This is a very recent new title from the well-known publisher Schiffer. Relatively little has been published on U.S. glider development during the WW-II period and this book definitely is very welcome to fill this ‘gap’.

The author Bill Norton is well qualified with ample experience on flight engineering and flying!

American military gliders of World War II

American military gliders of World War II

The book starts with a short overview of the first pre-war developments as first chapter and gives in the next chapters the following:

-First phase training on dual seat standard gliders
-The more advance training phase with heavier and larger capacity gliders
-The development of the first generation of transport gliders
-The development of more advanced transport gliders
-Special attention to the WACO gliders CG-4A and CG-15A
-Amphibious gliders
-Military operations during the war
-Development of larger capacity military gliders
-More amphibious gliders
-Combat experiences
-Experimental gliders including Northrop’s flying wings
-Powered gliders
-Bomb glider experiments
-Post-war developments

The books concludes with a retrospective chapter and an annex with a LOT of technical details.

This relatively unknown subject is amply described in 272 pages with many rare and unusual photographs (some four hundred in total!). Data and drawings/illustrations on many totally unknown military glider projects are also given. The books gives an exciting story of the use of the U.S. military glider until it was replaced after the war by the military transport helicopter. In short, this book presents a wealth of information on U.S military gliders and it must be regarded as the complete and final reference work  on this subject.

Did you know that Taylorcraft, Aeronca and Piper all produced glider versions of their famous military light observation planes? It is all here in the book and much, much more!

It is also surprising to see that the early glider training at the start of the war took place with two-seat gliders that were basically not different from the two-seaters used after the war at civil gliding clubs! Types used like the Schweizer TG-2 and TG-3 are in fact not very different from the German Schleicher ASK-13 that is even used today in some numbers!

If you are interested in the history of the glider, in particular in its military spin-off, this book is an absolute must. If you don’t care about gliders, but are only interested in U.S. military aviation history this book is also an absolute must!

The format of this thick book is landscape that some people may not like. However, the advantage is that many photographs are reproduced at a larger size than in a normal book with portrait format. Personally I would have liked to see in this book also a short chapter on military glider types that survived the war. I know that some types used for basic training are still airworthy in veteran gliding clubs but of course it is the author’s choice not to include this.

Reading this book as an ex-glider pilot gave me many pleasant hours and as conclusion I can only say this book is highly recommended and fully worth its price of U.K £ 55.00!

American military gliders of World War II

American military gliders of World War II

Book details

Title:                American military gliders-Development, training, experimentation and tactics                     of all aircraft types
Author:            Bill Norton
Publisher:        Schiffer Publishing Ltd, USA. Distributor in Europe is Bushwood Books
Book details:   size 30.5 x 23.5 cm (Landscape), hard cover, glossy paper with some colour                       images
ISBN:              978-0-7643-4051-2
Price:               U.K. £ 55.00/U.S.A. $69.99

If ordered at the Bushwood website within the U.K. P & P is free of charge. Within EEC Europe and rest of Europe P & P is respectively £10.50 and £18.50.

With special thanks to Victoria Hansen from Bushwood Books for providing a free review copy of this remarkable book.

Nico Braas