"Gentlemen, that was as fine an example of discipline and training as I have ever witnessed."


-- General MacArthur, September 5, 1943 [107]



Success of the 7th Australian Division's attack on the port city of Lae depended on the possession of the airstrip at Nadzab to allow the division to air-land.  Before the war, transport and small passenger aircraft used the airstrip for emergency landings.  Just to the south on the Markham River was the Gabmatzung Mission, run by the German Lutherans.  From Gabmatzung, the Markham Road ran twenty-five miles southeast to the port city of Lae, New Guinea.  Nadzab was important not only for the airstrip, but also its location along the Markham River Valley to the west of the Huon Peninsula.  The Markham and Ramu Rivers were the two major waterways on the island of New Guinea.  The Markham ran southeast to the Huon Gulf at Lae, and the Ramu ran northwest to the Hansa Bay between Wewak and Madang.  These two rivers formed a valley that separated the Huon Peninsula from the remainder of New Guinea.  The valley made an easy passage to the Japanese bases of Wewak and Madang along the northern coast of New Guinea (see figs. 5 and 7).  Capturing this key terrain at Nadzab would block that valley route, while possession of the airstrip would give the Fifth Air Force another forward base to support its air campaign against Rabaul and Wewak.[108]

On August 24, both MacArthur and Kenney arrived at Port Moresby to be present for the final stages of the planning and for the execution of the operation.  Several days after MacArthur's arrival, he surprised Vasey with a trip to his headquarters.  The two seemed to get along well together and agreed on the concept and details of the operation.  Their only disagreement was over Japanese troop strength at Lae.  Vasey placed the number at close to 5,000, while Herring's staff put it at nearly 7,000.  MacArthur thought it was much smaller, around 1,400.  While the actual strength was about 2,000, MacArthur had the advantage of having information gained through signal intelligence available to only the very senior commanders.[109] 

The 7th Australian Division published its operations order on August 27.  The intent of the operation was to secure Nadzab in order to conduct offensive operations against Lae and to prevent the Japanese from sending reinforcements up the Markham Valley.[110] 

The tasks given to the 503d Parachute Infantry Regiment were as follows:

(a)    Capture area Nadzab - Gabmatsung - Gabsonkek on Z-Day -- object covering preparation of a landing strip.

(b)    Establish road block across Markham Valley Rd. in area of junc. Rd and track 445546 -- object preventing enemy movement into Nadzab along this road.

(c)     Prepare landing strip on site of present Nadzab emergency landing field with utmost speed.[111]

MacArthur had not established the date for the operation when the 7th Australian Division published its order.  The final date did not come until September 1 when Kenney made his recommendation to MacArthur based on the weather forecasts.  Z-Day was one day after the 9th Australian Division's amphibious assault to the east of Lae.

On August 29, one week before the operation, Kinsler assembled his three battalion commanders and staff at his regimental headquarters to brief them on the mission to drop on, seize and hold the abandoned airstrip at Nadzab.  They would link-up with Australian engineers who would upgrade the strip to permit the landing of the 7th Australian Division.  The division would then attack Lae from the west while the 503d PIR continued to secure the Nadzab airstrip.[112]

Kinsler assigned Britten the task of jumping his First Battalion directly onto the airstrip and clearing it of all enemy troops, although the intelligence reports indicated that there were very few in the area.  In addition, the battalion was responsible for starting the preparation of the airstrip until relieved by the Australian engineers.  Next Kinsler directed Jones to jump his Second Battalion north of the airstrip to secure Gabsonkek and provide flank protection for First Battalion.  Last, he assigned Tolson's Third Battalion to jump east of the airstrip and the secure the village of Gabmatzung.  This was the enemy's most likely avenue of approach if the Japanese opposed the landing from the garrison at Lae.  This was not likely, however, because the Japanese units at Lae would have their hands full defending against the 9th Australian Division attacking them from the east.[113]

The 503d PIR did not have any attached or organic artillery.  To make up for the shortage of firepower, MacArthur's headquarters provided two "cut-down" twenty-five pound artillery sections with thirty-one personnel from the Australian 2/4th Field Regiment.  The only problem was that the Australian gunners had never seen parachutes.  Lieutenant Robert W. Armstrong, from First Battalion, had the responsibility of training the volunteers in the basic skills of jumping from an aircraft.  The gunners also learned how to disassemble the artillery pieces and pack them in separate containers, each attached to the other with webbing (known as the ground control pattern) in order to facilitate recovery and expedite assembly on the ground.  This was essentially the same procedure used for dropping the American 75mm pack howitzer.[114]

On August 30, the gunners made their one and only practice jump with one of their guns under the watchful eyes of Vasey and their regimental commander, Lieutenant-Colonel Alan Blyth.  It was such a success, that they earned the right to go in with the 503d PIR on its first combat jump.  The Aussies were not actually going to jump with the regiment, but they would do so one hour after the initial airborne operation.  Four airplanes arrived at Port Moresby on September 4 to transport the Australian gunners and "baby 25 pounders."  They loaded their guns and flew the same day to Tsili-Tsili in preparation for the next day's jump.[115]

Kinsler, his three battalion commanders, and several regimental staff officers made a reconnaissance flight over the jump area in a B-17 on August 30.  This flight proved valuable because they were able to view the proposed jump areas, check points and surrounding areas.  Even more importantly, they were able to determine the prevailing winds near the jump areas.  The meteorological reports stated that winds in the Markham Valley were unusual:  they blew down the valley until 1100 hours daily and then suddenly changed and blew up the valley.  This proved to be exactly the case.[116]

On September 1, Kinsler met with all the company commanders in the regiment.  He gave them an overview of the upcoming mission, but wanted it kept a secret from the paratroopers.  The men may have not have known the details, but they saw the officers coming and going to secret meetings as well as the continuous arrival of C-47s, so they knew something important was about to happen.  Meanwhile, they conducted intense rehearsals and training for the upcoming mission, attending classes on Japanese weapons, friendly aircraft identification, demolitions methods, and land navigation.[117]  Of course, there were also the occasional visitors who wanted to see the 503d PIR.  Vasey showed up to address the regiment and tell the paratroopers how proud he was to have them with him.  They were struck by the bitter way he referred to "Dirty Little Nips" in his "kill them all" speech.[118]  Another visitor was MacArthur, who arrived with his corps of photographers and had his picture taken with many members of the regiment.[119]

The Fifth Air Force airmen also conducted extensive preparations before the operation for their part.  The 54th Troop Carrier Wing, under the command of Colonel Paul H. Prentiss, was responsible for airlifting the men to the target.  After much planning and preparation between the Fifth Air Force and the 503d PIR staffs, they decided to use a formation of six planes staggered to the right with thirty seconds between elements in order to reduce chance of mid-air collisions while maximizing the widths of the drop zones.[120] 

General Kenney was concerned about the vulnerability of the troop carrier convoy along the route to Nadzab, so he and Whitehead developed a very intricate air support plan for the operation.  The Fifth Fighter Command was responsible for furnishing fighter protection along the way, as well as smoke and air support before, during and after the parachute operation.  The air plan had 100 fighter aircraft to protect the slow-moving and bunched up transports.  The air plan also had six squadrons of B-25s to strafe and bomb the jump areas before the airborne operation.  Just after the B-25s, six A-20s would lay smoke across the jump areas to screen the descending paratroopers.  Kenney did not want to leave anything to chance.[121]

The Fifth Air Force practiced the entire mission for three straight days starting on September 2.  The pilots were veterans and knew all the details of the three major jump areas -- one for each battalion.  Emphasis during rehearsals was on formation flying to ensure that the entire 503d PIR landed accurately and together so that it could quickly assemble and seize its assault objectives.  The Fifth even conducted a full-scale trial run over Rorona, an abandoned airstrip thirty miles up the coast from Port Moresby.  The fighter protection fired before the troop carriers loaded with the entire 503d PIR flew over the abandoned airstrip and some of the paratroopers jumped to check the timing.  The staffs corrected a few minor details and everyone felt much more comfortable about the mission.[122]

On September 3, Kinsler and the 503d PIR staff issued Field Order 1.  The four page base order described the plan for the two-phase operation.  The first phase was for the regiment to jump on six separate drop zones in order to seize the emergency landing strip at Nadzab (see fig. 8).  In addition, the regiment would secure the surrounding areas to deny any enemy infiltration (see fig. 9).  The second phase was to receive the 7th Australian Division beginning the following day (see fig. 10).[123]  

The order contained no changes from Kinsler’s briefing to his battalion commanders on August 29 or his company commanders on September 1, but simply added many details.  First Battalion had the task of jumping onto Field “B” to capture and begin preparing the Nadzab Emergency Landing Strip until relieved.  Second Battalion’s mission was to jump on Field "A" to capture the Gabonek area and deny enemy infiltration from the north and northwest.  Meanwhile, Third Battalion was to jump onto Field “C” to capture the Gabmatzung area and deny enemy infiltration from the east.  The Regimental Headquarters Company would assemble with First Battalion and prepare the drop zone for the Australian artillery battery.  Regimental Service Company would also assemble with First Battalion and gather and distribute equipment and supplies.[124]

            The regiment spent the remainder of the day completing battalion orders and conducting rehearsals, as well as preparing the company orders.  The battalion commanders had the officers around their sand tables one company at a time going over their missions.  It was not until September 4, the day before the jump, that company commanders assembled their men and spelled out in detail their missions.   All day long, a platoon at a time gathered at the regimental sand table where each soldier received a briefing on his mission.  The jumpmasters held the last meeting that night.  The leaders reviewed the whole mission and updated everyone on the latest changes.[125]

            While the 503d PIR made its final preparations on September 4, the 9th Australian Division landed twenty miles east of Lae against very light opposition.  Several Japanese bombers were able to get through and attack the congested beaches.  The bombers were able to damage two ships and kill more than one hundred Australian and American seamen.  All through the night, as the members of the 503d PIR tried to sleep, the 9th Australian Division continued to march on Lae.[126]

            Reveille was at 0300 hours on Sunday, September 5.  The paratroopers rapidly assembled in their battalion areas and nervously ate the usual soggy pancakes covered with syrup.  As they loaded on the eighty-two trucks in the regimental area, the weather suddenly turned and fog completely enveloped the departure airfield.  To make matters worse, a light rain began.  It did not look like a good day for a jump.[127]  The movement to the two airstrips, Ward and Jackson, went like clockwork.  Each truck, numbered from one to eighty-two, corresponded to the same numbered aircraft lined up on the field.  The trucks were in three serials – one for each battalion.  The first serial moved to the enplaning point and the other two followed at thirty-minute intervals.  Each truck, with twenty-two personnel and supply bundles, proceeded to the airplane marked with its corresponding number.[128]

            At about 0730 hours, the rain suddenly stopped and the fog rapidly dissipated.  A weather plane surveying the saddle of the Owen Stanley Mountain range gave an all-clear signal.  The aircrews of the C-47s began warming up their engines and the paratroopers started putting on their parachutes and equipment.  At 0825, the first C-47 rolled down the runway.  Within fifteen minutes, three flights of C-47s with the entire 503d PIR were in the air on its way to Nadzab.  The formation started for the jump areas led by MacArthur in a B-17.[129]

            Several days before the operation, Kenney had discussed with MacArthur the details for covering and supporting the Nadzab operation.  Kenney casually mentioned that he would be in one of the bombers during the airborne operation to see how things were going.  MacArthur said that he did not think that Kenney should go.  Kenney responded with a series of reasons why he should go, concluding with "they were my kids and I was going to see them do their stuff."  MacArthur reflected a moment.  "You're right, George, we'll both go,” he said.  “They're my kids, too."[130]

            Kenney arranged for the "brass hat" flight of three B-17s to fly just above and to one side of the troop carriers as they went into Nadzab.  In the first plane was MacArthur, in the second was Kenney and Vasey rode in the third.  MacArthur's only concern was that his stomach might get upset when they hit the rough air going over the mountains. He did not want to "get sick and disgrace himself in front of the kids."[131]

            The armada of over 300 aircraft climbed to 9,000 feet to cross over the saddle of Owen Stanley Mountains.  The temperature dipped, but not for long.  The formation dropped to 3,500 feet as it approached the secret airfield at Marilinan.  The armada rearranged the flight into three columns, each six airplanes wide.  Thirty minutes out from the jump areas, the crew chiefs and the jumpmasters started opening the jump doors.  Aboard one of the airplanes, the sudden rush of wind caused the door to come loose from its hinges and become lodged, blocking the exit – and aborting the mission for the frustrated paratroopers on board.  This was the only airplane that had a problem and was not able to drop its contingent.[132]

            At the junction of the Watut and Markham Rivers, the troop carriers made a right turn for Nadzab and dropped to an altitude of 400 feet.  The weather then became very hot and humid at the low altitude.  The maneuvers of the airplanes and the bumpiness of the flight began to produce some airsickness and paratroopers commenced to fill the "honey buckets."  By the time they reached Nadzab, they were anxious for the green light.[133]  

            At 1009 hours, the red lights came on and the paratroopers began to stand and make final preparations for the airborne operation while the bombing and strafing began at the jump fields.  Six squadrons of B-25 strafers flew at 1,000 feet; each had eight .50-caliber machine guns in the nose and sixty fragmentation bombs in each bomb bay.  Immediately behind them were the six A-20s that laid smoke across the jump areas as the last fragmentation bombs exploded.  At 1022 hours, the green lights came on across the C-47s.  The jumpmasters pushed the door bundles out of the airplanes, then they went out right behind the bundles with twenty-one jumpers in rapid succession.  In four and a half minutes, the entire regiment was on its way to the ground.  The pilot's of 54th Troop Carrier Wing, for the first time in the war, dropped a regiment of paratroopers with pinpoint accuracy on its assigned jump areas.[134] 

            Above the drop, MacArthur watched the operation, thrilled at the sight of the parachutes clustered neatly on the jump areas.  After landing back at Port Moresby, Kenney recalled MacArthur’s jumping up and down like a kid.  "Gentlemen, that was as fine an example of discipline and training as I have ever witnessed,"[135] the supreme commander exclaimed.  Reflecting later on the operation, he took keen pride in the precision drops.   "One plane after another poured out its stream of dropping men over the target field.  Everything went like clockwork . . . . [T]he vertical envelopment became a reality,"[136] he wrote of that day.  To his astonishment, he received the Air Medal for having “personally led” the paratroopers and “skillfully directed” the operation.[137]

            Kenney sent a letter to the Chief of the Army Air Force General H. H. Arnold describing the operation and his pride in his airmen (see Appendix A).   He also thought that everything had gone smoothly until he landed and talked with the pilot of MacArthur's B-17.  What Kenney did not know was that during the operation an engine had failed on Colonel Roger Ramey's B-17, and that Ramey had recommended turning around. MacArthur, knowing that Kenney would follow him back to Port Moresby, refused.  MacArthur insisted that he wanted to stay and see the show.  The dead engine was on the far side of Kenney's bomber, so he did not know until after they had landed and Ramey told him of the incident.[138]

            The airborne operation went extremely well, but not without tragic incident.  Three paratroopers died during the airborne operation, two falling to their deaths when their parachutes malfunctioned and another landing atop a very tall teakwood tree and then falling some sixty feet to the ground.  In addition to the three deaths, there were thirty-three minor injuries caused by rough landings.[139]

            A small glitch also occurred with the jump by paratroopers of Third Battalion.  The first person to make the jump at Nadzab was its commander, the 26-year-old Colonel Tolson, who thus became the first American paratrooper to jump in a combat operation in the Pacific.  His battalion, leading the regiment into Nadzab, had the mission of jumping on Field "C" and blocking the enemy on the east.  As Tolson approached the drop zone, he recognized where he was from several reconnaissance flights with the Fifth Air Force's bomber runs on Lae.  He watched the red light go off, but then the navigator failed to turn on the green light.  Hesitating for a few seconds, Tolson still jumped out and landed in the middle of the jump area.  Because of the delay, about half of Third Battalion landed in the trees at the eastern end of the drop zone.[140]   

            The remainder of the regiment dropped accurately, but the paratroopers on the jump areas were no better off than those who landed in the trees.  The razor-sharp kunai grass, supposedly only about four feet high, reached up to ten feet high and was thick with jungle vines.  The paratroopers, in suffocating heat, hacked their way through with machetes and reached their assembly areas exhausted.  That was the only fight for the 503d PIR -- there was no opposition on the ground.  The paratroopers had caught the Japanese totally by surprise.[141]  Even if the Japanese had been at Nadzab, they probably would not have survived the pre-assault fires from the Fifth Air Force.  In Second Battalion's area, a worn trail went from the jungle out onto their jump area.  The trail across the clearing was a tribute to the Fifth Air Force.  Every ten yards or so there was a new bomb crater.[142]

            There were also mishaps with the Australians.  Within two hours of the jump, all units had assembled, moved to their assigned objectives and begun preparation of the landing strip.  Everything went basically according to the plan.  First Battalion seized the airstrip, Second Battalion blocked all approaches from the north and Third Battalion sealed all approaches from the east.[143]  One hour after the initial assault, the thirty-one Australian gunners, led by their trainer, Lieutenant Armstrong, jumped into Nadzab with their two artillery pieces.  The guns, disassembled and packed in padded bundles under the wings of the C-47s, dropped like parachute bombs on the drop zone.[144]  The whole group landed in a small area, but took almost three hours to find the ammunition and all the pieces to one gun and put it into operation.  It was not until the next day when they found all the pieces to the second gun.  The Australian gunners became the first parachute artillery in the Pacific.[145]    

            There was, moreover, a change in plans for resupply.  The original plan called for eleven gliders to come in during the afternoon with supplies and equipment, but because of the completely unopposed parachute operation, immediate resupply proved unnecessary.  Blamey also canceled the glider phase because he had his doubts about the reliability of the gliders and he knew that their pilots had undergone only minimal training.  The regiment did not go without resupply, however, because three specially configured B-17s loaded with supplies remained over the area during daylight hours for the first two days of the operation.  The modified B-17s had a platform in the bomb bay to drop parachute supply bundles.[146] 

To assist the 503d PIR in preparing the airstrip at Nadzab, there were two other Australian units -- the 2/6th Field Company and the 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion.  The engineers and pioneers arrived secretly at the Tsili-Tsili airstrip a week before the operation.  The units carefully disguised their mission by occupying the surrounding jungle where the Aussies assembled their equipment and began preparations for movement to Nadzab.  Tsili-Tsili was near the swift, but barely navigable Watut River that ran northeast into the Markham River about twenty-five miles upstream from Nadzab.[147]  The engineers from 2/6th Field Company had the task of moving down the Watut and then down the Markham River to Nadzab on twelve large collapsible boats with all their heavy gear necessary for preparing the airstrip at Nadzab.  The task was very dangerous because both of the rivers had rapids and constantly changing sandbars.   The engineers planned for a possible 50 percent casualty rate, in men and equipment, but lost only three boats and one man who drowned.  They arrived at their rendezvous point just south of Nadzab early in the morning of September 4.[148]

The pioneers from 2/2nd Pioneer Battalion had the difficult task of moving sixty miles overland with a train of 800 natives.  They crossed mountains and swamps, as well as dealt with many of the jungle annoyances such as heat and bees.  On the morning of September 5, the pioneers arrived at the south side of the Markham River across from Nadzab and linked up with the engineers right on schedule.  The pioneers constructed a bridge from the engineer's collapsible boats.  Both units were able to watch the show as hundreds of aircraft and many more parachutes filled the skies overhead.  They witnessed the greatest aerial caravan ever seen in the Pacific.[149]

            At 1800 hours, the engineers and pioneers linked up with First Battalion and began clearing the landing strip, which was 1,500 feet, but overgrown from twelve months of inactivity.  Working throughout the night, they extended the runway to 3,300 feet by the next morning.  The first C-47 landed at Nadzab at 10:00 AM on September 6 -- less than 24 hours after the jump.[150]  By September 11, Prentiss' C-47s had carried in 420 planeloads of men and equipment from the 7th Australian Division.[151] 

            The 7th Australian Division pushed down the Markham Valley to attack the Japanese at Lae from the west while the 9th Australian Division pressed the attack from the east.  With the growing pressure on Lae, the reinforcements to Salamaua ended.  The 5th Australian Division and the American 41st Division occupied Salamaua on September 13.  Three days later, the 7th and 9th Australian Divisions converged on Lae.  Around noon, September 16, Vasey sent a radio message to Kenney:  "Only the Fifth Air Force bombers are preventing me from entering Lae."[152]  Vasey and his 7th Australian Division were the first to enter Lae and win the bet.

            Based on MacArthur's guidance, the 503d PIR stayed near Nadzab with a defensive mission around the captured airstrip.  Vasey did not employ the 503d PIR in offensive operations because MacArthur did not want parachute troops doing what regular infantry troops could do.   MacArthur directed that after relief by supporting troops, parachute units should be withdrawn to prepare for future operations.  With its mission complete on September 17, the 503d PIR began to redeploy to Port Moresby.  By September 19, the entire regiment closed back on its base camp.[153]

            There were ten thousand Japanese troops in the Lae-Salamaua area before the Allied assault.  According to captured Japanese war records, one thousand Japanese troops died in the first few days of fighting.  Twenty-five hundred more died in the defense of Lae and Salamaua.  The remainder of the Japanese troops withdrew northward along dense jungle trails, where another 600 perished from illness and exhaustion.  In a postwar interview, the intelligence officer of the Japanese Eight Army defending the Lae-Salamaua area said that the 503d PIR airborne operation at Nadzab had taken place where the Japanese had thought the enemy would never attack.  The operation nearly cut in half the retreating elements of the Japanese 51st Division.  The seizure of Nadzab cut off the escape route through the Markham Valley and forced the remainder of the Japanese to withdraw over the more difficult jungle terrain to the north of Lae.[154]

            The Allied operation against Lae was a total success.  It was a brilliant employment of all available sources of firepower and maneuver.  The coordination of the feint against Salamaua, the amphibious assault east of Lae with the airborne drop at Nadzab were excellent examples of joint planning and operations.  An additional benefit of the Lae offensive was the capture of the Nadzab airstrip, which gave Kenney another excellent forward base for attacks further to the west and north.  Nadzab soon became one of the largest Fifth Air Force bases in New Guinea.[155]

            According to the Weapon System Evaluation Group's definition for success, the Nadzab airborne operation was an unqualified one.  The air effort was an astounding success because the combination of air support and accurate execution of the jump were unprecedented.  The degree of air superiority, a fundamental prerequisite for a successful parachute drop, attained was a major factor in determining whether it occurred during daylight or hours of darkness.  The Fifth Air Force successes against the Japanese Air Force ensured the control of the skies that allowed the operation to occur during daylight hours making it the first large-scale American parachute drop conducted during hours of light.  The daylight airborne operations also allowed the Fifth Air Force to conduct an extensive and accurate preparation of the objective area.  Although there were no Japanese in the Nadzab area, few would have survived the intense preparation.  The daylight operation also facilitated the accurate drop of the entire regiment, which was the most accurate one to date.

            The definition of success for the airborne effort was to seize all of its objectives and held at the planned time.  Again, this was another remarkable success.  Within two hours, the paratroopers secured all their assault objectives and within twenty-four hours, the airstrip was operational, all according to the plan.

            The definition for success for the overall effort was that the airborne operation accomplished its planned purpose, and the success of the overall maneuver, measured in terms of the accomplishment of ultimate purpose, was dependent on the performance on the airborne forces.  Again, the overall effort of the parachute drop was markedly successful.  The airborne operation allowed the 7th Australian Division to seize Lae.  Had it not been for the 503d PIR, that division would have had to go over the rugged mountainous terrain to get to Lae.  This approach would have cost it much in terms of time and combat power.  And without the 7th, the 9th Australian Division would not have been able to capture Lae single-handedly.  In addition to seizing the Nadzab airstrip, the 503d PIR also blocked the Markham Valley from any Japanese reinforcements or escape. 

            The Nadzab airborne operation did not experience many of the failures or poor employment principles that plagued earlier parachute drops.  Much of the doctrine for large-scale airborne operations had not yet been written, so it is not possible to evaluate the operation against doctrine.  In any case, the Nadzab parachute drop was well planned and executed.  The principles of mass, utilization as a theater level force, realistic and thorough joint rehearsals, and air superiority were all present.  The degree of air superiority allowed the mission to take place during daylight hours, which probably contributed substantially to the success of the air effort of the airborne operation.  The daylight parachute drop allowed a precise placement of paratroopers not possible at night that facilitated their quick assembly and seizure of their objectives.

            The Nadzab parachute drop had a decisive impact on the deliberations of the so-called Swing Board, the special panel chaired by General Joseph Swing to evaluate the airborne operations in Sicily for the Chief of Staff of the Army and recommend changes in training, doctrine and employment principles.  Indeed, the results of Nadzab reported to Washington and Fort Bragg were welcome news in sharp contrast to the operations in Sicily two months earlier.  Although the doctrine for large-scale airborne operations was still in development during 1943, the examples of Sicily and Nadzab provided valuable lessons that would shape basic doctrine.  The Sicilian parachute drop showed airborne enthusiast how not to conduct such an operation.  Nadzab, on the other hand, was an inspiring case study of how vertical envelopment should be executed. 














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