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A irborne forces of the US Army have often demonstrated their ability to conduct decisive, short notice, forced entry operations deep into enemy territory. They seize and maintain the initiative until follow-on forces are committed to the fight and then move to hit the enemy where he is the most vulnerable.
Airborne Operations (FM ) : Department of the Army :
The ability to rapidly deploy, land, and sustain a powerful ground combat force is vital to US interests and worldwide commitments. From their origins early in World War II, the US Army’s airborne forces have dramatically demonstrated their responsiveness and flexibility many times on DZs and battlefields all over the world. As the threat of regional conflict has grown, the XVIII Airborne Corps, the 82d Airborne Division, and the 75th Ranger Regiment have demonstrated that well-trained, determined airborne soldiers armed with modern light weapons and led by skilled officers and NCOs can dominate the close fight and impose their will upon the enemy–wherever he is.
On 17 Decemberthe National Command Authority decided to commit specially trained airborne units to military action in Panama. The President established H-hour for on 20 December, just three days after the decision to intervene.
The complex operation was centrally planned due to the need for thoroughly synchronized operations. The mission assigned to the airborne force was to quickly isolate, neutralize, and, if needed, destroy units of the Panamanian Defense Force by overwhelming combat power. These forces were then to link up with elements of the 7th Infantry Division Lightthe 5th Infantry Division Mechanizedand the d Infantry Brigade. Deploying by strategic airlift from multiple bases in the continental United States, paratroopers jumped into action on two principal DZs.
Airborne Operations FM 90 26
Another task force built around the 1st Brigade of the 82d Airborne Division followed the rangers. Their mission was to jump, assemble, and conduct immediate air assaults to eliminate PDF garrisons at Fort Cimarron, Tinajitas, and Panama Viejo These initial offensive operations were later followed by ground combat and stability operations.
Largely through fn operations, capable and aggressive combined arms task forces were brought to bear on short notice against a dispersed enemy. Thirty-two separate objectives were attacked at the same time, paralyzing the enemy. The resounding success of Operation Just Cause was due mostly to the parachute assault and rapid follow-on missions made possible by the airborne operation.
Operation Just Cause demonstrated once again the capability, flexibility and value of airborne forces. Airborne and ranger units are organized and equipped to conduct parachute assaults to close with 9-026 enemy to kill 90-2, to destroy his equipment, and to shatter his will cm resist.
This close personal fight requires combat-ready units composed of skilled soldiers and resourceful leaders. These units are the result of a tough, thorough, and demanding training program conducted by leaders who understand the effective employment of airborne forces, the combined arms team, and joint operations. Paratroopers must be experts in marksmanship, close combat, individual parachute techniques, and tm. They should be proficient with their assigned weapons and other weapons in the unit.
They should also be familiar with foreign-made weapons that the enemy will use. In the close fight, paratroopers must be skilled in employing all weapons to include the rifle, the bayonet the AT4, mf, mines, and bare hands. They must be confident in their ability to fight with these weapons They must be highly skilled in land navigation, camouflage, and tracking and stalking techniques.
Paratroopers must be able to move undetected close to enemy soldiers.
Stealth is required for reconnaissance, infiltration, and achieving surprise. Paratroopers must have f, skill and the will to dominate the close fight. Infantry leaders must be the most capable soldiers in their unit and be tactically and technically proficient. The quality of the leadership 9-026 the unit’s success or failure in battle. Leaders must be proficient in land navigation and have an appreciation for terrain and parachute assault techniques. For a foot soldier, the terrain is both protector and ally.
When properly exploited, it can increase the combat potential of the unit and support the achievement of surprise. All leaders must also be resourceful, tenacious, 90-62 decisive warriors. They are the combined arms integrators closest to the fight. They must be highly skilled in the employment of all the weapons and assets in the combined arms team. Leaders must be innovative and flexible when employing their units.
They must have the mental agility to quickly grasp the situation and the initiative to take independent action, based on the situation 9-26 the commander’s intent. Above all, they must personally lead their unit to success in close combat.
Airborne Operations (FM 90-26)
The strength of airborne forces comes from the skill, courage, and discipline of the individual paratrooper. The paratrooper’s abilities are enhanced by the teamwork and cohesion that develop in squads and platoons. This fn teamwork and cohesion that develop in squads and platoons. This teamwork cohesion is essential to the survival and success of airborne vm in close combat. Cohesion enhances the paratrooper’s will and determination to persevere, to accept the hardships, and to refuse to accept defeat.
In the close fight, when the decision hangs in the balance, these are the factors that decide the victor. It is at the small-unit level squad and platoon that cohesion and teamwork provide the greatest benefits to the combat effectiveness of the unit. Paratroopers must have complete trust and confidence in their leaders. Leaders earn this trust and confidence by sharing the hardships and by displaying the leadership attributes described in FM They must entrust rm same confidence in their soldiers for this bonding to develop.
The unit training program must instill individual and collective fn and confidence, and must develop combat-ready units. It must consist of difficult, challenging training events that prepare soldiers, leaders, and units for the close fight.
The program must emphasize physical fitness, marksmanship skills, and parachute techniques. Paratroopers must be challenged to achieve expert proficiency in all of the combat critical skills.
Night training, especially night live-fire exercises and parachute assaults, should be routine. The environment of the close fight should be simulated when possible. Training events that require subordinate leaders to use their initiative and take independent action are essential dm prepare for decentralized operations that the unit normally conducts.
Training to standard also develops cohesive, tenacious squads vm platoons that can overcome all obstacles to ensure the safety of their unit and the accomplishment of the mission.
FM Chptr 1 Introduction
The training program must continue after the unit begins conducting combat operations. The skills, teamwork, and cohesion must be sustained as replacements arrive in the unit.
This is essential to maintain the combat effectiveness of the unit. Airborne forces may be strategically, operationally, or tactically deployed on short notice to DZs anywhere in the world. They can be employed as a deterrent or combat force. Special air warfare operations. Suppression of enemy air defense. The strategic mobility of airborne forces permits rapid employment to meet contingence across the operational continuum anywhere in the world.
Airborne forces provide a means by which a commander can decisively influence operations. The primary advantages of airborne operations are as follows:. Quick response on short notice. Ability to bypass all land or sea obstacles. Ability to mass rapidly on critical targets. Airborne forces, when augmented with appropriate combat, CS, and CSS, can conduct sustained combat operations against any enemy.
Airborne forces execute parachute assaults to destroy the enemy and to seize and hold important objectives until linkup is accomplished. The parachute assault enhances the basic infantry combat mission: Simply alerting airborne forces for employment is a show of force that is politically significant in a strategic context.
Airborne forces have strategic mobility. They can move from distant bases to strike at important targets deep in enemy-held territory with little warning. Strategic missions may require airborne forces to seize an airhead from which follow-on ground or air operations can be launched.
Operation Just Cause was a strategic mission. Airborne forces can be employed anywhere in the theater of war. They attack deep to achieve operational-level objectives. For example, the seizure of objectives, such as airfields, bridges, or other key terrain deep in the enemy’s rear area, is an operational mission.
This is linked to the operational-level commander’s concept and simplifies his accomplishment of assigned tasks. These airborne operations are usually short and require a linkup with other friendly forces or extraction of the airborne force.
Operation Market 902-6 in the fall of is a good example of an operational mission. Airborne forces assault in the rear or to the 9026 of the enemy, preferably where few fixed defenses exist and where well-organized enemy combat units are not initially present. They can also be used for rapid reinforcement of friendly ground units. Their size depends on the mission to be accomplished and the time, soldiers, and aircraft available. Usually only the assault echelon and its immediate follow-up are delivered into the objective area by parachute.
Support for insurgency and counterinsurgency. The airborne commander and his staff must understand the fundamentals of airborne operations to plan and execute a successful airborne assault. These fundamentals are valid at every level:. Airborne forces require specially selected, trained, and highly disciplined soldiers and leaders. Airborne operations require centralized, detailed planning and aggressive decentralized execution.
The commander and planners must recognize the limitations of airborne forces and plan accordingly. They must consider the following:.
The availability and type of aircraft dictates the scope and duration of airborne operations. Airborne forces are vulnerable to enemy attack while en route to the DZ. Although the USAF can conduct limited airdrops without air superiority, large operations require neutralization or suppression of enemy air defenses.
After the initial airdrop, the sustained combat power of airborne forces depends on resupply by air.