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Category: Airborne operations (page 1 of 10)

Swedish Army Para Rangers – Op Normandie 2014

Airborne Soldiers from around the world gathered in Normandy, France last month for the Anniversary of the Allied airborne drops that spearheaded the invasion on that “longest day” 70 years ago.  Rangers travelled to Normandy and jumped from a Dakota onto the sacred ground of Normandy’s drop zones…

In this video we see some of the 68 Swedish Army Para Rangers, age 23 to 64, doing refresher training in Sweden and then jumping in Normandy to honor the airborne soldiers who fought for freedom all those years ago.  For many of these guys, this was their first jump in more than 30-40 years.  The Dispatcher (‘Jumpmaster’ in American jargon) seen in the video is the legendary Ian Marshal – of the Pathfinder Parachute Group.

Click on the picture below to jump to the video.

Para-Rangers Normandy 2014

(hat tip to Alex Moodie)

Exercise “Tears of the Sun”

Exercise “Tears of the Sun”, took place a couple of weeks ago in Toulouse, France, as a key interoperability exercise between 16 Air Assault Brigade and 11e Brigade Parachutiste (11e BP), which is at the forefront of closer military co-operation between Britain and France.

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Both brigades are rapid reaction forces, held at high readiness to deploy on operations anywhere in the world. They form the Intermediate Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (I-CJEF) for contingency operations, ranging from disaster relief to war fighting.

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Operation Husky: the invasion of Sicily *update*

Just past midnight on the morning of June 10th, 71 years ago, an Airborne force comprised mainly of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division led the largest parachute assault by American forces to-date, into Sicily, as part of Operation Husky.

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45 mph winds blew troop carriers off course and spread Paratroopers from Gela to Syracuse, Italy. By July 14th, about two-thirds of the 505th Regiment had managed to concentrate, half the Paratroopers failed to reach their rallying points.

In spite of these mishaps, the widespread landing of airborne troops had an overall positive effect as small isolated units, acting on their own initiative, attacked vital points and created widespread panic.

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*Update*  I had originally made the incorrect statement that this was the first airborne assault by American airborne forces in WWII.  I’m afraid I didn’t remember my history as well as I thought I did – the FIRST airborne assault by American force in WWII was actually conducted by the 509th P.I.R. during the invasion of North Africa (“Operation Torch”).   Thanks to LTC. RXXXXXX of the 101st Abn. Div. for bringing this to my attention.

- Lawrence

 

Canadian Jumpers Commemorated 70th Anniversary of D-Day

In commemoration of 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion’s participation in D-Day, 50 parachutists representing Canadian Army Divisions from across Canada, conducted a parachute insertion into Ranville, France on June 5th,with other parachutists from France, the United Kingdom and the United States.

The Canadian jumpers boarded various aircraft from the French, British, American, and Canadian Air Forces’ at Évreux-Fauville Air Base and took to the skies, reminiscent of actions that occurred 70 years prior.  “This jump is a way to acknowledge Canada’s historical efforts during WWII and is something I will cherish forever,” said LCol John Errington, the Airborne Contingent Commander.  “It is incredible what our veterans accomplished here, they jumped in the dark to face of a hostile enemy and their bravery and sacrifices should never be forgotten,” he continued.

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Following the successful jump, the paratroopers participated in a wings exchange ceremony with their British, French, and American colleagues outside a picturesque church in Breville, France. During the ceremony, a few lucky paratroopers were selected to receive their British jump wings directly from His Royal Highness, Charles, Prince of Wales.  “Receiving my British jump wings from Prince Charles is one of the greatest highlights of my career,” said Cpl Richard Mousseau with the 3rd Battalion, Royal 22ND Regiment.  “To be here with the Veterans who actually jumped on D-Day is overwhelming, especially because my father Marcel, a veteran who stormed Juno beach and fought here recently passed on… every time I jump I look over my right shoulder and know that he is here with me.”

After the wings exchange, the Canadian Airborne Contingent jumpers attended a memorial at the crossroads at le Mesnil. There, a monument stands honouring the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion’s heroic efforts in helping to liberate Europe. The crowds in attendance were honoured to have Canadian WWII Airborne Veterans, John Ross, Merv Jones, and Robert B. Sullivan, lay wreaths at the memorial, honouring the significance and importance of Canadian Airborne soldiers sacrifices and accomplishments during D-Day and the subsequent fighting.

D-Day was one of Canada’s most significant and successful military engagements, and a pivotal moment of the 20th century. D-Day and the campaign that followed in Normandy would help signal the beginning of the end of the Second World War.The jump, wings exchange, and memorial was organized as part of the 70th Anniversary commemoration activities being conducted in and around Normandy, France.

By Captain Brian Kominar, Public Affairs Officer, Canadian Army News

WWII-era C-47s thrill the crowd at Duxford’s D-Day Airshow

Depending upon which side of ‘The Pond’ you’re from, you might call it a ‘Skytrain’ or a ‘Dakota’ – but either way, its pretty rare to see 4 of them in the air together at the same time – and painted in D-Day Invasion Stripes no less.

The first one, call sign “Whiskey Seven“, is especially impressive.  She actually took part in the D-Day airborne operations – dropping paratroops from the 82nd Airborne Division near St. Mere Eglise.  Currently making her home at the National Warplane Museum in Geneseo, New York, Whiskey Seven made the trek across the Atlantic to take part in the Duxford D-Day Airshow, before continuing on to the European Continent and on to Normandy, France where members of The Liberty Jump Team will conduct airborne operations from her as part of the 70th Anniversary of D-Day.  In other words, they’re going to jump from her using round canopy parachutes, dressed in period-authentic clothing and gear.

In the meantime, just sit back and enjoy this video from the Duxford airshow….

Duxford D-Day Airshow

 

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