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Warriors from the Sky: US Army Airborne Operational Art in Normandy

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US Army School for Advanced Military Studies Fort Leavenworth United States

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The success of airborne operations for German forces in 1939 and 1940 led the United States to look at the advantages of specialized forces to conduct forcible entry through the use of vertical envelopment. This monograph examines the role of airborne operations and the application of operational art using the Normandy campaign as a historical case study in order to answer the primary question How did US Army airborne forces implement operational art as part of the Normandy invasion The case study demonstrates multiple instances where manning, training, and equipping of the US airborne forces assisted in providing a specific set of capabilities required for conducting a cross-Channel joint forcible entry operation. This included the identification of specific missions for the airborne forces. As a result, the airborne forces employed in the Normandy campaign were able to provide an essential disruption effect and seize key terrain to prevent German reserve forces from contesting the beachhead landings. It is important to examine the processes used to shape campaigns and identify operational objectives for forces to achieve results with respect to time, space, and purpose. Although the concept of operational art is a modern construct, there are many similarities which can be drawn from the implementation of airborne operations in June of 1944.

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Technical Report,05 Jun 2016,25 May 2017



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Approved For Public Release;

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