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Exactly Numbers of Aircraft Used in Operation Market Garden?

Discussion in 'Western Europe 1943 - 1945' started by Richard.Z, Jan 26, 2013.

  1. Richard.Z

    Richard.Z Member

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    Hi guys.

    I'm conducting a research about Operation Market Garden, September 17th 1944.

    I read some lines described in this operation they have two times more Airborne troops and equipment need to delivered comparing with Operation Overlord. But less planes than allied used in Operation Overlord. That confusing me when I'm writing my transport part.

    My question is: Exactly how many aircraft been put in use during Operation Market Garden in order to deliver Airborne divisions? And how these figures looks like compared with Air delivery in Operation Overlord. I'm also interested to hear some opinions about how this "lack of transports" cause the failure of Operation Market Garden.

    Thanks;)
     
  2. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    It's a topic of interest to me also, I've compiled some figures from A Bridge Too Far and other sources.

    On Day 1 there were 1,545 transport aircraft and glider tugs.
    1,049 C-47s dropped paratroops:
    145 - 1 Airbourne Brigade, 1 Airbourne Division personnel including men of the airborne reconnaissance squadron
    480 - 82nd Airborne Division including all 3 Parachute Infantry Regiments (117 planes each) and a parachute artillery battalion (48)
    424 - 101 Airborned Division including all 3 PIRs.

    There were 478 gliders, some towed by C-47s, many of the British gliders were towed by converted Stirling or Albemarle bombers:
    320 - 1 Air Landing Brigade (one battalion, 2 South Staffordshire, was only able to land 2 companies and bn headquarters on the first day), vehicles, guns, and equipment for the division and 1 A/B Bde, vehicles (mainly jeeps) for the a/b recon squadron.
    32 - vehicles and equipment for 82nd Airborne and the PIRs (4 gliders each with jeeps and equipment).
    38 - I Airborne Corps Headquarters, landed in 82nd sector. Many people including myself think this was unnecessary, since corps HQ had little to do while each division was operating on its own. The gliders could have been used to bring in more combat troops like the remainder of 2 South Staffs.
    50 - 101st Airborne vehicles and equipment including PIRs (4 each) and most of a parachute artillery battalion (the 101st had parachuted artillery at night for D-Day in Normandy but the troops, guns, and vehicles were widely scattered, so they chose to land them by glider for M-G. As it turned out the daylight artillery drop for the 82nd went smoothly).

    12 Stirlings and 6 C-47s dropped pathfinders.

    For Day 2 ABTF give 1,336 C-47s and 340 bombers of which 1,205 were towing gliders. Unfortunately I have mislaid some of my information, but this included 126 planes dropping 4 Airbourne Brigade in the British sector and an unspecified number, probably 12-20, dropping one parachute artillery battery to fill out the battalion in the 101st. A further 252 B-24s dropped cargo canisters.

    It had been intended to land all remaining elelments by the third day, but as you probably know the weather caused operations to be spread out over several days. The only remaining parachute unit was the Polish brigade, which used 114 C-47s plus 46 gliders for vehicles and equipment.

    Landing the airborne forces took approximately 1,300 planeloads of paratroops and air-dropped artillery and 2,500 gliders; I don't have figures for supply drops.

    It's sometimes speculated that M-G would have benefitted from making two flights on the first day. This would probably not be possible for gliders, but it might be for paratroops. British and American paratroops, including 4 A/B Brigade, used a total of 1,175 planes. These could have been delivered by say 644 planes of which 531 would have to fly a second mission to the same drop zones as the first. This would free up about 405 planes to tow additional gliders, mainly for American glider troops. This in turn would allow some 500 plane/glider loads to come in on Day 2 which historically were delayed until Day 3 or later.
     
  3. urqh

    urqh Tea drinking surrender monkey

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    It may have been a better use to assign Brownings HQ delivery to Urquhart instead... where it was more needed on the day of delivery.
     
  4. Martin Bull

    Martin Bull Acting Wg. Cdr

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    A good source for info in this area are the books by Arie-Jan van Hees, 'Green On' and 'Tugs And Gliders To Arnhem'. The first title examines British glider towing operations and the other deals with re-supply sorties . These books contain a mass of data and accounts.
     
  5. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    Numbers dispatched, including aborts and destroyed.

    D-Day:
    US IX Transport Command: 821 planes carrying paratroopers and 104 towing gliders. Another 209 gliders were towed in at the end of the day.
    RAF 35 & 48 Groups: 216 planes carrying paratroopers and 298 towing gliders.

    Market-Garden Day 1:
    US IX TC: 1049 carrying paratroopers and 129 gliders and 129 tow planes
    RAF 35 & 48 Groups: 17 pathfinder transports and 328 gliders and 328 tow planes

    Varisty:
    US IX TC: 542 carrying paratroopers and 614 planes towing 908 gliders
    RAF 35 & 48: 440 gliders and tow planes

    Source: USAF HISTORICAL STUDY #97, AIRBORNE OPERATIONS IN WORLD WAR II, EUROPEAN THEATER (and all over the internet for British D-Day numbers)
     
  6. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    By the way, Wikipedia seems to have one of the most amazing pieces of mis-information I have seen there in a long time:
    "The 6th Airborne Division consisted of 7,220 personnel transported by 42 Douglas C-54 and 752 C-47 Dakota transport aircraft, as well as 420 Airspeed Horsa and General Aircraft Hamilcar gliders.":eek:

    I cannot believe that that any C-54 were used for airborne operations in Europe. The use of the C-46 Commando for the US 17th Airborne was a first in Europe. The source seem to be a widely quoted 1990 book by a British Lieutenant-Colonel T. B. H Otway, The Second World War 1939-1945 Army - Airborne Forces. Imperial War Museum.

    Is there any truth to this? I cannot find any evidence that does not reference Otway as the source.
     
  7. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    I agree. Most likely the addtional 38 glider tows would have been used to bring in the remainder of 2 South Staffordshire glider battalion, which needed approximately 34 for its C, D, and support companies. As it was they were only able to land A and B and a command group on Day 1. Since the Air Landing Brigade was initially tasked to hold the landing zones, this probably would not immediately affect the outcome at Arnhem Bridge.
     
  8. canambridge

    canambridge Member

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    Operation Dragoon, 15 August 1944 (Invasion of Southern France)
    447 Troop transports + 403 gliders and tugs
    Landed the approximately 9,000 troops of the 1st Airborne Task Force
     
  9. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    If you are interested in what the allies thought at the time, here is a link to the USAF study on the different airborne operations in NW Europe written in 1956. Airborne operations in World War II. :: World War II Operational Documents Appendix 1&2 are statistical summaries of the Nepture and Market Garden Operations. They are not perfect as Appzx one is for just the US divisions.

    The argument about numbers of sorties per day in Market Garden is relevant because the TC Command insisted on a maximum of one sortie per day.
     
  10. John S

    John S Member

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    Actually, indirectly it would have. Another victim of not having enough gliders was that the boats of the Field Park Company, Royal Engineers were left behind in the UK. If they had boats then B Company would have crossed the river and taken the south end of the bridge.
     
  11. John S

    John S Member

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    Hey Martin,

    I can't agree or disagree with this because both of those books aren't in my collection. Why? Because they are too damn expensive and very hard to get. I just looked and saw that Green On is over a hundred dollars. That is a lot for 16 pages. Better to get The RAF at Arnhem by Luuk Buist, the man when it comes to anything to do with the glider regiment.

     

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