Airborne operations include inserting specialized infantry and paratroopers into a hot zone through parachuting. Paratroopers typically only have a few supplies, as their mission is to create conditions for leading battalions to move in after airborne forces establish their landing zone (LZ) or a beachhead.

Originating in 1927, the first paratrooper exercise took place in Italy, and paratroopers took part in extensive combat during the Second World War. Critical and successful airborne operations, such as Operation Neptune and Varsity, paved the way for future Allied victories in WWII and set the example of tactically sound paratrooper movements.

Nevertheless, catastrophic airborne operations have caused a delay in overall war plans and ultimately caused primary objective failures, leading to the combat ineffectiveness of elite paratroopers in modern history.

Battle of Arnhem

The Battle of Arnhem was part of Operation Market Garden, the Allied objective to create a foothold in the then German-occupied Netherlands. The primary goal included conducting a bridgehead Nederrijn, the Lower Rhine River.

Planning the operation, Field Marshal Montgomery incorporated the 82nd and 101st US Airborne Divisions to capture key crossings at Nijmegen. Simultaneously, the British 1st Airborne Division and the Polish 1st Independent Parachute Brigade were tasked with conducting the capture of the three bridges at Nederrijn.

Pre-battle, allied intelligence suggested that the combined paratroopers would meet minimal resistance, and with that, the seizure of Nederrijn would lead to the domino effect of ending the war. On September 17th, 1944, the allied paratroopers conducted the operation.

American paratroopers successfully landed at Son, Veghel, Nijmegen, and other locations, while the British and Poles landed West of Arnhem. Despite the initial shock and surprise element to Germany, the German garrison quickly mounted a tangible defense, which only grew with reinforcements while the airborne groups were spread thin.