C. J. Nöthling


Helicopter deployment has become an integral and vital component of armies, air forces and navies throughout the world. In terms of operational use, the modern helicopter can be employed in a diversity of roles on the battlefield, inter alia as an assault weapon, a transport medium for airborne operations and in a logistical capacity. The author examines and evaluates the aspect of airborne deployment with specific reference to conventional helicopterborne assault operations. The analysis is based upon the basic and secondary principles of offensive (ground) warfare, viz mobility, logistic support, the exploitation of supporting fire and the rapid concentration of force. However, a principle which specifically applies to the use of airborne assault units, is vertical development. Contending that the transport helicopter is an excellent and viable Blitzkrieg vehicle, the author concludes that it is a most effective 'weapon'. But just like any other offensive unit, it has to be deployed in combination with other weapon systems (armour, artillery, and infantry) to realize its full potential. His argument that the days of the paratrooper are numbered and that he should be replaced by the 'helitroop', is controversial but interesting.


Helicopter deployment; diversity of roles on the battlefield; assault weapon; transport medium; airborne operations; logistic support; 'helitroop'; Blitzkrieg vehicle

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5787/12-1-632


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ISSN 2224-0020 (online); ISSN 1022-8136 (print)

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