13 Facts About Airspeed Horsa


Airspeed Horsa was used in large numbers by the British Army Air Corps and the Royal Air Force ; both services used it to conduct various air assault operations through the conflict.

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Large numbers of Airspeed Horsa were subsequently used during the opening stages of the Battle of Normandy, being used in the British Operation Tonga and American operations.

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Airspeed Horsa assembled a design team, headed by aircraft designer Hessell Tiltman.

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In early 1942, production of the Airspeed Horsa commenced; by May 1942, some 2,345 had been ordered by the Army for use in future airborne operations.

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The later AS 58 Airspeed Horsa II featured an increased fully loaded weight of 15,750 pounds along with a hinged nose section, reinforced floor and double nose wheels to support the extra weight of vehicles.

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The design of the Airspeed Horsa adopted a high-wing cantilever monoplane configuration, being equipped with wooden wings and a wooden semi-monocoque fuselage.

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The Airspeed Horsa was equipped with a fixed tricycle landing gear and it was one of the first gliders equipped with a tricycle undercarriage for take off.

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In preparation for further operational deployment, 30 Airspeed Horsa gliders were air-towed by Halifax bombers from bases in Great Britain to North Africa; three of these aircraft were lost in transit.

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Airspeed Horsa was deployed in large numbers during Battle of Normandy; specifically in the British Operation Tonga and the American airborne landings in Normandy.

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Capable of accommodating up to 30 troop seats, the Airspeed Horsa was much bigger than the 13-troop American Waco CG-4A, and thus offered greater carrying capacity.

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In British service, the Airspeed Horsa was a major component during several major offensives that followed the successful Normandy landings, such as Operation Dragoon and Operation Market Garden, both in 1944, and Operation Varsity during March 1945.

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The latter was the final operation for the Airspeed Horsa, and had involved a force of 440 gliders carrying soldiers of the 6th Airborne Division across the Rhine.

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Ten replicas were built for the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, mainly for static display and set-dressing, although one Airspeed Horsa was modified to make a brief "hop" towed behind a Dakota at Deelen, the Netherlands.

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