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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.