Narrative of the Operation - Glider Phase of the Operation

Considering the number of personnel carried, the tonnage of supplies landed, and the amount of equipment transported to the battle area, the glider phase was a success. This success was largely attributable to the careful planning of FAAA and IX TCC.

Immediately upon landing, glider pilots reported to the nearest United States command post. As soon as circumstances permitted, they were evacuated under orders of the command post to Headquarters 101st Airborne Division or Headquarters 82d Airborne Division for further air evacuation to the United Kingdom.

ever since the invasion of Normandy, IX TCC had been marshaling gliders at the various fields under its control, anticipating a commitment of airborne forces. On D minus 1, glider available amounted to 2,474. They carried 9,566 troops into combat, of a total of 30,481. This latter figure compares with 17,262 in the Normandy assault and 7,019 in the invasion of southern France. The gliders which did not reach their objectives were stopped by enemy fire or by mechanical difficult. Transportation, one of the main concerns of airborne troops, was also delivered by gliders in the form of 705 1/4-ton trucks, 13 motorcycles, and 45 trailers for the 1/4-ton trucks. The bulk of these were landed on D plus 1, D plus 2, and D plus 3. The respectable total of 2,476,594 pounds of equipment and supplies was landed by gliders during the operation. Had weather and the tactical situation permitted, this figure would have been much higher. During the operation, gliders were dispatched at the rate of about 2 a minute.

Reclamation of Gliders on the Far Shore.--After D plus 6, a team of officers and enlisted men of the IX TCC Service Wing (Provisional) was sent to make a survey of gliders in the landing zones, with a view to recovering and salvaging as many as possible. Following the survey, it was decided to construct a temporary landing strip for the purpose. The terrain was such that the engineering problems involved were mainly filling ditches, making drains, removing soft earth, and installing steel matting. The IX TCC Corps of Engineers section arranged with the IX Engineer Command to use the 876th Airborne Engineer Aviation Battalion to build the strip. Some heavy equipment of the Royal Engineers was used for earth moving.

Arrangements were then made with 2d TAF to obtain 150 tons of square mesh track, located at a depot near Bayeux. Despite difficulties in transporting the mesh track, involving trucking and air freight, the landing strip was finished in 1 week. On 20 October the first gliders were lifted from the strip by aircraft of the 61st Troop Carrier Group. This date marked the start of glider recovery from the Holland operations.