Learn more about Paratrooper
Paratroopers are soldiers trained in parachuting and generally operate as part of an airborne force. Paratroopers offer a tactical advantage as they can be inserted into the battlefield from the air, thereby allowing them to be positioned in areas not accessible by land. This ability to enter the battle from different locations allows paratroopers to evade fortifications that are in place to prevent attack from a specific direction, and the possible use of paratroopers forces an army to spread their defenses to protect other areas which would normally be safe by virtue of the geography. This ideology was first practically applied to warfare by the Soviets, however during WWII, they were overstretched in their battle with Germany, and the elite paratroopers were mainly used on land. Paratroopers were first used extensively in World War II (and in German service, were referred to as Fallschirmjäger.) A common use for paratroopers is to establish an airhead.
 Types of military parachutingWorld War II paratroopers most often used parachutes of a round design. These parachutes could be steered to a small degree by pulling on the risers (four straps connecting the paratrooper's harness to the connectors) and suspension lines which attach to the parachute canopy itself. German paratroopers, whose harnesses had only a single riser attached at the back, could not manipulate their parachutes in such a manner. Due to the limited capacity of period cargo aircraft (eg. Ju-52) they rarely, if ever, jumped in groups much larger than 20 from one aircraft. In American parlance, this load of paratroopers is called a "stick", while any load of soldiers gathered for air movement is known as a "chalk".
Not all paratroopers used parachutes during a drop, but flew in on gliders. This enabled larger equipment (vehicles, cannons, etc.) to support the assault.
Today, paratroopers still use round parachutes, or round parachutes modified as to be more fully controlled with toggles. The parachutes are usually deployed by a Static line. Mobility of the parachutes is often deliberately limited to prevent scattering of the troops when a large number parachute together. Some military exhibition units, but most often special forces units, use "ram-air" paragliders which offer higher ability to turn and maneuver and are deployed without a static line from high altitude.
 Paratrooper forces around the world
- Argentine Army
- 4th Parachute Brigade (Brigada Paracaidista IV)
- Australian Army
- Austrian Federal Armed Forces
- Belgian Army
- The Para-Commando Brigade
- Brazilian Army
- Paratrooper Infantry Brigade (Brigada Infantaria Paraquedista)
- British Army
- 16 Air Assault Brigade
- Pathfinder Platoon
- One Squadron of the Household Cavalry Regiment (can provide at least one Para trained Troop)
- The Argyll and Sutherland Highlanders (5th Battalion, The Royal Regiment of Scotland)
- 1st Battalion, Royal Irish Regiment
- 2nd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment
- 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment (contains an attached Platoon from the Household Division (Grenadier, Coldstream, Scots, Irish and Welsh Guards))
- 7 Parachute Regiment, Royal Horse Artillery
- 23 Engineer Regiment (Air Assault), Royal Engineers
- 16 Air Assault Brigade HQ and Signal Squadron (216), Royal Corps of Signals - (One troop is parachute trained)
- 7 Air Assault Battalion, Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
- 156 Provost Company, Royal Military Police - (No2 Platoon is parachute trained)
- Brigade Parachute Squadron RAF
- 16 Air Assault Brigade
- Bulgarian Army
- 68th Brigade Special Forces (68 Бригада Специални Сили)
- Canadian Army- retains four airborne companies (three in the regular forces, and one in the reserves)
- Chilean Army
- Chinese Army
- Czech Army
- 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade (4. Brigáda Rychlého Nasazení)
- 41st Mechanised Battalion (Žatec)
- 42nd Mechanised Battalion (Tábor)
- 43rd Airborne Mechanised Battalion (Chrudim)
- 102nd Reconnaissance Battalion (Prostějov)
- 4th Rapid Deployment Brigade (4. Brigáda Rychlého Nasazení)
- Dutch Army
- Luchtmobiele Brigade
- French Army
- 11ème Brigade Parachutiste
- 2eme Régiment Etranger Parachutiste (Foreign Legion)
- 1er Régiment Parachutiste d'Infanterie de Marine (Special Forces)
- Commandos Parachutistes (formerly known as Commando de Recherche et d'Actions en Profondeur "CRAP" -meaning : long range action & recon commando)
- 13eme Régiment Dragon Parachutiste; an old former French cavalry regiment now converted into a Paratroopers regiment. This unit is directly linked with the DGSE. Its mission is to collect intelligence on the ground in pre-war/war/battlefield environment
- Escadron Parachutiste d'Intervention de la Gendarmerie Nationale
- Finnish Defence Forces
- German Federal Armed Forces
- Fallschirmjäger (WWII)
- Luftlande- und Lufttransportschule (Training Center)
- Division Spezielle Operationen (DSO)
- Fernspählehrkompanie 200 (Long Range Reconnaissance)
- Luftlandeflugabwehrraketenbatterie 100 (Air Defence)
- Fernmeldebataillon DSO (Signals)
- Luftlandebrigade 26 (Airborne)
- Luftlandeaufklärungskompanie 260 (Reconnaissance)
- Luftlandepionierkompanie 260 (Combat Engineers)
- Fallschirmjägerbataillon 261
- Fallschirmjägerbataillon 263
- Luftlandeunterstützungsbataillon 262 (Support)
- Luftlandebrigade 31 (Airborne)
- Luftlandeaufklärungskompanie 310 (Reconnaissance)
- Luftlandepionierkompanie 270 (Combat Engineers)
- Fallschirmjägerbataillon 313
- Fallschirmjägerbataillon 373
- Luftlandeunterstützungsbataillon 272 (Logistic and Medical Support)
- Kommando Spezialkräfte (KSK) (Special Forces)
- luftbewegliche Brigade 1 (Air Assault)
- Jägerregiment 1
- Kommando Schnelle Einsatzkräfte Sanitätsdienst (Medical)
- Spezialisierte Einsatzkräfte Marine (SEK M) (Special Forces)
- Hellenic Army
- 1st Raider/Paratrooper Brigade (1 Taxiarhia Katadromon-Alexiptotiston) (Special Forces)
- Indian Army
- Israeli Defence Forces
- Italian Army
- Paratroops Brigade "Folgore"
- Japan Ground Self-Defense Force
- Malaysian Army
- Mexican Air Force
- Norwegian Army
- Hærens Jegerkommando (Army Ranger Command)
- Russian armed forces
- VDV (Airborne Assault Troops) - the largest airborne and paratroopes force in the world
- Spanish Army
- BRIPAC (Brigada Paracaidista "Almogávares" VI)
- Swedish Army
- Swiss Army
- Armeeaufklärungsdetachement (AAD) (Army Reconnaissance Group)
- Fallschirmaufklärer Kp 17 (Parachute Reconnaissance Company 17)
- United States Army
- 82nd Airborne Division 17th Airborne Division WWII Operation Varsity (Rhine Crossing)]]
- 173d Airborne Brigade
- 4th Brigade Combat Team (ABN), 25th Infantry Division
- 101st Airborne Division (Now Air Assault)
- 20th Engineer Brigade
- Special Forces
- XVIII Airborne Corps
- 75th Ranger Regiment
- 1st BN (ABN), 509th INF
- Venezuelan Army
- 42nd Infantry Paratrooper Brigade (42a Brigada Paracaidista de Infanteria)
 Basic paratroop safety
American paratroopers receive training in a number of areas to ensure they arrive in the battlefield safely. They are taught about how to respond to a premature deployment of their parachute in the aircraft, the need to push their static line into the hands of the safety or jumpmaster to prevent the line from becoming entangled around the next jumper and proper procedures in case the aircraft has an emergency. The five points of performance, a system of steps taught to paratroopers to be performed while jumping in order to successfully reach the ground from the aircraft, are also observed.
 Five points of performance
Before each airborne operation a jumpmaster runs through the "Sustained Airborne Training" script, which contains a number of points of performance. While the script is recited paratroopers perform the actions they will do when jumping from the aircraft, while being observed to ensure they are done correctly.
The first point of performance is "Proper exit, check body position, and count". Here, the eyes are open, the chin is on the chest, elbows are tight into the sides and the hands are over the ends of the reserve parachute with fingers spread. The body is bent slightly forward at the waist, with the feet and knees together and knees locked to the rear. This body position ensures the jumper does not tumble on leaving the aircraft and ensures the parachute deploys correctly. On exiting the aircraft a slow count to four thousand (one thousand... two thousand...) is executed and if no opening shock is felt the reserve parachute is immediately activated.
The second point of performance is "Check canopy and immediately gain canopy control". To gain canopy control of the MC1-1D parachute, the jumper reaches up, secures both toggles and pulls them down to eye level, simultaneously making a 360-degree check of his canopy. To gain canopy control of the T-10D parachute, the jumper reaches up, secures all four risers and simultaneously makes a 360 degree check of his canopy.
Once control of the parachute is gained, the third point of performance is "Keep a sharp lookout for all jumpers during your entire descent". This covers the three rules of the air: always look before you slip, slip in the opposite direction to avoid collisions, and the lower jumper has the right of way. A fifty-foot separation must be maintained to all jumpers all the way to the ground.
The fourth point of performance is "Slip/turn into the wind and prepare to land". At approximately 200 feet above ground level a check is performed below the jumper and then the equipment is lowered.
- When jumping with an MC1-1D parachute, the turn into the wind is performed approximately 200 feet above ground level. If the wind is blowing from right to left, the right toggle is pulled and the elbow locked. Once facing into the wind the toggle is let up slowly to prevent oscillation. If the wind is blowing from the jumpers rear to their front, either toggle can be pulled. If the wind is blowing from the jumpers front to their rear, only minor corrections need be made to remain facing into the wind.
- When jumping a T-10D parachute, the slip into the wind is performed at approximately 100 feet above ground level. If the wind is blowing from left to right, the jumper reaches up high on the left risers and pulls them down into their chest, holding them until landing. If the wind is blowing from their rear to their front, they will reach up high on their rear risers and pull them down into their chest and hold them until they land. If the wind is blowing from the jumpers front to their rear, the front risers are pulled down into the chest and held until landing.
After the jumper has slipped or turned into the wind, they assume a prepare to land attitude by keeping the feet and knees together, knees slightly bent, elbows tight into the sides, chin on the chest and eyes open.
The fifth point of performance is "Land". A parachute-landing fall is made by hitting all five points of contact: balls of feet, calf, thigh, buttocks, and the pull-up muscle. One of the canopy release assemblies is activated while remaining on the ground to prevent being dragged across the ground by the parachute. The harness can then be removed and the trooper is ready to move on.
It is worth noting that military static-line jumps range from 800 to 1,200 feet. Combat jumps (into Panama, for example, during Operation Just Cause) are executed at lower altitudes, typically just over 500 feet. These low altitudes decrease the time aloft for paratroopers (thus decreasing the chance of being shot) and also minimize the opportunity for drift-related hazards (e.g. entanglements, leap-frogging).
There are two types of malfunctions - a complete malfunction and a partial malfunction. A complete malfunction means the parachute does not provide any lift capability; therefore the reserve must be activated. There are several types of partial malfunctions with the action depending upon the severity and the effect of the malfunction.
For a history of paratroop forces see Airborne forces.
 See also
- British 16 Air Assault Brigade
- U.S. Army Rangers
- US Army Special Forces
- Static line
- Parachute rigger
- U.S. 82nd Airborne Division
- U.S. 173rd Airborne Brigade
 External links
- US Army
- Memoirs of a Paratrooper
- Soviet Airborne - Uniforms, Equipment, Weapons and Morede:Fallschirmjäger