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Gliders or Parachute?

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Gliders or Parachute?

Old 20th Jun 2010, 09:30
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Gliders or Parachute?

Watching a thing about a Glider raid by troops on the heavy water plant in Norway that turned ito a absolute disaster,Gliders towed by Bomber dont seem to have enjoyed a great deal of success during the war,who thought the idea up and why wasn't it abandoned in favour of parachutes?
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 09:40
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Gliders - More people in a more concentrated area in a concentration of time. Could also transport relatively heavy equipment. Downside was it was a risky business.

Parachute - Safer but troops could be scattered over a relatively wide area distant from the ultimate target and, in those days, not much heavy equipment.

It's all a trade off depending what the objective is. C'est la gare as they say at Paris Nord.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 09:49
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Hmmm, thank you Mr S,makes sense I suppose,still,one thinks one would sooner trust me and me Musket to a trusty parachute than sitting in one of them things.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 10:12
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Neither of them were much use at Arnhem.
No one noticed the Panzer division that were on holiday there.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 10:18
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I blame Dirk Bogarde for overruling that intelligence officer who was worried about them!
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 10:23
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Nah, twas the Harvards in the anti-tank role that screwed it all up.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 10:23
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Do you mean in the film (where he played Browning) or in the real battle (prior to which he was Brownings ADC).
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 10:36
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I meant in the film, MadsDad , I didnt know that about Bogarde, thanks for the info. Rather like Richard Todd, who played Major John Howard who led the airborne assault on Pegasus Bridge in The Longest Day. Todd had himself parachuted into Normandy on D Day and met up with Howard after the bridge had been captured. Surprised he didnt get offered a part in A Bridge Too Far.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 10:48
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Yes, Bogarde was Brownings ADC then during the actual battle he was in charce of a reconnaissance patrol - they were the first allied troops in the spearhead. In his biography he described standing on the river bank listening to the battle at Arnhem Bridge. He was villified for the way he played Browning but always claimed he actually knew him far better than any of the critics and did not intend his performance as an insult.
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 13:42
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Anyone either jumping out of an aircraft at night or landing a glider at night in an unlit field has my full respect.

It seems to me that the Germans during WW2 had some success with gliders. One is thinkng: Crete, Maginot Line and Otto Skorzey's raid on Gran Sasso to rescue Mussolini.

There seems to be some advantages in keeping the force together but one wonders why parachuting took over? Did the chopper take over the role of the glider as a means of delivery?
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 14:21
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... but remember D-Day...

...gliders landing a few metres from Pegasus Bridge... and many paratroops drowned in the flooded fields north of the beaches.. heroes one and all IMHO. bm
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Old 20th Jun 2010, 23:50
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One also thinks of the German glider assault on Eben Emael as another successful use of gliders.
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Old 21st Jun 2010, 09:24
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According to one or two books I have read, it wasn't actually Browning who overrruled intelligence assessments about Arnhem's possible defences. Can't remember off hand who it was, but IIRC it came from higher up. He did, however, later try to pass off the failure of Market Garden onto the Polish General, Sosabowski.

Browning was never promoted again after Market Garden.

Browning himself was an extreme oddball. While Adjutant at Sandhurst, he was the first to ride his horse up the steps of Old College and in through the door during the Sovereign's Parade. He could never explain why he did it. He was married to Daphne du Maurier, the author. He was also an Olympic Bobsleigher. After the war his drinking became a severe problem, and he suffered several mental breakdowns.

To answer Herr Draper's question, during the invasion of France, the Wehrmacht used both gliders and paratroops quite successfully. Winston Churchill was very impressed by this, and directed that we needed similar units. This was the start of the Parachute Regiment, the Glider Pilot Regiment and the Army Air Corps.

Whilst members of the GPR were trained alongside the units they would be flying and were expected to be able to fight effectively as members of those units, they were simultaneously, and contradictorily considered extremely valuable assets, and all units were directed to make all efforts possible to get them returned to England as quickly as possible. 1200 took part in Market Garden, over 200 killed and nearly 500 taken prisoner, which was considered a major disaster for the Regiment.
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Old 21st Jun 2010, 10:30
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My B-in-L flew into Arnhem in a glider on the second day, here are a couple of brief extracts from his story that may be of interest.

While crossing the north sea "We had not been over it for a quarter of an hour when I saw one of our gliders go down into the sea. Its tow rope must snapped, but it had hardly hit the water before a couple of motor boats were alongside, so I expect everyone was able to get out. I only saw two more gliders go down, but that was only 3 out of so many, that was not too bad."

Approaching the landing zone. "At around 1.50 pm the glider pilot told us to take of our life belts and fasten up the safety harness as we were almost there. You should have seen the gliders lying about in the fields below belonging to those who had landed on Sunday. They were as thick as flies on an empty jam tin, it was a wonderful sight."
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Old 21st Jun 2010, 10:33
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Tony, funny you should bring this up now. On Saturday a visitor from Burma and I visited the museum at Rjukan which is the actual site of the heavy water plant and the subsequent raids. Interesting story and the movie "The Heroes of Telemark" starring Kirk Douglas depicts the happenings rather well.
The first attempt was the use of gliders, not too much of a success.
The second was paratroopers, went rather well, but didn't close down the plant for very long.
The third was bombing by B17s, stopped the plant temporarily.
The fourth was the sinking of the ferry that should carry the heavy water across the Tinn Lake, mission accomplished.
The city of Rjukan and the museum are both well worth a visit.
Per
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Old 21st Jun 2010, 12:46
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With the benefit of hindsight, had I been offered the choice, 'Glider or Parachute', I think I would have gone for parachute.
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