M22 Locust Airborne Light Tank
The M22 Locust was a light tank designed to be air-dropped to assist in airborne operations.
Authored By Captain Jack; Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com
After witnessing the successes of the German airborne divisions to take over most of Western Europe in the opening salvos of World War 2, the British and Americans fully understood the importance of a viable, mobile airborne fighting force. Additionally, it was understood that such a force would require an appropriate amount of firepower to fully realize their value in the war-winning process. The Germans utilized their airborne forces in key assaults, often ahead of the main force, to disrupt enemy actions behind the front lines until arrival of the army and secure key strategic points on a map. Such operations helped to capture the countries of Norway, Denmark, Belgium, Holland and France. Additional actions took them to the Balkans, Crete and Italy as well as the Eastern and Western Fronts. The Germans utilized their paratrooper prowess in the successful rescue of Italian dictator Benito Mussolini in May of 1944. Considering the broad reach that could be attained by airborne troops in the war, the arrival of an air-delivered tank system could provide a much-needed "punch" for the lightly-equipped Allied airborne infantry personnel, helping to take enemies by surprise and perhaps change the course of a battle within precious seconds.
Paratroopers, in general, were more or less lightly-armed infantry soldiers dropped via parachute from passing transport aircraft
. As they were often limited in what they could carry into battle, they would most often times be outmatched when facing off against a "regular" army force equipped with artillery, mortars, machine guns and tanks. As such, every tool in the arsenal of the paratrooper had to be deemed essentially to his operation and was specifically selected for its usefulness in combat. Airborne troops themselves were developed for light, temporary engagements - not prolonged warfare, particularly against enemy armor. World War 2's battlefields would often push the boundaries of what airborne elements were capable of - and provide for a unique assortment of answers as the battle waged on. Notable Allied airborne forces of the war became the American 82nd and 101st and the British Red Devils of the 1st and 6th.