TRIBUTE TO THE AMERICAN COMBAT GLIDER PILOTS OF WORLD WAR II
ANNUAL REUNION Welcome Page Site Entrance Resolution - 110th Congress Senate Resolution - National Airborne Day Dedication Dedication 2 Dedication 3 Roll of Honor Children of The Netherlands Adopt GI Graves Combat Glider Pilots Virtual Memorial Virtual Memorial Page 2 Silent Wings Museum Waco CG-4A Waco CG-4A - 2 Waco Drawings by David Eckert Later U.S. Glider Designs Airspeed Horsa Hamilcar Tow Ships Glider Pilot Training A Glider Pilot's Log Book Bowman Field Kentucky South Plains Army Air Field, Lubbock, Texas Wright Field, Ohio "The Snatch" Glider Infantry Sicily - "Operation Husky" Burma - "Operation Thursday" Normandy - "Operation Neptune" Southern France - "Operation Dragoon" Holland - " Operation Market Garden" Holland - Page 2 Holland - Page 3 Bastogne - "Operation Repulse" Germany - Operation "Varsity" Philippines - "Mission Appari" Special Missions Between Missions Glider Operations in England Glider Assembly at RAF Greenham Common Photos from Jan Bos - Holland September 7, 1942 "Life" Magazine "War Glider" Article "Yank" Magazine "Liberation Edition" - June 11, 1944 "Yank" Magazine "Airborne Operations in France" - July 2, 1944 Glider Insignia America's Latest Glider - The Space Shuttle Space Shuttle COLUMBIA A Glider Pilot's Day of WWII - Original Art Work by Dale Oliver Glider Pilot Humor GP Photos Letters, Wit, and Wisdom Unusual Glider Designs Interesting Photos & Stories About WWII Gliders Memorabilia German Appraisal of Airborne Operations Earlier Glider Designs WWII Posters Books on Gliders Attributions Links Page Airborne Research Resources Where to Find Books Currently in Print on WWII Glider, and Glider-Related Programs Glider Pilot Contacts Page of Emails and Addresses of People Who Would Like to Network on the Subject of WWII Glider Pilots Military Reunions in Dayton, Ohio
Pages without hyperlinks are under construction.
Animation of "The Snatch" at the bottom of the page. Please wait for download.
Click on thumbnails for a larger picture.
Known humorously as "The Snatch" by the Glidermen, this hazardous technique was executed by towship that flew over a landing strip trailing a towline with a hook that snagged a glider tow line suspended from poles. Within six to seven seconds, the parked glider at the other end of the tow line would go from a standing stop to over one-hundred miles an hour becoming airborne within seconds. It was used to retrieve gliders after they had landed on covert missions in enemy territory, to evacuate wounded, and to retrieve gliders after assault missions.
First air cargo glider snatch - Wright Field, Ohio - 1942
Photo courtesy of Charles Day
This technique was used extensively in the China-Burma-India Theater by the U.S. First Air Commando Force when gliders were used to insert concentrations of troops behind Japanese lines. Following landings, gliders were quickly unloaded of supplies and troops and reloaded with wounded and outgoing personnel. Often, the towship would circle until the glider was rigged for retrieval. This maneuver was hazardous and required skilled airmanship by both aircraft crews. The stress on the glider's wings and towline assembly was considerable. If the glider was going to have trouble in this maneuver - wing failure, for example - it would be most likely too low for the crew to bail out (they often flew without parachutes to allow more weight for troops and cargo), and too high for them to survive the fall.
"At an airfield in Britain a C-47 transport snatches up a CG-4A glider. The glider's towline was suspended between two poles, and the transport flew over them trailing a long hook. The hook picked up the line a fraction of a second before this picture was taken, and the plane is now opening its throttles and taking up the slack. Within a second or two the glider will jerk forward and be pulled over the two posts as it goes." -- American History Illustrated, June 1983.
Glider retrieval assembly in tow aircraft - from Silent Ones WWII Invasion Glider Test & Experiment CCAAF, courtesy Charles Day
Glider retrieval assembly outside tow aircraft - From Silent Ones WWII Invasion Glider Test & Experiment CCAAF, courtesy Charles Day
Description of glider retrieval bringing wounded back from Operation Varsity with many photos - pdf file.
Copyright 2000-2020 by T. J. Brennan - All rights reserved. This website has been set up solely as a memorial to the Glider Pilots of World War Two and has no commercial intent. Unless otherwise noted, material on this website may be downloaded or copied with prior permission from the website owner for educational and other non-profit purposes. Any material used from this site must appear in published form (online or otherwise) with proper attribution which must include the full URL link to this website. Use of any of the material on this website for commercial, economic or for any other similar purpose is prohibited. For permission, please contact the website owner.