TRIBUTE TO THE AMERICAN COMBAT GLIDER PILOTS OF WORLD WAR II

                                                         

Annual Reunion of the National WWII Glider Pilots Association - Click here for information

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.

 

THE BRITISH "AIRSPEED HORSA" COMBAT ASSAULT GLIDER

 

Page under construction.

 

HorsaPCard.jpg (8914 bytes)

Youtube video on the Airspeed Horsa Invasion Glider

        The British Horsa glider was considerably larger than the American Waco CG-4A.  It could carry as many as 30 troops and a substantially larger supply load compared to the CG-4A's maximum load of 13 Glider Infantry troops .  It also differed from the CG-4A in that it was constructed almost completely of wood.  Its tow line harness yoke was attached to both wings, unlike the CG-4A the tow line of which attached to the nose of the aircraft.  

 

HorsaTakeOff.jpg (71056 bytes)

 

Horsa taking off.  Note the dual tow line harness attached to both wings.

 

 

 

 

        American and British units used each other's gliders throughout the war.  Many American Glider Pilots who had trained extensively on the CG-4A found themselves, because of dictates of the mission, flying Horsas into Normandy.  Both American and British Glider Pilots used the CG-4A in Operation "Bunghole," a series of individual combat missions originating in Italy across the Adriatic to land in small clearings in Yugoslavia with supplies for partisans fighting German forces attempting to hold the Balkans.  The smaller CG-4A was better suited for shorter landings and retrieval using the "snatch" technique described in this site.

 

British troopers inside a British Horsa Glider.  The Horsa and Waco were both used by British and American Glider Infantry.  Elements of the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions flew into Normandy in the Horsa piloted by American Glider Pilots.

 

        Perhaps the Horsa's finest hour came in the early stages of the Normandy Invasion when six Horsas loaded with infantry descended in the darkness of the morning of June 6, 1944, to capture and hold bridges over the Orne and Caen Canal, bridges that would allow German reinforcements to counterattack the Normandy landings.  Carrying a company of the Oxford and Buckinghamshire Light Infantry, six Horsas piloted by members of the famed British Glider Pilot Regiment found their insertion points.  This exceptionally difficult and dangerous mission, so critical to the success of the beach landings, was accomplished due in no small part to the skilled airmanship of the six Horsa aircrews.  (Source:  The Wings of Pegasus by Brigadier George Chatterton, D.S.O., O.B.E.  pages 136-140)

 

        Signal Sergeant Williams on the US Army discussion forum added some more detail to this operation:

"From an aerial view photo of the after action at Pegasus Bridge, there were only three gliders in that operation. I think there were more in the Melville Battery assault. All three of the pilots of the Pegasus bridge landing received the DFC from the King.  The producer/director [of "The Longest Day"] had to chose whether to use the Pegasus Bridge assault or the Melville battery assault in the movie. I read he flipped a coin and Pegasus won. That bridge no longer crosses the Orne River.  The French put in a new one some years back. They were going to metal scrap the old one until holy hell broke out. It now sits in the field where the gliders landed, rusting away."

More interesting factoids about Pegasus Bridge and "The Longest Day" from Sergeant Williams:

"The fellow who played Major Howard in the movie was Richard Todd and he was a Lieutenant and CO of a company (parachute I think) that relieved Major Howard and secured the bridge. Also the piper in the movie that played the part of CSM Mullins was CSM Mullins himself.  There use to be a story that when Todd met Lieutenant Sweeney on the bridge they greeted each other by saying "Sweeney...Todd." Todd Use to be nicknamed Sweeney in the army also. A movie was just made about Sweeney Todd....real life character by the way."

 

HorsaHangar.jpg (24383 bytes)  Horsa parked near hangar.  

 

 

HorsaHingedNoseGermanPrisoners.jpg (41810 bytes)

Unloaded Horsa with what appear to be German prisoners in the foreground.

 

 

HorsaPilotsNotesCover.jpg (20282 bytes)

 Horsa Pilot's Notes

 

 

HorsaPilotsNotesCockpitGeneralView.jpg (19208 bytes)

Horsa Cockpit - General View with legend.  

HorsaPilotsNotesCockpitGeneralViewLegend.jpg (6850 bytes)

 

 

 

 

HorsaPilotsNotesInstrumentPanel&Controls.jpg (33537 bytes)HorsaPilotsNotesInstrumentPanel&ControlsLegend.jpg (10330 bytes)  

 

Horsa Instrument Panel with legend

 

 

 

 

 

HorsaPilotsNotesCockpitPortSide.jpg (32402 bytes)

Horsa Cockpit View Port Side.  

 

 

 

Youtube Videos on Horsa Gliders

Horsa Glider D Day 1944 Pegasus Museum

Youtube:  Horsa Invasion Gliders converted into homes

Links to websites featuring the Airspeed Horsa:

Fiddlers Green Website on the Horsa

Czech Republic page on Horsas

Allied Assault Gliders

Airspeed Horsa

British-Forces.com

 

Back ] Home ] Next ]

 

 

Copyright 2000-2017 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.