World War II assault gliders

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by Stephan Wilkinson, Jan 3, 2010.

  1. Stephan Wilkinson

    Stephan Wilkinson New Member

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    Can anybody think of a major "weapons system" that was as short-lived as the assault glider?

    It had no predecessor, unless you consider powered airplanes in general to be their "predecessor," and it will have no successor, since it was utterly outmoded by the helicopter within just a few years after WWII ended. There will, of course, never again be assault gliders.

    I can't think of another major military "device" that essentially came out of nowhere with nothing remotely like it as its historical roots and that disappeared as totally once the war in which it had been employed was over.

    Be curious if anybody else can come up with anything else to rival that, since I plan to use it as the lead for a Military History Magazine piece I'm working on, and I'm worried that I'm missing something obvious.
     
  2. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    Zeppelin as a bombing platform maybe...?
     
  3. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    A purpose built suicide aircraft - such as the Yokosuka MXY-7 Ohka Baka and the Nakiajima Ki-115 Tsurugi.
     
  4. Stephan Wilkinson

    Stephan Wilkinson New Member

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    Trouble with the Zeppelin--not a bad suggestion, though--is that you could trace LTA use back to the Civil War, and of course LTA was used extensively in World War II (blimps) and is still being used as surveillance platforms. And some blimps dropped anti-sub bombs and depth charges, so even if you limit it to "LTA as a bombing platform," you have two war's worth...

    One of the most recent "new" proposals--was just reading about it on Flight International Magazine's website yesterday--is for an enormous airlifter that is to be 70 percent LTA and 30 percent aerodynamic lift and that would be able to carry huge quantities of troops and supplies vast distances at something like 100 mph cruise. So though it's pretty easy to say we'll never see gliders again, it's hard to say for sure that LTA doesn't have a future. And they conceivably could even drop bombs again some day, though that's highly unlikely.
     
  5. Stephan Wilkinson

    Stephan Wilkinson New Member

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    Suicide aircraft...hmmm...I sure wouldn't count out al Qaeda someday building some if they got the funds, if only to use in the Middle East locally, and of course the 9/11 airplanes were suicide bombers though not-purpose-built.

    I'm looking for general "weapons systems" as suggestions, not arbitrarily limited subsets of broader systems. Otherwise you could say the "unpressurized four-radial-engine monoplane bomber" had an extremely short life, though you could hardly say the same of "bomber aircraft."
     
  6. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Not sure I follow your logic as assault gliders were a subset of standard gliders, but ok. I'll throw these out as well:

    Dive Bombers
    Rocket Interceptors
    Tail sitting aircraft
    Piggy Back Fighter/Bomber combination - used only once I believe in combat.
     
  7. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    I have to dog through the archives of the OC Register, but there's a veteran out here who participated in three of the glider assaults of WW2.

    He wrote a story about it. If I find it, I will post it.
     
  8. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    Barnes Wallis's bouncing bomb
     
  9. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    Thats a an individual purpose built bomb.

    Why is it germane to this discussion?
     
  10. imalko

    imalko Well-Known Member

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    When mentioning Zeppelins as bombing platforms I had a strategic bombing raids in mind in the first place and not antisubmarine missions...
     
  11. Stephan Wilkinson

    Stephan Wilkinson New Member

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    #11 Stephan Wilkinson, Jan 3, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
    Your suggestions are all interesting and useful, and I'm not going to waste your time by arguing about them, which wasn't my original intent anyway. What I'm looking for is the "weapons system" that I've totally forgotten about, and when I write the lead of the article to say, "Never in history has there been a major weapons system as short-lived and dead-ended as the World War II assault glider, which came out of nowhere in the late 1930s and disappeared forever in 1945," I'm worried that somebody will be able to refute me. But not with suicide aircraft, tail-sitters, piggyback aircraft or the like, all of which are relatively valid ideas that could well be revived in reliable modern incarnations

    So far, I haven't seen the deal-breaker.

    When one writes, for example, "dive bomber," there is absolutely no reason to believe that there couldn't be a Mach 3 UAV dive bomber in 30 years. But a glider, which aerodynamic and other forces limit to a double-digit approach speed and a landing speed survivable as a crash? One can confidently say it will never happen again, particularly as helicopters and tilt-rotors get increasingly sophisticated in the near term and who knows what will deliver equipment and troops to the FBA in 100 years. Certainly not gliders.

    But keep trying to shoot me down. I won't be surprised if somebody comes up with the deal-breaker.
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    There was military doctrine to use assault gliders into the early 50s and we might have seen them in Korea. Don't forget the Chase CG-14, several were ordered in 1947.
     
  13. Stephan Wilkinson

    Stephan Wilkinson New Member

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    "There was military doctrine to use assault gliders into the early 50s and we might have seen them in Korea. Don't forget the Chase CG-14, several were ordered in 1947."

    That's fine, but they _didn't_ use 'em in Korea, and the only way the last-gasp Chase worked was when they put engines on it and it became the prototype of a small line of battlefield utility aircraft.
     
  14. Colin1

    Colin1 Active Member

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    #14 Colin1, Jan 3, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
    ...nope, I think you'll find they built more than one and even in answering, I'm not sure what you're driving at; the bouncing bomb had no direct predecessor, no successor and we're highly unlikely ever to see its ilk again.

    Edit: had a think - you're saying that the glider was a weapons system but the bouncing bomb wasn't ???

    oh and please, don't call me Jermaine...
     
  15. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Well, a purpose built and production suicide aircraft has not been built since WW2 either. Either I am not getting it through my thick head what your requirements are or they are somewhat vague. Could it be built? Yes, but then again so could an assault glider. I mean I could say that Al Qaeda is on top of a mountain and wants to make a stealthy attack on a base that's below so they decide to build a glider to do that.

    You mentioned the suicide or dive-bomber aircraft does not count as it COULD STILL be built, however you ignore the US Army military doctrine of glider use in Korea because they WERE NOT used.

    You're switching your logic. What is the criteria you are using?

    IMHO the rocket powered fighter/interceptor is on top.
     
  16. Stephan Wilkinson

    Stephan Wilkinson New Member

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    As I said, my mission is not to argue all of your and other posters excellent points, it's ultimately to assess them and decide if anything is to alter what I plan to write, which it very may well. I'm not trying to play a guessing game or a who-knows-more contest, it's to elicit replies and to then see if any of them make me smite my forehead and say, "How could I have forgotten the Gatling gun [or whatever]?"

    See in post #11 above what I plan to write. If this doesn't make my criteria clear, I don't know what to say.
     
  17. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    A little bigger and a utility aircraft - C-123?
     
  18. Butters

    Butters Member

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    #18 Butters, Jan 3, 2010
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2010
    Seaplane fighters seem to be an obsolete concept. AFAIK, the Convair YF2Y-1 Sea Dart represents the last gasp of that idea.

    JL

    EDIT: Just noticed the criteria. Seaplane fighters were used in WWI, whereas assault gliders were not...
     
  19. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    All an assault glider is is a cargo glider. I could see a real military use for one, esp special ops. Something that can carry a large amount of cargo/troops, stealthy, something a number of modern weapons systems could not lock on, and something that could be launched 20-30 miles away quietly. I see that being far more feasible and likely then taking a multi million dollar weapons system such as a UAV and spending a lot more money in trying to turn it into a dive bomber - esp when missile systems they currently carry are far more accurate.

    Just a different take on it, is the Gryphon System really all the different then what was used in WW2? It's an individual system where soldiers where a glider to reach a target.

    I do not mean any disrespect but it seems like instead of being objective you have already reached your conclusion and are disregarding anything that anybody else had to say with a responser of: "yea, well it could be built again so that does not count".

    Any weapon system can be brought back, the Gatling gun which you mentioned is a great example.
     
  20. Soren

    Soren Banned

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    Guys, Stephan is looking for a major weapons system which was as shortlived as the assault glider, which means rare weapons such as the bouncing bomb don't really apply here.

    And to be honest, at the moment I'm finding it pretty hard to think of a major weapons system as short lived as the assault glider.
     
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