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US Glider Pilots


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#1 Mullet94

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 02:06 PM

I'm currently reading ATB's Operation Market Garden Volume 1 which at the part I'm on is going through the compostion of the 101st, 82nd and 1st Airbourne. In the book the writer says that unlike British Glider Pilots who were formed as part of a regiment and trained to fight as infantry on the ground the US Glider pilots were part of the flying squadron that the tugs were from and were not trained as infantry.

So my question is what was the role of US Glider pilots when on the ground behind enemy lines on missions such as D-Day and Market Garden?
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#2 Smudger Jnr

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 02:43 PM

Doesn't sound too promising from what you have read so far.

Much better to have a pilot trained to fight as well, otherwise it will take others away from their propr duties to protect the individual.

That appears on the face of it to be unfair to all.

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Tom
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#3 Mullet94

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 02:58 PM

That's what I was thinking, it would be huge burden on the paratroopers to have to have men not trained in frontline fighting with them.
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#4 englandphil

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 03:59 PM

THis actually caused the 82nd and 101st issues at MG as they had to deploy infantry in defense of the GP's who were on the ground.

Think I have also read somewhere that this was one of the learnings taken into Op Varsity

P
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#5 Drew5233

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 04:52 PM

The pilots (Only one per glider) for all puposes made their way back to the UK-Its covered in the book, I've just started Vol.2.

Phil there was only one per American glider (No Co-Pilot) so they wouldn't make that much differance if any to the defence of the D and LZ's.

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Andy
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#6 GPRegt

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Posted 17 March 2009 - 06:46 PM

The glider pilots had some basic weapons training so that they could at least defend themselves before being withdrawn. They were used as HQ defence troops or to guard or escort prisoners.

The 435th Troop Carrier Group received extensive field training before Varsity. The pilots transported the 194th Glider Infantry Regiment and then took up a pre-arranged defensive sector. They were involved in the Battle of Burp Gun Corner.

Steve W.
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#7 Drew5233

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Posted 25 March 2009 - 09:34 AM

From ATB's OMG in ref to the 82nd Airborne's manpower problems around Nijmegen, specifically the German counter-attack at Mook:

The shortage of infantry was so bad, and the emergencey at Mook so acute, that the 82nd was even forced to call upon the American glider pilots who were still in bivouac at Malden awaiting return to Britain. Late on the 19th, a group of 300 pilots of the 61st, 313th and 316th Troop Carrier Groups, led by Major Hugh J. Nevins of the 5Oth Wing HQ and Captain Elgin D. Andross of the 313th manned a section of the front north of Mook, even though they were armed with little more than carbines and pistols. They would remain in the line until the 23rd.


Cheers
Andy
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#8 c133

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Posted 20 November 2010 - 10:38 PM

Does anyone know where I can get this book?
Red Light Green Light Geronimo: A History of the 77th Troop Carrier Squadron, 435th Troop Carrier Group in World War II, Col. Phillip C. "Pappy" Rawlins

Thanks
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#9 Jamie Holdbridge-Stuart

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 08:03 AM

Yank Glider Pilots were just an extra burden on rations after landing, while the British GPs were all first class fighting men. By the time of Varsity the roles were more equal, the Yanks could look after themselves on the battlefield, and the Brits had a load of Raff bods to look after! RAF pilots were 'volunteered' as glider pilots to make up for the staggering losses to the Glider Pilot Regiment at Arnhem.

:poppy:


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#10 GPRegt

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Posted 21 November 2010 - 10:39 AM

I don't remember any Army GP veterans recalling having to 'look after' their RAF colleagues. All the latter were field trained at various levels: one week intensive to two weeks' all arms and 'all stations' in between. Their battle-hardened Army pilot mates found any opportunity to pass on their knowledge and skills.

The 435th TCG Glider Pilots also received two weeks' intensive training, which stood them in great stead in the field. The vast majority had never been in a ground contact situation before. The RAF GPs gave equal service in their own way, only let down by their blue-grey berets which, in the 'fog of war', made them appear as enemy soldiers.

Steve W.
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#11 marketc47

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Posted 27 November 2010 - 02:19 PM

Hi,

The US glider pilots in Market Garden were assembled at central locations. They did not get extra protection. They assembled near the AB Division HQ.
The GPs in the Nijmegen/Groesbeek sector were used in front lines for some days.
A few gliders had two pilots.


All glider pilots had received basic training in the US. A lot of them (not only 435th) received more training in Europe.

Hans
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