Glider-troopers of World War II
In many ways, gliders were the optimal choice for airborne operations. Troops dropped by parachute risked being scattered over vast areas, while gliders could land hundreds of heavy infantry with much higher degrees of precision. They also afforded a greater chance of surprise. Dozens or hundreds of transport planes rumbling overhead would loudly announced the arrival of paratroops; gliders could be released much farther from their objectives and descend silently towards the target area, often even landing undetected. And while parachute infantry went into battle only with what they could carry on their backs, glider-borne troops could be landed with heavier equipment including jeeps, mortars, anti-tank guns and even specially designed tanks.
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Documentary: Colditz glider to take to the skies at last as POW`s great escape comes to fruition
One of the most audacious escape plans concocted by British POWs at Colditz a glider made of sleeping bags, gramophone springs and porridge is to be recreated for a documentary film. The glider, nicknamed the Colditz Cock, was still under construction in an attic at the prison when the castle was freed by American forces in April 1945. As a result, its launch, planned for later that spring, never took place. The glider was the brainchild of Tony Rolt and Bill Goldfinch, PoWs who realised that a glider could be launched from the chapel roof to fly across the River Mulde without being seen by the Germans.
Minnesota history buffs recreating World War II glider (includes video)
During the Second World War II Minnesota was the second largest manufacturer of gliders. Now Minnesota history buffs - members of the World War II History Roundtable - are recreating a vintage glider just like those for the Minnesota Historical Society. Piece by piece, the group travels on an aerial mission to bring back the past.
WWII glider pilot Robert Moore, Jr. recalls cruising over Utah beach and Omaha beach
Robert Moore, who logged almost 4,000 flight hours during WW2, was one of 6,000 glider flight officers in the Air Force. On D-Day he cruised between Utah beach and Omaha beach: "800 feet high, I could see the whole works. The beachhead just lined with bodies and helmets, you know they would lose their helmets... I guess they got blown off them. I`ve never seen as many helmets in my life."
WW2 glider pilots swap stories at National World War II Museum
They each flew one combat mission in a glider, but memories the two war veterans differ greatly. For George Theis the flight was an adventure. He remembers a flawless landing as American soldiers poured into Nazi Germany, crossing the Rhine. But a sense of loss travels with Verbon Houck who piloted one of a group of gliders delivering supplies to US paratroopers in Bastogne, during the Battle of the Bulge. Many of those involved in the mission were lost. Houck wound up captured by the Nazis, spending 5 months as a PoW. In 2010 the National WWII Glider Pilots Association will have a reunion in Lubbock, Texas, where the group has a museum.
Second World War glider restoration like a jigsaw puzzle
Aviation buff Syd Cohen still has about a year to go before he`ll have his segment of a WW2 glider at the Wausau Downtown Airport restored. Even though the glider (Waco CG-4A "Hadrian") is not finished, that didn`t keep a handful of WW2 glider veterans from standing in awe as they looked up to a piece of history that once carried them into enemy soil. Gliders are engine-less airplanes the U.S. used during the war to deliver men, jeeps, ammo and other supplies behind enemy lines. After being towed near frontlines by larger airplanes, the craft could glide 25 miles and carry up to 15 men.
Silent Dart glider : The secret Nazi weapon to make pinpoint attacks
With deadly accuracy and at speeds of up to 700mph, it could have wreaked havoc - At least that is what Nazi scientists thought at the end of World War II, when Adolf Hitler became desperate for a way to threaten his enemies. The Silent Dart glider would be released from a larger aircraft. Guided by a Luftwaffe pilot inside, the dart would dive with 1,000kg bomb. At the last moment, the pilot would release the bomb and inflate a huge balloon. As the bomb hit its target, the balloon would whisk the glider far up above the danger zone. Pencil drawings of the dart were discovered by Richard Rex in the Reich Chancellery in Berlin in July 1945. The sketches are now for sale.
World War II gliders recalled in Documentary DVD
A documentary on military gliders and pilots from WW2 will be released. "Silent Wings - the American Glider Pilots of World War II" is narrated by Hal Holbrook, and features interviews with glider pilots, including legendary journalists Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite, who flew into Holland with a glider division in 1944. The documentary reveals the critical role gliders played in the war, and includes rare archival footage and photographs. Anyone with an interest in glider history or World War II aviation should see it, said Peter A. Smith.
Directly In Harm`s Way: WWII Glider Pilot, Noel Addy
American forces didn`t have combat helicopters during WWII, so dropping off concentrated numbers of soldiers over enemy lines was impossible. Airborne paratroopers were one option. Yet they were scattered and without heavy-duty weapons. That`s where combat gliders came into play. And Noel Addy was among the first to fly one. These gliders could carry up to 16 soldiers, a jeep and a 37mm cannon. And they didn`t need a runway to land. Just an open field and a lot of luck. "With so many at one time, they`re coming in from all different directions, a small field is gonna get filled up in a hurry, and they start crashing into each other."
Silent Wings - Film of Glider pilots: do-or-die WWII missions
According to one General, glider pilots were "the most uninhibited individuals ever to wear an American uniform," they had no motors, no parachutes, and no second chances. Once they released from the C-47 tow plane, the glider pilot had one chance to guide the unarmed glider safely behind enemy lines. After the attack on Pearl Harbor, 6,000 daring men volunteered as pilots in the U.S. Glider Corps. Documentary will include interviews with journalists Andy Rooney and Walter Cronkite, who flew into Holland with the 101st Airborne Division. "Silent Wings" reveals the critical role gliders played in WWII offensives through rare archival footage and photographs.
In charge of assembling gliders for the invasion of Europe
Gliders are described in the dictionary as "aircraft similiar to an airplane but without an engine". However, to Jack Welborn of Tyler, gliders are the silent heroes of the sky. During WW II, Welborn was in charge of assembling gliders at Crookham Commons, England, for the invasion of Europe. Eisenhower ordered 600 gliders for the Normandy invasion. Although the glider missions were successful, mortality among the pilots were high and the majority of gliders were lost. Welborn has been able to locate the frame of a WWII glider and is restoring it.
Restoring WWII combat glider - a tribute to community (Article no longer available from the original source)
The WWII-era glider is just a wood and metal skeleton now, not even a shell of what it once was. But when you look at it, you almost can see young soldiers wearing steel helmets and combat gear, carrying M-1 semiautomatic rifles and packs, huddled in the fuselage on wooden benches, keyed up for combat. You shake your head in wonder at the outright bravery. Who would fly in such a thing -- especially into war?