|1:72 D-DAY AIR ASSAULT,
On 6 June 1944, a few minutes after midnight, six Harsa 'gliders landed in the darkness, 167 men under the command of Major R,J.Howord were due to take the bridges on the Caen Canal and River Orne by surprise, Each glider dropped off 30 men ( 2 pilots, 23 parachutists
from the Oxfordshire & Buckingham Light Infantry, and 5 sappers from the Royal Engineers), The attack on the Benouville bridge (the famous Pegasus Bridge) on the canol wos a total success, Joined by 7 individual parachutists, the Oxf & Bucks men managed to hold it until the arrival, just after midday, of the commandos who had arrived that morning at Ouistreham, Of the three gliders assigned to the Ranville bridge, on the River Orne (Horsa Bridge), two landed in the intended location, The Oxf & Bucks parachutists took the bridge and held it. The third glider, headed towards an incorrect landmark, landed by mistake near to another bridge on the River Dives, around
13 km away, Nevertheless, the parachutists seized it before joining their battalion in Ranville, across German lines, Major John Howard received the DSO (Distinguished Service Order) for the success of these operations,
The Horsa was the leading Allied assault glider during World War 11. Designed by Airspeed Ltd" robust and easy to handle, the prototype of the A,S, 51 HORSA flew on 12 September 1941 and the standard model underwent production in June 1942! It was a high-wing monoplane made entirely from wood and covered with plywood and fabric, equipped with a fixed tricycle landing gear and central skid , Sat side by side, its 2 pilots had excellent visibility through a large window.
The Allies used gliders for the first time on 10 July 1943, when 27 A,S,51 Horsa gliders took part in recapturing Sicily, The Horsa was then used on a major scale during the landings in Normandy of course, and then during the Arnhem operation in the Netherlands in September 1944, It was also later used in the Rhine crossing and invasion of Germany in March 1945.
The AS-51 "Horsa I" could transport 2 5 troopers sat opposite one another on wooden benches, as well as a jeep or a 6-pound cannon and its servers.
Access was through a single door on the right at the rear and a door on the left at the front, just behind the pilot's cabi,n, opening onto a wide swinging bay used for loading bulky equipment, The tail section was designed to be taken down so that heavy equipment could be unloaded quickly and easily, It was unbolted and then pushed to the side. In training, a great deal of time was wasted during the unbolting, so small explosive charges were fitted to split the fuselage quickly and increase the speed of unloading during combat, when ramps could be lent against the fuselage.
The Horsa was usually towed at about 160 km/hr by IJ C-47 Dakota or Halifax or Stirling bomber.
The doughboys transported in gliders displayed great courage. Even if it was well-built and sturdy, a glider always risked breaking upon landing, often damaging equipment and injuring or killing passengers.
Almost 3,700 Horsas (A.S,51 "HorsQ» I + A.S.58 "Horsa» 11 ) were made during the war.
Wing span : 26.8m
Wing surface area: 102.5m2
Empty weight: 3797kg
Max. weight on take-off: 7030kg
Wing load: 69 kg/m2
Max. speed when towed: 241 km/hr
Gliding speed: 160km/hr
Ceiling: depends on trailer performances
Doughboys : 20-28 places