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The airdrop method refers to the method by which the load leaves the aircraft.There are currently three main types of airdrops used in military operations.Automatic extraction airdrops use extraction parachutes to pull the load out of the tail of the aircraft: the parachute deploys behind the aircraft and pulls the load out before the cargo parachute slows its descent.Withdrawal airdrops are generally low-velocity airdrops, with very few exceptions (e.g.LAPES).Manual retrieval of airdrops where the load is physically pushed out of the aircraft by a specially trained crew of up to four.Gravity drop uses the attitude of the aircraft as it descends to cause the load to roll out of the aircraft like a sled down a hill.The most common use for Gravity AirDrop is as a container delivery system (CDS) bundle.Door bundle airdrop is the easiest method of airdrop: the stevedore simply pushes out the load at the right moment.
Historically, bombers have often dropped supplies by air using special supply canisters that are compatible with the aircraft's bomb attachment system.During World War II, German bombers dropped containers called Versorgungsbomben (supply bombs) to resupply friendly forces on the ground.The British counterpart was the CLE Canister, which could carry up to 600 lb (270 kg) of supplies or weapons.Notably, during the Warsaw Uprising in 1944, British and American bombers dropped weapons on the Polish Home Army. During the Dutch famine of 1944-1945, British and American bombers dropped food into the Netherlands to feed civilians at risk of starvation; a deal was made with Germany not to fire on the drop planes.
Air bridges are routes and means of transporting materials from one place to another by air.Air bridges are a means of keeping short supplies by flying over enemy-held territory. Air freight on air bridges can also be used when the most convenient mode of transport is by air, or as an additional supplement to other modes of transport.The Germans used air bridges on three major occasions during World War II: Demyansk Pocket,Battle of Stalingrad and Kuban Bridgehead.With the success of the Demyansk Bridge a victory for Germany, Hermann Göring convinced Hitler that a similar method could be used to resupply the Sixth Army at Stalingrad.However, the Luftwaffe was never able to deliver the necessary 800 tons of supplies per day.The Kuban airlift in February-March 1943 was more successful because the Luftwaffe on Taman Peninsula had access to a mature airfield with good supply and maintenance facilities, the weather was more favorable, and the Soviet opposition was much weaker than at Stalingrad.In February 1943, the Germans airlifted 50,000 people from the northwestern Caucasus to the Crimea and Ukraine.German forces within the Kuban bridgehead received 500 tons of ammunition, food, fuel, and other supplies by air every day, enough to sustain 6th Army operations at Stalingrad.About 2,000 people are airlifted from the Kuban bridgehead every day.At its best, Caucasus Airlift transported 700 tons of supplies and evacuated 5,000 people every day.During the Croatian War of Independence and the Bosnian War,the Croatian government provided supplies to the Bosnian 5th Army in the Bihac enclave surrounded by Serb forces.V Corps provided supplies using Mi-8/17 helicopters and small aircraft.These missions were carried out by foreign mercenary pilots from Ukraine, Russia and Hungary and cost 5000 Reichsmarks per flight as they were considered very dangerous. Out of 101 organized flights, 91 failed and 10 failed.
The two largest air bridges in history are: Hump (the name given to the eastern end of the Himalayas by Allied pilots in World War II who flew from India to China to resupply Chiang Kai-shek's Chinese government forces. Shek) and US XX Bomber Command (during Operation Matterhorn); and the Berlin Airlift to overcome the Blockade of Berlin from 24 June 1948 to 11 May 1949.