5 years ago
"Paratroopers on board aircraft heading for their drop zone experienced a range of emotions. They knew that within a couple of hours they might be fighting for their lives behind enemy lines. Or they might be stranded or isolated, having been dropped in the wrong place. The intelligence itself might prove to be wrong and a reception committee of heavily armed enemy troops might be waiting for them. Worse still, they might be shot down before they even arrived at the drop zone, sending the whole aircraft plummeting in flames. Or their parachute could fail to open and they would plunge to a certain death on the ground below.
This uncertainty was something that all paratroopers faced, whether commanding officers or humble privates. It was unique to parachute forces. The jump out of an aircraft behind enemy lines was something that brought them together in a sort of equality that ground troops never experienced. Several of the men in C company would go through this many times before the war's end and the veterans would help the newcomers with the inevitable tension that everyone felt. But the night raid at Bruneval was the first time that any of the men had been through this experience. They were all new to the emotions in what seemed to everyone like a long haul as the Whitleys droned on across the Channel, heading for France."
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