German Gliders in World War II (Schiffer Military History 48) - Repost
By Heinz J. Nowarra
Publisher: Schiffer Publishing Ltd 1991 52 Pages
PDF 12 MB
At 4:30 A.M. on May 10, 1940, three Ju 52's took off from the Cologne airfields of Ostheim and Butzweilerhof, towing behind them three other aircraft that lacked motors. The first front service of a new weapon, the freight glider, had begun. In all, 41 freight gliders were launched for this mission. In each of them sat 14 paratroopers. The first group, whose training had taken place secretly under the code word "Granite", were under the command of Oberleutnant Witzig. He commanded 85 men, who were armed with handguns and 500-kilogram explosives, mostly hollow and stick grenades. This first group utilized seven DFS 230 freight gliders. It was their task to take the Belgian Fort Eben Emael near Maastrich and hold it until the first army units, a group of Engineer Battalion No. 51, arrived. Thus the crossing of the Albert Canal was to be secured. The second group, "Beton" (Concrete), under Leutnant Schacht, consisted of eleven DFS 230 freight gliders and 96 men. The third group, "Stahl" (Steel), with nine DFS 230 and 92 men under Oberleutnant Altmann, was augmented by the fourth group, "Eisen" (Iron), under Leutnant Schachter, with ten DFS 230 and 90 men. The most successful group was that of Oberleutnant Witzig, though it landed directly on the fort without its leader. The Oberleutnant's glider had to release prematurely and landed near Diiren. Witzig was able, though, to obtain a new Ju 52 and fly on behind his group. He landed in the midst of Belgian artillery fire, for the battle was in full swing. It was already 8:30 A.M.