TRIBUTE TO THE AMERICAN COMBAT GLIDER PILOTS OF WORLD WAR II
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THE BRITISH "AIRSPEED HORSA" COMBAT ASSAULT GLIDER
Page under construction.
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.
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)
Unloaded Horsa with what appear to be German prisoners in the foreground.
Horsa Pilot's Notes
Horsa Cockpit - General View with legend.
Horsa Instrument Panel with legend
Horsa Cockpit View Port Side.
Youtube Videos on Horsa Gliders
Links to websites featuring the Airspeed Horsa:
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