« "Scores Killed, Hundreds Injured As Para-Military Extremists Riot " Humor | Main | The Hagel senate hearing »

31 January 2013


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Charles I

Please, how do I find the link at your linked page to "The following video" I hir every damn button on the page, made it to Cenciotti's The Avioationist page, saw a picture, no video

John Minnerath

Could have been. Sure would have been a long flight for a jump.I tried to use Google Earth to get an idea of the flight distance, but couldn't come up with anything meaningful.
Would the French have any place closer they could stage out of?
One plane in the clip was a twin, must have been the C-160. Another was a 4 engine, couldn't tell what it was.
French paratroopers used to be a tough bunch, I assume they still are.


charles I

Go down the page to the video box and puch the button in the middle of the page. It works for me. pl


I suppose that that airfield may be in Africa, but it looks a little too neat for that. If the aircraft were tanked en route it would be possible. pl


Colonel Lang,

Judging by the relative size of the
chutes and the trees below I roughly estimate
they jumped from about 600-700 ft. I wonder
if they bothered with a reserve.....

USMC 65-72
FBI 72-96

The Twisted Genius

Could be N’Djamena. The French have such a large presence there for so long that they could have neatened it up to their standards.

The Twisted Genius

According to the caption to one of the photos on this page, they are returning to their base at Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire.



I think this suggests they flew out of Abidjan, Côte d'Ivoire:


John Minnerath

I agree about the look of the field, my memory of what things in that part of the world looked like is old and fading though.
I found references that France had staged C-130s, 160s, and air tankers at N'Djamena in Chad.

steve g

Read an article a couple weeks
past that the planes were coming
from bases or a base in Chad.

Charles I

Thanks, wouldn't go for me but got it at youtube with music:


Couldn't this have been done from Bamako?




We used to fly from Pope AFB, North Carolina to Gatun DZ in the Canal Zone for a drop. That was non-stop. You pile all the chutes and gear on the deck, crawl on top of it and go to sleep or read something. The USAF loadmaster wakes you up an hour out from the DZ.

As for the altitude I would say it was very low from the look of the trees. That gives you a nice tight dispersal pattern on the DZ in case you meet a reception committee.

War Story Alert: I went out for a night practise jump near "Black Horse" FOB in VN in '72. This was with the VNAF in a C-47 and a plane full of SOG "little people." We got yellow tracer (chinese) over the DZ. The pilot went around again but lower. I was the first man in the door. Real low. The trees looked like you could touch them. After the opening I swung through one full oscillation and then my boots hit the ground in waist deep grass. Our DZ safety team was on one side of the clearing and an NVA infantry regiment on the other. We hid in the woods in a tight circle while Charles walked around on the DZ looking for us. They left about dawn. pl


I think I'll stick with submarines.

John Minnerath

I went out of a C-47 on a night jump at Bragg, first man in the door on that one.
The air force puke who was driving was lost and I guess his altimeter didn't work either.
I just felt the last rubber band pop and the canopy catch air when I hit the roof of a barn.
If I remember right, those old T-10s were supposed to open in about 250 feet.
Buddy of mine was wind dummy that night, he landed in a lake about 5 miles north of the DZ and damned near drowned.

The Twisted Genius

Standard jump altitude for the 1st SOW MC-130s was 800 feet AGL back in the 80s. I don't think they ever got that high. We would walk off the ramp, get canopy, immediately drop the rucksack and prepare to land. We would drop the ruck immediately to avoid landing with it and risking a broken femur. Once my ruck hit the ground before it reach the end of the lowering line.

The film clip does show the legionnaires wearing reserves.

The Twisted Genius

I guess that settles it. 2d company of the 2d REP flew from their base in Calvi, Corsica to Abidjan and launched from there.

Here's the official French YouTube channel with some good video of operation Serval.



"C-130 rolling down the strip/64 paratroopers on a little trip"

Good for them! God bless the Airborne!

How do you say "All the way!" in French?



Dunno. The airborne there are divided among the Metropolitian Army, The Legion and the "marines," who really aren't marines. They are specialists in overseas service in the former colonies. pl

The beaver

I would use "jusqu'au bout" in this case , meaning "all the way through"

Alba Etie

Col Lang
Off topic a little bit . But it appears that the yahoos had a go at Hagel today at the hearing. But it looks like there is enough votes for confirmation .

Bill H

Roger that.

Clifford Kiracofe


"The Islamist forces are thought to be sheltering north of Kidal in the Adrar des Ifoghas, a vast, rugged mountain buttress that has given sanctuary before to al Qaeda hostage-takers and Saharan traffickers of drugs, people and cigarettes.

They are believed to have weapons, fuel and supplies hidden in caves, tunnels and rock strongholds. These were stashed away before their pell-mell retreat from relentless French air strikes that left a trail of rebel charred vehicles and abandoned arms caches in dusty Niger River and Saharan towns.

"This is where they have the bulk of the stuff hidden," said Rudy Atallah, a former counterterrorism director for Africa at the U.S. Department for Defence. "They have barrels of fuel and weapons. They have been preparing for a long time."

Their preserved arsenal could include heavy machineguns, hand-held rocket launchers and also possibly one or more Grad multiple rocket launchers mounted on vehicles, according to arms experts who have viewed photos and footage of munitions caches abandoned by the rebels in their hasty withdrawal.

"This is pretty heavy ordnance, a level that would achieve parity with or even out gun most West African militaries," James Bevan, head of Conflict Armament Research, told Reuters after viewing photos of a cache found at Diabaly in central Mali."


Warning: Jump Stories ahead

On my 7th jump I burned in. I was carrying my basic load plus a 60mm bipod and baseplate, as well as the ballistic computer, radio, and all the batteries that went along with it, on the orders of my POS section sergeant. When I pulled my reserve, the spring in it was packed incorrectly so I had to grab the bundle and throw it over my shoulder and hope for the best. When I landed, I hit the ground hard enough to leave an imprint in it, but I walked away from the DZ.

Another guy I knew up in Alaska went out the door on the red light after the jumpmaster put him in the door on a night jump one winter. The problem with this is that the flight path for Geronimo DZ takes you over the Knik Arm, a freezing expanse of water.

What saved his life was he looked down, saw the full moon in the water, and pulled a monstrous slip to get over land and did a PLF twenty feet away from the edge of the bank.

On a jump over Ft. Wainwright, we could feel the winds grabbing the plane we had rode in to 'jump' into Brigade Games. The first two flights had been scratched for high winds and landed normally. After the jumpmaster said with a straight face that the winds were at "four knots" the sergeant next to me screamed "We're guniea pigs!" and began to laugh.

Going out the door I rocked my head against the fuselage as I came out. I wasn't the only one as I looked up and saw that I had a limp body sans helmet tangled up in my risers. At about 30 feet I lost all lift capability and came crashing to the ground. I limped over to the unconscious jumper and, in good airborne fashion, began to put my boots to him to wake him up.

He was a butterbar who didn't know where he was, and had trouble remembering his name. When the HHC 1SG came over, I thought I could explain the situation. Instead, we were told to get off the DZ before I "got my balls smoked" and he tore off on an ATV.

As I walked the LT to the FAS, I overheard a bunch of DZSOs talking about the number of injuries, and sweating the fact that they way the measured the wind speed (parked four humvees in a square and got the reading while bent over at the waist) might come out in the wash.

John Minnerath

Heh heh, all of us who spent a few years serving in an airborne unit accumulated a ton of great stories.
It's a private club though, those who didn't, don't get it.
That night I crashed into the barn I had a PAE bag that weighed more than I did and no time to release it.
I rolled off the roof and crashed onto the ground like the proverbial sack of you know what.
I was lucky and got the chance to jump from Cessna's to C-124s to a variety of helicopters.
As a 70 year old reprobate, I'd love to get a chance to go out the door of a Herc again.

William R. Cumming

French had prepositioned equipment in Chad airfields and in Burkina-Faso!

The comments to this entry are closed.

My Photo

February 2021

Sun Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat
  1 2 3 4 5 6
7 8 9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20
21 22 23 24 25 26 27
Blog powered by Typepad