JUST ORDINARY MEN. HQ Troop, 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Squadron, 1st British Airborne Division (WW2) - HQ Trp. 1st Airborne Reconnaissance Sqn
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Gliders and Aircraft

Gliders and Aircraft

Gliders and Aircraft Used by the British Airborne

Wingspan: 26.8 m
Length: 20.4 m
Height: 5.94 m

Empty weight: 3,797 kg,
imum weight: 7,031 kg, 

Towing speed: 290 km/h
Maximum towing speed: 241 km/h ,
Landingspeed: 161 km/h

Crew: 2

Passengers: 25 troops

Although designed by the Airspeed Company (part of the Havilland Aircraft Company), the Horsa was largely built by woodworking subcontractors and assembled at R.A.F. maintenance units. With a crew of two pilots, the aircraft could carry up to 25 fully equipped troops or light vehicles and artillery. The Horsa was also used by both British and Americans forces on D-Day - 6 June 1944 and the final crossing of the Rhine, in addition to smaller specialist missions.

Wingspan: 33.5 m
Length: 20.7 m
Height: 6.17 m
Empty weight: 8,845 kg
Maximum weight: 16,330kg
Normal towing speed: 241 km/h

Crew: 2

Passengers : 42 Troops, 1 Tetrach Tank, 1 Locust Tank, 2 Bren Carriers, 2 Scout Cars or a SP Bofors

The Hamilcar was designed by General Aircraft Ltd, a company that mainly built experimental aircrafts. During the war the company designed three different types of aircrafts, of which the Hamilcar was one. With its large cargo compartment the Hamilcar glider could provide airborne troops with 'heavy' equipment. The Hamilcar was towed by a Handley Page Halifax and was first put into action during the invasion of Normandy, 6 June 1944.

Year: 1940
Power plant: 4x 1,635 hp Bristol
Hercules XVI air cooled radial engines
Wingspan: 30.22 m
Length: 27.63 m
Empty weight: 21,750 kg
Maximum weight: 31,751 kg

Maximum speed: 451 km/h
Ceiling: 5,490 m
Range: 4,828 km
Crew: 5
Armament: 4x .303 Browning machine guns
in tail turret, 8,500 kg of bombs

Roll : Glider Tug, Paratroop Transport, Re-supply Aircraft

When the Stirling joined the R.A.F. in August 1940, it was the service's first monoplane heavy bomber. It was built in response to a 1936 specification, which limited the maximum wingspan to fit in the then standard R.A.F. hangars. The consequence was that the Stirling could not operate higher than 17,000 feet.

By 1943, with Lancasters and Halifaxes flying at well over 20,000 feet, the Stirling was much more vulnerable to both defending fighters and anti-aircraft guns. Gradually withdrawn from Bomber Command, the aircraft was widely used for mine laying, electronic countermeasures jamming enemy radar, and as a glider tug.

Year: 1940
Power plant: 4x 1,075 hp Rolls Royce
Merlin X engines
Wingspan: 31.70 m
Length: 21.80 m
Maximum weight: 29,484 kg
Maximum speed: 502 km/h at 6,706 m
Ceiling: 7,315 m
Range: 4,828 km
Crew: 7
Armament: 5x .303 machine guns;
up to 5,897 kg bombs

Overshadowed by the Lancaster, which equipped twice as many squadrons within the Bomber Command, the Halifax was, in fact, a more versatile machine. The first operational use was in March 1941, a year earlier than the Lancaster. The flexibility of the Halifax led to its use by Coastal Command on maritime reconnaissance and by Transport Command for paratroops and glider towing, as in Market Garden.

Year: 1940
Power plant: 2x 1,590 hp Bristol Hercules
XI radial piston engines
Wingspan: 23.49 m
Length: 18.27 m
Maximum weight: 10,251 kg
Maximum speed: 426 km/h at 3,202 m
Ceiling: 5,490m
Range: 2,092 km
Crew: 4
Armament: 2x .303 Vickers K gun

The Armstrong, Whitworth Albemarle was originally designed as a bomber and reconnaissance plane. Anticipating a shortage of light construction material the aircraft was mainly made out of wood and steel. In the early stage of production adjustments were made in order to make the aircraft suitable for specials transports, glider-tug and the transportation of paratroopers. The Albemarle was used in airborne operations during the invasion of Sicily, the invasion of Normandy and Market Garden.

Year: 1940
Power plant: 2x 1,145 hp Rolls-Royce
Merlin X engines
Wingspan: 25.60 m
Length: 21.0 5m
Weight: 8,768 kg
Maximum speed: 357km/h
Range: 2,650 km
Crew: 4
Armament: 1x .303 Vickers K gun,4x .303 Browning guns. Up to 3,175 kg of bombs

The Armstrong, Whitworth Whitley was one of the first heavy night bombers of the RAF and entered service in 1937. During 1942 the Whitley was replaced as a bomber by the Stirling and the Halifax and during the rest of the war it was used for training pilots, glider-tug and transporting paratroopers.


Recruiting OfficeAttached Units Photo TV Event InfoAirborne HistoryOperations 1941-1945Armoury & Transport