Category Archives: All Posts

Galpin's Horsa glider descends past the Ponte Grande bridge near Syracuse, Sicily, in Operation LadbrokeAll articles and posts for the Operation Ladbroke – Feat of Arms website, in the order they were uploaded either privately or publicly, starting with the latest.

Operation Ladbroke Sites – the Coup-de-Main Objectives

Ever wondered exactly where the Operation Ladbroke sites are in Sicily? Here’s a handy battlefield guide to the South Staffords’ coup-de-main objectives.  Please note: it may not be safe or possible to visit some of the Operation Ladbroke sites. See the warning at the bottom of … Continue reading

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Italian Cavalry Attack British Glider Troops on the Ponte Grande Bridge

The source was impeccable: the BBC. The news was incredible: Italian cavalry had charged British airborne troops holding the Ponte Grande bridge. In the middle of WW2, could it possibly be true? The thunder of hooves, clods of earth flying, weapons … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 52 & Gozo in Operation Ladbroke

Waco glider 52 had one of the more unusual stories of navigation failure in Operation Ladbroke. Uniquely, it landed on the tiny island of Gozo. Glider: CG-4A Waco 52, serial 245690. Tug: C-47, 41-18334, 28 Squadron, 60 Troop Carrier Group, 51 Troop Carrier … Continue reading

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A US glider trooper in Operation Varsity – John Kormann’s legacy

On the anniversary of Operation Varsity, an extraordinary gathering in a local restaurant in honour of US glider trooper John Kormann brought back memories, and evoked the sights and sounds of battle. Operation Varsity, the Allied airborne drop across the … Continue reading

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Hopkinson vs Chatterton – the Facts

There is a story about Lt Col Chatterton and Maj Gen Hopkinson and the genesis of Operation Ladbroke that is so pervasive that it has almost become gospel. Certainly it seems to go completely unchallenged. But is there any evidence … Continue reading

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Glider Pilots to Blame for Operation Ladbroke Disaster? Part 3

In his post-war book, the CO of the glider pilots blamed their ‘limitations’ for the ‘near disaster’ of Operation Ladbroke. Is the accusation true? In Part 1 we saw how the use of gliders in Operation Ladbroke, the opening assault in … Continue reading

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The Battle for Augusta – Jim Fern and the 6 Seaforths

The town of Augusta in Sicily did not fall easily, despite half its garrison having fled. Lance Corporal Jim Fern of the 6 Seaforths died fighting in the battle to capture it. The young pit worker from the Leicestershire mining … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 70 – Disaster for Medics in Operation Ladbroke

Waco glider 70 landed in the sea off Sicily. So did the other two gliders full of medical men attached to 1 Border Regiment in Operation Ladbroke. This was a disaster not just for the medics, but also the men … Continue reading

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Glider Pilots to Blame for Operation Ladbroke Disaster? Part 2

The CO of the glider pilots blamed their ‘limitations’ for the ‘near disaster’ of Operation Ladbroke. That was later. What did he say at the time? In Part 1 we saw how Operation Ladbroke, the glider assault that opened the invasion of … Continue reading

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SAS Rogue Heroes – Book Review

‘SAS Rogue Heroes’ is a readable and enjoyable account of the SAS in World War 2. But there’s not much about the SAS in Sicily, and what there is, is not great. Review of ‘SAS Rogue Heroes – The Authorized … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 26 – Combat Medics in Operation Ladbroke

Glider 26 carried a surgical team in the invasion of Sicily. According to contemporary reports, the medics not only saved lives, but they also fought to do so. Glider: CG4-A Waco 26, serial no. 243811. Tug: C-47 or C-53, serial 41-18418, nose (squadron) … Continue reading

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Glider Pilots to Blame for Operation Ladbroke Disaster?

After the failures of Operation Ladbroke, recriminations flew in every direction. The glider pilots were not exempt. Surprisingly, their own commander later blamed them the most. “It was … the nearest run thing you ever saw in your life”, the … Continue reading

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Unseen US document reveals impact of glider battle at Maleme

Glider troops of Germany’s airborne forces landed around Maleme Bridge in Crete in May 1941. They were decimated. The Germans decided never again to mount an airborne assault. The Allies drew the opposite lesson, as a previously unseen American document shows. “Stand … Continue reading

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South Staffords near Syracuse – rare photograph

South Staffords glider troops photographed near Syracuse on the day after the epic battle for the Ponte Grande bridge – a unique picture, a dramatic story. Photographs of airborne troops taken during Operation Ladbroke, the glider assault that began the Allied invasion … Continue reading

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Unpublished shot of a tank on the Ponte Grande

A previously unseen film shows what the heroic defence of the Ponte Grande bridge by British glider troops was all about – tanks and vehicles crossing, headed into Syracuse. This is the remarkable story of how that footage came to be taken. … Continue reading

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Ray Atkinson, Halifax Tug Pilot in Operation Varsity

Flying Officer Ray Atkinson towed a Hamilcar glider in Operation Varsity. The flak over the Rhine was apparently fearsome, but he never mentioned it – only the guilt he felt that he and his crew were going back for a hot … Continue reading

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The Story of Glider 126 – Operation Ladbroke

Glider 126 made a good landing not far from the LZs, a rare occurrence in Operation Ladbroke. This is the story of the men who flew in her and fought for the Ponte Grande bridge. Glider: Waco 126, “Lil Miss-Take”, serial no. … Continue reading

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The Lost Photos of Operation Ladbroke

Somewhere somebody has an album with some unique, unpublished photographs of Operation Ladbroke in it. Historians have seen them, but nobody knows where they are now. A plea for bringing them to light. I’m hoping readers may be able to … Continue reading

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Nothing Is Impossible by glider pilot Victor Miller – Book Review

‘Nothing Is Impossible’ is the best account we have of Operation Ladbroke by somebody who was there. Now the second edition greatly expands Victor Miller’s account. Review of ‘Nothing is Impossible – A Glider Pilot’s Story of Sicily, Arnhem and … Continue reading

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PARAS Voices of the British Airborne – Book Review

If you like undiluted collections of veterans’ accounts of airborne operations, this book is for you. If however you prefer your history with, well, a bit of history, then you could find this book frustrating. Review of ‘PARAS Voices of … Continue reading

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