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James I. Moffett
- Publié sur Amazon.com
This publication is only worthy of 2 1/2 stars from an historical point of accuracy, but I gave it 3. My historical knowledge and research is on the USAAF glider program with good knowledge of British and German gliders, so my heavy handed comments tend to be with the AAF program....which causes one to question the validity of the remainder of the book.
The book title is misleading. Expecting to read about what drew me to the book, it did not deliver. The true nature of the book is best explained by the author on page 5, "This text devotes the available space to a discussion of the characteristics of military gliders, how they functioned, their capabilities and limitations; pilot training, tug aircraft, and how glider and tug units integrated; and the organization, equipment, and weapons of glider infantry and artillery units." Whew! Maybe it should have simply been called - A Discussion On WWII Gliders. As the title states, tactics are covered, but only two pages worth under "Glider Operations." The book is 64 pages, cover to cover, and two pages are not enough to call it a book on glider assault tactics.
Sadly, this printing attempts to homogenize the 25 or so previously published glider books to which the author has supplied as reference in his "Bibliography," plus a few individuals he acknowledges. Using the works of others as your prime source of information leads to a cross pollination of materials, mistakes, and repeated misinformation. The text is a little balky as it see-saw's back and forth with generalized facts in the beginning pages which are not always specific to any one glider.
Page 8, "In addition to two pilots the Waco could carry 13 seated troops, on 4x three-man bench seats and a jump seat; or six litter-(stretcher-) cases plus two seated casualties or attendants." Confusion arises on page 18 when we read, "The CG-4A could carry 15 combat-loaded troops on removable wooden bench seats - seven down each side, plus a jump seat - or alternatively seven litters." So, how many men did the American Waco CG-4A really carry, 13 or 15; and how many litter cases could it hold, 6 plus 2, or 7?
Page 18 is also a bit misleading as it is not clearly explained. An explanation need be given for the novice glider reader. "Towing speed was 110-120mph, by a variety of tugs; C-46, C-47, and C-54 transports, P-38 Fighters, A-25 attack aircraft, or B-25 bombers." This would lead the reader to believe these aircraft towed the CG-4A in military operations. However, what has not been explained is that only the C-47, C-53, and C-46 were used as combat tugs while the other tugs were experimentally tested and listed as capable of towing the CG-4A. Missing is the C-60 (used in training), B-23, B-34, B-17, and B-24. Page 29 repeats this misunderstanding.
With regards to the Waco CG-13A glider, page 19, "The nose could be lifted hydraulically." The nose was lifted hydraulically as it was too heavy to feasibly lift open manually. It was also slow in lifting. These were major concerns to the American Ground Forces especially if the system were shot out and the nose unable to be lifted hydraulically to unload equipment during the battle. This was one of the reasons the readied CG-13A gliders were not used in Operation Varsity.
Page 30 seems a bit of an insult to a rather hard working group of men known as the 26th Mobile Reclamation & Repair Squadron who assembled most of the Waco CG-4A gliders used in Europe, all of the CG-13A gliders, received several Letter of Commendation, The Meritorious Service Unit Plaque, and veterans whom I have been well acquainted to know. Mr. Rottman writes, "For Normandy, some 2,100 CG-4As were shipped to Britain in crates. At first, unskilled civilian labor was used to assemble them, but even when USAAF personnel were substituted they too proved inadequate, and many gliders were judged unflyable." Those "inadequate USAAF personnel" outproduced the expectations of their command for the Normandy build up after taking up where the civilian labor left off, period.
Mr. Rottman's gross misunderstanding of the crash protection devices used on the nose of the CG-4A glider is apparent. The Ludington-Griswold designed and manufactured Nose Crash Protection Structure (official AAF designation) was known as the Griswold Nose and not the contrived "Gris" (page 8) or the fabricated BOGN (Bolt On Griswold Nose) I have seen elsewhere. No, that single wide skid is not the Corey Skid. Mr. Rottman incorrectly spells Corey as "Cory" throughout the entire book. That short single ski, or skid, was part of the Griswold crash protection structure kit as supplied by Ludington-Griswold, Inc., before the Corey Skid was developed. Having several well known civilian glider pilots (civilian gliders used center skids for landing) on their payroll, it was most likely introduced by one of these men and incorporated into the completed kit, which did in fact bolt on. The Fuselage Nose Crash Protective Skid - Corey Type (official AAF designation) was designed by Lt. Col. Warner Corey, and known as the Corey Skid. The skid was also a bolt on device having a metal framework to which one longer center skid was located in the middle and two shorter skids mounted on each side - very easy to identify. The Griswold Nose and Corey Skid were not used together. However, near war's end, Ludington-Griswold was contracted for an experimental version of the two units combined.
There are other errors, but I will leave it at that. On the plus side, many good photos I have not seen in any other books and several good color plates throughout the book as pictured on the cover. However, our modern world of technology seems to allow for sloppy writing with minimal regards to factual accuracy or effort of historical research.
Robert A. Lynn
- Publié sur Amazon.com
WORLD WAR II GLIDER ASSAULT TACTICS
GORDON L. ROTTMAN
OSPREY PUBLICATIONS, 2014
QUALITY SOFTOVER, 64 PAGES, $18.95, PHOTOGRAPHS, ILLUSTRATIONS, ABBREVIATIONS, INDEX, BIBLIOGRAPHY
Military gliders, one of the peculiarities of World War II, were serious military weapons that contributed significantly to the success of various airborne operations conducted by each side. Yet the entire history of practical military gliding is less then a dozen years, and they haven't been used for military operations since the end of the war.
Military gliders evolved because of the need to deliver a load larger than what could be delivered by parachute. Unless paratroopers were able to secure a landing strip large enough to support transport aircraft, they would be left to the mercy of the defenders' armor and heavy weapons. The pattern of early airborne attacks was a paradrop onto an airfield, seizure of the airfield, followed up by an air landing of infantry and light artillery, often within an hour of the initial drop.
The concept of ferrying large loads in gliders wasn't new, but it was all theory. Gliders are relatively flimsy structures with long, narrow, high aspect-ratio wings that the pilot keeps aloft by seeking upward air currents. While the sport glider is slender and graceful, the military glider was large, angular, and often had struts supporting the wings and tail. Where sport gliders have a single small wheel, or light landing skids, military gliders had a full, fixed undercarriage. There was little streamlining; the fuselage was designed to carry a squad or platoon of heavily armed troops or large, bulky cargo.
Indeed, military gliders deserve that name mainly because most of them were without any independent means of power. Where a sport glider will usually "glide" around fifty feet for each foot of altitude, the military gliders were fortunate to achieve a 10:1 glide ratio. Sport gliders are launched by a variety of measures whereas military cargo gliders could only be launched by an aerial tow using multi-engine transports or bombers modified for the purpose. A sport glider can remain aloft for several hours while a military glider, once released from the mother aircraft, had to come down immediately.
WORLD WAR II GLIDER ASSAULT TACTICS details the vital role of the glider infantry troops and their aircraft that gets overlooked by their counterparts in the airborne. This book has both excellent illustrations and photographs that helps the reader understand the concept of glider assault tactics. While this is only a primer in understanding the contributions of glider troops, there are some mistakes that need to be corrected. They are listed below:
*Page 7-This photograph is wrong. It is Major Glenn E. Mann of Scott's Bluff, Nebraska, a member of the 9th Air Force Troop Carrier Command greeting Major Nagel (on the right) of the 9th Engineer Command as he landed on a captured German airfield in France.
*Page 8-It states that the U.S. Waco CG-4A Cargo Glider could carry 13 seated troops not 15 seated troops.
*Page 18-It states that the U.S. Waco CG-4A Cargo Glider could carry 15 combat loaded troops. This is incorrect, it could only carry 13.
*Page 29-Other Common Tug Aircraft not mentioned on chart: Lockheed C-60 Lodestar, B-34, Boeing B-23 Dragon, P-47 Tnunderbolt, and the Douglas C-53 Skytrooper (a specialized paratroop variant of the Douglas C-47 Skytrain). As a footnote, the Curtiss A-25 Shrike could tow only one (1) CG-4A while the Douglas C-54 Skymaster could tow three (3) CG-4As.
*Page 30-The reviewer was wrong in how many awards the 26th Mobile Reclamation and Repair Squadron was awarded. The unit was awarded one (1) Letter of Commendation dated 16 August 1944 and One (1) Meritorious Service Unit Plaque for superior performance from 1 May 1944 to 31 October 1944 by the Commanding Officer, 1st Advanced Air Depot Area.
*Page 31-This photograph is wrong. This is a pilot and co-pilot of the 9th Troop Carrier Command discussing a mission before Glider "Old Canvas Sides" is towed from a field somewhere in France on 3 February 1945. Also, there were 23 Preliminary Plane Gliding Schools but five (5) of these were temporary.
*Page 39-This photograph is incorrect and it is a CG-4A making a training landing in England in June, 1944 prior to D-Day.
*Page 46-This photograph is incorrect and it shows members of the 82nd Airborne Division loading a 75mm howitzer into a CG-4A Troop Glider during training at Oujda, French Morocco in North Africa a month before the Sicily invasion on 11 June 1943.
*Page 50-This photograph is wrong and it shows a British Royal Air Force Douglas C-47 Dakota turning away after releasing their Waco Hadrian gliders over Normandy, France in June, 1944.
*Page 52-The correct designation of the 5318th Unit is the 5318th Provisional Unit (Air) and it had seven operational sections until September, 1941: bomber, fighter, light-plane, helicopter, transport, glider, and light cargo. There were 12 B-25H medium bombers, 30 P-51A fighters, 13 C-47 and C-54 transports, 100 L-1 and L-5 light aircraft, 100 CG-4A gliders and 75 TG-5 gliders, and 6 R-4 Sikorsky helicopters.
*Page 54-Following Operation VARSITY, the Douglas C-46 Commando was prohibited from combat because of the vulnerability of its hydraulic control systems and the lack of self-healing gas tanks. This was the only troop carrier mission in which the Douglas C-46 Commando was used. There were 72 C-46s that were used and 49 returned while 23 were either shot down or crashed. General Paul Williams, commanding officer of the 9th Troop Carrier Command had agreed to deploy the Douglas C-46 for the transport of paratroopers but not for the Waco CG-13A. He felt that the CG-13A hadn't been tested enough in combat.
*Page 55-The codenames for the resupply of Bastogne were PULSE and REPULSE and the first aerial resupply mission was on 23 December 1944. Of the total of 819 resupply aircraft sent, approximately 32 dropped their loads over enemy territory and were unrecoverable. The glider operation during the Battle of the Bulge that was conducted on 26 and 27 December 1944 was Operation KANGAROO. Also, the correct number of gliders that landed safely in the landing zones on 27 December 1944 was 33 not 35. This was from a total of 50 that left England. These were acceptable percentages for a desperate situation.
*Page 62-This photograph was taken on 23 June 1944 and this aircraft belonged to the 91st Troop Carrier Squadron, 439th Troop Carrier Group. The Waco CG-4A in this photograph was one of fifteen recovered that day. As a footnote, 3,784 Waco CG-4A Cargo Gliders were used in the eight (8) glider combat missions during World War II. A few were used more than once.
Colonel Robert A. Lynn, Florida Guard