airborne forces are units military, normally light Infantry, transferred in Airships and sent in combat. In this way they can be placed behind the enemy lines, and have the ability of being unfolded in any place with little warning. The formation is limited the number and size of the airships, so with capacity a great force can enough appear " from none parte" in minutes, an action designated like vertical encirclement.

Nevertheless, the airborne forces lack generally provisions and equipment for prolonged operations battle, and therefore they are more useful for operations of airlift that occupations in the long term. In addition, the operations parachutists are particularly sensible to adverse the atmospheric conditions.

The advances in the technology of Helicopter from World War II are increasing the flexibility in the airborne operations, replacing by helicopters the great desplegamientos of parachutists. However, many armies continue conserving their paratrooperses.


The airborne forces can be divided in three categories:

  • Parachutists, who take earth in parachute from an airplane.

  • Airborne troops, who land in airships, generally Glider .
  • Aircraft infantry or troops of aerial Assault, transported to the battlefield in helicopters or airplanes.

The basic premise of the airborne forces is the one to arrive with sufficient speed at the point so that a coherent defense against them in a short time cannot be mounted. It is assumed that this tactical advantage cannot be maintained during long time, reason why the effective airborne missions require of the fast advance of the ground troops for their support.


The idea of welded of the sky is not recent; previous Franklin Youngest child that would have welded unfolded from the sky, with a rudimentary and coarse understanding of the parachute. The first modern consideration of the use of the present forces of parachutists dates from 1918 . Towards the end of World War I, the Brigadier general Billy Mitchell suggested to send to part of 1ª Infantry division of the United States behind the German lines near Metz . Nevertheless, the war finished before the attack was seriously glided.

The first real launching of parachutists happened in November of 1927 on the part of Italy . Spent some years several battalions formed and the two divisions of elite were created Folgore and Nembo . Although they fought in World War II, never were used for bails out.

At that time Soviet Union also underwent with the idea, gliding launchings of complete units with vehicles. In order to train a sufficient amount of saltadores, they were created clubs of parachutists by all the country with the intention to transfer the expert members to the Armed Forces. The plan progressed, and in 1935 was realized a demonstration in Kiev before diverse foreign delegations, in which 2,500 parachutists jumped.

One of the observation groups, Germany, particularly was interested. In 1936, the Immans Major received the order to create a parachuting school and to receive an amount of Junkers 52 Ju for the training. The military had already bought a great amount of these airplanes that were modified slightly for the use of transport of parachutists. Other nations, including Japan, also were organizing airborne units then.

World War II

German operations

Several groups within the own Armed Forces tried to create their formation of parachutists and was certain confusion for that reason. This changed when the General Kurt Student of Luftwaffe was put to the control for this work, and began to create the new force that would know like Fallschirmjäger .

During the invasion of Norway and Denmark in Weserübung Operation, the Luftwaffe sent parachutists in several places. In Denmark, element was sent in the Masnedøfort of the Masnedø island to capture the Storstrøm bridge that unites the islands of Falster and Zealand. A group was unfolded in the airfield of Aalborg that was crucial for the operations of the Luftwaffe on Norway. In Norway an airborne company was sent in the defenseless runway of Oslo . During the morning and behind schedule of of 9 April of 1940, the Germans sent sufficient reinforcements to arrive at the capital at the very end of afternoon, but the Norwegian government already had fled.

In Batalla of France, members of Regiment of Brandenburg were sent by reconnaissance airplanes Fieseler Fi 156 to the bridges immediately to the south of the route of 10ª Panzer Division in the Ardennes . In Belgium, a small German group of forces in gliders landed at the top of the strength of Eben Emael the morning of 10 of May of 1940 and captured the strength in a matter of hours. Two concurrent operations were realized during the invasion of the Netherlands . The parachutists German landed in an airport near The Hague . Nevertheless, they were expelled from the aerodrome before the reinforcement troops arrived. This she was one of the few occasions that an aerodrome captured by parachutists has been recaptured. At the same time, small groups of parachutists fell to capture the crucial bridges to be able to reach all the country.

The greater victory of the Fallschirmjäger and its majors losses it happened during Batalla of Crete . The losses were so great that Hitler prohibited its use in such operations in the future. Hitler thought that the power of the parachutists was its newness, and since the British had found the way to defend themselves of the airborne troops, it did not have sense to return to use them.

The most remarkable exception for this was the use of airborne forces in special operations. 12 of September of 1943, Otto Skorzeny carried out an assault with gliders to the Hotel of Great Sasso, the highest mountain of the Apennines, and rescued to Benito Mussolini . Also that to say there that Italian parachutists participated.

Allied operations

The great losses in Batalla of Crete were hidden to the allies. The battle that ended the airborne operations of the Germans had an effect opposed in the Allies. Convinced of the effectiveness of the assaults by air, the Allies hurried to organize their own airborne divisions.

First incursions

Colossus operation

The first assault of troops airborne British was realized 10 of February of 1941, when the Commando Nº 2 introduced itself in enemy zone through a launching in Italy to destroy aqueducto in a denominated operation Colossus .

In some official circles, the commandos received the special name of troops on watch (Special Service), and for this incursion the men of the Nº2 Commando were denominated " II Special Air Service . It was the first time that was used the term " SAS" it was used and when he was observed that he was needed more than 500 parachutists, the Commando Nº 2 comprised of the foundation of Airborne regiment .

Biting operation

27 of February of 1942 Radar Wurzburg was attacked by British parachutists in Biting Operation . The electronic equipment were recovered to be examined.

The Mediterranean

Torch operation

The first important launching was realized during Torch Operation in North Africa. The 509 Battalion of the Infantry of Parachutists of the United States flew during 2,400 km, from Great Britain passed through Spain to arriving near Oran and capturing two aerodromes. The launching was a fiasco, the communication problems and navigation dispersed to the forces from Gibraltar to Tunisia.

Husky operation

As it leaves from Husky Operation four airborne operations were realized, landing during the night from the 9 to the 10 of July; two British and two Americans. The American troops Airborne division was 82ª, that realized its first jump. The strong winds during the launching dispersed to the troops, with the result from which approximately half of the troops did not arrive at their rallying points.

The British gliders only obtained something better: of the 144 gliders, 12 landed in the objective and many in the sea. Nevertheless, the dispersed airborne troops maximized their opportunities, attacking patrols and creating confusion.

13 of July of 1943, than 112 airplanes and 16 gliders transporting more to 1,856 men started off from North Africa. Its primary target era to capture the Primosole bridge, providing a way to 8º Army, but the anti-aircraft fire was able to realize many losses. Finally only 295 men were unfolded near the bridge. Although they captured the bridge, would be recaptured by 4ª German Brigade of Parachutists.


The airborne forces of the United States kept in the reserve during the initial invasion of Italy by Salerno, in Avalanche Operation . Later, during the counterattacks German, 5,000 parachutists of 82º Division and 509º Infantry battalion of Parachutists were sent to assure the beach.

In April of 1945, in Herring Operation, a launching of a commando had like objective interrupting the communications of German retarguardia and to take key points from the north of Italy.

Western Europe

The Allies had learned better logistic tactics and of their previous launchings, and these lessons were applied in the assaults throughout the western front.

Overlord operation
The most famous operation was Overlord Operation in D-day, 6 of June of 1944 . The task of the airborne forces era of protecting flanks beaches of Normandy. The British parachutists protected the Eastern flank in Operation Layer capturing Pegasus Bridge . Another objective was the artillery battery of Merville. 101ª and 82ª American Airborne divisions, although very dispersed by bad weather and the lack of marked zones, protected the western flank in Chicago Operation and Detroit Operation with many losses.

The south of France

15 of August of 1944, units of parachutists, including 4º, 5º and 6º Battalions of parachutists, was sent between Frejus and Dogs like part of Operation Anvil Dragoon . Its objective era to capture the zone, to destroy the enemy positions and manternelas until 7º Army arrived.

Once their initial targets were captured, three thousand soldiers and equipment transported by about 300 gliders in a denominated operation were reinforced with Dove .

Operation Market Garden

The cleanest launching of the war, Operation Market Garden, implied to 35,000 troops sent to 150 km behind the German front in an attempt to capture a bridge on Rhine in Arnhem . Three complete airborne divisions were sent in several points of freeway 69. In the end, the plan failed, after hard counterattacks German. 1ª British Division was destroyed in Arnhem, and the bridge remained in the power of Germany.

Varsity operation

Varsity Operation was the more effective and great airborne operation of history, and marked the principle of the aim for Germany.

The Pacific

There were airborne operations against Japan although less they are known.

New Guinea

In the autumn of 1943, 503º Infantry regiment of Parachutists was successfully sent during the invasion of New Guinea . It was the first airborne attack in the theater of operations of the Pacific.

The Philippines

Several launchings happened during the invasion of Philippine, the majority implying to 11ª Airborne division.


A great British, well-known force like Chindits, acted behind the Japanese lines during 1944. During Dracula Operation, in 1945, a British airborne battalion assured the Japanese coastal defenses, which allowed to the occupation of Rangún without greater opposition.

Japanese operations

The Japaneses used airborne forces in several battles. Special the Naval Forces of Landings had several units of parachutists, and the Japanese Imperial Army had at least one brigade that action saw during the war, with greater notabilidad in the aerial assault that helped to capture Java at the beginning of 1942.

Post World War II

Korean War

187º Equipment battle of Regimiento Aerotransportado (RAKKASANS) realized two jumps in Korea during Korean War . First of was 20 of October 1950 in North Korea, with intention to cut a highway, to prevent the escape with norcoreanos leaders from Pyongyang and to rescue to prisoners military .

The second jump Easter was realized the Sunday of in 1951, in South Korea . The mission was placed behind Chinese forces with intention to block its movement towards the north.

Musketeer operation

During War of Suez, Musketeer Operation needed the element surprise to be a success, and the 660 men had to be in the combat-ready aerodrome of the Gamil in five minutes. To the 4:15 hours of 5 of November of 1956, 3º British Battalion jumped and although the opposition was numerous, the losses were little.

The landings from sea on the following day have been considered the first assault on a large scale from helicopters, with Commando 45 of Real Marins taking earth in Saíd Port .

War of Ifni

Formed at the beginning of Years 1950, the units of Spanish parachutists fought in War of Ifni . 29 of November of 1957, few days after beginning the conflict, members of II the Airborne battalion realized their first jump military to support to the trimming that was surrounded in Tiliuín until the arrival of reinforcements.

9 of February of 1958 carried out the Teide-Ecouvillon operation, realized jointly between Spain and France. The Spanish parachutists contibuyeron to the recuperración of Smara, whereas the French parachutists and legionaries defeated to the Moroccan forces that were in Sidahamed Larosi .

In spite of counting on few means, the Spanish parachutists were successful in the different jumps that took place between February and April of 1958, since the Moroccan guerillas dispersed when warning their presence.

War Hindu-Pakistani

The parachutists were used in the Second War of Cashemira of 1965 . A secret operation was sent by the army of Pakistan with the intention to infiltrate in Indian air bases and to sabotage them. The commandos SSG (Special Services Group, special service group) who had about 200 men were sent to Indian territory. The Indian information, nevertheless, affirm that the number was of 800 or 900.

As the Indian objectives were very inside of the enemy territory, only approximately one dozen returned with life and the operation demonstrated to be ineffective. Of the rest, 136 were captured, 22 died by encounter with the army, the local police or civil.

War of Vietnam

The use of movable troops in helicopters by the United States in War of Vietnam was extensive, and got to be an icon in the reporters and films on the conflict.

In February of 1967 sent Operation Junction City, that would be the greater operation by the coalition force. During this operation, members of 2º Battalion, 503º and 319º of Artillery, and elements of 173ª Airborne Brigade realized the jump in Vietnam.

Recent history

From the military operation of the helicopter, the airborne forces are handicapped in amount, with the armies choosing in their place forces that react with greater rapidity and maintain the operations battle during greater time.
  • In 1983, during Invasion of Granada, Rangers of the United States realized a jump to the aerodrome of Salt mines.

  • In 1989, during invasion of Panama, 82ª Airborne division realized its first jump battle in 40 years. The second battalion of 504º Infantry regiment of Parachutist assured the airport Torrijos.
  • 19 of October of 2001, during Operation Lasting Freedom, was realized a jump nocturne to assure the aerodrome Kandahar .
  • In November of 2001, for the second time in the Operation Lasting Freedom, another jump in a distant region was made of Afghanistan to establish a base.
  • In February of 2003, elements of 2º Battalion of Rangers and 82ª Airborne division realized the third jump for the Operation Lasting Freedom.
  • 19 of March of 2003, became a jump in the west of Iraq like head to advance of invasion of Iraq .
  • One week later another jump was realized and 173ª Airborne Brigade jumped in the north of Iraq.
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