Fighting strength Glider Pilot Regiment at Arnhem

Discussion in 'Airborne' started by pegasus1988, Dec 31, 2019.

  1. pegasus1988

    pegasus1988 Member

    I was wondering how the GPR was organised during the battle of Arnhem.
    1st Wing had 15 flights, 2nd Wing had ‘just’ 8. According to elements from the war establishment in Bruist (2014) that would make an on paper establishment of respectively 44 x 15 and 44 x 8 pilots, or am I missing something here?

    Secondly, would anyone know when the GPR’s manpower was at its peak? I believe that nearly 90% of the GPR was used in Market Garden, so that would make over 1,500 men?

    And last but not least, would they be armed according to the 1942 WE, which only mentions rifles and stens?
  2. pegasus1988

    pegasus1988 Member

    Does anyone whether there are any documents available on topics such as the training, recruitment and on-the-ground organisation of the GPR?
  3. Gary Kennedy

    Gary Kennedy Member

    I made some notes a long while ago on topics that cover some of your queries. Re overall strength, I had a reference to 1200 GPR personnel committed, incurring 700 casualties. Total gliders committed I had as 546 Horsa and 28 Hamilcar, which would require at least 1148 personnel to crew them (the difference between the two figures may be down to Polish Para Bde gliders, which I don't have a ready figure for).

    The WE for a Glider Pilot Flight (I/122/1 of 29Dec43) did specify 44 pilots, as you've noted. There were a couple more crews available from each Squadron and Wing HQ as well. Because of the flexibility required for Airborne troops I wouldn't necessarily tie the WE strength of the Flights and Squadrons directly to how many crews could be made available when required.

    Individual weapons 'drop off' WE tables during early 1943, certainly for Airborne units there's nothing on the subject in the 1943-45 issue tables. Sten guns and rifles would seem the most likely individual arms to be carried, though I seem to recall a few examples where pilots were a bit more ambitious and opted for a Bren gun.

    There used to be a site dedicated to the GPR, which might be able to offer some more info, especially on the ground role. It was at but that seems a dead link now. Perhaps there's something cached over on

    Also check out which has an extensive section on MG, and includes war diaries for the GPR during the operation.

    Hope that helps some,

  4. pegasus1988

    pegasus1988 Member

    Thank you kindly for the clarification!
    I hope to squeeze something out of the web archive.
    It’s a shame the site went offline.
  5. pegasus1988

    pegasus1988 Member

    From the 'Nominal Roll of Members of the Glider Pilot Regiment Deployed in Operation MARKET GARDEN' in Peters (2010)

    1 GPR

    Wing HQ 9 ranks

    A 134

    B 216

    D 210

    G 144

    Total 713

    2 GPR

    Wing HQ 15

    C 131

    E 148

    F 301

    Total 595

    HQ (Nijmegen)

    HQ GPR 3

    A 28

    C 11

    Total 42

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