AvStop Magazine Online


An armed force desiring to overcome the difficulties which arise from the use of airborne operations and seeking to make the most of the advantages offered by such operations should, in consideration of the statements made so far, arrive at the following conclusions:

1.The attacker's air force should be so strong that even at the beginning of the war it will either be wholly superior to the enemy, or, in fighting the enemy air force, will seriously weaken that force and thus pave the way for mastery of the air with regard to time and space.

2.It is necessary to have available a highly qualified specialized force for the execution of airborne operations. Air landings require tough fighters eager for action, an intensive and diversified training, the best kind of equipment, and ample air-transport space. It is advisable to recruit this specialized force from volunteers. Men who have been taken from the militia or conscript army and have received only brief training, might require an extended tour of active duty. Above all, however, this force should be activated in peacetime, not in cadres only but in full strength, since such a specialized force cannot be organized quickly. These requirements again demonstrate that airborne operations will always be something which only the "rich man" can afford.

3.Any planning for airborne operations on a large scale should include preparations for the movement by air of large ground unit (divisions) to permit the prompt reinforcement of airborne troops after their initial landing. The necessary adjustments with regard to equipment and organization must be carefully considered and applied, and specialized gear must be at hand.

4.It should be realized that an airborne operation is as rapid in its execution as it is time consuming in its preparation and affords neither much freedom of maneuver nor a great deal of flexibility; it must be prepared well in advance. Once it has been set into motion, its direction and objective can no longer be changed. Even in peace-time it is therefore necessary to draw up blueprints for certain conceivable airborne operations, blueprints which are to be carefully modified on the basis of current information obtained in the course of actual hostilities. If this work has been done, the time required for preparation in each individual case can be considerably reduced. Only through foresighted preparatory work covering several likely situations is it at all possible to achieve a limited degree of flexibility in the execution of airborne operations.

5.Finally, it should also be mentioned that air landings, even more than any other operations, are dependent on the weather. The more territory an airborne operation is supposed to cover, the greater will be the need for a long-range weather forecast system, which even during peacetime will have to be set up with an eye to functioning under such wartime limitations as the absence of weather data from enemy countries.