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Thread: Operation 'Tonga' DZ 'N' route in / out.

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    Default Operation 'Tonga' DZ 'N' route in / out.

    Hi,


    Does anyone know the routes flown by the squadrons of No.38 Group for operation 'Tonga' specifically DZ 'N'.

    TIA

    Steve
    No.218 (Gold Coast) Squadron Association Historian
    No.623 squadron Research

    ~~IN TIME ~~

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    Default Re: Operation 'Tonga' DZ 'N' route in / out.

    Steve,
    Nobody seems to want to play with you. I don't know where DZ November was, but this morning I "flew" from Harwell and dropped some 'Grunts' on Pegasus Bridge. I then became GPR and 'landed' at Carpiquet. The late, great, Chester Wilmot (War Correspondent and historian) did the same trip when he "went in" as embedded reporter on D-Day. I can PM the data I got to you if it's any use. I did a lot of aerial re-supply (both stores, amd self-loading freight) work on my two tours at 38 Grp HQ Met!! Best days of my career!!
    Rgds
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: Operation 'Tonga' DZ 'N' route in / out.

    Steve,

    Found the following in Stirlings in action with the airborne forces by Dennis Williams

    Route for the Fairford Stirlings.
    • First waypoint at Netheravon
    • Group Rendezvous (RV) at Bognor Regis. This point was marked by a Eureka beacon, plus a light flashing the Morse letter `N`, to denote the rout being used by aircraft destined for DZ/LZ `N`.
    • `Turning point A, NNW of Le Havre of Le Havre
    • Target RV, located on the French coast between Cabourg and the mouth of the River Orne


    Regards
    Peter

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    Default Re: Operation 'Tonga' DZ 'N' route in / out.

    More or less the same route that I chose! Didn't know about the Eureka bcn, or the flashing light, so I used Beachy Head as the UK exit point. Same route length. I "flew" at 150kts IAS. Stayed at 1500ft AGL all the way, and to the DZ (it was a night drop!). Dropped the speed to 120kts IAS at the DZ (reduces the chances of the trailing static lines and/or the para bags fouling tailplanes before the Despatcher has had time to haul them in, and does something to shorten the stick length scatter!).
    As for the return leg - don't know. Shortest way would be to do a 180 and fly a reverse course back. This risks confusion/conflict with later s/bound flights AND the risk from 'trigger-happy' matelots!!
    Possibly best way out would have been Caen > Coutances > S of Channel Is and then turn north to UK (keeping well out of the invasion zone)?
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: Operation 'Tonga' DZ 'N' route in / out.

    I added more information from the book.

    Route for the Fairford Stirlings
    • First waypoint at Netheravon . 2,500 feet
    • Group Rendezvous (RV) at Bognor Regis. This point was marked by a Eureka beacon, plus a light flashing the Morse letter `N`, to denote the rout being used by aircraft destined for DZ/LZ `N`. descended to 1,000 feet, 165 mph. (the other Group RVs were Littlehampton for DZ `K and Worthington DZ `V)
    • `Turning point A, NNW of Le Havre of Le Havre 1,000 feet
    • Target RV, located on the French coast between Cabourg and the mouth of the River Orne
    • On the run-in to DZ 600 feet, 135 mph


    After the drop followed a turn onto a northerly heading, maintained until a position abeam Le Havre. Then they altered the course to NE and climbed to 5,000 feet. Overhead Ypreville-Biville followed a turn to north-westerly heading towards Bognor. They made a cruising descent over the Channel to 2,500 which was kept untl they reached Fairford.

    Peter

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    Default Re: Operation 'Tonga' DZ 'N' route in / out.

    Peter,
    Tks for that additional info - much appreciated.
    OK – so they decided to do the return leg across the eastern (narrower!) Channel. Possibly(?) any fighter cover for returning a/c would have a longer “loiter” time over there, rather than the western Channel?
    Speeds appear to be similar to those I used, but the transit leg heights are a bit lower than I would have expected (but there was a war on”!!).
    What did bring me up short was the statement that the Drop Height was 600 feet (AGL?). This is very, very, low for a Day Drop, let alone a Night Drop!!!!! The chutes would hardly have fully opened at landing, resulting in an increase in landing injuries. It would, however, reduce the landing ‘scatter’ – possibly crucial in this instance? But it became apparent, by the end of WW2 (and in subsequent exercises), that a parachute force that ‘loses’ c.10% of its personnel has some difficulty in maintaining its fighting cohesion.
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Default Re: Operation 'Tonga' DZ 'N' route in / out.

    Gents,

    A belated and appreciated, thank you.

    Just what I was after.

    Kind regards

    Steve.

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    Default Re: Operation 'Tonga' DZ 'N' route in / out.

    Hello,
    Cannot now recall where I got the info, but have it typed out, so many years ago.
    " At 0020 hours six Horsa's towed by Halifax's were released high towards landing zone "N".
    They then bombed Caen before returning homeward.

    Horsa's were from Tarrant Rushton, Chalked numbers were "91" to "96".

    Horsa
    91 - PF800 - Major Howard.
    92 - LW943
    93 - LH469
    94 - PF723
    95 - LJ326
    96 - PF791

    Halifax
    LK654 - "T-G" - Wng/Cdr Duder, DSO, DFC - (91).
    DG388 - "T-K" - W/O Berry - (92).
    EB159 - " P-P" - W/O Herman - (93).
    LK641 - "P-N" - F/O Clapperton - (94).
    ?......... - "A-T" - W/O Bain - ("95").
    NA662(?) - "U-Z" - F/O Archibald - (96).

    Also I have this -
    Operation Coup d Main.Landing Zone -"X" of Operation "Tonga".

    Glider Pilot. S/Sgt. J. Wallwork DFM.
    Co Pilot. C. Ainsworth.
    "C" Sqn 1st Glider to land by Cannal Bridge. 25th Platoon, "D" Coy, Oxfordshire & Bucks plus 5th RE.

    Glider Pilot. S/Sgt. P. A. Hobb.
    Co Pilot. E. Bolland.
    "E" Sqn.

    Glider Pilot. S/Sgt. P. Boyle.
    Co Pilot. B. Barkway
    "B"Sqn.

    Glider Pilot. S/Sgt. O. Boland CdeG.
    Co Pilot. E. Hobbs
    "E" Sqn.

    "Tonga" Phase 2
    Six Horsa's towed by Dakota's from Blakenhill Farm landed at 0045/0050 at Landing zone "K".
    Chalk numbers were - "218" - "223".
    Also another eleven Horsa's were towed by Dakota's of 46 Group to Landing Zone "W".
    From Harwell
    Chalked numbers were "66" to"69".
    From Down Ampney
    Chalked numbers were "261" to "267".

    Phase 3
    Three Horsa's were towed from Brize Norton to land and silence a Coastal Battery.
    Chalked numbers were "27" to "29".

    At 0320 hrs, 67 Horsa's landed at Landing Zone "N".
    Chalked numbers were -
    "30" to "45" - from Brize Norton.
    "97" to "111" - from Tarrant Rushton.
    "112 to "126" - from Tarrant Rushton.
    "70" to "90" - from Harwell.

    Hope this is of some use to you.

    as an aside to the above, a departed workmate of mine name of Mitchem, his father was with the RE's and was he said in the first glider. My friend and I expect his brother used to attend the memorials at the Bridge in the late 19 early 20th centuries.

    Alex
    Last edited by Alex Smart; 24th July 2021 at 16:09.

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