I'm trying to tell my friend that massed airborne invasions rarely ever work or nearly always end in heavy casualties, the Germans got massacred at Crete in WW2 and even the airborne landings during Operation Overlord were almost a disaster.
So my question is this, would it be possible for the US to mount a purely airborne invasion of say the UK using only airdrops by parachute trained troops as a means of insertion?
Crete was a disaster because of poor intelligence and planning, not because airborne invasions don't work
That said, there's a very small number of armored vehicles that can be dropped via parachute, and MBTs aren't one of them.
>Do helicopters count? Does capturing an airfield and landing cargo planes with proper weapons and vehicles inside count?
JP 1-02 "department of Defense Dictionary of Military Associated Terms" (http://www.dtic.mil/doctrine/new_pubs/jp1_02.pdf) defines the following terms in relation to your question:
>AIRBORNE -- 1. In relation to personnel, troops especially trained to effect, following transport by air, an assault debarkation, either by parachuting or touchdown. 2. In relation to equipment, pieces of equipment that have been especially designed for use by airborne troops duringor after an assault debarkationas well as some aeronautical equipment used to accomplish a particular mission. 3. When applied to materiel, items that form an integral part of the aircraft. 4. The state of an aircraft, from the instant it becomes entirely sustained by air until it ceases to be so sustained. Also called ABN.
>AIRBORNE ASSAULT -- The use of airborne forces to parachute into an objective area to attack and eliminate armed resistance and secure designated objectives. (JP 3-18)
>AIR ASSAULT -- The movement of friendly assault forces by rotary-wing aircraft to engage and destroy enemy forces or to seize and hold keyterrain. See also assault. (JP 3-18)
>AIR ASSAULT OPERATION -- An operation in which assault forces, using the mobility of rotary-wing assets and the total integration of available firepower, maneuver under the control of a ground or air maneuver commander to engage enemy forces or to seize and hold key terrain. (JP 3-18).
These are the common joint terms shared among all branches of the US Military and throughout the DoD.
>101st are first troops to be dropped into England
>Glorious day for the US to finally teach their old oppressors a lesson.
>North of England is chosen as first stage for invasion due to hg proportion of industry located there
>Realise nothing has been made in Yorkshire for 50 years
>Thick mist has the whole DZ souped in
>Scatter dropped across the pennines
>Several men lost instantly to rare form of the bends caused by altitude of Yorkshire countryside
>frostbite claims dozens more as they attempt to navigate through the dales
>Between random shootings from disgruntled farmers and drunk drivers unexpectedly zooming through the march, the morale has already become low beforevtheyve even reached a major population centre
>Whole company goes missing when they discover a countryside pub and trade guns for Yorkshire ale
>Leeds is full of slags and cheap strong beer
>gonhoroea is rampant
>despite marshal law being implemented local population largely not bothered by it
>curfew is broken in such ridiculously high numbers on the bank holiday Monday night out there simply isn't anywhere to put all arrested people
>becoming increasingly obvious that British people do not give one single shitting fuck and are all far too drunk and sarcastic to even properly police or subjugate
>12 deaths are attributed to simply dying of sheer boredom over conversations about the weather
>remaining paratroopers decide to pack up and march on Bradford, at least it's massive Asian Muslim population will make for some proper invading
>get there and realise every single person living there works as a taxi driver for 80% of the day
>in any town but Bradford
Wasn't overlord a success because it failed?
The wild scattering of paratroopers all over the fucking place instead of in one location made the Germans think they were facing an even larger force. As the paratroopers ran around forming ad hoc units and causing all kinds of tomfuckery the Germans were distracted from the beaches
>So my question is this, would it be possible for the US to mount a purely airborne invasion of say the UK using only airdrops by parachute trained troops as a means of insertion?
Technically, yes. Practically, sizeable airborne invasions almost always have to accept high casualties for success because of the inherent supply limitations (very difficult to get them heavy weapons and such, forcing heavy reliance on ATGMs, etc,) and the ever-present danger of units being isolated and cut off if/when certain sectors aren't taken under control as quickly as planned due to greater than expected enemy resistance, etc. These casualties come out of airborne caderes, which require much more training and are typically more elite, valuable units, which makes the cost even higher.
Basically the only reason you'd launch a full invasion with paratroopers/airborne troops is because you just didn't have the assets to insert them in a safer fashion in terrain easier to establish a bridgehead in - such as the Germans, who just didn't have the amphibious troop transport capacity to really clobber Crete properly. Airborne attacks are all about being able to take the enemy by surprise by dropping right on top of his head, which is why they're almost always used on smaller scales; parachuting troops in to hold a bridge so the enemy can't blow it, for a number of hours till friendly conventional troops can punch through and link up with them. A massed invasion that simply substitutes air assets for naval assets is a rather different kind of operation.
In WWII, they solved this with gliders - one trained pilot could deliver a truckload worth of conventionally-trained ground infantry and moving heavy weapons was easier. The modern equivalent was the Air Cav concept used in Vietnam with lots and lots of helicopters.
Helicopters can sling-load heavy equipment and plenty of supplies, but you're still woefully short of armor, self-propelled guns and other heavy weapons. This means the majority of your supporting fires will have to come from close air support, and close air support is always dangerous with a high attrition rate. (That's changed with the advent of reliable PGMs and aircraft that can drop them from well above short-ranged organic air defenses like SPAAGs and MANPADs but they trade invulnerability for loiter duration and payload - a JDAM is fine for taking out fortified targets or heavy troop concentrations, but it can't orbit overhead all day picking off the enemy one foxhole at at time like a Spooky can. The Spooky is also so vulnerable that its restricted to nighttime operations even against fucking goatherders in Afghanistan, no shit.) Air support is highly effective, but much more costly and much harder to sustain than artillery support or direct-fire support, which again raises the cost of airborne-only invasion.
>the green text implied present day not the 1940s 101 is faggot ass air-assault reeeee
# of airborne parachute drops in combat since Operation Just Cause by anything other than Special Forces?
3 -- Operation just Cause and the 82nd. ONE company of paratroops from the 82nd in Afghanistan and the 173rd Airborne Brigade into a secure zone in Iraq in 2003.
Number of air assault operations involving the 101st Airborne (AASLT) since then? Tens of dozens including several major brigade level ones during the invasion of Iraq in 2003.
You have to also account for the fact that every single British woman will barge out of her house to argue with the occupying soldiers until they shoot themselves because you cannot win an argument with a British council estate mum.
Airborne Incursions may be risky business, the best way to utilize airborne forces is to relieve battered front line forces early war.
HighlyTheoretical example that can apply to any time during cold war: Best Korea zerg rushes worst Korea, US army Korea and 2nd ID fight a slow retreat into Seoul, slaughtering hundreds of thousands of North Koreans on the way. These battered troops, who haven't slept in a bunch of days, and are beginning to experience supply shortages, are reinforced by the 82nd Airborne (and special forces teams and the Rangers) on the 3rd day of hostilities. They drop into the operational rear of allied forces, rally, and relieve troops at the front, who go to the rear, get hot chow, sleep, take a shower, write a quick letter/phone call home, rearm, refuel, brief and return to the front.
All the while the 82nd (where even the STD's are airborne) is raping and killing everything moving south, while SF/SOF does spoopy shit. At some point thereafter the Marines (and some army) arrives from Japan, the Navy sinks everything and bombards the NK advance, and the Army starts flying in troops to Pusan on basically any aircraft it can get it's hands on, while the heavy stuff makes it's way across the Pacific
Airborne by default starts off the fight surrounded. Even if you had complete control of the air and could resupply your forces, you're always surrounded until you can link of with ground forces.
I'd like to see a re-invisioning of Glider Infantry.
Surely with todays tech you could make cheap glider craft relatively safe. You could release from high altitude a long distance away so planes would be much safer, and you could equip the gliders with chaff for radar SAM threats.
It'd be more of an economy of force thing, if in a WW3 type scenario
At some point thereafter the 82nd is relieved (around the time they have nice ear necklace collections and they use eyeballs for ping pong balls)
They are brought to the rear and stand down, DX their shit, get counseling, fuck hookers, rest etc for several weeks; then they are remobilized, packed on planes and used to cut off an avenue of retreat for enemy forces in NK being battered in a US/SK offensive.
North Koreans attempt to retreat, get stopped by the 82nd, those North Koreans that don't surrender get cut down, those that do get raped to death
it'd only be viable in a WW3 scenario, where suddenly we (we meaning anybody really) have to arm and train and deploy tens of millions of draftees and helicopter production and pilot training can't necessarily keep up
Helos can come into an LZ at speed, while maneuvering, and can use terrain to avoid enemy fire. Once a glider is coming in for a landing, its just a fat, slow target moving in a straight line.
some old ww2 vet who was in Normandy with my battalion back when we were glider artillery came and talked us about his experiences
>no thanks bra fuck gliders