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Mark Felton – Flying a glider across the Atlantic during World War II

An evening pause: In anticipation of the anniversary Monday of Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor, this story of one of World War II’s many desperate and sometimes crazy ideas, many of which actually made sense. All took amazing courage, as this story illustrates.

Hat tip Tom Biggar.

Pioneer cover

From the press release: From the moment he is handed a possibility of making the first alien contact, Saunders Maxwell decides he will do it, even if doing so takes him through hell and back.

Unfortunately, that is exactly where that journey takes him.

The vision that Zimmerman paints of vibrant human colonies on the Moon, Mars, the asteroids, and beyond, indomitably fighting the harsh lifeless environment of space to build new societies, captures perfectly the emerging space race we see today.

He also captures in Pioneer the heart of the human spirit, willing to push forward no matter the odds, no matter the cost. It is that spirit that will make the exploration of the heavens possible, forever, into the never-ending future.

Available everywhere for $3.99 (before discount) at amazon, Barnes & Noble, all ebook vendors, or direct from the ebook publisher, ebookit. And if you buy it from ebookit you don't support the big tech companies and I get a bigger cut much sooner.


  • wayne

    Good find!

    Chesty Puller “We Will Meet Our Enemy And Kill Them All”
    “The Pacific”

  • Col Beausabre

    1) 3) The Waco CG-4A was the primary US glider of WW2.

    2) US Glidermen were NOT volunteers and didn’t get hazardous duty pay like paratroopers. But riding a glider was more likely to get you killed than jumping.

    MG Joe Swing, CG of the 11th Airborne Division, remedied this by setting up a division level jump school, putting all his non-jump qualified personnel through it and putting them all on jump status so they qualified for the pay jincrease. He also made all his paratroopers participate as glider personnel in a certain number of training exercises. The Head shed back in DC agreed with his logic that having all his troops both parachute and glider qualified gave him flexibility that might be needed in combat

    3) Glider pilots belonged to the USAAF, not Army Ground Forces, and had no established role after landing their machine. Thus is in contrast to the British. Their pilots were assigned to the Glider Pilot Regiment, trained and armed as infantrymen and were expected to fight as such until the ground forces linked up with the airborne

  • LocalFluff

    Men were much braver back then. I follow the YT-channel Drachinifel (perhaps a Gaelic name?) He, the metallurgic engineer who has gotten deep into naval warfare history, described a US Navy artillery exercise after ww2. They wanted to train shooting at a maneuvering ship, an outdated capital ship. They could control the rudder by radio so that no one had to be on the bridge. But some crew had to take care of the machine rooms below deck. So they bombarded it with up to 16 inch guns with that crew onboard.

    Having unloaded all ammunition and most fuel, it was considered safe enough.

  • David M. Cook

    Wow, that‘s rude! I hope that ”outdated“ ship had lots of topside armor, unlike the ill-fated HMS Hood. A 16-inch shell could go right through a cruiser!

  • LocalFluff

    Nah, without ammunition in the magazines that can explode, it was like sitting in a locked safe (at sea, though…)
    “- You, you, you, you, you and you are voluntaries. Forward!”

    I’m not sure they used 16 inch guns, that’s the biggest caliber ever used at sea, and the latest of the US Navy during ww2.

  • Ray Van Dune

    IJN Battleships Yamato and Musashi mounted 18-inch guns, and used them at sea during WWII.

  • Mike Borgelt

    Thanks for that.
    Brings back memories of the longest glider ferry I ever did. Late 1984 Adelaide to Melbourne to take the prototype ES 65 Platypus to an airshow at Essendon. Owner of the company was the other pilot. Several stages for fuel for the Piper Pawnee towplane. Around 5 or 6 hours flying IIRC.
    Hitched a ride home in a new Piper Malibu, which was fun.
    Military gliders the way they eventually were used was a bad idea. The early German successes were for stealthy insertion of a limited number of SF troops to a point target which at the time was about the only way to do it. The concept got expanded beyond its reasonable capabilities. The Germans eventually put 6 engines on the Messerschmitt 321 transport glider to make the 323 transport which was a better idea. The USAF put engines on the XCG-20 glider to make the successful C-123 transport.

  • pzatchok

    Our grandparents did this and our grandkids can’t ride a bicycle without full body armor.

  • F16 Guy

    Such hero’s still exist today, performing daily acts of courage, many in the military.
    We don’t hear about them because the media has decided we don’t need to hear about them.

  • Col Beausabre

    “The USAF put engines on the XCG-20 glider to make the successful C-123 transport.”

    Back in ’73 I spent my summer at Ft Riley KS at ROTC Advanced Camp, then in Germany with the 11th Armored Cavalry Regiment as a “Third Lieutenant” in Cadet Troop Leadership Training. On my way home, I was offered a chartered jet tomorrow morning or a C-123 flown by reservists right now. Plus, it was going to McGuire AFB – and I’m from Jersey. We flew the WW2 Southern Route – Germany (England back then), Portugal, Azores, Brazil, Canal Zone, Florida, McGuire. Subsisting the entire trip on multiple MAC Flight Lunches. ( 1 ham and 1 turkey sandwich, chips, a soda or, pint of milk, slice of pie or cake, apple, orange, and a candy bar) . No, you can’t get off the aircraft to stretch your legs. . I remember the flight engineer telling us as we arrived at McGuire, that the it had taken us just slightly longer than Lindberg in ’27 ! Anyway, I got to check off another aircraft type on my list and got home safely. Good plane – arguably the world’s first assault transport


    The Me323 was a death trap –

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