Americans and British were not up to the spectacular German attack on the Belgian fortress of Eben Emael, pondered the possibility of using gliders for military purposes. In the two years that followed the German operation, performed in 1940, Britain downplayed the use of flying devoid of engine, while the Americans faced the only recourse to this type of aircraft for military operations in 1943.
The most effective devices in the service of the British Horsa were the model, capable of carrying a platoon of infantry or three tons of material, and Hamilcar, larger and capable of carrying twice the load.
The Americans, in turn, preferred the Waco, smaller aircraft produced by the Ford Motor Company, available in two different configurations, one capable of carrying nine men and one slightly larger, with a capacity to house fifteen soldiers.
The gliders were used in large numbers from 1944, coinciding with several landing operations in Europe. Manufactured, the vast majority of wood, these devices had a minimum of equipment, making it very unstable during the carriage, at low speeds. When in gliding became more maneuverable, allowing pilots to land in places previously defined.
The fragility of such devices has led to frequent accidents, some with serious consequences for its occupants. Its design, with the rear of the fuselage attached only by bolts, allowing the crew to land quickly. A jeep and a trailer could be landed in two minutes, although in Arnhem a succession of failures that occurred following the landing, has transformed the operation of landing a long and difficult process.
The first waves of planes and gliders, a total of two thousand devices carrying 19,000 soldiers and their equipment, left the UK for one of only two feasible routes. The 1st Airborne Division went to Arnhem and the 82nd U.S. Nikmegen was to the north. The two units, whose rallying point was located in Cambridgeshire, flew by South Holland, near Rotterdam.
The 101st Airborne Division U.S. took the route south, with their units to liaise on Hertfordshire, flying over Belgium before heading north towards Eindhoven, flying over 97 miles of German-occupied territory.
The english version of this article will be available soon. In the meanwhile, the text above was the result of a Google translation from portuguese version to english.