PARACHUTE TROOPS 53 packets o farmed men delivered by air far in advance o f the main army. One o f the principal roles o f parachute troops was clearly shown in Holland. They were die advance guard o f much larger air-borne forces carried in troop-carrier aircraft. They dropped round selected points and held these till the Ju. 52’s arrived. The theory o f die air-borne force o fall arms— the real flying column— was demonstrated for the lirst time. And the Germans, at least, were satisfied, for since then they have worked feverishly at the creation o f a large air-borne army, numbered not by battalions but by divisions, to be transported in troop-carrying aircraft and in gliders, and o f this force die paratroops are only a small proportion. The proposed use o f the German air-borne army is a matter o f conjecture. I fit is dirown against diis country, its casualties will be terrific. But will they be greater than if the same troops were advancing across no-man’s-land behind a barrage towards a trench line bristling with machine-guns ?Probably not, and such attacks were sometimes successful in Flanders. Perhaps tl is, dien, will be Hitler’s secrer invasion weapon. I think we must prepare ourselves to make the most o f diis— the best opportunity we shall get o f destroying a war-worshipping section o f the enemy’s forces: that is particularly dear to their leaders. Perhaps I may seem to have spoken unduly o f die work of our enemies in the new field o f air-borne warfare. What about ours ?Some o f you will have noticed on the arms of certain officers and men avery attractive badge with the white parachute between blue soaring wings. The recem: small operation in Italy has shown the extent to which disjoint work o f die R.A .F .and the Army has developed this new art. I daresay diat in the whole o f Army Co-operation Command there is no better example o f co-operation between the services indian the organisation and training o f the Special Air Service troops that has been quietly taking place for sometime.
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