Earliest use of helicopters for troop transport and inserting patrols?

Oct 2015
944
Norway
I know helicopters were produced during WWIi by the USA, Canada, Japan, Britain, France and the USSR. But it looks like the helicopters that saw service were used for avacuation of wounded soldiers, rescue (downed pilots in the water etc), artillery observation and reconnaissance (observing the enemy fromthe air). Were helicopters used to transport troops into combat (airmobile troops) or inserting reconnaissance troops behind enemy lines during WWII? If not, when and were were helicopters first used for these puropses?
 

M9Powell

Ad Honorem
Oct 2014
4,448
appalacian Mtns
Vietnam for the Aircav AFAIK. I think the Nazis were the first to have operational helicopters.
 

AlpinLuke

Forum Staff
Oct 2011
27,013
Italy, Lago Maggiore
Germany produced helicopters as well during WWII, some of them were transport units and quit big [the Focke-Achgelis series].

It was possible to use them also to carry troops.


But usually they preferred to use it to transport equipment and weaponry.
 
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Oct 2015
944
Norway
That link was interesting , yes. I knew helicopters were attached to the Gebirgsjäger, but judging by the article the helicopters weren't used to transport troops into enemy territory. I didn't know helicopters were considered for the Gran Sasso raid. If they had used helicopters, it's very possible it would have been the first time in history helicopters were used in special operations.
 
Last edited:
Apr 2018
709
India
That link was interesting , yes. I knew helicopters were attached to the Gebirgsjäger, but judging by the article the helicopters weren't used to transport troops into enemy territory. I didn't know helicopters were considered for the Gran Sasso raid. If they had used helicopters, it's very possible it would have been the first time in history helicopters were used in special operations.
Here's another interesting thing-
Sikorsky R-4 - Wikipedia
Check Operational History section
 
Oct 2015
944
Norway
The Sikorsky R-4 looks incredibly modern, I think. This is interesting, but again I don't see anything about helicopter used to lift soldiers into combat or for recon soldiers. Thanks anyway, because early helicopter history is a new and interesting topic for me. I found an article about Air Assault on Wikipedia. It looks like the first example of helicopters carrying troops directly into combat was in 1956 with Operation Musketeer (Suez Crisis - Wikipedia) in the Suez conflict. I think it's likely that helicopters were used to transport troops behind friendly lines earlier. We still haven't found anything about the early use of helicopters to transport recon troops behind enemy lines. Since those operations requires only one helicopter and a handful of soldiers I would think this was done before 1956, perhaps even in WWII.
 
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Nemowork

Ad Honorem
Jan 2011
8,459
South of the barcodes
That link was interesting , yes. I knew helicopters were attached to the Gebirgsjäger, but judging by the article the helicopters weren't used to transport troops into enemy territory. I didn't know helicopters were considered for the Gran Sasso raid. If they had used helicopters, it's very possible it would have been the first time in history helicopters were used in special operations.
The first mention of that i've seen is the Brandenburgers retrieving a Greek member of the unit from behind Soviet lines but thats a two line anecdote with no factual details attached so its strictly hearsay.
The Brandenburgers records were destroyed before the end of the war so a lot of fanciful stories get attached to them and their few surviving memebers werent exactly talkative either.
 
Oct 2015
944
Norway
A Greek behind Soviet lines - how did that happen? It's possible of course, the allies met a few Korean soldiers at Normandie on D-day.