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Parachute Regiment (Paras) - OPERATIONAL HISTORY

Post World War 2 Operations

1956 - The Suez Crisis

On November 5th, in the regiment's last combat drop, 3 PARA jumped and took El Gamil airfield. After a fierce battle, 3 PARA moved onto Port Said where 2 PARA were to come ashore and head for El Gamil. 1 PARA also deployed into Port Said.

1964 - Borneo

2 PARA battled Indonesian forces

1966-1996 - Northern Ireland

Throughout the troubles, the Parachute Regiment batallions deploy regularly to Northern Ireland. In 1972 the Paras involved in the 'Bloody Sunday' massacre.

The Paras provided troops for 'COPS' patrols.

1982 - Falklands

When Argentina invaded the Falkland Islands in April, 3 PARA and 2 PARA are integrated into 3 Commando Brigade and join the Naval Task Force heading to the South Atlantic. The Paras fight some of the key battles of the war:

  • 2 PARA came ashore at San Carlos (Red Beach) with 40 Commando, Royal Marines then secured the British bridgehead by occupying Sussex Mountain
    San Carlos (google earth kmz file)
  • 3 PARA came ashore at Port San Carlos (Green Beach) and engaged Argentine forces
    Port San Carlos (google earth kmz file)
  • 2 PARA attacked the Argentine-held airfield at Goose Green in a protacted battle that starts at first light and continues throughout the day. The Argetinians soon surrender to 2 PARA
    Goose Green (google earth kmz file)
  • 3 PARA capture Teal Inlet
    Port San Carlos (google earth kmz file)
  • In fierce fighting, 3 PARA attack Mount Longdon then held the mountain for 48 hours under heavy artillery barrage
    Wireless Ridge (google earth kmz file)
  • 2 PARA, supported by 3 PARA mortar platoon, light tanks from The Blues and Royals and Naval artillery, took Wireless Ridge, high ground that overlooked the capital, Port Stanley
    Port Stanley (google earth kmz file)
  • On the morning of the 14th of June, 2 and 3 PARA push into Stanley, the first British forces to reach the captial.
    Wireless Ridge (google earth kmz file)

The Paras had fought an exceptional campaign. Their penchant for quick aggressive action meant they had led the way and forced the pace of the British advance.

For an in-depth account of the Falklands War, we recommend

1 para - kosovo
1 PARA paratrooper - Kosovo 1999.
photo : NATO

1999 - Kosovo

Sunday June 6th - 1 PARA and part of 3 PARA (C Company) moved into Kosovo from neighbouring Macedonia as part of the NATO Operation Joint Guardian (UK Op Agricola). The Paras, along with the 1 Gurkha Rifles, were airlifted by Chinook and Puma helicopters to secure the one road to the Kosovo capital, Pristina, including the Kacanik pass. Sappers from 9 Independent Parachute Squadron Royal Engineers supported the PARA operations, checking bridges and tunnels for explosives and boobytraps left by withdrawing Serbian forces. NATO armour would soon move along the Kacanik road that the Paras had secured.

The Paras were later to assist in peace keeping operations in Kosovo, including the marking of suspected mass grave sites around Kacanik and patrolling around Pristina. The Paras also negotiated with the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) to ensure the safety of Serbian civilians who had remained in Kosovo.

14/6/99 - A Serbian special policemen is shot dead in Pristina by a paratrooper from 1 PARA. The man, in plain clotheswas brandishing a pistol. Repeated calls from the Paras to drop his weapon were ignored and the man was eventually shot when he fired in the general direction of the British troops.

12/7/99 - During peackeeping operations in Pristina, troops from 1 PARA shot dead a KLA member who had been firing an AK47 in celebration as he was driven through the capital. 2 other men in the car, which failed to stop when ordered to do so by the Paras, were injured in the shooting. A British Army investigation cleared the Paratroopers from any wrongdoing.

Pristina, Kosovo (google earth kmz file)

2000 - Sierra Leone

Operation Palliser

1 PARA Battle Group (BG), (1 PARA minus A company with elements of 2 PARA making up the numbers along with the Pathfinder platoon) deployed to war torn Sierra Leone via a forward operating base (FOB) in Senegal on the 7th of May,2000. Their planned role was to facilitate a Non Combatant Evacuation Operation (NEO).in support of the UNAMSIL (United Nations Mission in Sierra Leone) mission to pretect civilians caught up in the country's civil war.

The Battle Group secured Lungi Airport airport for use as a FOB. C Coy touched down at the airport in a RAF C130, to be reinforced the next day by D Coy who arrived in 2 RAF Chinooks (7 Sqn SF flight), then moved to secure the surrounding Aberdeen Peninsula.

Lunghi Airport, Sierra Leone (google earth kmz file)

Whilst the 1 PARA BG stationed in the vicinity of the Airport had a mostly peacefull deployment, the Pathfinder Platoon did enage in a heavy nightime contact at the village of Lungi Loi, situated some 12 miles away. The Pathfinder patrol had been bumped by a force of around 40 RUF rebels and a firece firefight had ensued. A elements of C Coy were loaded onto the 2 SF Chinooks and flown in as reinforcements. The Chinooks strafed the jungle with fire from 7.62mm miniguns and inserted C Coy troops, including a mortar team, into Lungh Loi. C Coy linked up with the Pathfinders as an Army Gazelle flew overhead, spotting for the mortar team who pounded the treelines with HE rounds. The Paras were also assisted by Nigerian troops under the U.N., who protected the village's rear approaches. The RUF withdrew from the contact, leaving 4 dead. There were no British casualities.

Lungi Loi, Sierra Leone (google earth kmz file)

Operation Barras

When 11 Royal Irish Rangers were captured by RUF forces in late August,2000, a rescue mission was eventually mounted. A Coy, 1 PARA, having missed out on Op Palliser due to training comitments in Jamaica, were assigned to assist the SAS and SBS operation to free the British soldiers. A Coy were supported by elements from Support Coy (mortars) and HQ Coy.

read more : Operation Barras

Afghanistan - 2002

Operation Veritas

3 para - iraq
3 PARA paratrooper - Iraq 2003.

Iraq - 2003


Afghanistan - 2006
Operation Herrick

SAS: Who Dares Wins (Series 1 DVD)
Arrow Films.

Series 1 of the Channel 4 reality show based around the grueling Special Forces selection course.

more info: SAS: Who Dares Wins
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