“Huge Paratrooper Jump Today [sic] Over Bragg”

Not today, but rather yesterday, 13 April. Still, highly motivating: More than 2,100 American and British paratroopers will jump into Fort Bragg, North Carolina, on Monday for the start of a massive exercise that marks the next step forward in a unique relationship between the two nations’ airborne units. The Combined Joint Operational Access Exercise is the largest U.S.-U.K. bilateral airborne training operation to take place on Fort Bragg in the last 20 years. It will feature paratroopers from the 82nd Airborne Division’s 2nd Brigade Combat Team and about 900 paratroopers from the United Kingdom’s 3rd Battalion, The Parachute Regiment, […]

Vespa (Anti-Tank Variant)

I’M NOT KIDDING. In the 1950s France, in the midst of dealing with insurgencies in its colonies in Algeria and Indochina, recognized a military need for easily transportable artillery that could quickly be deployed to the front lines. It happened upon one very novel solution: a militarized Vespa scooter with a built-in armor-piercing gun. The Vespa 150 TAP, built by French Vespa licensee ACMA, was designed expressly to be used with the French airborne special forces, the Troupes Aéro Portées (TAP). Read the whole thing, and be sure to watch the video. I wonder if it’d work on a KLR650??

How one Keydet got assigned to the 101st

It was mid-August, and a group of Guardian Angels were sitting in the shade of the trees surrounding Fryar Drop Zone. Two angels popped in, carrying brown drink carriers loaded with coffee. All the angels but one crowded around to get their drink. Double whipped lattes, machiatos, and one quadruple espresso no sugar or cream. That last was for the angel guarding a marine. He grunted his joy, sounding more like a hog. ‘Ooh ooh oohrah yeah!’ “How can you drink that?” asked one angel. “OOH RAH! My human’s a Marine! He’s going to be a rough, tough Recon Scout […]

Operation Market Garden, 70 Years Ago

Immortalized by Ryan’s great book, A Bridge Too Far, it happened seventy years ago this week: …Montgomery developed Operation Market-Garden. A two stage operation, the plan called for troops from Lieutenant General Lewis Brereton’s First Allied Airborne Army to land and capture key bridges in the Netherlands. While these troops held the bridges, Lieutenant General Brian Horrock’s XXX Corps would advance up Highway 69 to relieve Brereton’s men. If successful, Allied forces would be over the Rhine in a position to attack the Ruhr, while avoiding the Westwall by working around its northern end. For the airborne component, Market, Major […]

The Long War

When I was studying in France back in 2009 one of the many unique opportunities I had was to attend the Collogue Guerre Irreguliere/Irregular Warfare Conference at Camp Coetquidan.  And one of the things a British General said was that NATO knew Afghanistan would be a 20 year war.  That it would take an entire generation to fight and rebuild that country. The reason I bring this up, one of our categories here on OPFOR is The Long War.  I’ve had this sneaking suspicion that my generation’s war never ended.  That this irregular enemy, the non-state actor, would continue to […]

70 Years Ago: “All of This Fire Coming up Towards Us”

Read about a real warrior. Jim was a private in the 101st Airborne, one of the paratroopers dropped behind German lines in the hours before the D-Day landings. “We wanted to get out of the plane quickly, because it was hitting the plane,” he says. “Planes were blowing up, and we wanted to get the hell out of there.” They were inviting targets as they drifted toward the ground and the enemy. Asked what was going through his mind as he slowly descended through the clouds into hostile territory, Jim says, “Fascination, because of all of this fire coming up […]


I go by the moniker of Townie 76 because I grew up in Lexington and attended VMI. For those who have visited Lexington and Rockbridge County it is an interesting amalgamation of town (those who grew up in Lexington or Rockbridge County or have a family connection to Lexington or Rockbridge County), gown (professors at either VMI, Washington and Lee, or Southern Virginia), and come here’s (usually retirees or folks of sufficient means who like the area). Anyone who attends either VMI or Washington and Lee who lives in Lexington or Rockbridge County are townies.  Townies stick together, whether they […]

Suez, 1956

In light of ongoing events in the land of the Nile, here’s an interesting historical look at the “forgotten” Arab/Israeli war, which was also an Anglo-French/Egyptian war– a tangle of nationalism, internationalism, power projection and Cold War brinkmanship. A simple search for “Suez 1956″ will give you all sorts of links, good and bad. Here’s one decent overview, and it has some good links too. See also that great storehouse of imperial militaria, Britain’s Small Wars (Suez Index). Points you might ponder as you read on… look at the naval task forces brought to bear by both Britain and France. […]

RIP: Sgt Jeremiah McGraw, USMCR

With great regret and sadness I must report the death of one of my fellow 4th ANGLICO Marines, in an accident during jump operations. He will be missed, but never forgotten. Godspeed to you, Marine.

Monday Motivation

Green light, GO!!!!!! (U.S. Air Force and Army paratroopers jump from the tail gate of a new C-130J Super Hercules cargo aircraft during its first personnel drop over southern Germany, May 4, 2009. U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Kenny Holston) Good shot, KENNY, and a nice day for a jump too.