|Drop Zone U.K.|
|Throughout the summer of 1944, Germany's once powerful armies were on the run, retreating across France and Belgium. With momentum on their side, the Allied strategy was to attack Germany from the north by crossing the Rhine and capturing the Ruhr, Germany's industrial heartland. Against this strategic backdrop, Operation Market Garden was born. Market Garden called for the First Allied Airborne Army to land behind enemy lines laying out an "airborne carpet," securing the road network and capturing several key bridges that lead to the all important bridge which crossed the Rhine at Arnhem. Simultaneously, as the airborne phase unfolded, British XXX Corps, would also strike north by racing armor up the road network and linking up with the airborne forces. During the course of the operation, the First Allied Airborne Army fought valiantly with the 82nd and 101st accomplishing their objectives. Ultimately however, Market Garden failed since the final bridge across the Rhine couldn't be secured. The Operation would infamously be dubbed a "Bridge Too Far".|
|Beginning on September 17, 1944 and lasting 8 days, the First Allied Airborne Army consisting of the 82nd, 101st , and British 1st Parachute Division along with a unit of Polish paratroopers landed via parachute or glider at designated drop zones in Holland. This story revolves around the 907 Glider Field Artillery Battalion. The 907, was a glider field artillery battalion attached to the 101st airborne, and was armed with shortened "snub-nosed" 105 mm howitzers. Throughout Market Garden, the 907 rode into battle via glider. The time table for the907's entry into Holland spanned from D-Day + 2, through Day +8. Although most of the unit ultimately found its way to Holland, heavy fog caused several 907 gliders to take interesting routes to the drop zone. CPT McGlone relates his experience:|
Captain McGlone (standing, right), Barry Phillips (nealing, right with dog), Stanley Masaros (kneeling, left), and glider pilot (name unknown) prior to Operation Market Garden.
|"After preparing the glider cargo manifests we started loading the gliders with men and material. We departed After preparing the glider cargo manifests we started loading the gliders with men and material. We departed England riding in Waco gliders which were towed by C-47s transport planes. As we departed the airfield, the flight was engulfed by very thick fog which obscured everything. I remember I wasn't able to see anything but a few feet of the glider tow rope, stretching out toward nowhere. My glider contained a jeep for reconnaissance and towing artillery, which I sat in during the flight. As we neared the drop zone, I went up to the cockpit of the glider and started speaking with the pilot to ensure that we were on course. In the course of our discussion, I glanced down at an egg shaped compass near the glider pilot's seat and I was relieved to notice that the compass needle appeared to be pointing in the correct direction of the drop zone. As we neared what we thought was the drop zone, the glider pilot released the tow rope and we started our descent toward the ground and finally landed.|
|After climbing out of the glider,
I immediately noticed the similarity of the landing area with the English country-side. I
was immediately approached by a group of English farmers who informed me that I had indeed
landed in Great Britain.
Shortly after the incident I confronted our pilot and asked him what was wrong with the compass since during the flight it was pointing in the right direction. He responded, which I'll never forget, "Oh that compass hasn't worked in a long time." Within a few hours we were trucked back to the airfield where we prepared for another glider trip over to Holland. That day, do to the heavy fog, quite a few of our men of the 907 landed in the North Sea and England. A few days later we successful landed in Holland." Ultimately, the 907 was able to make a valuable contribution to the Operation.