Make your own free website on Tripod.com

The first Commanding Officer of the battalion, Lieutenant-Colonel G.E.P. Bradbrooke, formerly of the Saskatoon Light Infantry, declared that "skill and efficiency in the handling of all weapons...must reach and will reach a higher standard than any other arm of the service". Realism was also stressed thoughout the training, as described by Toronto Star reporter Robert Noble, as he observed such a training scheme and wrote this article entitled: "Leap Into Battle".

Part-airman, part commando and part engineer, the purpose of the paratrooper is to be a land fighter after he leaps into battle from the skies - an airborne soldier.

And in rugged and dangerously realistic schemes staged in their training area, the men are learning at close range the tricks of demolition and fieldcraft in overcoming objectives. Barbed wire entanglements, bridges, pillboxes and strongly-erected dummy houses all fall, or rather are raised high in the air and completely demolished, as the advancing airborne soldiers inch in toward the objective...

Photographer Roy Kemp of The Star and I travelled with the paratroopers on one of these hazardous schemes when the objective was a strongly-protected pillbox on a knoll two miles from the camp. Twenty-four paratroopers were detailed to fly to the area, get down fast and close in a pincers movement after obtaining weapons and explosives dropped by parachute...

They were "Briefed" quickly by their officer, Lieutenant Gerald Lynch, of Montreal, much the same as a flight crew preparing for a flight over enemy territory. They were told their objective. They were shown maps. Each man carefully examining the next man's chute pack, static line, helmet fastening, and uniform...

Within 10 seconds, 24 white parachutes were blossoming out against the blue of the sky as the sticks went in quick, precision order from the aircraft's open doorways. The men were bunched closely together in a good mass jump and all had gone out at 700 feet. The men were followed quickly by two weapon supply canisters attached to colored 'chutes...
The airborne soldiers, their faces a sea green from free use of their camouflage sticks, abandoned their 'chutes and with weapons held low stalked their way carefully forward across the high grass country to the knoll...During these tactics the men were under direct fire from machine-guns, planted at the objective. They threw themselves to the ground and inched their way forward, carrying weapons, dragging supplies...

 


BACK NEXT