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 Rev. 09/22/03

 

Glider Crews & Operations

 

 

History

 

 

(Right) 34th TCS Glider Engineering Officer and glider pilot Charlie Rex (on the right) and the Glider Engineering section in front of a CG-4A Waco glider named ‘Hiya Honey’.. Note the tow line attached at the top of the windscreen.  The nose of the Waco was hinged at the top and designed to be opened by a pull-line attached to a jeep.  Just visible is the obliquely vertical seam between the nose and the fuselage. 

 

As it exited after landing, the jeep pulled on the line which pulled the lever apparatus seen overhead the cockpit.  In practical operations, however, the Waco would often roll forward after an abrupt landing, crushing the nose sufficiently prevent its opening.  As it was canvas covered, troops often cut their way through the side, but the jeep would be lost.

 

 

 

(Left)  Identification card of Flight Officer Alfred Mallett, glider pilot of the 309th TCS.  Submitted by FO Mallett’s son.

(Below)  Wreckage of FO Mallett’s glider after crash-landing during Operation Market Garden.  The aircraft took hits from Flak and caught fire.  FO Mallett was barely able to land the glider before the entire skin burned away.  Note the jeep he was carrying still inside.  Photo taken from official US Army project to photo-document as many crash sites as possible.

 

 

 

 

(Left)  Glider troops boarding a CG-4A glider.  Glider unit and troop unit not identified.

 

 

 

 

(Right)  Troops seated inside a CG-4A Waco glider, looking forward.  Photo was taken for training purposes.

 

 

 

(Left) A c-47 of the 91st TCS of the 439th TCG (note the L4 on the nose) ‘snatching’ CG-4A glider from the ground.  The glider’s tow line was suspended from two poles flanking the glider.  The C-47 mounted with a hook beneath, flew slightly above and between the poles and grabbed the tow line.  A dynamic braking drum inside the C-47 allowed the glider to accelerate smoothly, though quickly, to takeoff speed.

 

 

 

 

(Left) Cockpit of the CG-4, Waco glider

 

 

(Below) Restored cockpit of CG-4A Glider on display in the Air Mobility Command Airlift Museum at Dover AFB, Delaware.  In same picture seen at left is the tail of a restored C-47 originally belonging to the 61st Troop Carrier Squadron.

 

 

 

 

(Transcript of the plaque text)

Astounding Facts About Military Gliders

“A C-47 was concerted into a CG-17 glider by removing the engines and fuel tanks to become a 40-troop glider.  Although the concept worked, it was considered too expensive to waste C047 airframes as gliders.  The sole CG-17 was later reconverted to C-47 status.

The CG-20 all metal Troop Transport Glider developed during WWII evolved into the C-123 Provider that was the tactical airlift workforce of the Vietnam war.

Many surplus CG-4A gliders were purchased after the war, not for the glider, but for the high quality wood of the packing crates in which they were delivered.  Many houses remain standing today, which were built using disassembled packing crates. Sadly, the rusting skeletons of discarded gliders can will be found in the hills of Pennsylvania.

At the beginning of WWII German troops captured one of the most powerful fortresses in the world by landing a dozen gliders on top of it.  The Belgian troops inside were trapped and Fort Eban Emal surrendered in less than a day.

The nose of the CG-4A was designed so the whole cockpit hinged up over the fuselage for loading.  The cargo, such as a jeep or artillery piece, was connected to the cockpit lifting cable before flight.  In the event of a crash landing, if the cargo tore loose it would swing the cockpit, complete with pilots, up out of the way.

Germany built the largest gliders ever used in combat.  The Me-321 could carry 200 fully armed troops, or two light tanks or an 88 mm field artillery piece complete with is half track tow vehicle and crew.  It had a wingspan of 180’, a length 83’ and a max gross weight of over 86,000 pounds.  It had up to 8 rocket engines under the wings to assist the tow plane on take-off.

A powered version, the Me-323, had six engines plus the rocket assist units.  Although over 300 of all models of the “Gigant” were used operationally during the war, none arrived due to Allied air superiority.”

 

 

(Right) 310th’s C-47 ‘Umptey-pooh’, uniquely marked with ‘Tiger Jaws’, as seen from a CG-4A Waco glider in tow during a glider training mission.  Barely visible (in the original photo) is the tow line extending behind ‘Umptey-pooh’.  C-47s could tow two Waco gliders simultaneously and could also ‘snatch’ a glider from the ground.   Although the 315th   trained in towing and snatching, the group never towed gliders in combat.

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Left)  View from the cockpit of a CG-4A Waco glider.  Note only one glider in tow behind the C-47.  C-47s could, and frequently did, tow two Waco gliders.

 

 

 

 

(Above) A serial of C-47s of the 315th  TCG dropping 41 sticks of  the 1st Polish Airborne Brigade into Graves, Holland, on September 23, 1944, D+6 of Operation Market Garden.  Sticks averaged 18 paratroopers.  The gliders on the ground were released 37 minutes earlier by the 313th TCG and 61st TCG (92 gliders between 1603 and 1610 hours).  Minutes following this drop, more serials of the313th TCG and the  316th TCG released another 97 gliders.  Photo was taken by an official US Army Combat Photographer on-scene during the drop.

 

 

 

 

(Left) As the caption states, gliders on the ground at Arnhem, Holland, September, 1944, during Operation Market Garden.  Judging by the width of the skid marks and the short fuselage, they appear to be mostly Wacos.  Note the relative shortness of the skid marks, indicating a ground run of less than 5 seconds duration.  In an interview, FO Stone of the 315th TCG described the best technique to land a glider was to stall it just above the ground and ‘drop’ the aircraft onto the ground.  This technique reduced ground run, which was usually more dangerous over rough terrain than the ‘drop’ from a few feet.

 

 

 

 (Right)  Aerial view of glider landing, mostly Horsas.  Landing zone and date not identified.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

(Left)  The caption at the top of the photo reads “In September 1944, Ductch villagers and a pliceman watch gliders carrying units of the 82nd Airborne Division toward a target behind the German lines.”  The unit of C-47s towing the gliders is not identified, and probably not the 315th TCG as they never towed gliders in a combat operation.

 

(Above) Walter 'Pappy' Winans and Pat McMarrow standing next to British Horsa.  Note invasion stripes which were painted on Allied aircraft for Normandy and after.  The Horsa was towed with a V line attached to each wing.  After Normandy, the Horsa’s were modified with explosive bolts around the empennage (tail section) which blew off the tail to permit rapid egress of the troops after landing.  315th Flight Officer and glider pilot Arthur ‘Stoney’ Stone reported seeing a Horsa in-tow with the empennage missing while flying as a C-47 copilot on a mission into Holland during Operation Market Garden.  The explosive bolts had apparently discharged in-flight.  The outcome for the unfortunate glider and its occupants is not known.

 

 

(Above)  A British Horsa glider after landing.  Troops in foreground not identified.

Among the companies who built Hora gliders was the Harris Lebus company , founded by Lewis Lebus, a Breslau-born Jew who came to England in 1840 and started building furniture.  By 1899 Lebus employed 1000 operatives and 45 managers, and was the largest furniture company in England.  The company reached its zenith just before World War II, when it employed about 8,000 workers. In 1940, the Harris Lebus company switched to armaments production, their specialty building Horsa Transport gliders for the Royal Air Force (RAF). Its first military use was the British invasion of Sicily on July 10, 1943. In all, 1,461 were constructed by Harris Lebus, along with another 1,271 of the Horsa II, a transport which was also used for reconnaissance.

 

 

 

 

(Right)  Inside a British Horsa glider, looking forward.  Note the bottom of the flight deck (cockpit) appearing just above the heads of the last glider troops.  Photo was taken for training purposes.

 

(Below left)  The operations manual ‘Pilot Notes’ for the British Horsa glider.  (Below right)  A page from the Pilot’s Notes handbook depicted the instrument panel and controls of the Horsa.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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