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The Waco CG4-A Combat Glider, "Silent Wings of Freedom"

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Pilot And Co-Pilot Of The 9Th Troop Carrier Command Discuss Mission Before Glider, 'Old Canvas Sides' Is Towed From A Field Somewhere In France. 3 February 1945.
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TROOP CARRYING GLIDERS TOWED BY CARGO SHIPS ROAR OFF OVER THE FRENCH COAST DURING INVASION DAY.
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Invasion drawing by Capt. Creekmore.
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FRANCE-Maj. Gleen E. Mann of Scotts Bluff, Nebraska, a member of the 9th Air force Troop Carrier Command, is greeted by Major Nagel (right) of the 9th Engineer Command as he landed on a captured German airfield which the American
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A glider of the 9th Air force Troop Carrier Command is shown where it cracked up on landing somewhere in France.
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Pictured in the vast patchwork of fields in northern France gliders of the 9th AF Troop Carrier Command are shown after they had transported members of the airborne infantry to begin the initial assault for the liberation of Europe.
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In a flower covered field in France a CG-4 Glider stood ready for the first snap take-off since D-Day on foreign territory. The take-off was successful under the supervision of Col. Glynne M. Jones, of 9th Troop Carrier Command.
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Pictured on ground where they came to rest near a road in Normandy, these gliders of the Ninth Troop Carrier Command were the first to land the Airborne Infantry D-Day on the French soil.
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On "D-Day" Douglas C-47 Troop carrying planes of the 9th AF, towing gliders loaded with airborne infantry are on the way to the French coast to participate in the initial assault behind enemy lines, while down below naval units make their way toward
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Cross section of the massive glider landing operations at a French objective of the U.S. Army 9th AF. Gliders and tow planes can be seen circling, and, at left, gliders which have already landed are seen close together. Note smashed gliders there and
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These are gliders and parachutes left on a Normandy field on D-Day by Allied airborne troops who had been dropped behind the enemy lines to strike when and where it would hurt the most. This photograph was taken by a Marauder of the U.S. Army
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Gliders, British "Horsa" and American CG-4 of the 9th Air Force have landed American Paratroops on French soil. Pictured here is the patch work of Cherbourg Peninsula as it appeared from a 9th Air Force Reconnaissance plane some hours after opening
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Men Of The 439Th Troop Carrier Group Arrange Tow Lines To Prevent Snags In Preparation For The Tow Planes And Gliders Which Later Took Part In What Was The Greatest Airborne Operation In The History Of The War, The Dropping Of Paratroops And Gliders Loade
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Photo Taken On 6 June 1944 Showing Allied Gliders In A Field Near The Invasion Coast Of France.
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Gliders Participating In The Invasion Of France.
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Gliders Hit The Dirt In Southern France Before The Assault Landings Took Place. Maaf'S Lockheed P-38 Photo Plane Caught Some Of The Directly After They Landed.
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General View Of Anti-Glider Posts Placed By Germans Along The Southern Coast Of France. (Pertuis Area, France.) 21 August 1944.
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Gliders In A Double Line On The Runway At The 93Rd Troop Carrier Squadron, 439Th Troop Carrier Group Base Somewhere In France, 26 March 1945.
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Gliders Landed In Vast Patchwork Of Farms And Fields During The Invasion Of Southern France On D-Day, 15 August 1944.
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Douglas C-47S Towing Cg-4 Gliders Pass Over A 9Th Troop Carrier Command Base Somewhere In France. 12 March 1945.
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During A Mission By The 93Rd Troop Carrier Squadron, 439Th Troop Carrier Group From An Air Base Somewhere In France, Douglas C-47S Tow Two Cg-4 Gliders Each. 27 March 1945.
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Gliders Participating In The Invasion Of France.
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Gliders Participating In The Invasion Of France.
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Douglas C-47S Towing Cg-4 Gliders On A Routine Mission Somewhere Over France. 12 March 1945.
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Douglas C-47S Towing Cg-4 Gliders On A Routine Mission Somewhere Over France. 12 March 1945.
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Douglas C-47S Towing Cg-4 Gliders On A Routine Mission Somewhere Over France. 12 March 1945.
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Douglas C-47S Towing Cg-4 Gliders On A Routine Mission Somewhere Over France. 12 March 1945.
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Douglas C-47S Lined Up Along The Runway With Gliders Attached Ready For Take-Off From The 93Rd Troop Carrier Squadron, 439Th Troop Carrier Group Base Somewhere In France, 26 March 1945.
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Douglas C-47S Are Shown Towing Cg-4 Gliders Of The 9Th Troop Carrier Command During A Routine Flight Somewhere In France. 12 March 1945.

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A breif overview of the history of the Waco-CG4-A

The CG-4A glider, (C-for cargo, G-for glider) was the mainstay of the U.S. Army Air Forces glider arsenal. It was designed by the Waco Aircraft Company of Troy, Ohio whose personnel followed specifications given to them by the U.S. Army Air Corps. Francis Arcier, a Waco vice-president and chief designer, is usually referred to as the "father" of the CG-4A. A total of 13,909 CG-4A gliders were constructed during the period 1942-1945. The Ford Motor Company, one of the 15 prime contractors building gliders, turned out 4,190 units, far beyond the second best producer with 1,509 units. Some of the other contractors included such names as Gibson, Northwestern Aeronautical, Pratt-Reed, Laister-Kaufman, Cessna Aircraft, and many others.

More than 70,000 individual parts made up the CG-4A. After its design was accepted and production started, some 7,000 modifications were made to the aircraft, although none of these modifications were a major change. The nose of the CG-4A could be elevated to facilitate loading and unloading of cargo and/or mobile vehicles. It could carry a jeep, or a jeep trailer fully loaded with combat equipment, or a 75 mm howitzer, or a 37 mm anti-tank gun,  and specially designed airborne construction equipment including small graders and bulldozers.

Several powered models of the CG-4A were developed but few produced. Quick-mount engine pods were developed and attached successfully to the main wing struts. All the powered models flew with success but none survived the war years.

The CG-4A was not designed to be a thing of beauty - and certainly it was not considered to be an attractive aircraft. Most Air Force power pilots joked about its ungainly appearance but few of them poked any funny remarks at the guys who flew them. The glider pilots were an independent, tough, ready-to-fight group of pilots and they certainly were not backward in letting anyone know that the "G" on their silver wings stood for "Guts." The aircraft they flew with such abandon and ease was a strut-braced high-wing monoplane that could carry more than its own weight in payload, and frequently did. The wing, constructed around a front box spar and a rear "I" spar, had wooden ribs, and was plywood covered except for the trailing edge. The whole wing was covered with doped cotton fabric. The control surfaces were fabric covered except for the leading edges which were of plywood. The wing tips were elliptical and there was little dihedral. The fuselage was a welded steel tubing frame covered with fabric. The floor of the cargo compartment was of honeycombed plywood construction and had tremendous strength and rigidity. The cockpit was constructed also of a welded steel tubing frame covered with fabric and plywood.

The combat employment of the glider in the huge invasion of France on D-Day occurred less than three years after AF General Hap Arnold told a glider graduating class of six student pilots that the United States would have a glider force "second to none in the world." Before September, 1942 AF records listed no glider pilots.

In going to work to build such a glider force, CM files were checked but only 160 licensed civilian glider pilots were found in the United States. Of these, only 25 were sufficiently experienced to be instructors. They were put to work immediately to train Air Corps rated pilots for key positions. Enlisted men and thousands of recruited civilians were selected as pilot trainees. As they were trained, the best were retained to instruct others and thus the training organization developed. Soon after training was underway, all gliders were grounded for technical reasons. Abandonment of the program seemed probable. However, the glider survived this critical period and on the night of July 9, 1943, took part in the first Allied airborne operation in WWII. Allied gliders took off that night from an airfield in Tunisia. The destination was Axis-held Sicily; their cargo, British airborne troops. In spite of the many difficulties encountered on a first mission of this nature (and there were many), enough of the gliders got through to successfully complete the mission.

The glider in combat had proven itself and its use continued to build.

Topic Details

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Gross Weight:
7500 lbs 1
Height:
12 feet, 7 7/16 inches 1
Lenght (overall):
48 feet, 3 3/4 inches 1
Weight:
3750 lbs 1
Wing Cord:
10 feet, 6 inches 1
Wing Span:
83 feet , 8 inches 1
Topic:
Also known as: Waco Glider 2
Category: WWII, glider, aviation 2
Name: CG-4A Glider 2

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