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A Paradrop is the aerial deployment of military forces via parachute, mostly used for safe delivery of troops supposed to take a tactical pincer position in battle, or infiltrate behind enemy lines. While paradropping is usually performed by infantry, a few countries and factions have fielded vehicles suited for such a maneuver. Paradropped soldiers are referred to as "paratroopers", which could be a designation applied simply during the actual process, with the soldiers being essentially the same as a nation's generic infantry, or it could be a designation of specific units within a nation's military, specifically trained and earmarked for deployment in this fashion. Besides the tactical deployment role, paradrops have served commanders as a source of cost-free and rapid reinforcements on the field, as they were trained in off-theater facilities and hence put no strain on the resources and production capacities of a commander. Paradropped infantry is vulnerable to anti-aircraft weapons during their descent and is unable to return fire, warranting some caution in the selection of their deployment zone.
During the Great World War II, the Soviet Union was the most prominent side to deploy paratroopers; a group of five regular Rifle infantry that would be flown in a Tu-16 "Badger" over a battlefield, and would leap out, using a parachute to land safely. Deploying reinforcements in this fashion was available to commanders on a regular schedule, maintained by airfields. Some irregular paradropping infantry were called in for mission specific purposes on both sides.
Red Alert 2
During the GWWIII an infrastructure for calling in paratroopers was in place by most nations, so instead Tech Airports were commandeered to serve this purpose. Paratroopers would call in groups of six or eight for the soviet conscript (GIs for the Allies, conscripts for the Soviets and initiates for Yuri). America was the only Allied country who maintained their own independent system of paratroopers, via their Airborne network. In the campaigns of RA2, other units could be seen paradropping, even Rhino Heavy Tanks.
At the first and third missions of the Soviet campaign of Red Alert 2, Rhino and Grizzly tanks can be seen paradropping. This feature is not available to a player natively, but is a recurring feature added by modifications for the game.
Red Alert 3
|“|| Good luck out there boys!|
- Century doing a paradrop
Only the Century Bomber can paradrop soldiers, directly. Up to five infantry units of any type may be loaded into the Century Bomber, while it is landed at an Allied Airfield (a Soviet one, unfortunately, does not grant infantry a means of walking in, and so if they dock there, the troops can't get in) and after it has taken off, it may, at any time, be ordered to start dropping the infantry out. It still carries its bombs with them.
The only alternate means of "paradropping" is provided by the Soviet Bullfrog transport, whose "man-cannon" can fire the infantry within the Bullfrog into the air. When they reach the apex of their trajectory, they deploy a parachute and fall to the ground; this is normally a way to bypass walls and other obstacles, but can also be used to send infantry over heavy ground defenses directly into the enemy base- the same reason Paratroopers are often used.
In the Allied Campaign, there is a protocol called "Paradrop" that works in the same way, but the player is not required to build an Airfield, or to create Century Bombers.
In the Soviet Campaign, there are several mission specific paradrops maintained by Badger Bombers throughout the campaign. The largest operation was during assault on Emperor Yoshiro's palace on Mt. Fuji, where only one conscript and war bear managed to land.
|Paradrop||Century Bombers can also be loaded with 5 infantry units that can be para-dropped anywhere on the map. The bomber is also capable of performing a bombing run while infantry are loaded into the hold.|
Mass American Para Drop over Iran
Drops Rangers or Mini-Gunners from the air via parachute.
|“|| You do not mind if we drop in?|
The power to call in a Para Drop of troops was a promotional ability that could be granted to all American generals and general (Fai) of Chinese when they reached a certain rank. In both cases, there were 3 ranks of Para Drop, each granting an increased number of troops - 5, 10 and then 20 for ranks 1, 2 and 3 respectively, although in the case of General Fai, a rank 3 paradrop would deploy 15 troops. A Para Drop could be directed to take place anywhere on the battlefield, with the troops delivered by cargo plane(/s) - Ranger's for US generals and Mini-Gunner's for Fai.
The Para Drop was most useful for taking enemy generals by surprise, dropping troops into poorly-defended areas where they could quickly capture facilities and overcome the opposition. Naturally, dropping soldiers into an area populated by enemy vehicles was not typically a good idea.
The selection picture of Infantry General's Paradrop is the same as the one of America's Paradrop. However, there is an unused selection picture suggesting the art team intended to have new pictures specifically for Infantry General's Paradrop. Only the first level's selection picture can be found in the game files, which suggests the developer team didn't manage to finish it.