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Thread: Glider Pilots Italy

  1. #1
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    Default Glider Pilots Italy

    Doing research on airmen killed/missing in Italy I ascertained that 35 (!) Glider Pilots are listed on Panel 12 of the Cassino Memorial (2 for 14th July 1943, all other 9th/10th July 1943). Someone told me that most of them were lost over sea on their gliders shot down over sea by friendly fire. Anybody read about this mishap ?
    Regards,
    Henk.

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    Henk

    that was the airborne element of the invasion of Sicily (Operation Husky) and it is true that a factor of poor weather conditions, poor training of the towing aircraft and poor AA control of the ships resulted in almost half the gliders crashing in the sea.

    A
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    Hello Henk,

    I found the following in Peter Harclerode's "Wings of War" page 256

    "On the night of 9 July, 1st Airlanding Brigade, commanded by Brigadier Philip 'Pip' Hicks, took off from Syracuse. In order to avoid enemy flak, the USAAF tug pilots had been briefed to release theri gliders 3,000 yards from the Sicilian coastline. In the event, however, a combination of inexperienced pilots, adverse weather conditions and anti-aircraft fire resulted in the brigades suffering heavy losses before it had landed, seventy-eight gliders landing in the sea and others being scattered over a distance of some twenty-five miles. Only one glider reached it designated LZ. Nevertheless, a platoon of the 2nd Battalion The South Staffordshire Regiment succeeded in capturing the Ponte Grande intact."

    Hope this is of some help.

    The US Navy seem to have been very "trigger-happy" during the landing in Sicily since only 2 days later they shot down 23 USAAF C-47s in one of the worst friendly-fire incidents of WWII (more about this incident in Aeroplane August 2009).

    Best wishes/Håkan
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    Henk,

    There is a very good account of this tragedy by Robert Dorr on pp14-19 of the August 2009 issue of 'Aeroplane' magazine.

    Errol

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    Hello Errol,

    The tragedy described in Aeroplane took place two days later than the deaths mentioned by Henk, i.e. on the night of 11 July.
    The landings on Sicily seems to have been unnecessarily rough on the paratroopers...

    Best wishes/Håkan
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    Thanks gents for all this info on the gliders mishap Op. Husky July 1943.
    Regards,
    Henk.

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