Glider re-use

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sitalkes
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Glider re-use

Post by sitalkes » 18 May 2015 01:01

I read in Tobruk 1941 by Chester Wilmot that in the latter part of 1941, the luftwaffe was flying in 400 tons a day of supplies using Ju 52's pulling gliders, from Crete to Derna, despite RAF interference.

1. Did those gliders have pilots? Seems unlikely that they didn't.
2. Did they put wheels on these gliders, or did they just crash on their skids in the usual way?
3. Were they able to re-use or salvage the glider afterwards? Otherwise it seems they would run out of gliders pretty quickly.

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Paul_G_Baker
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Re: Glider re-use

Post by Paul_G_Baker » 18 May 2015 17:36

Shouldn't have been too difficult to supply the gliders with spare wheel-sets, even if it wasn't possible to take the simplest route and just not jettison them - a supply run to a prepared airstrip would be somewhat different to a combat landing in open country, don't you think?
Paul

Alanmccoubrey
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Re: Glider re-use

Post by Alanmccoubrey » 18 May 2015 17:53

Answers to your questions;

1. Yes they had pilots.

2. & 3. The gliders landed in the normal way, given that they were landing on an airfield there shouldn't have been many crashes leaving the gliders in a fit state to be recovered later.

A question from me;

Do you really believe that they were flying in 400 tons a day ?
Alan

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sitalkes
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Re: Glider re-use

Post by sitalkes » 18 May 2015 23:49

Well it is a remarkable figure and Chester Wilmot does make a few errors in that book, but only a few. He's usually a fairly reliable source, and though fairly balanced, usually anti-Nazi. Problem is that the book (or parts of it) seems to have been written during the war and access to German sources is not always evident. However the Ju 52-glider combination could carry quite a lot in one go, and he says the RAF were only able to interfere by bombing the airfields and attacks at long range by beaufighters. So less interference than the Soviets created and the desert weather was likely to have been better than that in winter at Stalingrad!

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Paul_G_Baker
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Re: Glider re-use

Post by Paul_G_Baker » 19 May 2015 02:31

Does the book specify exactly which glider types they were using? Were any of the improved models in service, for instance?

Gigants (Me 321) first flew in February '41 and could carry (using the 1 ton = 9 soldiers yardstick) around 14 tons each. The Go 242 was also in development/production during '41 and could carry (by the same yardstick) about 2.5 tons
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Orwell1984
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Re: Glider re-use

Post by Orwell1984 » 19 May 2015 03:59

From the Crusader Project website:
Transport Aircraft Strength in Greece, 5 Dec 1941
http://rommelsriposte.com/2011/10/
gives a snapshot of what was available on this date to supply NA. Note the number of freight gliders listed 4 (no type listed). And the serviceability rates.

Then there is this article:
World War II: Cutting General Erwin Rommel's Aerial Lifeline to North Africa -
http://www.historynet.com/world-war-ii- ... africa.htm
which contains this passage concerning German aerial supply efforts:
By mid-October there was just a four-day reserve. Kesselring then regretted his earlier promise to bring in by air 400 tons a day if necessary — nowhere near that amount was coming in.
Perhaps this is where the 400 tons figure Wilmot quotes comes from: the promised amount. Not the actual delivery.

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Re: Glider re-use

Post by Sid Guttridge » 19 May 2015 12:36

Post moved to new thread.

Sid.

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sitalkes
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Re: Glider re-use

Post by sitalkes » 20 May 2015 11:58

Ok so what Wilmot actually says (page 355 of the 2007 Penguin edition, originally published 1944) is: ".... By increasing use of the Crete-Derna air ferry, Rommel had partly made up for these losses, and the RAF estimated that in October transport planes towing gliders were lifting from Crete as much as 400 tons a day. This was about 20% of the daily needs of the Axis forces in Eastern Cyrenaica, but interception by Beaufighters and bombing of airfields around Derna destroyed much of this freight."

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Urmel
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Re: Glider re-use

Post by Urmel » 02 Sep 2016 06:31

sitalkes wrote:Ok so what Wilmot actually says (page 355 of the 2007 Penguin edition, originally published 1944) is: ".... By increasing use of the Crete-Derna air ferry, Rommel had partly made up for these losses, and the RAF estimated that in October transport planes towing gliders were lifting from Crete as much as 400 tons a day. This was about 20% of the daily needs of the Axis forces in Eastern Cyrenaica, but interception by Beaufighters and bombing of airfields around Derna destroyed much of this freight."
Without actual primary sources I very much doubt the damage assessment.
The enemy had superiority in numbers, his tanks were more heavily armoured, they had larger calibre guns with nearly twice the effective range of ours, and their telescopes were superior. 5 RTR 19/11/41

The CRUSADER Project - The Winter Battle 1941/42

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Empiricist
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Re: Glider re-use

Post by Empiricist » 03 Jun 2021 13:18

sitalkes wrote:
18 May 2015 01:01
I read in Tobruk 1941 by Chester Wilmot that in the latter part of 1941, the luftwaffe was flying in 400 tons a day of supplies using Ju 52's pulling gliders, from Crete to Derna, despite RAF interference.

1. Did those gliders have pilots? Seems unlikely that they didn't.
2. Did they put wheels on these gliders, or did they just crash on their skids in the usual way?
3. Were they able to re-use or salvage the glider afterwards? Otherwise it seems they would run out of gliders pretty quickly.
As mentioned above, there was no unmanned gliders during WWII.

When it comes to MTO campaign -- in November 1944 issue of "Flying Aces" monthly USAAF Major Eliot F. Noyes published an article on military cargo gliders, their tasks and operations. About Africa he wrote:

"An officer who was with a fighter outfit in North Africa has described to me how the Germans occasionally pulled raids with gliders. Sometimes his group would spot an enemy plane coming over the area at night. They would not know just what it was, but no bombs were dropped and it went on. In due course a bridge would blow up, and they later would find a German glider abandoned somewhere nearby. The plane had been towing a glider which cut off and landed. The crew did the demolition job and filtered back to their own outfits in Arab costume. [...] In North Africa we captured German Gotha 242s which had landed with barrels of oil for advanced tank units which had outrun their supply lines".

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