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Letter To The Editor

Military Operations will publish letters to the Editor on relevant subjects. The following letter was received in connection with the article ‘Three Short Pieces’ in the 4th Edition of Military Operations. ‘Three Short Pieces’ addressed three issues: headquarters size, operational parachute capability, and infantry fighting vehicles.

In addition to this letter, Julian Thompson has written a letter in response to the same article.

Justin Kelly 12th November 2013

The Airborne Fallacy

We did a study on the need for a conventional parachute capability a few years ago and concluded it was pointless. This proved to be so unpalatable that we were asked to repeat it – several times. It became known as the annual parachute study.

The reality is that parachute operations are so limited by terrain, weather, aircraft availability and their susceptibility to the enemy that the margin between success and failure is paper thin. This means they have no utility except in those ‘Wehrmacht at the door’ situations where anything is worth a try. The British 1st Airborne Division was effectively stopped at Arnhem by half of a shot-up armoured recce battalion.

Justin Kelly

Justin was formerly Director General Future Land Warfare for the Australian Army

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