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Thread: Operation Thursday / Chindit 2 - number of gliders involved?

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    Default Operation Thursday / Chindit 2 - number of gliders involved?

    I am researching a Danish airman participating in the supply mission for this operation. Hence, I am looking though different references on the operation, e.g. trying to establish an idea of the number of aircraft involved. I am a bit confused having different sources stating different numbers of gliders involved in the action on 5/6 Mar 1944:

    Shores et al., Bloody Shambles, Vol 3, p 173, states that

    "Of the 67 gliders which were towed off, 32 landed successfully at Broadway, nine others coming down in friendly territory and nine in hostile territory. [...] Only two remained unaccounted for, although 15 were towed back to the base airfields..."

    Probert, The Forgotten Air Force, states that

    "80 gliders were lined up at Lalaghat, the mounting base; 52 were to be used on the initial 200-mile sortie to Broadway and Picadilly [...] Of the 52 gliders 17 failed to reach Broadway [...] Of the 35 that did arrive most crashed on landing..." (Probert's source seems to be RAF Narrative, Vol. 4)

    R. D. Van Wagner, 1st AIR CQMMANDO. GROUP, Any Place, Any Time, Any Where, Military History Series 86-1, USAF Air Command and Staff College, 1986 states that

    "Gen. Slim reduced the requirements to 60 gliders and committed them all to Broadway" (p. 66)

    "In all 37 Wacos had arrived;" (p. 71)

    The source for the latter given as "JICA/CBI. Wingate Report on Airborne Invasion of Burma; Report No. 1833, 12 April 1944. 810.6091A, in USAF Collection, USAFHRC"

    I know these figures are not miles from each other, but there is a difference between 32 of 67 and 37 of 60.

    Any ideas as to the reason for these differences, and perhaps the "true" numbers?

    Regards

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Hi Mikkel

    A very difficult question. This is again different numbers of gliders, this time found in U.S. Forces, Historical Division: Records, 1941-1946.

    5th March 1944

    "Of 54 CG-4A gliders dispatches on D-day, 37 reach Broadway, 8 land in friendly territory, and 9 land in enemy territory."

    "Piccadilly, another strip located about 20 mi. S of Broadway is found to be wrecked by enemy, necessitating landing all planes at Broadway."

    "High casualty figure on D-day is due chiefly to broken tow lines. Many gliders are crippled in landing at Broadway."

    6th March 1944

    "Because of congestion at Broadway airstrip, 12 gliders are flown to Chowringhee."

    7th March 1944

    "First Air Commando Force continues nightly missions to Broadway and Chowringhee."

    You will have an e-mail later this evening.

    Regards

    Finn Buch

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    Hi Mikkel,

    There have always been various different numbers quoted. However, there were 80 Wacos available in the first instance. These were to be split 40/40 against the two destinations of Piccadilly and Broadway. Once Piccadilly was seen to be compromised, some 50+ gliders were sent off to Broadway. Some on double tow ropes, which did not work well.

    37 landed at Broadway, but in a chaotic few hours the vast majority were wrecked on landing, many personnel were killed. The idea originally was for the gliders to be 'snatched' back up after the initial force was down. Some of the gliders aborted soon after take off and returned to Lalaghat or nearby, others landed deeper into Burma and the men attempted to march back to India.

    At least three gliders crashed near Broadway and the crews were mostly taken POW, these were Gliders 21 and 22 P and Glider 20B. B and P stood for Broadway and Piccadilly respectively.

    Hope this helps in some small way.

    Steve
    The boldest measures are the safest.

    http://www.chinditslongcloth1943.com/index.html

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    Steve
    Thank you. It helps indeed.

    As I mentioned to Finn the other day when replying off board this is perhaps a unimportant detail in my research but I was annoyed by the different numbers as I was trying to get a picture of the operation.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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    Hi Mikkel,

    Glad to have helped and good to see that there were Danes on Chindit 2 as well as on Chindit 1.

    Steve
    The boldest measures are the safest.

    http://www.chinditslongcloth1943.com/index.html

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    Hi Steve
    Yes, "we" were there both times.

    Mikkel
    Britain's Victory, Denmark's Freedom. Danish Volunteers in Allied Air Forces During the Second World War
    fb.me/britainsvictorydenmarksfreedom
    danishww2pilots.dk - a resource on Danish aircrew during the Second World War

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