First helicopter air assault

Monday, November 5, 1956 - Port Said, Egypt



On November 6, 1956, 650 men of 45 Commando, Royal Marines conducted the first ever helicopter air assault, landing at Port Said at the mouth of the Suez Canal as part of Operation Musketeer. 45 Commando landed under fire.

Operation Musketeer employed the newly formed Joint Experimental Helicopter Unit, an inter-service consisting of men from the Royal Navy, Army Air Corps and the RAF. The unit's aircraft included Westland Whirlwinds and Bristol Sycamores. The Whirlwinds were capable of carrying up to 10 men or roughly 1,500 lbs of equipment while the Sycamores could carry 2 or 3 passengers or approximately 1,000 lbs of supplies or equipment.


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