History Corner: Countdown to D-Day –27 Days

An often-overlooked aspect of air operations in the Normandy invasion were the gliders. American Airmen piloted both the American CG4 Waco glider and the British Horsa gliders, both consisting of fabric-covered wood and metal frames. The gliders were unpowered and needed to be towed by powered aircraft, such as C-47s, to fly. The C-47 would tow the glider to the approximate landing zone using cables and then cut the cable near the LZ. The glider pilot then guided his aircraft to the ground, braving flak and small arms fire in their unprotected aircraft. Two pilots crewed each glider and the small aircraft was capable of carrying an additional dozen troops or a small Jeep, as well as various types of other cargo. Photo courtesy of Air Force Historical Research Agency