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Col. A-4 Col. Med Col. Comm

It is with great pride that I salute the courage and magnificent

devotion to duty of the officers and men of IX Troop Carrier Command

whose deeds contributed their full share to the victory over Germany,

These chapters recount the extent of their participation in the

airborne operation VARSITY which assisted the Allied armies in crossing

the Rhine, the aerial resupply which helped maintain the lightning

sweep across Germany and subsequent activity before redeployment.

Toward the end of perpetuating the record of IX Troop Carrier

achievement in the European Theater and offering a guide for the future,

this chronology will supplement existing documents dealing with the

performance of this Command in operations in Normandy, southern France,

Holland and Bastogne.

It is hoped that these pages will stand as a valuable chronicle

of experience as well as a tribute to the officers and men who lived

and died by their devotion to duty in the accomplishment of the Troop

Carrier Command Mission.

Major General, USA,

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JUNE 1945

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Development of the highly specialized technique of airborne war-

fare in World War II may at some future date be regarded as dynamic to

military science as the introduction of horse cavalry or the invention

of gunpowder. Without question, the tactic of "vertical envelopment"

was one of the most decisive in shattering Hitler's European Fortress.

Both in Normandy and on the Riviera the guns and men of the

Wehrmacht pointed toward the sea. But the aerial cavalry of IX Troop

Carrier Command assaulted from the sky, and the Airborne Divisions

helped unlock the Fortress barricades from within,

In March 1945, the swift-flowing Rhine was the moat guarding the

Inner Citadel of the enemy. And again "vertical envelopment" proved

instrumental in breaching the gates.

As the air echelon participating in all airborne operations in

the European Theater, IX Troop Carrier Command embarked on the campaigns

as pioneer and ended as veteran in the art of the paradrop, the glider

tow, the paranack drop in resupply, air-landing of supplies and medical


How Troop Carrier performed its manifold mission in the final phase

of the European war is the subject of the narrative that follows.

Any material in this report classified as Top Secret has since

been downgraded to Secret and will be treated as such.

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Section 1

Target Across the Rhine! EMMERICH 9761 - WESEL 22)40!

From the first days of November 1944 until H-hour finially struck at

1000 hours 24 March 1945, these two Teutonic towns on the northeast bank

of the Rhine held a magnetic attraction for the IX Troop Carrier Command

planning staff under Major General PAUL L. WILLIAMS.

Seizure of the ammerich-Wesel sector would fling open the gate to the

industrially-precious Ruhr and the heart of the Reich. So it was that the

greatest of German rivers was being spanned on Troop Carrier planning

tables hardly before the echo of September's skyborne thrust into Holland

had faded into the silence of past events.

In November, at his headquarters in Ascot, England, General WILLIAMS,

commander of the air component of the First Allied Airborne Army, surveyed

the project designated as Operation VARSITY with a staff of seasoned

veterans-Colonel JAMES 3. DUKE, JR., Chief of Staff; Colonel GLYSNE M.

JONES, Assistant Chief of Staff, A-3; Colonel OWEN G. BIRTWISTLE, Assis-

tant Chief of Staff, A-l; Colonel GRANT W. ERNST, Assistant Chief of

Staff, A-2; Colonel FRANCIS A. McBRIDE, Assistant Chief of Staff, A-4;

Colonel JAMES C. PRUITT, Signal Officer; and Colonel EHRLING L. BERGQUIST,

Medical Officer.

Always recognized as a monumental military obstacle, the eastern

bank defenses of the Rhine were to fall victim to vertical envelopment

by paratroops and glider infantry in conjunction with waterborne assault

by ground forces from the west bank. It was to be the same fundamental
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pattern that spun out victory on Cherbourg peninsula and later on the

Riviera coast of France.

When the plan for Operation VARSITY was first outlined by Head-

quarters, First Allied Airborne Army on 7 November, 'it called upon IX

Troop Carrier Command to be prepared to lift two airborne divisions by

25 November.

To Seize a Bridgehead

Mission of the airborne force in the Emmerich-Wesel area was to

assist the advance of the 9th U.S. Army of the Central Group of Armies by

seizing a bridgehead on the east bank of the Rhine between Rees 0852 and

Bislich 1443. Then the skyborne troops would assist in enlarging the

bridgehead to the required size of five to 10 miles in width and five

miles in depth in order to enable bridging operations to be undertaken

relatively unhindered by artillery fire.

Following the lift phase of VARSITY, Troop Carrier was committed to

its now traditional role of resupplying bridgehead troops by air until

adequate ground arteries were able to function.

Immediately available for the lift were the 6th British Airborne

Division and the 17th U.S. Airborne Division. The battle-famed 82nd and

101st U.S. Airborne Divisions were still engaged against the enemy in

Holland. It was expected that rebuilding and further training of these

outfits could not be completed before 15 January.

3valuation of Possibilities

The projected rple of Troop Carrier plane and glider formations

called for a preliminary evaluation of existing possibilities. This was

supplied in a report by Colonel ERNST (A-2) on 12 November on (1) Possible

drop and landing zones, (2) Disposition of ground forces affecting the

airborne operation, (3) Enemy flak strength and (4) Ability of the German

Air Force to launch effective opposition.

Studies of photographic evidence revealed three broad areas on the

northeast bank of the Rhine as most suitable for airborne assault. Almost

unmarked by trees and obstacles of comparable height, this sweep of low

imeadowland invited low glider approaches. Fields ranged 190 to 250 yards

in length on the average ani-side stretched to 350 yards. Drainage

-- 2-
ditches, about nine feet wide, sliced the cultivated fields and appeared

quite dry.

In the firmest levels of terrain, few farmhouses interrupted the land-

scape, while none existed on the swampier soil. Yet the softer ground was

due for a frost the following month, and the newly-hardened outer surface

would supplement the already existing numerous roads and paths that were

counted upon to simplify rapid cross-country troop movements. About the

only type of glider obstacles to be found in the territory were wire

fences and ditches.

Location of Assault Areas

These characteristics fitted each of the three proposed assault areas.

the first extending five miles southeastward from Emmerich and three miles

in depth from the Rhine; The second, a chunk of land covering approximately

three square miles, pointing three miles north of Rees and bordered by the

Rhine loop on the west and south; the third stretching eight miles from

Rees to a point east of Bislich and pushing out two to three miles from the


In the first zone around Emmerich, the intelligence photos revealed

the largest and firmest fields to lie north of a railroad about two miles

from the river and not grouped too compactly. Reconnaissance of the area

south of the railroad had been obscured by cloud and offered no adequate


The second zone, nestling in the Rhine loop north and west of Rees,

disclosed the best concentration of spacious and dry fields, easily

accessible to a thousand gliders, but a cluster of villages-Speldrop,

Androp and Esserden--posed tactical disadvantages.

Big 2nough for 1.500 Gliders

Inviting the widest choice of landing zones, the third area, from

Rees to Bislich, could accomodate 1,500 gliders but presented disad-

vantages in a dispersal of fields and the potential threat of scattered

villages as well as tree-bordered roads and boundaries.

With the picture of the possible assault objectives laid out, Colonel

ERNSTIS (A-2) report proceeded to fill in the disposition of ground troops.

It was assumed that the bleeding away of German armor by Allied pressure

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l X along the entire lengt the Western front would leave the enemy with-

out sufficient strength for effective counterattacks. That being the

case, he would be forced to rely on fixed defensive installations to meet

the threat of Allied armor. In pursuit of such a. strategy, it appeared

that Emmerich and Wesel would be heavily defended as key points, and the

Reichewald Forest could well become another stronghold.

Mailn Flak Concentrations

Bolstering the threat of German ground defenses were the three main

concentrations of flak around Emmerich, Rees and Wesel. All these would

grow more menacing as a large portion of the mobile guns then deployed on

the west bank of the Rhine would be withdrawn in the face of the Allied

advance to the river.

In the immediate rear of the battle line from the German-Dutch

frontier at Emmerich to Geldern, southwest of Wesel, there were known to

exist 42 heavy and 285 light flak positions with the majority of these

west of the Emmerich-Cleve area.

Further, it could be assumed that withdrawal and repositioning would

provide a heavier buildup between Emmerich and Rees than between Rees and

Wesel. This factor obviously made the latter a more likely assault point

for the projected Operation VARSITY.

Need for Advaace Boabardment

It was believed that much of the enemy's withdrawn flak equipment

would be converted for ground defense owing to his increasing shortage of

field and anti-tank artillery, but security for airborne success dictated

the necessity for thorough advance bombardment of the area.

Although the railway flak in the sector added up to only four heavy

and three light guns pinpointed at Wesel, the possibility of moving

additional guns out of the heavily defended Ruhr to counteract a Troop

Carrier operation had to be considered as a threat, since Wesel fringed

the northern outskirts of the Ruhr. With the railway connecting Emxnerich

and Wesel running just east of potential drop and landing zones, it was

deemed vital that this line be severed at both extremities to forestall

the commitment of this type 'f: flak to the area.

Other flak threats -cai for consideration were barges and Seibel

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ferries plying the Rhine waters with light gun installations.

No smoke cloud generators were reported in the assault zone, but the

balloon barrage at Wesel offered another hazard.

It was believed that threats from isolated pockets of enemy resist-

ance on the west bank of the Rhine could be avoided by close liaison with

ground forces. Routes then could be planned to give these pockets a wide

Short Range Weapon a Menace

As a substitute for 20 MM. flak and supplementing normal ack-ack

fire, the Germans had begun to use greater numbers of 13 MM. anti-aircraft

machine-guns. With a higher rate of traverse and a more rapid rate of

fire than the 20 MM., it was a much more effective weapon at short range.

Since it was a standard gun, it was believed available in large quantity.

Troop Carrier formations probably would find the enemy concentrating

his 13 MM. guns in numbers at vital points in the communications net, es-

pecially along roads. It also could be expected that ground troops

would be employing them on improvised anti-aircraft mounts.

Although the Luftwaffe had long been written off as a force that

could ultimately affect the outcome of the war, it could not be underrated

as an instrument which, under favorable conditions, could wreak inestimable

destruction against unarmored, unarmed and comparatively slow-moving C-47

and C-46 aircraft and the even more vulnerable gliders they towed.

Threat of 300 Fighters

Colonel ERNST'tS (A-2) estimate of German Air Force daylight

capabilities as of 7 November disclosed the availability within 24 hours

notice of an Allied airborne effort of 250 to 300 single-engine fighters,

20 to 25 twin-engine fighters, 15 to 20 fighter-bombers and five to 10

reconnaissance planes.

To meet a night operation, the Germans in 24 hours could assemble a

maximum of 200 to 210 twin-engine fighters, 20 to 25 twin-engine ground

attackers, 10 to 15 single-engine fighters and the same number of fighter-


Over a three or four day period, the enemy was believed capable of

mustering for daylight: 150 to 200 single-engine fighters, 10 to 20

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| ~/'~:~engine fighters, fivweo. fighter-bombers and a similar number of

reconnaissance aircraft; at night: 150 to 200 twin-engine fighters, 15

to 20 twin-engine ground attackers and 10 to 15 single-engine fighters.

These figures were based on an estimate of 60 per cent service-

ability of total aircraft inside 150 miles striking range of the target.

One sortie a day was counted upon as maximum capacity for single-engine

fighters. It was assumed that twin-engine fighters would. be employed

principally against Allied resupply or reinforcement flights under cover
of darkness. However, they could be switched over to ground attack or

bombing against suitable targets.

Threat ef the Jet lighters

Looming as possibly the most dangerous threat was the German Me 262

Jet-propelled fighter, since Troop Carrier formations and height were

ideally suited to the tactical capabilities of this enemy ship. The 500 to
6 00-mile-an-hour speed together with the small number of Me 262s available
might enable them to slip inside Troop Carrier formations unnoticed.

A total of 30 to 35 Jet-propelled machines were known to be based in

the area of Achmer, but only 15 to 20 were believed serviceable. Attempts

to step up Jet-propelled. aircraft production indicated that they might be

augmented in strength.
Favorite tactic of the Me 262 was described as the head on or out of

the sun attack in a single sweep. Pilots were being trained to attack
either from 12 o'clock high coming in, or from shallow dive, or in one

pass and run Just above the formation. An attacking formation would
include 10 or 15 planes strung out in a single line.
Warned. AMalst Overconfideace

Colonel DRJST (A-2) believed that cover against hostile aircraft

should not be too difficult to effect in view of the Troop Carrier route
following friendly territory for all except three to five miles. But he
warned that an enemy already stung three times on the continent by

airborne blows might be tempted to come up this time in force.

On 13 November, Lt. Colonel Leonard T. Geyer, A-3 Plans Officer, in

a memorandum to Colonel JONS (A-3), submitted the view that the Operation

VARSITY would present no undue difficulties from the standpoint of air

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delivery of troops and gliders.

Although the original plan called for Troop Carrier aircraft to

remain over hostile territory for a comparatively short period, Colonel

Geyer declared the time could be shortened still more by dispatching four

columns--two paratroop and two glider--to hit simultaneously. This system

would accomplish total delivery in an hour and a half.

Natural Check Points on Route

The memorandum pointed out that routes from the continent were not

difficult. A northern course from Blankenberghe to Goch was well marked

with natural check points that could be easily supplemented by normal

radio aids. It was suggested that twin columns to British and American

target areas swing out in opposite directions for the homeward run.

With the fairly certain knowledge that all terrain up to the west

bank of the Rhine would be in friendly hands, no difficulty was con-

templated in providing navigation aids for Troop Carrier aircraft.

In view of unstable weather conditions prevailing at the time,

Colonel Geyer recommended that the operation be confined to a single day

to be followed up by emergency resupply, if neccessary.

He indicated that it might be necessary to move IX Troop Carrier

Command entirely to France in order to accomplish existing commitments.

However, military developments during the month precluded the accomplish.

ment of VARSITY on 25 November, as originally scheduled.

Still Held First Priority

On 7 December, Major General FLOYD L.PARKS, Chief of Staff, FAAA,

informed IX Troop Carrier Command that VARSITY still held first priority

over Operations CHOKER TWO and NAPLES TWO in that order.

General PARKS also indicated that any one of the three airborne

operations might be called on 20 days notice by General OMAR BRADLEY,

commander of the Twelfth Army Group. On the other hand, if none were

called during December and January, it could be expected that two

operations would be mounted in February with the 82nd and 101st U.S.

Airborne Divisions participating in the second.

On 12 December, Colonel JONES (A-3) IX Troop Carrier Command,

4 formed G-3, FAAA that the mac1 (hics were fairly complete for the three

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proposed operations but called attention to difficulties to be encountered

in resupply. He warned that the enemys awareness of the imminence of an

airborne blow together with his tremendously heavy flak concentration

could conceivably inflict losses on Troop Carrier to outstrip all previous

Planning Limited by Weather

Further, it was pointed out by Colonel JONZS (A-3) that extensive

resupply planning was limited by weather so unsettled that flying for

two or more consecutive days over a route of three to five hundred miles

was not considered possible. He advanced the possible solution that a

resupply mission be accomplished by the 50th Troop Carrier Wing which had

350 aircraft available in Prance. By setting up a field in Belgium

from which to originate resupply for VARSITY, the route would be con-
siderably shortened and thereby less subject to changing weather con-

ditions as well.

However, Colonel JONES (A-3) stated that the problem could be solved

most adequately through an arrangement for channeling supplies to air-

borne troops through normal ground routes as soon as the water-borne

crossings brought the main army to a Junction with the airborne divisions.

But again the operation was delayed. December and January passed

with the Allies still held in check along the main Siegfried defenses.

Airborne tactics were not yet feasible.

Revisioa of ABRSITY Plan

Then, on 10 February, FAAA submitted a revised plan for Operation

VARSITY. The merich-Wesel objective remained the same, but now the air-

borne task force would be dropped to assist both the 2nd British Army and

the 9th U.S. Army of the Northern Group of Armies. 25 March was

established as the new deadline.

It was considered that flood conditions of the Rhine might limit

drop and landing zones which otherwise were ideal. But flak could not

now be viewed as a seriously limiting factor despite the anticipated

movement of guns in the Nazi retreat across the river from the west bank.

With the 17th and 13th U.S. Airborne Divisions based on the continent,

I ^!d-he double towof CG^-A Waco gliders became practicable and opened the way
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for hauling increased numbers of fighting men. The element of distance

was solved. Each C-47 aircraft flying

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Waeo CG- 1 4As ix Dual Tew

safely tug a pair of gliders to landing zones on the east bank of the

shine. However, limitations in planes and airdromes prevented the

simultaneous lift of the 13th and 17th Divisions.

From its starting point in East Anglia, the 6th British Airborne

Division coul4 easily negotiate the distance in Hora&gliders towed

singly by Halifax, Stirling or Dakota aircraft. Parachute lift likewise

offered no problem.

Bombardment of Targets

The revised plan for VARSITT provided for pre-D-Day bombardment of

any targets that might affect the operation. It was established that

should it be necessary to employ heavy or medium bombers over DZ's or LZ'I

or vicinity on D-Day that the operational schedule would permit ample

time to elapse for smoke and dust to subside prior to arrival of Troop

Carrier columns.

The plan also called for proper timing to allow for visual precision

bombing by heavies and mediums. Necessary diversions and dummy drops

would be carried out as requested by the Airborne Corps commander.

Fighter cover and escort were committed to accomplish maximum neu-

tralization of flak along the route and over DZ's and LZ'. Fighters

and fighter-bombers would be assigned the task of accompanying and pre-

ceding Troop Carrier formations to attack all hostile batteries, guns or

troops using small arms fire.

_ 9 _
Accurate anticipation of Troop Carrier supply and maintenance needs

for Operation -VARSITY demanded considerably more than crystal ball

technique from the various A- 4 branch sections under Colonel McBRIDE (A-4).

Against new problems constantly arising, only the foresight and patience

forged in the experience of past operations insured sound planning by

Air Corps Supply and Engineers, Ordnance, Quartermaster and Chemical

97 Per Cent Operational

On the eve of VARSITY, 97.3 per cent or 1,251 out of a total of

1,285 C-47 and C-53 aircraft were reported in operational condition by

Lt. Colonel Charles H. Jourdan, Air Corps Engineering Officer. Almost

all supply problems connected with this type of aircraft had been en-

countered and solved in previous combat action, and these planes were

ready to Jump either American or British paratroops.

The chief task this time was to properly equip the new group of

C-46D aircraft never before employed operationally by IX Troop Carrier

Command. Improvisation on a high order became necessary to gird these

planes of the 313th Group for combat, and the necessary steps were taken.

A very limited quantity of supplies accompanied the first C-46's to

arrive in early January and necessitated the initiation of procurement

action for spare parts and ground handling equipment.

Modification of B-24 jacks and B-17 tow-bars was the method adopted

to assure an adequate supply of these critical items.

No Tested Means of Dropping Parapacks

The C-46D aircraft arrived in the European Theater without a prac-

ticable and tested means of dropping parapacks with latest information on

the subject disclosing that experiments were still being conducted at

Wright Field, Ohio. However, the following equipment was available:

six electric releases and means of attaching bomb shackles; six 2,000-

pound bomb shackles; and 24 buckles, straps and strap tighteners.

One of the most acute problems crying for a solution involved a

system for protecting the parachute of the A-5 parapack container from

A th Experimental attempts in the States to use plastic

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-'fairings proved a failure when these crushed in flight. A later develop-

ment was the aluminum hood, but these would be impossible to obtain in

the European Theater before May.

That left the question squarely in the lap of Troop Carrier Air Corps

Engineers. Colonel Jourdan's section instituted a series of tests with

paper P-51 jettisonable 108-gallon fuel tanks, and these provided the


Not only did the P-51 paper tank prove adaptable as a parachute hood,

but it also was procurable in sufficient quantities through Air Technical

Service Command in Europe to furnish each C-46D with a total of 12 as

part of normal aircraft equipment.

1.700 Paper Tanks Converted

Contributing to the success of the experiments were the A-4 and S-4

sections of the 52nd Wing, the 313th and 316th Groups, the 3S3rd Air

Service Squadron and the lst Air Service Squadron (Prov). In the final

process, upwards of 1,700 salvaged P-51 paper tanks were converted into

1,350 hoods--a total considered adequate for the contemplated operation.

Another bug to be ironed out was the inability to release all para-

pack bundles from the bomb shackle after normal pressure on the release

switch. To overcome this difficulty, the 313th Group, advised by Major

Jacob J. Myers.,Jr., Engineering Officer, together with the 383rd Air

Service Squadron supplied the necessary "know-how" to modify the bomb

shackle by welding a fillet into the release jaw. Then a directive was

issued with detailed instructions on the attachment of hoods and loading

A-5 containers on the pararack equipment of the C-46D.

Requisitioned from U.S.A.

The 24 straps and buckles available per plane were believed in-

sufficient to meet commitments, so urgent action was instituted to

procure an additional 12,000 by air shipment from the States. A size-

able proportion of this requisition arrived in time to guarantee com-

pliance with immediate requirements.

With the eight-foot span between the door of a C-46 and the ground

necessitating the employment of fork-lifts, two of these were provided

for each Squadron.

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^a i" A reserve of maintenance parts for C-46 aircraft to cover a minimum

period of 30 days was in the possession of the 313th Group in the form of

four consignments of Combat Table II and six prod-packs. Combat Table

II consisted of standard C-46 parts, while the prod-packs carried items

applicable to the latest model C-46D.

Refueling Facilities Supplemented

In every combat operation, refueling facilities are of paramount

importance and for Troop Carrier units preparing for VARSITY on the con-

tinent, it was necessary to supplement existing capacities. To fill the

maximum possible requirements, 19 complete refueling units were provided

in the following quantities: two F-1, two P-2, 10 F-3, five A-3.

Deterioration of paper Bolero gas tanks introduced the necessity for

replacement and resulted in the decision to install metal fuselage types.

In this connection, it was believed the P-38 discardable metal tank would

be of particularly high value in planes towing two gliders, and steps were

taken immediately to procure and install the P-38 tanks. This type of

tank, with a capacity of 155 U.S. gallons, was slated to be installed in

pairs in the fuselage of each aircraft, since little more hardware was

required than for a Bolero tank.

With glider assembly at Crookham Common speeded uD in January and

service teams with the 53rd Wing inaugurating further assembly on their

own stations, the program was still further intensified when the

Commanding General, Air Technical Service Command in Europe, instructed

Base Air Depot Area at Burtonwood to assemble gliders at Wharton.

Assembly Lines for Gliders

The latter step, recommended by the Commanding Officer of the IX

Troop Carrier Service Wing resulted in assembly line development to a

point where five CG-4A gliders were produced per day while the assembly

at Crookham Common reached 15 to 18 daily.

As a result of this assembly program, IX Troop Carrier CommanC on

D-1 was able to point to 2,162 operational Waco gliders out of a total

of 2,290.

During the glider buildnup period, a leading source was the area

around Eindhoven where the landing zones for the Holland operation were

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located. Here the reclamation-program of the Service Wing produced a

sizeable yield of silent craft which had flown on the previous mission.

After these had been distributed among units of the 50th and 53rd

Wings, a thorough inspection procedure was established to detect any

structural flaws that might have been discovered during reclamation.

The obvious purpose of this move was to eliminate the possibility of any

glider mishap other than that inflicted by direct enemy action.

Inspection to Eliminate Flaws

Before VARSITY was attempted, an inspection wan carried out on every

field of the two Troop Carrier Wings by a committee of four officers,

comprising the Command glider inspector, the Service Wing Air Corps

Engineer Officer, a glider officer of the particular Group Involved and

the Air bervice Squadron Engineer Officer serving the Group. These

officers checked every glider of doubtful condition to determine its

combat worthiness.

To equip gliders for VARSITY, rapid steps were taken to obtain De-

Acceleration Parachute Kits. Three thousand were requisitioned on high

priority from the States on 20 January, and before D-Day 326 were re.

ceived for installation. Another request was made' to have parachute

arrestors installed on or included with all unassembled gliders leaving

the Zone of Interior. These measures accounted for 1,246 gliders being

equipped with De-Acceleration Parachute Kits on D-Day.

Nose Crash Protection Kits

Another vital glider accessory was the nose crash protection, and

1,585 of these, either Corey or Griswold models, were available for the

operation after arrangements had been made to procure every kit held in

the depot. From January until D-Day, 412 Corey and 28 Griswold kits were

obtained to swell the overall total to almost 1,600.

When Colonel McBRIDX (A-4) received a request on 19 February for

Landmark Beacon Trailers (Pundits) to be employed on occupied fields and

forward airdromes for assembly and turning points, he obtained a high

priority for delivery of seven of these critical items from SAEF Main

Air. Troop Carrier was thus enabled to embark on VARSITY with a total of

10 beacon trailers.
' ^ ^:. - : e J15


Section 1

Strategic nobility of Troop Carrier units, demonstrated many times

in the ]Nropean Theater, was reemphaseized in Operation VABSITY which re-

quired the moTement from Britain to France of all five tactical Oroups
under the 53rd. Wing, two Groups of the 52nd, the Pathfinder Group and

large elements of the IX Troop Carrier Service Wing.

The emergency nature of land and water movement, dating from 11

February, unfolded new problems for Major Udward J. Sandetrom, Chief

Quartermaster Officer, and his assistant, Major John VW,Daughtry.

Decision to move came too swiftly to permit normal preparation for

overseas movement, Ixtreme urgency forced cancellation of the routine

procedure of issuing warning and alert orders, holding showdown

inspections, preparing administrative orders and marahalling.

Special purpose vehicles shuttled 53rd Wing organizations from home
stations to their assigned port of embarkation within. 48 hours of notice

and accomplished the project according to plan.

More serious difficulty attended the aovement of the 52nd Wing.when

the Chief of Transportation at Headquarters, United Kingdom Base refused

to move forward the original embarkation date, since no formal priority

had been designated for IX Troop Carrier Command.

Finally, through coordination with PAAA and U.S. Strategic Air Forces

in Europe, a priority was obtained from SEAfD to advance the 52nd*t

P^ ' ! * '.- ||giir^~~~~

.- * - - **,^ 17-;
movement date by u4 houre.
The same obstacle was confronted in connection with moving the rear
echelon of the 53rd Wing and the Pathfinder Group. Again the schedule was
advanced. this time by four days, after contact with the liaison of USSTAF.

Actual movement was expedite by splitting each tactical and service

Group into two echelons, with the first echelon taking charge of the main

body of vehicles required for completing preparation for VARSITT.

Those Groups engaged in the glider assembly program were faced with

the most critical need for vehicles. Their situation wa alleviated by

a policy which diverted vehicles to then from organizations with a later

readiness date.

Major Project For Wlneerg

By D-Day, a total of 4,000 personnel and 3, 300 vehicles had completed
the transition from ktgland to France without serious interruption of

operational commitmentE,

As uwual, the word #"movement added up to a major project for the IX

Troop Carrier ngineer section. On 9 February, Lt. Colonel Charles C.
Burbridge, Command Engineer, and his Chief assistant, Major Frederick M.

Kaiser, were handed the assignment of rigging 15 airfields into oper-

ational condition in a time span of 34 days.

It was a new version of an old headache to Engineers who belong to
an army on the offensive. Typically, they had been given a back-breaking
job with instructions to wind it up in a hurry.

Deadline Established
Construction target date had been deadlined at 15 March when the
Engineers plunged into an effort that called for everything from general

maintenance up to wholesale rehabilitation of airdromes which had fallen

into various states of disuse in the wake of a retreating enemy's

demolitions and bombardment.

As the construction men bent to their work, Troop Carrier units began

to move across. On 11 February, ground detachments of the 53rd Wing

boarded ship for passage across the Channel as flight echelons took wing

overhead., the 434th Group enroute to Mourmelon Le Grand (A-80); the 435th

to Bretigny (A-48); the 436th to Melun (A-55); the 437th to Coulommiers

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) the 438th to Prosnes (A-79). - F

Accompanying the 53rd were Service Wing elements of the 10th, 82nd

and 318th Service Groups as well as the 33rd Air Depot Group.

The pilgrimmage was resumed on the 23rd by two Groups of the 52nd

Wing, the 313th to Achiet (B-54) and the 314th to Poix (B-44), along with

elements of the 82nd and 317th Service Groups.

Slated to Land in France

In the case of the 52nd Wing, the Engineer project didn't stop with

preparation of airfields for the 313th and 314th. Although VARSITY called

for the remaining three Groups to carry 6th British Division paratroops

from bases in England, it also slated them to land on French airdromes on

the return trip, the 61st at Abbeville-Drucat (B-92), the 315th at

Amiens/Glisy (B-48), the 316th at Vitry-en-Artois (3-50). The latter three

fields, therefore, ranked just as high on the Engineer list as any of the


Four days after the 52nd arrived on the continent, the Pathfinder

Group moved into Chartres (A-I40). This famous cathedral city also was

the site of the 50th Wing headquarters which had arrived in France in

September, along with four Groups, the 439th at Chateaudun (A-39), the

440th at Bricy (A-50), the 44lst at Dreux (A-41), the 442nd at St. Andre

De L'Eure (B-24).

Only 34 Days to Go

In the slim 34 days allotted to him, Colonel Burbridge threw 3,200

American and British Engineer troops, rotated on a 24-hour schedule, and

750 French civilians into the mammoth task of building runways, marshall-

ing areas, hardstands, taxiways and access roads. Existing facilities

which had been damaged by enemy action were either converted for use or

cleared away. Hazardous bomb craters were filled. Hardstands were

cleared. Access roads, drainage ditches and culverts sprang to useful

service in answer to engineering ingenuity.

A variety of problems cropped up for IX Troop Carrier Engineers as

they examined the individual requests of each Group commander. In some

cases, two commanders with identical commitments each demanded a different

plan of construction. Such a development invariably produced new

problems and consequent delays for the Engineers who nevertheless

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accepted them because they recognized that commanders were Justified on

the basis that no two fields were laid out alike nor did the runways have

the same magnetic bearing. Bugs were ironed out in the most expeditious

manner, and work proceeded.

With a greater number of gliders allocated to each airfield than ever

before, glider parking loomed as the most intricate of Xagineering problems

for VARSITY. The apron method, employed in previous operations, proved

inadequate owing to the 7,000 square feet of surfacing material required

for each motorless craft. This system was based on an area approximately

100 feet wide and 70 feet long with an allowance of 20 feet between nose

and tail serving as trucking and loading space.

Limited time, materials and transportation facilities demanded a

Glider Marshalling From Individual Hardstands

simpler method. The answer was supplied in a brilliant solution by IX

Troop Carrier Command Xngineers who designed individual hardetands, only

77 feet long and 21 feet wide, fabricated from three rolls of square mesh


The hardstand area of 1,617 feet, contrasted to the old apron,

VixI E D
accomplished a saving of 5,383 feet of material per glider-..a phenomenal
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Layout of apro0 type of glider parking requiriag 7,000 square

feet of SMT for each glider including aisles for trucks, etc.

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This sketch is Layout of individual hardstand

a consolidated method requiring 1,617 square
area equivalent feet of SMT per glider.
to 48 individual
hardstands shc
the saving mat
between that t
and the apron
for an equal n
of gliders.

Enlarged scale showing the individual

hardstands placed along the taxitrack
!i^:ing clearance for planes and gliders.
221 -
developmen oni d mightily to acceleration of the construction


Other advantages also were derived. In all cases, hardstands were

situated adjacent to taxiloops and gliders parked behind the taxiloops,

allowing full wing clearance for aircraft. This arrangement permitted
any glider to be pulled off the stand without interfering with any other


Buabooe in Transportation

Procurement and transportation of materiel provided bugaboos, as

always. But plane and Jeep made possible rapid coordination between

Engineers of Troop Carrier, USSTAF, IX Engineer Command and British

supply sources in Brussels, To expedite deliveries, a system was estab-

lished under which enlisted men were detailed to ride supply trains from

points of origin to destination. Aircraft often were dispatched over

railroad lines to locate and speed the movement of materiel. Ivery
possible medium was utilized for speed and more speed,
Engineer aviation units and materiel were provided principally by IX

Bngineer Command under Brigadier General JO B. NEWMAB and the First

Canadian C.S. Works at Brussels under Brigadier D. H. Storms,

Manpower and materiel totals sreak for themselves, During the 34

days of airfield preparation, a total of 469,750 man hours was contributed

by U.S. Army personnel; 150,000 by British Army personnel; and 99,880 by

French civilians,

Vast Tonnae Consumed

In terms of materiel, the Job swallowed up 13,719 tons of pierced

steel plank; 7,050 tons of Tarmac surfacing material; 2,500 tons of rock

for maintenance; 100 tons of stone chip screenings; 18,000 gallons of

bitumen seal coat; 5,310 rolls of square mesh track; 1,070 rolls of Hessian

mat; 53,300 cubic yards of hardcore; 55,686 bales of straw; and 300

barrels of tar,

With the entire 50th and 53rd Wings together with two Groups of the

52nd already on the continent, the forward headquarters of IX Troop Carrier

Command was opened at Chateau de Prunay in Louveciennes, a suburb of Paris,

on 22 February. A rear headquarters was still maintained in Ascot.

- 22 -
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Onlyr six miles from TAAA headquarters in Malsons Laffitte, Chateau

de Prunayr was ideally located for close liaison with the next higher

echelon. General WILLIAMS brought with him to Trance his A-2 and A-3

sections together with other key personnel, comprising a total of 43

officers and 116 enlisted men.

Operatioxal Headcquarters at Louveclennes

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U~NC~LAL~'IF~~ElSection 2°
Recognising that a determined German effort against newly-established

Troop Carrier airfields on the continent could seriously impair prospects

for the successful execution of VARSITY, Colonel John S. Spencer, Command

Defense Officer, began a survey of all fields in France on 24 Febru&ry.

Colonel Spencer, a British officer (Duke of Wellington's Regiment)

serving with Troop Carrier, found that conditions of destruction and

deterioration on the new airdromes precluded a policy of dispersal of

planes and gliders, as practiced in England. Under the circumstances,

massed parking could not be avoided.

Called for Increased Vigilance

The situation called for increased vigilance and training on the part

of the 4roups concerned and additional defense measures to be supplied by

appropriate branches of the Army.

Already operating in France since September, units of the 50th Wing

were best prepared for discharging the responsibilities of airdrome defense.

Each squadron had been equipped with four .50 caliber machine guns and

had trained the requisite number of gunners.

More remote from the front on British bases, the 52nd and 53rd Wings

found it necessary to intensify airdrome defense programs prior to em-

barkation for France and after arrival, Training was stepped up and re-

fresher courses instituted to bring these organizations up to date for the

commitments imposed by VARSITY,

Allocation of AA Artillery

On 6 March, a letter was initiated to the Commanding General, 7AAA,

requesting allocation of anti-aircraft artillery for Troop Carrier fields,

And on the 14th, Colonel DUKE, Troop Carrier Chief of Staff, Colonel JONES

(A-3) and Colonel Spencer visited IX Air Defense Command to draw up a plan

for maximum protection of Troop Carrier bases.

As a result, anti-aircraft battalions were allocated for distribution

around the Command, and on 2000 hours of the same day these outfits were

alerted for duty.

The 391st AAA automatic weapons battalion was stationed at Proesses

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(A-79) and the 133rd AAA gun battalion, leas one'battery, at Mourmelon Le

Grand (A-S0). These organizations were split to provide two automatic

weapons batteries for each field and three gun batteries for area defense

of the two combined.

Airstrips Poix (B-44), Achiet (B-54) and Abbeville-Drucat (3-92) each

were alloted an automatic weapons battery by the 791st AAA battalion. A

similar arrangement was provided for Bretigny (A-48), Melun (A-55),

Coulommiere (A-58) and Bricy (A-50) by the 564th AAA battalion, and for

St. Andre De L']ure (B-24), Villacoublay (A-42), Chartres (A-40) and

Chateaudun (A-39) by the 789th AAA battalion.

Night Fighters on Call

Ninth Air Force also agreed to act upon IX Troop Carrier's request

to hold night fighter units available for limited periods beginning

20 March for interception of enemy aircraft and to divert day fighters

whenever necessary for the same purpose.

By 19 March, all airdromes in France were fully alerted for defense,

and Colonel Spencer flew to England to complete security preparations for

the three Troop Carrier staging fields in East Anglia. In cooperation

with 38 Group (RAP), it was decided that anti-aircraft batteries for

individual fields was not essential in view of existing area defense, but

local blackout discipline was rigidly enforced.




Section 1

Planning went forward at a rapid pace at Chateau de Prunay. Agenda

was drawn up for a conference on 26 February to include key Troop Carrier

commanders and representatives of Airborne Divisions.

Meanwhile, in preparation for the impending operation, a training

schedule had been dispatched by TWX on 17 February to all Troop Carrier

units. The program outlined by Major William V. Morgan, A-3 Training

Officer, directed the 439th and 44oth Groups of the 50th Wing to stress

double and single tow. Double tow missions would be performed by two

planes and four gliders echeloned to the right. The remaining two Groups

of the 50th, the 441st and 4 4 2nd, were directed to concentrate on single

glider tow and American parachute technique.

In the 53rd Wing, emphasis was placed on single glider tow by the

435th and 436th Groups; double and single glider tow by the 437th; and

American paradrop work by the 434th and 438th.

The 52nd Wing breakdown called for the 313th Group to continue

transition training in C-46 aircraft and to include paradrop technique.

A second priority for the C-46's consisted in double tow of the CG-4A

and single tow of the CG-13. American parachute work was designated for

the 316th Group and British paradrop technique for the 61st, 314th and


The Pathfinder Group continued to rehearse its own special techniques

but also trained for standard American paradrop activity.

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Formation of C-46't in Flight

Intensive glider pilot training was ordered in all Groups, and each

Wing was directed to schedule an exercise before 2 March.

On the 26th at Chateau de Prunay, General WILLIAMS opened the pre-

VARSITY conference with a general discussion of the proposed operation

and the part it would play in assisting the crossing of the Rhine by the

Northern Group of Armies under Field Marshal BERNARD HONTGOMERY.

The General stated that although specific information was still

lacking in regard to certain phases of the operation, it was now possible

to complete a major part of the air planning.

The requirements of the 6th British Airborne Division were outlined

by Lt. Colonel N.J.L. Field of the lot British Airborne Corps. For the

parachute lift, 275 aircraft were needed, while a total of 425 gliders,

including 398 Horeas and 27 Hamilcars, would be the maximum towed.

Six-Pound Guns to Be Dropped

Colonel Field represented the minimum acceptable glider figure as

383 Horsas and 23 Eamilcars. In addition, the 6th Division desired to

drop 12 to 16 six-pound guns -- a commitment which could be accomplished

only by 38 Group (RAF).

With three Groups of the 52nd Troop Carrier Wing already allotted to

the British 6th by Major General MATTHEW B. RIDGWAY, commander of XVIII

Corps (Airborne), General WILLIAMS stated it was unlikely that additional

IX Troop Carrier Command aircraft would be allocated for British glider


To lift the 6th, 38 Group (RAY), operating from United Kingdom

airfields at Great Dunmow, Earls Colne, Shepherd's Grove, Rivenhall and

possibly Woodbridge (for Hamilcars) would have 240 tug aircraft available.

Of this total, 170 would tow Horsas, with the remaining planes pulling

70 Hamilcars.

With 46 Group (RAY) contributing 100 to 110 planes, operating from

Matching and either Goefield or Weatherfield, the total available to the

6th Division ranged between 340 and 350, still short of the 393 desired

for the glider lift.

The IX Troop Carrier Command contribution to the 6th was listed as
243 aircraft for the paradrop. The three Groups of the 52nd Wing were

based at Boreham, Chipping Ongar and Birch.

Direct Radio Link Possible

Brigadier General HAROLD L. CLARK, commander of the 52nd Wing,

stipulated that upon completion of the British 6th lift, hie three Groups-

the 6lst, 315th and 316th,-would return to Abbeville-Drucat (B-92), Amiens-

Glisy (B-48) and Titry-un-Artois (B-50) in France for future operations.

38 Group assured Colonel Pruitt, IX Troop Carrier Command Signal

Officer, that a direct radio link was possible in event of a telephone

communications failure between the United Kingdom and the continent*

General WILLIAMS recommended decentralized planning and training for

Troop Carrier and the British 6th under a general directive from IX Troop
Carrier Command which would receive training reports.

It was decided that the Central Command Post in Zaat Anglia for

operational control of all aircraft concerned would be located at Marks

Hall under the control of AOC, 38 Group (REA).
Requirements of 17th Division

The requirements of the 17th U.S.Airborne Division, as listed by Lt.

Colonel e.J. Messinger, were found to tally very closely with Troop

Carrier capabilities. Against the 17th's request for 370 paratroop air-

craft, Troop Carrier had 400 immediately available, but th* 660 gliders
on hand were not quite up to the 17thts minimum needs. Therefore it was

arranged to commit an additional 20 gliders.

A discussion of the proposed employment of C-46 aircraft on the

operation revealed that 72 of these on the paradrop would be capable of .

furnishing the equivalent of 144 C-47 loads. Owing to insufficient.
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training of tug crews, it was recommended that the 0-461s should not be

required to tow the CG-13 glider unless terrain was considered suitable.

In that case, it might be attempted on a limited scale.

General WILLIAMS stated that he would further discuss the matter

with the commanding generals of PAAA and X7VIII Corps.

The tentative plan of operation for the 17th Division was- then out-

lined. For paradrops, 72 C-46 aircraft would be committed by the 313th

Group from Achiet (B-54); 162 C-47's by the 434th and 438th from Prosnes

(A-79) and Mourmelon Le Grand (A.80); 90 C-47's by the 44lst and 442nd
from St. Andre De L'Eure (B-24) and Dreux (A-41).
Siule Tow of SO by 314th

The glider schedule called for single tow of 80 by the 314th from
Poix (B-44); single tow of 80 by the 435th from Bretigny (A-); single
tow of S0 by the 436th from Melun (A-55); double tow of 144 by the 437th
from Coulommiers (A-58); single tow of 48 by the 442nd from St. Andre De

L'Zure (B-24); single tow of 48 by the 441st from Dreux (A-41); single

tow of 90 by the 439th from Chateaudun (A-39); single tow of 90 by the

44oth from Bricy (A-50).

General CLARK stated that to accomplish an 80-glider lift from

Poix (B-44) or to split it between Poix (3-44) and Amiens/Glisy (B-4$),

considerable work would yet have to be accomplished by the Engineers.

General WILLIAMS concurred and said the project had been referred to

Colonel Burbridge, Command Engineer.

Surplus Aircraft for 50th

Brigadier General JULIAN M. CHAPPELL, commander of the 50th Wing,

pointed out that the 17th Division's requirement of 370 planes instead

of 400 would leave his 441st and 44 2nd Groups with surplus aircraft.
Under those circumstances, he was in a position to recommend that the

aforementioned two Groups accomplish an additional lift of 20 to 30

gliders. He was requested by General WILLIAMS to give further study to

the possibilities and submit a recommendation.

On his status of 420 aircraft, Brigadier General MAURICE M, BEACH,

commander of the 53rd Wing, asserted that he would be left with only a

five per cent overage but could still meet his commitments.
General WILLIAMS wasii-nftrmed that enough A-5 containers modified

for C-46 use had been obtained for the initial lift. A total of 425

already had been delivered to the 313th Group and another 500 were on the

Following the conference, Colonel JONES (A-3) requested all parties

concerned to remain for a discussion on training. It was decided that

first priority would go to combined training of Troop Carrier and airborne

Glider Infantry Trained as Unit

A limitation of 16 gliders was placed on each lift owing to the con-

dition of airfields and the necessity for transferring large numbers of

motorless craft from England to Prance. A lift total of 16 was agreed

upon since it enabled an entire glider infantry company to train as a unit.

In addition, an extensive air program was set up for Troop Carrier

units with a view to solving the individual problems of each airfield in

the limited time remaining before the operational deadline. Units were

urged to utilize all flyable weather to the greatest extent possible when

not committed to combined training.

For training in loading and lashing, 80 glider fuselages from the

Eindhoven area were made available to the 17th and 13th Divisions.
Pull Dress Rehearsal Inadvisable

A 100 per cent dress rehearsal of VARSITY was considered inadvisable

in the few remaining weeks of training, since airborne units would be

unable to replace possible losses incurred. It was decided to set up a

mock operation on a reduced scale approximately 10 days before D-Day to

test communications, operational suitability of airfields, timing, navi-

gational aids and related problems.

Upon completion of the rehearsal, all training would cease to permit

proper staging of troops and necessary maintenance of aircraft, 20 March

was established as a tentative date for termination of training.

It was further decided that a pair of Troop Carrier Glider Combat

Control Teams would accompany each Airborne Division. And glider pilot

control would follow procedure to be laid down in the new Memorandum

50-21A, Headquarters. IX Troop Carrier Command, subject: "SOP for the

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Equipment of a Combat Control Team --

Jeep and SCR-499 Radio Set on Special Trailer....

.... Closeup of the SCL-499 Badio Set

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A Complete Teaf Ready for Action....

... Belaying Information from the Yield

- 33-
W . ider Pilots", dated 11 March 1945.
General WILLIAMS strongly emphasized the need for continued training

of airborne personnel in C-46 aircraft. He stressed that two Regiments.,

one from each American Division, be selected for C-46 lifts and be moved

immediately to the area adjacent to Achiet (B-54) to facilitate training

and to have these troops in position for actual staging.

Conferees were informed that VARSITY control would center at the

Brussels headquarters of Lieutenant General LZWIS H. BREEETON and Air

Chief Marshal OONINGHAM to FAAA (Main) to IX Troop Carrier Command (FWD)

and 38 Group. Overall plans would be drawn up at FAAA (Main) by repre-

sentatives of IX Troop Carrier Command and the Airborne Divisions.

Section 2

On 8 March General WILLIAMS reported to General B3RZITON that eight

Glider Combat Control Teams had been specially equipped and trained to

perform the duties carried out by air coordination parties during the

Normandy and Holland operations. Operationally, each team could function

as a completely self-sustaining unit.

General WILLIAMS stated that two such teams would be assigned to

each Airborne Division to insure reliable communications. He pointed out

that in Normandy two out of four air coordination parties were lost due

to enemy action, while the Holland battle saw six out of eight parties

suffer casualties and damage with three units completely knocked out,

A further reason for employing a spare team was the fact that all
control personnel could not be carried in a single glider, this factor caus-

ing a dispersal of team members. Under such conditions, an extra control

team would permit reshuffling of personnel on the spot and accomplish

necessary communication in a minimum of time.

In addition to combat drill, the control teams had been thoroughly

trained in the use of codes and ciphers and the maintenance of their

radio equipment.

Under the plan outlined by General WILLIAMS, two Combat Control

''. ]
- 34-
Teais Were scheduled for assignment to XVIII Corps (Airborne) during
Operation VARSITYT
Normally two gliders would be adequate to lift the necessary

personnel and equipment of each team, but in this case an additional two
gliders would be required to haul special pickup apparatus of both teams,

bringing the total number of gliders to six. Every effort was being

made to insure the operational success of the control teams, General

WILLIAMS stressed.
Responsibility Delegated to Teams

A broad range of responsibility was delegated to the teams which

were to establish themselves with XVIII Corps headquarters for the purpose

of coordinating all outgoing messages through the Corps or Division

commander, Further coordination was to be established with Corps G-3 to

arrange glider pickups from combat landing zones if emergencies dictated

such measures. In preparation for such a contingency, necessary pickup

ropes and stations would be sent in with the control teams. Both IX

Troop Carrier Command and XVIII Corps had agreed upon the desirability of

such action if permitted by the tactical situation.

In line with this procedure, 16 gliders committed for the movement

of a medical Battalion also were equipped with litter straps in the event
it was considered practicable to evacuate patients by glider, Decision

to make such a pickup was reserved by General WILLIAMS, In case the

method were to be employed, the glider pickup location would be designated

by the grid coordinate system.

Three Hour Weather Reports

The control teams were further directed to effect radio contact

with the headquarters of both IX Troop Carrier Command and FAAA in order

to facilitate the transmittal of three hour weather reports to D-Day

serials and later to resupply formations. UCO code was stipulated as the

medium of communication,

Information was to be relayed by the teams to IX Troop Carrier

Command concerning known strength of resistance points that could be

circumvented enroute to and surrounding DZIs and LZ's. Hazards in glider

rLZ's and methods of eliminating them were to be pointed out, if possible.

in locatlons of LZt's and resupply


Teams were to maintain contact with Troop Carrier serial leaders

and to supply necessary pertinent information over VHF. They were re.

sponsible for setting up pickup stations, if called upon to do so, and

transmitting coordinates together with timing and any other information

applicable to such a task.

In addition, control teams would transmit all messages directed by

the Commanding General, XVIII Corps relative to concentration of enemy

troops, enemy air activity and any other necessary information.

Tamiliarisation with Units

Preliminary to VARSITY, Troop Carrier Combat Control Teams No. 1 and

2 would be placed on five days detached service beginning 12 March with

XVIII Corps for the purpose of familarising themselves with the units with

which they would serve. Then they would proceed to marshalling areas.

The Glider Combat Control Teams of IX Troop Carrier Command were

molded in the crucible of combat on the fields of Normandy and Bolland.

Their development was in answer to the acute need for on-the-spot recon-

naissance from DZ's and LZ's during an operation and speedy communication

to oncoming serials and operations leaders at headquarters.

Faulty relay of information under extreme pressure of fluid battle

lines during previous operations resulted in continuous improvements that

culminated in the formation of eight combat control teams to participate

Two Teams per Division

Colonel JONDS (A-3) pointed out that eight teams were formed in order

to provide two for each of the American Airborne Divisions in the European

Theater-the 82nd, 101st. 17th and 13th.

A wide range of versatility was demanded of the four glider pilots

and single enlisted man who comprised each team. One GP, with a minimum

of 500 hours as a power pilot in addition to at least two combat missions,

served as flying control operator, while each of the remaining three

glider pilots doubled as radio operators. The enlisted man functioned

as radio operator and mechanic. All personnel were qualified to drive a

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Jeep and trailer.

In addition to possessing special skills in the use of radio and

cryptographic equipment, each man was given infantry training with the

airborne unit in which he was intended to serve.

Since the control teams were to operate from airborne landing areas,

often inside enemy lines under the most fluid battle conditions, their

ability to survive was the only guarantee of a workable communications

system. The paramount importance of combat training was obvious.

Jeep and Trailer

A single team's equipment included a Jeep and a one-quarter ton two-

wheeled trailer with special rebuilt body to provide adequate space for

radio apparatus and an operator. A standard Jeep trailer could not

accommodate an SCR-399 radio set and still permit an operator to work


Either an SCR-399 or SCL-499 radio could be employed along with a

P3-75 power unit substituted for the PE-95.

Also included in the trailer was the SCR-522 VHP radio to provide an

auxiliary channel of communication to aircraft in flight. This set could

be mounted in the Jeep, but such an installation would require additional

power equipment which was listed as a critical item and difficult to


No Space Inconvenience

Although the team could function without the SCR-VHF, the set added

less than 100 pounds to the total load without imposing any space incon-

venience and therefore was considered a highly valuable aid.

Each team carried a set of documents to include three M-209 convert-

ers with special settings to provide approximately 32-hour security for

any message; special code similar to air support request code but with

vocabulary to fit the type of messages to be handled and assuring a

longer period of security than the M-209; and air-ground authentication.



Section 1

To stage a limited dress rehearsal for VARSITY, Colonel JONES (A-3)

directed plans to be drawn up for Exercise TOKEN and published a field

order on 12 March, designating the 16th as D-Day.

With all units of IX Troop Carrier Command together with 38 and 46

Groups (RAF) scheduled to participate, TOEX2 was primarily an air exercise

for the purpose of testing timing, communications, operational suitability

of airfields and navigational aids.

In the overall picture, TOKEN provided the extent of Troop Carrier

participation in the larger Exercise BULL-FIGHT ordered on 6 March by

FAAA. As stated in the original directive, BULL-FIGHT's three objectives

were (1) To thoroughly test communications, (2) To test the detailed

functioning of the Combined Command Post at Headquarters, FAAA; Tactical

Headquarters, FAAL (at 2nd TAF); forward Headquarters, IX Troop Carrier

Command; and Headquarters, 38 Group (RAP), Marks Hall, (3) To train flight

leaders of the Troop Carrier echelons and key personnel of the participat-

ing air forces.

The BULL-FIGHT directive named the Commanding General, IX Troop

Carrier Command, to exercise control of all Troop Carrier aircraft from

the Combined Command Post at Headquarters, FAAA. Communications to each

transient camp headquarters would be checked as aircraft and gliders

operated from fields assigned for pending operations, but no troops would

be Jumped and no gliders released.

3 prescribed in BULL-FIGHT, the Exercise TOKEN

established for Troop Carrier the task of flying an air route to a drop
zone-landing zone area, simulating drops and releases and returning to

home bases.

Under the plan, formations would simulate actual Troop Carrier and
RAF serials with (1) Parachute elements in the three ship V; (2) Single

glider tow with four aircraft and four gliders echeloned to the right;

(3) Double glider tow with two aircraft and four gliders echeloned to the

right; (4) RAF single tow with two aircraft and two gliders at a 10-second

interval and in loose pairs.

Rope Drop Area Selected

In view of the comparatively short time to be spent over enemy

territory during the Operation VARSITY, a rope drop area had been desig-

nated for the return trip. Similarly, a rope drop area was selected for

TOKEN and all glider tug pl.anes, except the 439th Group and 38 and 46

Groups (RAP), directed to proceed to it after swinging 180 degrees from

the LZ's, then to keep on going for home stations.

The 439th Group and 38 and 46 Groups (BAF)--all with double glider

tow--would proceed only as far as the Command Assembly Point at MARFAK,

then would return to starting points on a reciprocal route.

Head to head time intervals were specified at four minutes for 48-

aircraft parachute serials; three minutes for 36-aircraft C-46 serials;

seven minutes for single glider tow; and ten minutes for double glider tow.

Payload Maximaums stablished

Payload maximums were established at 5,000 pounds for the C-47, 9,000

pounds for the C-46 and 3,750 pounds for the CG-4A Waco glider,

Unit assignments on Exercise TOKEN called for the following simulated

parachute serials: two by the 434th Group; two by the 438th; one by Path-
finder; two by the 313th; and two each by the 316th, 61st and 315th.

Simulated glider serials would approach in the following order: four

single tow by 46 Group (RAP); 11 single tow by 38 Group (EAF); two double

tow by the 437th, 436th and 435th; two single tow by the 440th, with two

gliders of the first serial containing personnel and equipment of the IX

Troop Carrier Command Control Teams and to be released on Villeneuve/Vertus

UJ &> f i A? U - -, _
(A-63) airfield after passing simulated LZ'1; two s*ingle tow by the 441st;

one single tow by the 442nd; and two single tow by the 314th.

During the staging and buildup period for TOKEN, the IX Troop Carrier

Communications section furniahed adequate signal and radar facilities for

the exercise.

Direct speech and teleprinter circuits were made available from Head-

quarters, IX Troop Carrier Command (FWD) (Tomahawk) to Headquarters, JAAA

(Midnight); Headquarters, 50th Troop Carrier Wing (Transport); Headquarters,

52nd Troop Carrier Wing (Tradewind); Headquarters,. 53rd Troop Carrier Wing

(Transfer). These were supplemented by similar direct circuits from

each Wing to each of Its Ro. ,

CT?' -- VWoahorse Planes of World War II

Teleprinter traffic was confined exclusively to operational messages

from six hours before D-Day to 2000 hours on D-Day.

Special point to point speech circuits were installed between A-3,

IX Troop Carrier Command, located in the operations room of PAAA, and the

A-3 sections of each Wing. In addition, a special cross-channel speech

circuit was made available between Headquarters, FAAA and Headquarters,

38 Group (RAF) on a common user basis.
Normal operation of the Command-Wing radio net was assured on a

frequency of 3940 kilocycles, with an alternate of 2956 kilocycles.

The heart of air to ground communication was a W/T radio station

established at Headquarters, IX Troop Carrier Command (FWD) on 5915

kilocycles and using the call sign K69. This station was to be employed

primarily for recall of planes whenever necessary.

.~ ~ ^;-**
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the strict maintenance of radio silence except for

the exercise of command function by Wing and higher commanders, or by any-

one in cases of extreme emergency. Permission was granted to break silence

on the return Journey for navigational purposes when aircraft were at least

40 miles from the DZ-LZ area.

Time signals would be broadcast on the hour and half hour, and all

Troop Carrier aircraft were directed to listen to K69 at all times when

they were not working on HF or MF/DF stations.

Air to Air Intercom

For air to air intercommunication, VHF channel "D" was allocated to

Troop Carrier aircraft.

Navigational aid facilities included the usual full complement of

radio, radar and visual instruments. 14 beacons were in operation at

seven points along the route and on DZ's "A", "B", "Xm and "W".

Provision also was made for air-sea rescue.

Procedure called for Rebecca to be operated only by the Squadron

leader of each nine-plane element. However, one additional aircraft in

each nine would maintain Rebecca in standby position, with set switched

on but the transmitter off. Rebecca equipment was to be turned off

immediately following drops and would not be turned on again until planes

had traveled 40 miles beyond the drop-release area. Again no deviation

from this arrangement was permissible except in emergencies.

Weather Causes Postponement

It was decided that whenever serials were broken np, each small

element lead ship would operate Rebecca. SCR-717-C was to be turned on

in all planes carrying this type of equipment in order to confuse enemy

radar listening posts as much as possible.

Inclement weather caused postponement of TOK3N D-Day from 16 March

to 17 March.

Upon completion of the exercise, Colonel JONES (A-3), in a memorandum

to General WILLIAMS, reported the results of navigational aids, timing

and communications.

The 50th and 53rd Wings had found Rebecca functioning satisfactorily.

at all points, and visual aids on the DZ were excellent. But the MF

0 h of |ak reflection.
~~~~~~~ ~~~~~~~~~~~~
Eurieka also proved adequate for the 52nd Wing which stated that DZ

markings stood out very well over a 20-mile radius. In addition, the MF

beacon at Marfak and the Gee at Rheims met their tests successfully, but

the Ruhr Gee Chain faded at the DZ, probably as the result of high terrain.

One squadron could not identify Eureka on the last lap, and anotner was

unable to pick up the MP beacon in the same area.

The Pathfinder Group reported the MF beacon fair to good, the Eureka

adequate and visual aids excellent.

Speedy Arrival over DZ'a

Colonel JONES (A-3) added that most serials arrived over the DZ much

sooner than scheduled with variations ranging from one to 12 minutes.

With three exceptions, the communications system functioned normally.

The direct line to the 53rd Wing became inoperative at 1730 and remained

unserviceable until 1910 hours, while the direct line to the 50th kept

cutting in and out. And the 50th Wing's A-3 line to the 442nd Group went

dead late in the exercise.

As additional training for VARSITY, a simulated resupply mission to

the 17th U.S, Airborne Division was set up by Colonel JONES (A-3) for

18 March at 1130 hours. It was to be accomplished by the 44Oth Group,

departing from Bricy (A-50) and flying the TOKET route to DZ "V" and LZ

"A", With the mission designed to test communications only, the 27

aircraft and 12 CG-4A gliders assigned to the task actually never left the

ground. It was further warmup for VARSITY.

Successful on the Whole

At the critique for TOKEN held at 1100 hours on the 15th at IX Troop

Carrier Command (FWD), General WILLIAMS declared the practice mission as

successful on the whole. There were no aborts and no accidents. The

Troop Carrier commander pointed out that the Command Post established at

FAAA only two days before TOKEN had satisfied General BEERETON.

Citing a failure in cross-channel lines during the exercise, Air

Vice Marshal SCABLETT STREATFIELD, commander of 38 Group (RAF), indicated

that all else was on the positive side of the ledger. Airfields were

suitable, while navigational aids and inter-unit communications had proved


0s ; ;,
X;'$0>i- : ' * 14 ^ 5- .
o Cn$ LIIIfifTroop
0 Carrier Communications Officer, reported

that steps were being taken to correct those failures which had occured

during the exercise.

Colonel Burbridge and the Command Engineer section were commended by

General CLARK, 52nd. Wing commander, for speedy preparation of airdromes.

Timing System Modified

After General CHAPPELL, 50th Wing commander, and Colonel Joel L.

Crouch, Pathfinder Group commander, discussed timing difficulties on

TOKEN, General WILLIAMS stressed the need for modifying the existing plan.

Wind had caused some formations to coast ahead of the Pathfinder echelon

leading the mission. A discussion of methods resulted in the decision

to maintain a constant airspeed after leaving the Command departure point

in order to alleviate the timing difficulties which had arisen during


Confidence in the double tow for VARSITY was expressed by General

BEACH, 53rd Wing commander.

Now that TOWK had been successfully executed, General WILLIAMS

could feel assured that his Command was ready for its greatest achieve-

ment in the performance of VARSITY.

Section 2

As it must for all operations, the Communications section worked out

a system of speech and teleprinter circuits, radio facilities and nav-

igational, radar and visual aids for VARSITY.

Telephone and teleprinter lines linked Headquarters, IX Troop Carrier

Command (PWD) to First Allied Airborne Army (Midnight) and to each of the

Wings--50th (Transport), 52nd (Tradewind) and 53rd (Transfer). In addition,

there were direct circuits between each Wing headquarters and its respective


From six hours prior to D-Day until 2000 hours on D-Day, these channels

were kept clear for operational traffic only.

Special point A int speech circuits were made available between

i J
'i 5, Ix Troop Carrier i , located in the Operations Boom, lirst

Allied Airborne Army and the A-3 section of each Wing. A special cross-

channel speech circuit was rigged up between First Allied Airborne Army

and Headquarters, 38 Group (SAY) on a common user basis.

Pattern of TOE1 Followed.

Employment of radio facilities followed the pattern of Xxercise

TOKIE. Policy dictated radio silence except for the exercise of command

function by Wing and higher commanders n"' for cases of extreme emergency.

On the return Journey, the breaking of radio silence was permitted for

navigational purposes when aircraft had travelled at least 40 miles from

the DZ-LZ sector, but transmission* were still to be held to a nininum.

The Command-Ving radio net was set up to function at a frequency of

3940 kilocycles, with 2956 ae alternate. For the primary purpose of re-

call, air-ground W/T radio station was to be established at Troop Carrier

forward headquarter on 5915 kilocycle., using call sign 169.

I- Oa the Ground ad in the Air
Call sign for any serial would be UGG, followed by the number of the

serial, and KTRC was the collective W/T call sign for all Troop Carrier

aircraft. All messages would be broadcast by the "F # method.

In each V of V's of nine aircraft, two planes would be designated to

guard EF command air-ground frequency 5915 kilocycles during the entire

rlight, and no frequency checks or routine exchange of signals would be


With Station X69 broadcasting time signals on the hour and half hour,

the sixth blip on each broadcast would denote the exact time.

In air to air communication, VHF channel #D" was reserved for IX

Troop Carrier aircraft inter-communication.

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auUo aBvagagiona al s IncDloea. 'Ar Deacone at JL locations along the
route leading into the DZ-LZ sector. For air-sea rescue, the use of sect-

ion "H" was directed together with M/F D/F, call sign B12, frequency 273

kilocycles. Aircraft properly equipped could also use section "A" (VEF
channel 755) for air-eea rescue,

Radar and visual aids called for standard display and codings of
panels and Eureka beacons except for the panel letters at LAST LAP,

Smoke identification would be still another form of visual aid.

Rebecca Used by Leaders

It was directed that Rebecca would be operated only by the Squadron

leader of each nine-aircraft element, but one additional plane in the

element would hold Rebecca in standby position with set switched on but

transmitter off. Deviations were expressly banned except in emergency.

Rebecca equipment would be turned off immediately after drops were com-

pleted and would not be turned on again until at least 40 miles from the

DZ-LZ sector.

In cases where serials broke apart, the leading plane of each small

element would operate Rebecca. ReFe stages of all Rebeccas would be peaked

to LAST LAP frequency,

Choice of two Eureka channels would depend on the specific DZ des-

tination of aircraft, and pilots would be briefed by unit radar officers

on which of the two was to be employed.

Removal of Radomes

IFF would be used in accordance with existing procedures, but no SC0R.

717-C would be employed on VARSITY. Units were instructed to remove

radomes and associated antenna equipment for storage until a later dates

The two radio-equipped combat control teams would maintain contact

with IX Troop Carrier headquarters from LZ "tN" by using W/T call sign B-38

on the frequency 4375 by day and 2436 by night. For transmitting information

to headquarters, the teaes would use special settings for X-209 and One-

Time Pad Cipher. An authentication table also would be employed.

If necessity arose for the teams to contact approaching Troop Carrier

aircraft, it would be done on VHF channel 757, Team R/T call sign would

be ACHILLES. The team station would take over net control after estab-

U~gLAS@-g'Etb t
lishing contact with IX Troop Carrier headquarters,

To guard against unforeseen communication interruptions, a Command

relay would be in operation at MARFAK. It would monitor the frequencies

used by the Combat Control Teams and the Troop Carrier headquarters net

and copy all messages. In the event a message from the DZ were not

acknowledged by Troop Carrier headquarters, or vice versa, the relay

station would immediately pass along the message to the station concerned.

W/T call sign of the Command relay would be J68. At H plus 5 hours, the

relay point would contact headquarters for instructions regarding further

operation of the M/F beacon for resupply missions.

Operational Message Centers

Operational message centers capable of handling all incoming and out-

going traffic in the minimum amount of time would be established at all

unit headquarters, and a sufficient number of motor messengers would be

available for immediate distatch of messages.

For code and cipher transmission, SIGABA would be used down to and

including Wing level. From Wings to Groups, M-209 and RAF 1st cipher

would be used.

It was established that all communications facilities controlled by

IX Troop Carrier headquarters would be available to the Commanding

Generals of the Airborne Forces, or their representatives on a common

user basis.

Medical Mission Outlined

The medical mission of Troop Carrier units, as outlined by Colonel

BRGQUIST, would be to provide emergency medical facilities for reception

at home airfields of Troop Carrier, Airborne and attached personnel wounded

in flight as well as the crews of any other type aircraft making emergency

landings on Troop Carrier fields.

Further provisions would be made for receiving and evacuating to the

nearest available hospital any patients landed on home fields by Troop

Carrier ambulance planes that were prevented by weather from entering

normal rear evacuation fields.

Personnel of all arms and services of all armies would receive medical

care from members of medical air evacuation squadrons while they were being
evacuated to airdromes in the vicinity of base hospitals.
- 47 -
Planes returning from operational missions with wounded aboard would

display appropriate signals to the flying control tower for the purp mse

of alerting ambulance crews for that particular aircraft. Flying control

would direct both plane and ambulance to a specific site to avoid any


No Red Cross Markings

In line with normal policy, air evacuation planes would bear no dis-

tinguishing Red Cross markings.

For the period of time Airborne units were bivouacked on Troop Carrier

fields prior to the operation, they would receive medical attention from

Troop Carrier medical officers. Hospitalization facilities also would be

provided for minor illnesses and injuries.

To administer cases of serious injury to briefed personnel, specific

hospitals were designated by the Chief Surgeon, Communications Zone. These

were the 38th Station Hospital at Airstrips Chateaudun (A-39), Chartres

(A-40), Bricy (A-50); the 224th General Hospital at Dreux (A-4l), St. Andre

De L'Eure (B-24); the 1st Platoon, 40th Field Hospital at Bretigny (A-48),

Melun (A-55), Coulommiers (A-58); the 17Sth General Hospital at Prosnes

(A-79), Mourmelon Le Grand (A-80); the let Platoon, l4th Field Hospital at

Poix (B-44), Achiet (B-54), Abbeville-Drucat) (B-92).

Upon the admission of the first briefed patient, a ward would be set

aside and maintained under guard until the hospital commander received

notification from IX Troop Carrier Command that security measures were no

longer necessary. Guards would be furnished by the Airborne Division

commander concerned. Such patients would bear the code word "Underdone#

on their ZMT tags.

Ordnance Procurement

A total of 210,000 pounds of Ordnance equipment was procured and dis-

tributed to Troop Carrier units for VARSITY. Captain Fred L. Hamilton of

the A-4-Ordnance Section reported that 160,000 pounds were flown by 36

aircraft from the United Kingdom, while the remaining 50,000 pounds were

hauled by truck from several points in France and Belgium.

The variety of Ordnance material included 1,554 flak aprons, 1,g65

flak vests, 1,732 flak helmets, 2,074 flak pads, 361 trench knives M3 with

t El] ?P n . , -48-
scabbards, 650 Thompson sub-machine guns, 1,187 cal, .45 automatic pistols,

524 carbines, 1,166 pistol holsters, 2,753 pistol magazines, 1,710 sub-
machine gun magazines, 2,830 carbine magazines and 1,658 fragmentation


The Ordnance section of IX Troop Carrier Service Wing designated the

33rd Air Depot Group as chief distribution center and a building was

turned over for that purpose by the Group commander on 8 March,

Previously the system of Ordnance supply had been coordinated between

the IX Troop Carrier Command Ordnance section and the various higher

agencies, including Central Air Depot Area; Air Service Command; USSTAPF

and Communications Zone.

Vehicles For Pathfinder

On 7 March, a loan of vehicles to the Pathfinder Group was author-

ized. It provided three 250-gallon water trailers, six two-and-a-half ton

cargo trucks; 47 jeeps; three one-ton cargo trailers; 22 three-quarter ton

weapons carriers; and two three-quarior non ambulances.

On 12 March, the Command Ordnance section received the first list of

shortages requested by teletype on 2 March, One week later arrangements

were completed with IX Troop Carrier Flight Section to convey flak equip-

ment and arms from Station 548 in the United Kingdom to Chartres (A-40)

where the material could be processed by the 33rd Air Depot Group.

Trucks were dispatched on 20 March to pick up consignments of 700

pistols at Cherbourg, 700 sub-machine guns at Le Louvier, Belgium, and

ammunition at Montdidier.

The following day 15 vehicles were furnished to move the 816th

Medical Air Evacuation Squadron from Bricy (A-50) to Villacoublay (A-42),

By 22 March, all unit requisitions for flak equipment, arms and other

items had been filled. Steps were taken to replenish stocks at the 33rd

Air Depot Group distribution center. Supply of flak pads had been comp-

letely exhausted and with 2,500 already on order, an additional 3,000

were requested from USSTAF.

Obstacles in Equipping Pathfinder

In equipping the IX Troop Carrier Pathfinder Group (Prov), the

Command Quartermaster ran into obstacles that proved almost insurmount-

-. - ; i' 'i :
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I tiS 1 _

able owing to the provisional status of the Pathfinder organization which

nevertheless comprised a vitally integral part of the Troop Carrier combat


Before Pathfinder had been formally committed for VARSITY, Quarter-

master attempts to procure equipment necessary for operational field

conditions ended in failure. Rejection by Air Corps and Army Service

Forces of requisitions for Quartermaster, Ordnance, Signal, Medical and

Chemical Warfare items was based on (1) War Department directives which

stimulated that provisional units must be equipped from sources within the

Command in which they were organized and therefore were not authorized to

draw upon normal supply sources and (2) the Pathfinder organization at the

time was not committed in a combat operation and consequently could present

no grounds of military urgency and necessity.

Equipment Lists Drawn Up

As D-Day approached, Troop Carrier's next move on the checker board of

supply was to draw up equipment lists which were attached to a letter ad-

ressed to the Commanding General, Air Technical Service Command in Europe.

This communication was signed by IX Troop Carrier's Chief of Staff,

Colonel DUKE, who acknowledged War Department policy in regard to equip-

ping provisional units but called attention to the urgent tactical imnort-

ance of Pathfinder in the forthcoming operation.

Nevertheless, this bid was turned back by the Director of Supply, Air

Technical Service Command in Europe who refused to act before an operation-

al commitment was received from SHAEF. Troop Carrier then forwarded the

letter and accompanying lists to SHARF Air Staff and reeleved an indorse-

ment of approval which was resubmitted to Air Technical Service Command.

Through Necessary Channels

From that point, the letter continued to pass through necessary chan-

nels. Further indorsed to the Commanding General, Central Air Depot Area,

it produced appropriate arrangements for issue of Air Corps items of supply.

However, approval for distribution of Army Service Forces equipment

had to come from the Commanding General of the Communications Zone. There-

fore the letter was hand-processed to G-h, Communications Zone where it

was discovered that no authorization for issue existed without a commit--

00b a$$g~~i _50-

ment from G-3, Communications Zone. G-3, in turn, requested proper auth-

ority from G-3, SHAEF (FWD).

Letter Hand-Processed

Then Troop Carrier hand-processed the letter successively to G-4 and

G-3, FAAA, the latter recommending that the list be taken to G-3, SHAEF (FWD)

This action was accomplished and resulted in the transmittal of an

operational commitment to G-3,Communications Zone which instructed G-4 to

make the equipment available on the same nriority as the 13th and 17th

Airborne Divisions.

It was directed that Pathfinder return all critical supply equipment

to the proper agencies as soon as its operational commitment ended.

Aside from solving the uncommon legal peculiarities involving supply

for Pathfinder, Quartermaster fulfilled the normal requirements for estab-

lishing supply points and arranging necessary services for units moving

into new areas.

In addition, special combat clothing was provided for glider pilots

and necessary tentage and cots for additional combat crews assigned to

tactical organizations as well as adequate reserves of expendable items

pertinent to the operation. Cots and rations also were moved into the

glider pilot evacuation center at Helmond (B-86) which had been establish-

ed for the men returning from combat areas.

Section 3

In the wake of any airborne operation, resupply by air sometimes

becomes the only lifeline that can be held open to units of hard-pressed

parachutistsand glider infantry. Even if troops are in no difficult straits,

their offensive impetus often can be speeded in direct ratio to the quantity

of parapacks tumbling into their stream of supply.

With a view to the days that would follow VARSITY and to stand ready

for any exigency, IX Troop Carrier Command built up stockpiles in France

and England sufficient to tide over a single Airborne Division for a

period of four days. -These were ready for loading at a moment's notice

and were further supplemented by an additional two days supply prepacked

51 s7,X, i=' E i r
i Wine
_ .. _ airdromes
_ , _ on the continent at Chateaudun (A.-q).

Dreux (A-4l) and Bricy (A-50) for emergency call.

Part of the basic four-day reserve quantities stood waiting at the

same fields: 90 aircraft loads, totalling 112.5 tons at Chateaudui (A-39),

an equally heavy cargo at Bricy (A-50) and 80 aircraft loads, totalling

100 tons at Dreux (A-41).

The 53rd Wing held in readiness a 90-aircraft load of 112.5 tons at

each of two fields, Bretigny (A-48) and Melun (A-55).

Similar Cargoes in Britain

Similar cargoes waited to be lifted from the United Kingdom. Lo-

cated in the Eighth Air Force area at Neaton was one full day's supply of
, , ,
I , , , ' I~~~~~~~~~~~~

Steckpiles for Resupply

300 tons split into 120 aircraft loads, while each of the Troop Carrier

fields at Greenham Common, Earsbury and Welford marked time with 80-air-

craft loads of 100 tons.

The 490th and 334th Quartermaster Depot Companies were charged with

loading C-47 aircraft of IX Troop Carrier Command, while the former also

loaded the B-24's of the Eighth Air Force.

Bach C-47, with six bundles in the pararacks and four in the cargo

compartment, was set up to haul a peak load of 1.25 tons. With a double

u08ragb~rXef P M _
capacity of 2.50 tons, the B-24 could lug 20 bundless--l in the bomb bays,

four around the ball turret well and two at the rear camera hatch,

A Parapack is Rolled Together....

In the event Troop Carrier were to figure in British resupply missions,

it was established that the British would assume responsibility for supply-

ing all necessary equipment, such as containers, panniers, lashing gear,

roller conveyors and any other necessary items. In such cases, the British

organization concerned also would furnish transportation of equipment from

British sources to IX Troop Carrier airdromes.

Plan For B-24 Loading

When it was learned that B-24 bombers were going to be used for re-

suwnly, a plan for loading was worked out with the 2nd Bombardment Division

....And Finds a Lot of Company

.-y ~ &l B ~.;~ .; ......

of the Eighth Air Force. Two non-commissioned officers of the 490th went

to Eighth Air Force headquarters to demonstrate loading and dropping with

five samples of each type of bundle. Prior to the arrival of supplies at

departure airfields, bomber crews also were given short intensive courses

Parapack Comes off Stack (Below) to Be Fitted

with Hood Protector (Above) for Parachute....

in loading and ejecting bundles.

The movement of 271 tons of necked

sunrlies and 2,500 parachutes to the

Eighth Air Force area in East Anglia was

accomnlished on 19 and 20 March. This

tonnage was delivered to the Eighth Air

Force Air Depot at Neaton by 40 two-and-

a-half ton trucks furnished by IX Troop

Carrier Service Winp. Three officers and

45 enlisted men accompanied the shipment to surervise the attachment of

parachutes to bundles and the loading of the material into aircraft,

Attachment of parachutes to bundles stenned up tonnage from 271 to

300 for a total of 2,429 bundles dispersed at five adrdromes. At Hethel,

30 -nlnes were available for 610 bundles weighing 75 ton&; at Old Bucken-

ham, 120 planes for 505 bundles we'¥!hing 62.5 tons; at Shipdham, 30

planes for 610 bundles weighing 75 tons; at Wendling, 10 planes for 200

I*I IT iI!
. 'i* -,* (A
-i „
* -, j-^ !:j I I ' me ; i ^

Para-Bundles Adjusted on a C-46 Before Take-
off and (Below) How They Look in Flight....

I I 1; 14,"I

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.x! "I
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1-4 - I

bundles weighing 25 tons; and at Tibenham, 25 planes for 504 bundles

weighing 62,5 tons.

Successful in Yugoslavia

Previous successful dropping of supplies from bombers to patriots

in Yugoslavia and to underground forces in France prior to D-Day attracted

attention to the bomber as a resupply ship in late July, 1944. Obviously,

too, the heavy bombers appeared capable of dispatching increased quantities

of supplies in a more concentrated area with less aircraft.

Major Gray W. Tolar, IX Troop Carrier aerial resupply officer, par-

ticipated in tests conducted in August at Greenham Common, site of 53rd

Wing headquarters, where a B-17 and a B-24 were placed on detached

service with the 490th Quartermaster Depot Company.

With both ships tested at the same time in hauling various sized

loads, the B-17 was found to be impractical for the task in view of the

small number of bundles that could be released in less than 10 seconds.

But the B-24 passed with flying colors.

A comparison of the two types of bomber and the C-47 revealed that

20 bundles could be released from the B-24 in an average of six seconds

as against 10 seconds for the B-17 and eight seconds for the C-47, In

planned resupply, B-24's used in place of C-47's could drop the same

amount of supplies with half as many aircraft.

Technique Disseminated
The testing team worked out a general plan for loading the B-24.

Disseminated to all resupply units, this technique became increasingly

familiar as B-24'1 were used to haul freight from the resupply fields.

The definitive test came during the Holland operation in September

when 252 Liberators were assigned for resupply under tactical conditions.

All went smoothly as resupply personnel accompanied supplies to the

bomber fields, loaded the ships and flew on the missions to dispatch the


However, when preparation began for VARSITY, a shortage of resupply

personnel made necessary the training of Eighth Air Force men in loading

and dispatching. Exoerienced Troop Carrier members of resupply units

supervised loading of the B-24's and gave an intensive course in

IX sri^ ^ 56-
VA M-, - --- 1S :

dispatching technique to bomber crews.

Ten days prior to the operation, the training team demonstrated

instructions with sample bundles. It proved a less difficult problem in

B-241s than in C-471s. In the loading process, bundles were placed in

the dispatch position and lashed down. Thus crews had simply to be ed-

ucated to unlash the bundles and stand clear of the static lines when the

warning signal was given. Then, on the drop signal, they were to push

the bundles out the release exits.

Plan For C-46 Resupply

Although the C-46 has yet to be used for resupply, a plan has been

worked out for that eventuality. Unlike the C-47, the larger C-46 is

not equipped with pararacks, but six bundles can be loaded under the


Two web straps and a bomb shackle are used to secure each bundle,

with the end of the strap inserted in the hook of the shackle, then

carried around the end of the bundle and buckled to the fuselage. A

plastic or paper nose is attached to the forward end to cover the para-

chute and streamline the bundle. When the release is made, the shackle

and static line remain with the aircraft.

In the standard plan for loading a C-?47, six bundles are carried in

the pararacks and four in the cargo compartment to be ejected out the

Jump door. When a resupply mission calls for more than one pass over

the DZ, an additional four bundles are loaded inside the plane for each

additional pass.

Section 4

By 16 March, Troop Carrier planning for VARSITY had crystallized

into Field Order No. 5 which outlined the forthcoming operation in detail.

D-Day would fall on Saturday, 24 March, with paradrops slated to begin

at 1000 hours and the procession of Troop Carrier parachute and glider

serials to continue streaming over the target until well beyond noon.

On the ground, the Allied armies in the North were scheduled to

cross the Rhine in the vicinity of Wesel eight hours before the arrival
- 57 -

^-= . . .^ j~- icn' *r'-* .............................................

m** , . h',/;
UN' yA rmy. tlwas presumed therefore that friendly small units

might be in the vicinity of DZ's and LZ's as parachutists and gliders

swung to the assault.

Air Force cooperation was to be accomplished in various ways. Eighth

Air Force bombers were delegated the task of softening up the enemy days

in advance of the airborne operation by saturating his jet fighter airfields,

communication centers east of the battle area, flak positions near the

landing sectors and diversionary targets.

Fighters to Form a Screen

During the actual operation, Eighth Air Force fighters would maintain a

screen east of the landing area. And 15 minutes after all Airborne forces

were on the ground, s fleet of approximately 240 B-24 Liberators would drop

540 tons of supplies to the 6th British and 17th U.S. Airborne Divisions.

RAF Fighter Command had the responsibility of escorting Troop Carrier

columns originating in the United Kingdom to a point near the landing

area where Second Tactical Air Force would take over the job. RAF fighters

also were charged with air-sea rescue.

Ninth Air Force would provide fighter escort for Troop Carrier

columns starting from French bases until Second Tactical Air Force assum-

ed the burden in the vicinity of the target area. Ninth also was available

for photo reconnaissance, defense of DZ's and LZ's and bombing, if

requested by Second TAF.

Deception of Hostile Radar

Diversionary maneuvers to deceive hostile radar stations fell to RAF

Coastal Command which also was to cooperate with Allied naval units in

connection with air-sea rescue.

The main job of air protection went to Second TAP which was assigned

to cover Troop Carrier formations upon taking over from RAF and Ninth Air

Force fighters. Second TAF also would furnish day and night patrols

around the LZ and DZ sector.

On 2 March, a late analysis of German air defense issued by FAAA

concluded that the Nazi Air Force was not strong enough to offer effective

opposition to VARSITY; that jet aircraft, though technically superior,

were too few in number to materially affect the operation; that the
- 58 -

g NSth~b ~0A. i, j,.tt5

h, .=
German Air Force would have a better opportunity to interfere with VARSITY

if the operation were mounted at night.

Free of Poles and Mines

Latest estimate of the situation by the Troop Carrier A-2 section

prior to VARSITY described the LZ-DZ area as firm terrain highly suitable

for glider landings. Field and meadow patterns averaged 200 to 300 yards

in length, while areas devoted to combination farming extended to lengths

of 600 yards. Adding to the favorability of such terrain, no part of

the countryside was known to be poled or mined, although the Germans had

prepared fox holes, trenches and weapon positions.

In the Hamminkeln area, 55 feet was the maximum height of ouildings

and trees except for the church steeple at 150 feet and the town hall

tower at 135 feet. Rail sidings were 950 yards long and four tracks

wide, with a passenger station and a goods storage dump--probably stocked

with military stores-located alongside. The sidings were flanked on

both sides by roads lined with trees, but all obstructions were under 40

feet with the exception of a 110-foot pole.

The Wesel-Emmerich rail line was double-tracked and slightly embanked

with ditches on both sides ranging to 10 feet in width and five in depth,

Also slightly embanked was the single track Wesel-Bocholt line which was

generally free of trees in the immediate area.

Natural Anti-Tank Ditch

Forming a natural anti-tank ditch, the Issel Canal measured 60 feet

across the width of the bank. The main power line through the area was

strung on single pylons spaced 230 yards apart. These pylons, standing

90 to 100 feet high with three cross arms, were built out of steel girders.

Another power line, based on 60-foot single steel pylons, ran along the

bank of the Issel Canal northeast of Wesel, while a network of telephone

and small power lines ranging to 40 feet in height formed a grid of the


Another feature breaking the normal terrain level was an abandoned,

partially-constructed autobahn approximately 150 feet wide with con-

struction materials, 30 to 60 feet wide and up to 10 feet high, lining

both sides intermittently.- The-autobahn bed was embanked to an approx-

im^^ f. 1v ^. .,^ - 59
imate height of 20 feet at one road intersection.

A probable sand and gravel quarry with approximate dimensions of

400 by 100 yards and 30 feet deep was another landmark.

Farmhouses and buildings, never higher than 40 feet, often were

surrounded by orchards and by trees towering to 60 feet. The landscape

was marked by an occasional windmill of 60 to 80 feet in height. It was

noted that defense positions frequently were dug in the vicinity of farm

yards and buildings.

Roads Fringed by Trees

Usually level main roads were fringed by trees 30 to 70 feet high

and telephone or power lines 30 to 40 feet in height, while small drainage

ditches also were evident in the vicinity. Trees and poles occasionally

lined minor roads as well.

About 60 per cent of the various-shaped fields were separated by

wire fences not over five feet high and with few trees in the vicinity.

Hedgerows and stone fences were observed only around farm yards, and very

few drainage ditches sliced the terrain. Occasional stacks of grain and hay

were in the vicinity, while weanons pits and foxholes bordered some of

the fields. A few scattered bomb craters also were present.

Patches of woods, scattered throughout the area, rose 30 to 70 feet

but seldom above 60. Varying in density, a majority of these woods con-

tained networks of roads and ditches.

Most Northerly Landing Zone

Of the two landing zones selected for the 17th Airborne Division, LZ

"N" was the most northerly, lying about four miles northwest of Wesel

along the northeast side of a heavily wooded area. It was characterized

by a checkerboard arrangement of fields and meadows interspersed with

patches of woodland and farmsteads.

Located about three to four miles southeast LZ "'N' and about two

miles northeast of Wesel, the rectangular LZ '"S" stretched to within a mile

of the outskirts of a heavily wooded area running in a northwesterly dir-

ection. Also a checkerboard of fields, meadows and woodlands, this LZ was

more numerous in the latter but counted less major glider obstructions.

There were four landing zones for the 6th British Airborne Division,

the most northerly site, LZ One, running three miles just north of
;M5 ft ! i _60

Ramminkeln and following the same terrain pattern as the American zones.

LZ Two was situated immediately adjacent to Hamminkeln and ran on

a north-south axis for about two miles. Located along both sides of the

railroad line for a quarter of a mile and also adjacent to armminkeln,

LZ Three was characterized by more man-made landmarks than the others.

LZ Four ran a mile and a half along the northeast side of the double

track Emmerich-Wesel railway and numbered more than the usual amount of

farmsteads and rural roads.

Irregular in shape, at a mile and a quarter in length. and a half to

three quarters of a mile in width, British DZ One was located in the

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northwest extremity of the heavy woodland running northwest from Wesel.

About a mile and a half northwest of Hamminkeln, just east of the

northern fringe of the long woodland and a mile south of the autobahn,

was DZ Two.

American drop zones were "W" and "X", the former located approximately

two and a half miles northwest of Wesel and a mile due north of the Rhine.

The latter extended in a similar direction from Wesel and a mile and

three quarters south of Hamminkeln, with LZ "N" on the north, LZ "S" on

the southwest, the double track rail line to the west and the single

track to the east.

The possibility of strong enemy air interference was minimized by

the Troop Carrier A-2 analysis. Colonel ERNST'S section concluded that

the best airdromes available to the Germans would be rendered unservice-

able for 24 to 36 hours by Allied bombardment. Thus the Nazi Air Force

would be forced further east and thereby limited in effectiveness.

- 61 -

'1C j -, M
I' I' .: n ~ ~ ~ ll~t'^'t^N^
C 4: tackCa o roop Carrier airfields during marshalling

were considered within enemy capability.

Jet Fighter a Potent Threat

Another German threat was the jet fighter which could be expected to

knife through Troop Carrier formations in small numbers of three to five.

But on the whole, it was believed that Allied fighter escort would

effectively neutralize any interception efforts on the part of the enemy.

On the ground, the Germans would be faced with a choice of throwing

their main resistance against either the river-crossing forces of the

2nd British Army or the Airborne troops. In either case, the Airborne

men would be confronted by the threat of 10,000 to 12,000 enemy troops

within a 10-mile radius of the landings and 100,000 within a 30-mile


According to the A-2 estimate, if the enemy chose to direct his

main effort against the river-borne force, the airborne landing would

come as a tactical surprise and the greatest concentration of fire would

develop from west of the drop and landing zones.

On the other hand, if the Germans hurled most of their weight against

the skytroopers, the resistance probably would be launched from the east

side of the Issel Canal and could pin the Airborne Divisions under a


Early Contact With Enemy

Concentrated air attack prior to H-Hour was counted upon to greatly

neutralize or restrict enemy ground fire. It also was considered within

the realm of possibility that DZ "VW might be free of enemy resistance.

But the Airborne force would find itself in contact with the enemy within

30 minutes or less after landing.

Troop Carrier columns would have to reckon with a sizeable proportion

of flak evacuated from the west bank of the Rhine despite the enemy

retreat. This conclusion was based on the priorities given by the

Germans on M/T and petrol for flak units, and it was assumed that such

would be deployed in defense of communication centers and choke points.

However, Allied artillery preparation had the task of neutralizing

enemy flak positions within a two mile strip along the east bank of the
e- - R hine, And-low-flying fighter planes coud deal with any installations
X V .1 i X' . * I ' _ 62 -
*that; survived the barrage or new guns rushed up afterward.

The elimination of light or heavy anti-aircraft batteries between

the river and the target area was expected to come with the reduction of

Wesel as a strongpoint prior to the airborne assault. Still, with the

ground attack scheduled to begin six hours before Airborne troops were

ccmmittedl, the enemy would be alerted and could start concentrating mobile

and self-propelled flak units in the area for defense against any potential

airborne landings. Troop Carrier's fighter escort would have the assign-

ment of knocking out such installations.

Small Arms Fire Anticipated

Small arms and tracer fire could be anticipated as soon as Trdop

Carrier planes crossed the Rhine, with inteasity expected to be fairly

light between the river and the high ground back of the river plain.

The Diersfordter Forest was described as a possible source of heavy small

arms fire, depending on the effectiveness of the preceding air bombard.

ment and artillery barrage as well as the progress made by ground troops

u, to that point. Occupation of the enemy with other targets could be

expected to cut down on the amount of fire thrown up at Troop Carrier.

To reduce the possibility of railway. flak being rushed to the target

area, it was requested that aerial bombardment cut the railways leading

to drop and landing zones from Zmmerich, Bocholt, Dinslaken and Dorsten.

Recent intelligence information disclosed that the enemy was using

light flak that had no tracer. As a result, air crews were being informed

that a small black or white puff of smoke was sufficient indication of

destructive light flak coming their way.

Need For Glider Pilots

With Operation CHOKER II tentatively scheduled to take place only

four days after VARSITY, the principal responsibility facing the IX Troop

Carrier A-1 section under Colonel BIRTWISTLE was to insure the avail-

ability of an adequate number of glider pilots to meet both commitments.

In past operations, the tactical situation seldom permitted glider

pilots to return in the short span of four days, so the VARSITY GP's were

counted out completely in the advance preparation for CHOKE II.

Although the latter-qZAration was eventually cancelled, the decision

63, -

1 7 :1
had been made to convert into glider co-.pilots approximately 50 per cent

of the power pilots assigned to the Command from the Zone of Interior

between Novamber 1944 and January 1945o Many of these men were insuffic-

iently trained for glider action, but operational demands made their

employment in this capacity mandatory,

In addition, a mass transfer of 52ind Wing glider pilots who were not

committed for VARSITY would have shifted these personnel over to the 50th

and 53rd Wings, But with the cancellation of CHOKER II, these emergency

measures were automatically written off.

Glider Personnel Shifted

For VARSITY itself, glider pilot teams of two Groups in the 53rd

Wing were moved to the. remaining three Groups of the same Wing and a

smal number of glider mechanics from the 52nd Wing to the 53rd.

No special problems arose in connection with maintaining an adequate

reserve of power pilots, since the existing high attrition rate assured

an inflow of personnel in excess of available aircraft,

Although a numerical deficiency existed in qualified aircraft main-

tenance personnel, intensive preparation measures for VARSITY stepped up

efficiency to cope with the problem,

Under the established policy of awards and decorations for IX Troop

Carrier Goad, VASITY was to climax an overall period of flying that

would permit entertainment of recommendations for the Distinguished Ply-

ing Crosa for serial leaders and the Air Medal for all other crew members.

Outstanding individual cases not covered by this policy could be covered

under spaate recommendation

Section 5

The mission of IX Troop Carrier Command was threefold: To lift

parachute and glider troops and equipment of the 17th U.S. Airborne

Division; to support 38 and ;6 Groups (UAP) by carrying part of the para-

troops and equipment of the 6th British Airborne Divisions; and to resepply
? -.. . .tbh 17th by air,

~~~~. .
the initiati
United Kin
Under allocation of routes, aircraft initiai from the tnited King_:

dom would fly a designated course to the Command Departure Point, then would

hold to the left stream to the Initial Point and from there to the LZ-DZ


Planes taking off from France, with the exception of Pathfinder and

439th Groups, would continue, after assembly, to their respective Wing

departure points, then to the Command Departure Point where all glider

serials would join the center stream to the Initial Point and parachute

serials would fall into the right stream to the initial point.

To Assemble and Join

Pathfinder and the 439th would assemble, then proceed on a course

from the 50th Wing departure point to the 53rd Wing departure point, there

to join respective glider and parachute streams to the Command Departure

Point and the Initial Point.

The C-46 aircraft of the 313th Group would, after assembly, fly to

the 52nd Wing departure point, then to the Command Assembly Point where

they would affect a crossing of. columns to join the right stream to the

Initial Point.

Flying altitudes were pegged at 1,500 feet enroute to MARIFA (see

Annex No. 6), 1,000 feet from MARFAK to the Initial Point at YALTA, 600

feet above the DZ and LZ areas. On the return trip, Troop Carrier

columns would climb to 2,500 feet, with the C-46 serials rising still

higher to 4,000 feet.

Weather Decision on D-1

In connection with final weather information for the operation, it was

stipulated that any decision to postpone or cancel VARSITY would be announ-

ced by the Commanding General, IX Troop Carrier Command, by 1700 hours on D-l,

The responsibility of taking Serial A-1 into action went to the Path-

finder Group, the same veteran organization which had spearheaded every

Troop Carrier combat mission from Normandy onward.

The leading plane of this serial would carry one Pathfinder stick

to be dropped on DZ "W"O Then it would return to A-46 and report immed-

iately to General WILLIAMS,

fltif For its role in the operation, 50th Wing was assigned Serials A-14,

, -
U f^ A-20. The 50th also would be prepared to
fly 260 resupply sorties on D plus 1, if called upon to do so.

Among the Groups of the 50th, the 441st would be ready to stage a

48-glider serial from Chartres (A-.40) as well as its home station Dreux

(A4l), while the 4 4 2nd would equip and stand ready to utilize i2 gliders

for evacuation of wounded by glider pickup.

Refuelers on Diversionary Field

In the knowledge that the 439th Group might find it impossible to

return from VARSITY to its home station at Chateaudun (A-39) with the

quantity of gasoline it was able to carry, there was established a div-

ersionary airfield at Villeneuve/Vertus (A-63). A total of 13,640

gallons of gasoline was stored there in refuelers on D-l on the basis

that each of the 72 aircraft directed to Villeneuve/Vertus (A-63) would

require in the neighborhood of 200 gallons.

The 52nd Wing serials were listed as B-1, B-2, B-3, B-4, B-5, B-6,

A-5, A-6, A-21 and A-22. Leading aircraft of Serials B-1 and B-4 would

carry Pathfinder sticks of the 6th British Airborne Division, while the

leading plane of the 313th Group's Serial No. 5 would drop one Pathfinder

stick over DZ "X".

Groups Revert to 52nd Wing

Of the 52nd s three Groups staging in the United Kingdom, the 61st

would start from Chipping Ongar airfield but would return to B-92 upon

completion of the mission, while the 315th and 316th Groups would execute

their paradrops and return to England. Following the operation, the three

Groups would be relieved from operational duty with 38 Group (RAF) and

would revert back to the control of the Commanding General, 52nd Wing.

The 53rd Wing serials would include A-2, A-3, A-4, A-7, A-8, A-9,

A-10, A-11, A-12, A-.13. The Wing also would be prepared to fly 180

resupply sorties on D plus one, if necessary.

Loading, accompanying and dispatching air supplies on any resupply

missions called for D plus one or subsequent days would fall to the

officers and men of the 49Oth and 334th Quartermaster Depot Companies,

the 1st and 2nd Air Cargo Resupply Detachments and the 3rd Air Cargo

% e. l a" ir -

N _@_
To the IX Troop Carrier Combat Camera Unit (Prove) went the assign-
ment of photographing VARSITY in all its phases, including takeoff -form-

ations enroute to the target, paradrops and glider landings and the home-

ward flight.

Troop Carrier formations would fly in three columns spaced a mile and

a half apart and denoted specifically as Left Stream, Center Stream and

Right Stream.
Payload Ceilings Jixed

Payload ceilings were fixed at 5,850 pounds for C-47 parachute air-
craft, 10,500 pounds for C- 46's, 3,750 pounds for CG-4A gliders and no

weight lift of any type for planes tugging gliders. Six bundles would
comprise the supply and equipment loads carried on all parachute aircraft

except those equipped with SCR-717-C.

C-h7 and C-46 parachute planes had instructions to proceed to the

Initial Point at respective speeds of 140 and 165 miles an hour, then

cutting down to 120 on the approach to DZ' , slowing to 110 for the drops.

Swinging toward home, C-47's could step up their airspeed to 150 and
C-46's to 1gO.

Glider-towing planes would slide over LZ's at 110 an hour, then whip

up to 150 on the homeward stretch.

Head to Head Intervals

Head to head time intervals were fixed at four minutes for 41 to 45

aircraft parachute serials; three minutes for 36 to 40 aircraft in British

parachute serials; seven minutes for single glider tow; 10 minutes for 36

aircraft double glider tow; 12 minutes for 40 aircraft double glider tow.

There was to be a five-minute interval at the Initial Point between

the tail of the last parachute serial and the head of the first glider

RAF interval of flight for loose pair glider formations was estab-

lished at 10 seconds.
Parachute column formations were designated as nine-ship Via of TEEse,

in serials up to 45 planes, in trail, with four-minute intervals between

leading aircraft of serials, while a three-minute interval was set between

leading aircraft of 36 to 40 plane serials.

r5\ - ---1i 0:4; - 67 -

Glider columns would fly in pair of pairs echeloned to the right. In

the case of double tow, a pair of pairs would consist of two tug planes

and four gliders.

Prescribed methods for turning out of the target area dictated that

aircraft making drops over DZIs "A" and "B" would swing 180 degrees left

and climb to 2,500 feet, returning to home stations on a reciprocal route.

Aircraft over DZ's "WI and "X" would turn 180 degrees right and follow the

same pattern as that for DZIs "A" and "B".

180 Degree Turn to Right

Tug craft going to LZI' "N" and "S" would, after release, make a 180

degree turn to the right and proceed to the Rope Drop Area to release

ropes and pursue a reciprocal course homeward. However, it was directed

that no attempts would be made to save tow ropes if the tactical situation

produced undue dangers. The area was to be marked by the SON control

team with yellow smoke and white pannels. Ropes also would be collected

by the team.

Crews were instructed in Troop Carrier policy which did not permit

paratroops or gliders to be returned to friendly territory. In the event

that DZIs or LZ's were not located on the first pass, combat troops were

to be dropped or released as near as possible to the assault area.

Between the IP and the DZ-LZ area, a taboo was placed on evasive

action. A steady course would be pursued regardless of enemy action.

Serial leaders, flight leaders and individual pilots would be held respon-

sible for continuing to the target area despite any mishap that might

detach them from the main formations while enroute.

Emergency Landing Fields

Designated as emergency landing fields were Eindhoven (B-78), Helmond

(B-86) and Villeneuve/Vertus (A-63).

Any pilot returning with wounded aboard would signal that fact to

the control tower in accordance with established procedure.

Glider pilots were to follow the policy outlined in Memorandum 50-21A,

Hq, IX Troop Carrier Command, subject: "SOP for the Tactical Employment

of Glider Pilots", dated 11 March 1945.

r a:'
: : This- SOP directed glider pilots to assist Airborne troops in unloading

yiVljy i L-V 0ji'p -

their gliders, then to assemble with the troops. Upon release by the air-

borne commander, the pilots would reassemble in their respective squad-

rons in the Wing assembly area. Each pilot was individually responsible

for reporting to his Group assembly area.

Once the GP s were rounded up, the Wing glider officers would report

to G-3, 17th Airborne Division at the Division command post and submit a

strength report. Prior to the operation, the Wing glider officer would

appoint a deputy eand make his appointment known to all group and squadron

glider officers.

Glider Evacuation Methods

During VARSITY, the 314th Group glider officer would be under the

50th Wing for evacuation, while the 439th Group glider pilots would be

evacuated under the 53rd Wing,

As rapidly as the tactical situation permitted, glider pilots would

be evacuated from the bridgehead by vehicles furnished by the 2nd British

Army, They would be moved to Helmond, Holland (B-86) where a Troop Carrier

control team would be located to coordinate an air lift to home stations,

A full week before VARSITY was scheduled to take place, the commanding

officer of the Troop Carrier control team at SON (B-56) had received

instructions to move his organization to Helmond (B-86) by 22 March.

At Helmond the control team would be responsible for coordinating

the evacuation of glider pilots from the combat sector, recovering tow

ropes and preparing to move into the DZ area as soon as it could be

neutralized for glider reclamation.

Cleared Through Helmond

Glider pilots arriving at Helmond (3B-6) by motor convoy after the

operation would. be returned to their respective Wings in planes requested

by the control team. If evacuation were delayed by weather, the control

team could supply the glider pilots with "C" rations and emergency heating

units furnished by Quartermaster for that purpose.

A detachment of one officer and four enlisted men also would be

assigned by the team to arrive at the rope drop area with a jeep and one-

quarter ton trailer not later than 1800 hours on 23 March.

7 t1This detachment would post_ ta guard around the area from 0900 to 1330
! .:D , ::' ' ;' 6
hours on 24 March to deny entry to any personnel. All ropes would be

retrieved as soon as they had been dropped by tug ships returning from

the mission.

To cover the tactical employment of glider pilots, a revision was

made of paragraph 6, Memorandum 50-21, Headquarters, IX Troop Carrier

Command, dated 2 May 1944. Published as Memorandum 50-21A, dated 11 March

1945, it outlined the essential features of the plan to be followed by

glider pilots after landing.

Assist in Unloading

Immediately they would assist in unloading the supplies and equipment

in their gliders. They would then proceed with the troors to the assembly

area of the airborne unit with whom they flew. At that point, they would

senarate and assemble into their own unit organizations.

Under the control of the Airborne Division commander during the

periods spent in the combat area, glider pilots could be called upon for

defense of command posts, control of traffic, policing and maintenance

of order in captured towns, guarding of prisoners of war, preparation and

maintenance of landing zones, collection of supplies and the establishment,

operation and protection of supply depots.

Wherever the tactical situation permitted, Wing Glider Officers

would provide a glider pilot guard to protect the motorless craft from

damage by civilians or military personnel.

It was established that glider pilots would be committed to action

only in extreme emergency and, in that type of situation, only in a

defensive role,

Conference on Tactics

On 17 March a meeting was held at the 17th Airborne Division command

post between airborne unit commanders and Group glider commanders of

Troop Carrier. Major Howard H. Cloud, Jr., Command Glider Officer, headed

the Troop Carrier representatives. Plans for tactical employment and

evacuation of glider pilots were ironed out in final form.

To prove the feasibility of evacuating wounded personnel by glider

pickup, a demonstration was staged on 18 March at Villeneuve/Vertus (A-63)

for the XVIII Corps (Abn) Surgeon and members of his staff. Two pickups

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were accomplished with each glider carrying 12 stretcher cases, tour

walking patients, a medical technican, pilot and co-pilot,

More realistic substantiation of the method came on 22 March when

two CG-4A gliders were flown into the Remagen bridgehead on the east bank
of the Rhine with 4,000 pounds of medical supplies and evacuated by pickup
25 wounded soldiers of the U.S. First Army.
Briefing of Commanders

The VARSITY plan called for briefing of Wing commanders on D-3, Group

and Squadron commanders and essential Squadron staff members on D-2 and
combat crews on D-1.

It was established that "A" time (GMT plus one hour) would be the

basis for all time signals and would be synchronized for the operation on

time checks issued by the British Broadcasting Company.

The Control Team which would be located at Helmond (B-86) for coord-

inating the air evacuation of glider pilots also would furnish, as far as

practicable, food, lodging and medical aid. In addition, it would send out

a detachment to mark the glider Rope Drop Area. Direct contact would be

maintained with A-3, IX Troop Carrier Command (FWD).

Pathfinder teams of the 17th Airborne Division would be carried in

each of the Serials A-1 and A-5 to DZ's "WN and "X' respectively. There

the teams would lay out aids in accordance with signal communication
Possibility For Pathfinder Techniques

Employment of Pathfinder techniques by the British elements depended on

the decision of the Commanding General, 6th Airborne Division and the
Commanding General,52nd Wing. But one aircraft in each of the leading

serials to DZ's "A" and "B" would be made available to carry those teams,

if the decision were in the affirmative.

With the overall air operation under the control of General WILLIAMS,

operational control would center in the Combined Troop Carrier-Airborne

Operations Rooms at Headquarters, First Allied Airborne Army, direct to

Troop Carrier Wings and 38 Group (RAF). The Air Officer Commanding, 38

Group (RAF) would control the operation from the United Kingdom and would
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ould be inspected immediately

by unit Engineers, with Groups required to report by 1800 hours daily to

Wing Engineer officers by telephone. The Wing and Pathfinder Group, in

turn, would repoort the status of each Group to Headquarters, IX Troop

Carrier Command in terms of aircraft on hand; aircraft operational,

slightly damaged planes to fall into this category; aircraft operational

in 24 hours; aircraft operational in 48 hours; aircraft operational in

more than 48 hours; and aircraft missing.

Aircraft repairs would be accomplished by each tactical Group with

the aid of the Air Service Squadron. Service Wing headquarters would

undertake disposition of fourth echelon jobs.