General Aircraft GAL 49/50 Hamilcar-The Other WWII British Assault Glider Although the WWII Airspeed AS 51 Horsa assault glider was the most prolific of the allied glider aircraft which augmented the parachute elements of the British 1st and 6th Airborne Divisions it remained for another glider, the General Aircraft GAL 49/50 Hamilcar, to deliver the heavier loads which would provide extra muscle to the lightly armed paratroops and airlanding forces. It was the heaviest of allied gliders and the only one capable of carrying a tank. More importantly for the airborne forces it was capable of carrying the Ordnance QF 17 Pdr Anti-tank Gun, its Morris C8 30cwt Quad Field Artillery Tractor (FAT), basic ammunition load, and complete gun crew from an Airlanding Anti-tank Battery, Royal Artillery, all in a single load. This capability provided a rather nasty surprise to the most heavily armored German tanks, even the Tiger I (max. frontal armor, 100 mm). The gun was capable of penetrating 118 mm of armor plate at 1000 yd, and with the introduction in July 1944 of an Armor Piercing, Discarding Sabot (APDS) round, 231 mm (9.1 in.) of armor plate at 1000 yd. (more than enough to 'put paid' to even the Tiger II).

johnbr, Nov 21, 2011
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