AIR ASSAULT OPERATIONS


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Air assault

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Air Assault Operations

Amazon Drive Cloud storage from Amazon. Alexa Actionable Analytics for the Web. AmazonGlobal Ship Orders Internationally. Air assault is the movement of ground-based military forces by vertical take-off and landing VTOL aircraft—such as the helicopter —to seize and hold key terrain which has not been fully secured, and to directly engage enemy forces behind enemy lines.

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Provide adequate air defense in the marshaling area and en route to and within the objective area. Edit Article Add New Article. This enables subordinate security units to operate forward of the airhead with minimal coordination. Crush It with Kindle: Portuguese, Rhodesian and South African airmobile tactics often involved air assaults done by small units of special forces or light infantry , transported in four or five Alouette III helicopters. Air assault operations closely resemble airborne operations. The commander can insert his heavy equipment into the objective area by heavy parachute airdrops or an air landing.

The US Army field manual FM FM describes an "air assault operation" as an operation in which assault forces combat, combat support, and combat service support , using the firepower, mobility, and total integration of helicopter assets, maneuver on the battlefield under the control of the ground or air maneuver commander to engage and destroy enemy forces or to seize and hold key terrain usually behind enemy lines.

Due to the transport load restrictions of helicopters, air assault forces are usually light infantry , though some armored fighting vehicles, like the Russian BMD-1 are designed to fit most heavy lift helicopters , which enable assaulting forces to combine air mobility with a certain degree of ground mechanization. Invariably the assaulting troops are highly dependent on aerial fire support provided by the armed helicopters or fixed-wing aircraft escorting them. Air assault should not be confused with air attack , air strike , or air raid , which all refer to attack using solely aircraft for example bombing , strafing , etc.

Moreover, air assault should not be confused with an airborne assault , which occurs when paratroopers , and their weapons and supplies, are dropped by parachute from transport aircraft , often as part of a strategic offensive operation. Air assault and air mobility are related concepts. However, air assault is distinctly a combat insertion rather than transportation to an area in the vicinity of combat. Air assault units can vary in organization; using helicopters not only in transport but also as close air fire support , medical evacuation helicopters and resupply missions.

Airmobile artillery is often assigned to air assault deployments. Units vary in size, but are typically company - or brigade -sized units. Airmobile units are designed and trained for air insertion and vertical envelopment "a maneuver in which troops, either air-dropped or air-landed, attack the rear and flanks of a force, in effect cutting off or encircling the force". One specific type of air assault unit is the US Army air cavalry.

It differs from regular air assault units only in fulfilling a traditional cavalry reconnaissance and short raids role. Britain's 16 Air Assault Brigade was formed in following an amalgamation of elements of 5th Infantry Brigade 5 Airborne Brigade and 24 Airmobile Brigade , bringing together the agility and reach of airborne forces with the potency of the attack helicopter. Air mobility has been a key concept in offensive operations since the s.

Initial approaches to air mobility focused on airborne and glider-borne troops. During World War II many assaults were done by military gliders. Army quickly adopted this concept of offensive operations initially utilizing wooden gliders before the development of helicopters. In the Germans conducted the Gran Sasso raid which implemented many aspects of the air assault concept. Marine General Roy S. Geiger observed the atomic bomb tests at Bikini Atoll and instantly recognized that atomic bombs could render amphibious landings difficult because of the dense concentrations of troops, ships and material at beachheads.

This board recommended that the USMC develop transport helicopters in order to allow a diffused attack on enemy shores.

Airborne and Air Assault Operations

Air assault is the movement of ground-based military forces by vertical take-off and landing . Air assault operations using Army of the Republic of Vietnam ( ARVN) troops began 12 days later in Operation Chopper. These were very successful. Joint force commanders conduct entry operations at the operational level of war. Commanders operating at the tactical level conduct airborne or air assault.

It also recommended that the USMC form an experimental helicopter squadron. HMX-1 performed its first vertical envelopment from the deck of an aircraft carrier in an exercise in American forces later used helicopters for support and transport to great effect during the Korean War showing that the helicopter could be a versatile and powerful military tool.

The first helicopter airlift and helicopter sling load mission was conducted on September 13, , during the Korean War. On November 5, , the Royal Marines ' 45 Commando performed the world's first combat helicopter insertion with air assault during an amphibious landing as part of Operation Musketeer , in Suez , Egypt. The plan was to use the helicopters to drop No. Last-minute concerns about their vulnerability to ground fire meant that they were replaced in this role by French paratroops who conducted a daring low-level drop on 5 November, securing one of the two bridges intact.

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This first-ever operational use of helicopters to land troops during an amphibious assault proved successful. With their carriers lying nine miles offshore, the marines were landed far more quickly than could have been achieved using landing craft, and without the need to get their boots wet. This exercise was the culmination of the Marines' developing strategy of vertical envelopment rather than amphibious assaults on heavily defended beaches.

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The Marine Corps subsequently adopted this method as standard operating procedure after proving that helicopters could be used to transport very large numbers of troops and large amounts of supplies in a timely fashion. Operation Deep Water was a NATO naval exercise held in the Mediterranean Sea that involved the first units of the United States Marine Corps to participate in a helicopter-borne vertical envelopment operation during an overseas deployment.

During the Vietnam war the U. The use of armed helicopters coupled with helicopter transport during the Algerian War for the French Army to drop troops into enemy territory gave birth to the tactics of airmobile warfare that continues today. Usually, the H could carry up to 18 troops, yet local operating as well as climatic conditions decreed that the French army examples could carry only up to around 12 troops each. From to , GH 2 took part in the major battles, which occurred near the frontier between Algeria and Tunisia, including the battle of Souk-Ahras in April The helicopters, including types such as the H, the Alouette II, the Sikorsky H and Sikorsky H , together aggregated over , flying hours in Algeria over 87, for the H alone and helped to evacuate over 20, French combatants from the combat area, including nearly 2, at night.

By the time the war in Algeria had ended, eight officers and 23 non-commissioned officers from ALAT had died in the course of their duties.

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These were very successful at first but the Viet Cong VC began developing counter helicopter techniques, and at the Battle of Ap Bac in January , 13 of 15 helicopters were hit and four shot down. The Army began adding machine guns and rockets to their smaller helicopters and developed the first purpose built gunship with the M-6E3 armament system. Six days later, they performed the first helicopter assault using U. Marine helicopters and ARVN troops. After April , as losses began to mount, U.

Army UH-1 Huey gunships escorted the Marine transports. The VC again used effective counter landing techniques and in Operation Sure Wind on 27 April , 17 of 21 helicopters were hit and three shot down. The 2nd Battalion 3rd Marines made a night helicopter assault in the Elephant Valley south of Da Nang on 12 August shortly after Marine ground troops arrived in country.