Joe Crilley

Pegasus Bridge

After a long day of visiting Normandy we spend the night in a coastal town of Arromanches, Gold Beach, and prepare to visit the site of the most famous glider landing of World War II-the taking of Pegasus Bridge. Just after midnight on June 6, 1944, three English Horsa gliders containing men from Company D of the Ox and Bucks Light Infantry, Sixth Airborne Division, crashed landed near this vital German held target. The plywood made Horsa's are heavier than their American counterpart the CG-4A Waco with the ability to carry up to 29 soldiers and thus their landing speed was around 100 miles per hour. Led by Major John Howard, the lead Horsa ended up only 50 yards from the bridge with the other two closely behind. Using thunderclap speed the British glidermen take the bridge in only 15 minutes, in what Air Chief Marshall Leigh-Mallory called the greatest flying feat during World War II. This landing was shown in the movie "The Longest Day" and gives a good view of the Silent Wing Warriors and Airborne tactics with the neccesity of landing on your objective. In Operation Market-Garden three months later, Monty didn't land on his objective. Instead he landed his main force eight miles from the Arnhem Bridge. This caused the First Airborne to leave 1/3 of their forces just to guard their drop zones, another 1/3 to maintain a chain of supply to the other 1/3 the ones attacking the bridge. Spread out like this and landing amongst two SS Divisions the British Airborne suffered heavy losses, only 2,500 returned of the 10,000 sent over the Rhine. Pictured below is the view from the bridge and the direction the English gliders were coming from after their 180 degree turn.
Pegasus Bridge II

Previous / Next

Website design / JustHuck Productions