suspicion.  At the very least, it would have spooked our target audience (Taliban remnants) and created a "dry hole" long before the BG main body's air/mech insertion.  As it turned out, the "visual deception" worked perfectly - to the extent that elements of Recce Pl were able to gain access to a local Afghan fortress overlooking the capitol city and gain some very useful intelligence without arousing any suspicion whatsoever.  Once OP CHEROKEE SKY ended, the platoon reverted to standard grooming, dress and equipment.  In summary, the whole charade was a necessary means to an operational end, and NOT some bizarre "just because we can" affectation.

Cheers,

Mark C

Offline MCG

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The resistance that exists in our military and others to the creation and maintenance of SF is severely aggravated by the insistance of the members of some units to "rub it in" that they do not have to shave, wear all of their uniform or otherwise act differently from regular units when it did'nt really matter (like in a base like Kandahar).

Ask yourself, why did you want to look different? Are the LdSH elite? and what did you prove? In a REAL crack unit, like the Paras or Rangers discipline is strict.
Well, despite earlier talk of tan berets, I cannot see much room being given for elitist dress for the Li Bns or any future transformation from them.  I could see unique kit/dress based on operational needs of a force that operates differently than the majority of the mechanized army.

â Å“Penis envyâ ? would be a foolish excuse to not expand the roll of the Li Bns to include sp to SF Ops.

Offline Michael Shannon

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The "airliner" down justification for an airborne capability may have merit, but why infantry? Wouldn't a para sapper squadron and a platoon of para medics make more sense. The "enemy in the arctic" scenario was war gamed for years and the Airborne Regiment dropping into the arctic was found to be a non starter. Even if you could arrive in time to stop whatever sabotage was planned imagine resupply by air of 1300 troops in the arctic.

     In the Canadian context mass parachute operations make no tactical sense. Thus the only other obvious reason to train parachutists is recruiting and retention. This is probably a valid reason for maintaining CPC but we shouldn't then extrapolate this into a tactical justification and then build "son of the airborne".

Offline paracowboy

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 In the Canadian context mass parachute operations make no tactical sense.
bollocks! The fastest way to get boots on the ground, so that bad guys can get dead, is to drop them from aircraft. "The Canadian context" is no different than any other. We have enemies who want us dead, and our way of life eliminated. The best way to get rid of them is to make them very dead, very fast. That's where large numbers of motivated, armed, and highly-caffeinated infantrymen come in. The fact that our government is too short-sighted, and morally weak to realize this and act on it has no bearing on the truth.
...time to cull the herd.

Offline Infanteer

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In the Canadian context mass parachute operations make no tactical sense. Thus the only other obvious reason to train parachutists is recruiting and retention. This is probably a valid reason for maintaining CPC but we shouldn't then extrapolate this into a tactical justification and then build "son of the airborne".

Captain Rickard seems to disagree with your assessment, and has published a good reason why:

http://www.army.forces.gc.ca/caj/documents/vol_07/iss_3/CAJ_vol7.3_13_e.pdf
"Overall it appears that much of the apparent complexity of modern war stems in practice from the self-imposed complexity of modern HQs" LCol J.P. Storr

Offline Jungle

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Thanks for the link Infanteer. Very interesting reading, and certainly extremely pertinent with the coming reorg of our LIBs.
For some reason Airborne, or Parachute, troops have always attracted some people, and repulsed others. From my limited experience, it has a lot to do with the required "can-do" attitude, or the absence of it !!! I have met with many outstanding Soldiers who don't have Wings, even though they had the right attitude; they simply chose not to go Airborne. I respect them. I also met with many who don't have the required attitude, and who despise those who do; I don't respect those.
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Offline MCG

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In the Canadian context mass parachute operations make no tactical sense.
What about a smaller drop of a Bn or Coy Gp?  Does it have to be a mass drop or nothing?

Offline Michael Shannon

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    Thank you for Capt Rickard's article. I don't want to get into a real slanging match but a will make a few observations.

    The most recent US airborne ops were really for show and not tactically necessary. Certainly Grenada was just to get combat stars and was close to a disaster. Probably all of the earlier ops would have been airmobile if the helicopters had been available. The later US jumps were just salemanship.

    You may be able to jump in conditions that preclude a heli-borne op, but what current commander would authorize an op that could not be extracted or supported by helicopters? It's not enough to have a capability you must have the will to use it. Imagine the faces in NDHQ when they read of a proposal to drop a company or battalion into the White Mountains without support. No go.

     Jump casualty figures are difficult to gauge because we select our training DZs, altitude and wind conditions with care to prevent casualties. I suspect the casualties from a night jump into the mountains of Afghanistan would be a bit more dramatic than 1/2 %.

     I can't see why you would choose to entry a battle by parachute rather than by helicopter. The helicopters give so much more flexibility
firepower, and tactical mobility that the mass para drop is simply obsolete. What do you do if the enemy has packed up and run in the time it took to mount the drop...chase after them carrying our combat loads? How do you propose to move your guns and ammo? Evac casualties? Helicopters can land you on the ridge tops...DZs will likely be in valley bottoms. You're at a tactical disadvantage as soon as your jump boots hit the ground.

     If you are concerned about building an adventurous mindset in the troops I suggest mountaineering. It's more dangerous than parachuting and has a practical purpose. Perhaps an eidelweiss could replace jump wings as a sign you were fit, tough and brave.

Offline KevinB

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I take issue with Michael Shannons comments about recent jumps.

 The jump into Iraq by the 173rd Abn Brigade was a necissity to show the Kurds that this time the US was thier to stay (they could not get out) and put troops inbehind Sadam
The US has done numerous SOF jumps in smaller amounts in Afghan.

 Secondly - want to seize an airfield?  Paratroops are still the #1 method to get in and seize it in a hurry without laying waste to the airfield.


Helicopters are an asset - but they cannot fly far or in many types of weather.

Defend the North in a hurry - YOU NEED JUMPERS.

Until teleporters have a NSN the Airborne has a riole despite the naysayer's

Supplies can be LAPES'd or door/ramp bundled onto the DZ..

 
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