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C47-Waco Glider Pickup-"Close line snatch"

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  • C47-Waco Glider Pickup-"Close line snatch"

    This is amazing, another reason why WW2 Pilots, and glider pilots in particular, must have had nerves and balls of steel. I was doing a little research on building a particular Control line model aircraft (Whip powered U Control) at this site; http://www.modelairplanekit.net/modelairplanekit02.php and I came across plans for Waco Glider that was designed to be hooked up from the ground and towed by a control line plane. Neat trick thinks I, and went looking for some pics of a control line model flier doing this. I was stunned to realise that in WW2 that they actually did this.





    More info and a back story at http://atterburybakalarairmuseum.org/serv02.htm
    From the page;

    "June 1944 several gliders arrived at the air field and were the first reported at the field. Also, on June 19, 1944 a glider landed in a cow pasture east of the airfield on the Marr farm. The glider was snatched from the field the next day by a C-47 in an air-ground "close line snatch." An experienced C-47 pilot and glider pilot from Stout Field at Indianapolis were called upon to make the pick-up. A jeep pulled the glider to the corner of the field and a tow line was laid out in front of the glider and stretched across two vertical poles about 12 feet high. It took four tries for the C-47 pilot to pick up the glider. It became a common site around the area for gliders to make unscheduled stops in farm fields."

    There is another reference at

    http://www.hrmconsultancy.net/pprune/AP129.pdf,
    from a manual which seems to indicate that it was not an isolated field expediency.


    Crazy stuff. Anyone ever heard of this happening in a combat zone? One would think not, but history keeps on springing suprises on us all
    One accurate measurement is worth a thousand expert opinions - Admiral Grace Hopper

    "The eunuch should not take pride in his chastity."
    Wu Cheng'en Monkey

  • #2
    What did they call this: operation certain death?

    I suppose in principal you could use this sort of method to rescue mussolini in the same glider that delivered the paras who got him out of the sports hotel, but the chances of it going wrong are high.

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    • #3
      Originally posted by peter_sym View Post
      What did they call this: operation certain death?

      I suppose in principal you could use this sort of method to rescue mussolini in the same glider that delivered the paras who got him out of the sports hotel, but the chances of it going wrong are high.

      Skorzeny got him out in a Feisler Storch as apparently the Germans only trained on glider landings..not pickups .

      I also read some place that the fuselages of the pickup aircraft got stretched by a few inches due to the force of pickups.....this happend over a period of time due nto the a/c being used repeatadly for training.

      per ardua ad astra
      Last edited by Bow; 16 Mar 09, 08:50.

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      • #4
        I know that... apparently the Storch was a last minute plan B. The original idea was to use a Focke Wulf helicopter. My idea of Mussolini was about the only theoretical use of this idea... I thought about medi-vac but takeoff and landing would be too hard on guys so wounded they'd need evacuation.

        Why else would you want to do it?

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        • #5
          The process was fairly common for "picking up' dispatches, letters, messages, etc from units near the front.

          I would have thought that trying it on anything heavier would result in the pick up plane pancaking the ground! Great find.
          Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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          • #6
            Thats what I thought too... the C47 would be yanked out of the sky if it tried hooking onto a fully loaded glider. Seems a hell of a risk for despatches though! Couldn't they be fitted into something smaller?

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            • #7
              Sorry Peter, I was talking about two different processes.

              The dispatches were put into a mail bag and a snag mechanism like the one in the photos was rigged.

              For a LONNNNG time rigging one of these was a scenario used as a test in the Canadian Forces Junior Leadership Course. If I had I known when I took the course that you could snag something as heavy as a glider, I might have put my whole squad into a crate or something and been airlifted to safety
              Last edited by Roadkiller; 16 Mar 09, 12:50.
              Amateurs study tactics, Professionals study logistics.

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              • #8
                GREAT photo's!

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                • #9
                  For those who want an animated pic to keep...

                  Attached Files
                  "In modern war... you will die like a dog for no good reason."
                  Ernest Hemingway.

                  First get your facts straight, then distort them at your leisure. - Mark Twain.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by Roadkiller View Post
                    The process was fairly common for "picking up' dispatches, letters, messages, etc from units near the front.

                    I would have thought that trying it on anything heavier would result in the pick up plane pancaking the ground!
                    The British Horsa was also snatched.
                    'What manner of men are those who wear the maroon beret? They are, in fact, men apart. Every man an emperor.' Montgomery

                    Glider Pilot Regiment 1942 - 1945
                    The Last Drop: Operation Varsity 24-25 March 1945
                    The Assault Glider Trust

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