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CG-4A Waco

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Subject: Operation Market Garden, Assault Glider Trust, Don Pratt, I.Ae. 25 Mañque, Waco CG-15, Calzada Larga Airport, Laurinburg-Maxton Army Air Base
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CG-4A Waco

CG-4A
CG-4A
Role Military glider
Manufacturer Waco Aircraft Company
First flight 1942
Primary users United States Army Air Forces
Royal Air Force
Royal Canadian Air Force
United States Navy
Number built >13,903
Variants Waco CG-15

The Waco CG-4A was the most widely used United States troop/cargo military glider of World War II. It was designated the CG-4A by the United States Army Air Forces,[1] and named Hadrian in British military service.

Designed by the Waco Aircraft Company, flight testing began in May 1942, and eventually more than 13,900 CG-4As were delivered.

Design and development

The CG-4A was constructed of fabric-covered wood and metal and was crewed by a pilot and copilot. It had two fixed mainwheels and a tailwheel.

The CG-4A could carry 13 troops and their equipment. Cargo loads could be a quarter ton truck (Jeep), a 75 mm howitzer, or a ¼ ton trailer, loaded through the upward-hinged nose section. C-47s were usually used as tow aircraft. A few C-46 tugs were used during and after Operation Plunder.

The USAAF CG-4A tow line was 1116-inch-diameter (17 mm) nylon, 350 feet (107 m) long. The CG-4A pickup line was 15/16 inch- (24 mm)-diameter nylon, but only 225 ft (69 m) long including the doubled loop.

In effort to identify areas where strategic materials could be reduced, a single XCG-4B was built at the Timm Aircraft Corporation using wood for the main structure.

[2]

Production

During 1942-1945, the Ford Motor Company's Kingsford plant built 4,190 Model CG-4A gliders for use in combat operations during World War II. The Kingsford plant built more CG-4A gliders than any other company in the nation at much less cost than other manufacturers. The primary builders of the Model CG-4A gliders were located in Troy, Ohio; Greenville, Michigan; Astoria, New York; Kansas City, Missouri; St. Paul, Minnesota; and Kingsford, Michigan.

Sixteen companies were prime contractors for manufacturing the CG-4A. They were:

The factories ran 24-hour shifts to build the gliders. One night shift worker in the Wicks Aircraft Company factory in Kansas City wrote,

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Operational history


Whiteman Air Force Base was originally activated on 6 August 1942 as Sedalia Glider Base. In November 1942 the installation became Sedalia Army Air Field and was assigned to the 12th Troop Carrier Command of the United States Army Air Forces. The field served as a training site for glider pilots and paratroopers. Assigned aircraft included the CG-4A glider, Curtiss C-46 Commando, and Douglas C-47 Skytrain. The C-46 was not used as a glider tug in combat, however, until Operation Plunder in March 1945.

CG-4As went into operation in July 1943 during the Allied invasion of Sicily. They participated in the American airborne landings in Normandy on 6 June 1944, and in other important airborne operations in Europe and in the China Burma India Theater. Although not the intention of the Army Air Forces, gliders were generally considered expendable by high-ranking European theater officers and combat personnel and were abandoned or destroyed after landing. While equipment and methods for extracting flyable gliders were developed and delivered to Europe, half of that equipment was rendered unavailable by certain higher-ranked officers. Despite this lack of support for the recovery system, several gliders were recovered from Normandy and even more from Operation Market Garden in the Netherlands and Wesel, Germany.

The CG-4A found favor where its small size was a benefit. The larger British Airspeed Horsa could carry more troopers (seating for 28 or a jeep or an anti-tank gun), and the British General Aircraft Hamilcar could carry a light tank, but the CG-4A could land in smaller spaces. In addition, by using a fairly simple grapple system, an in-flight C-47 equipped with a tail hook and rope braking drum could "pick up" a CG-4A waiting on the ground.[8] The system was used in the 1945 high-elevation rescue of the survivors of the Gremlin Special in a mountain valley of New Guinea.[9]

The CG-4A was also used to send supplies to partisans in Yugoslavia.

After World War II ended, most of the remaining CG-4As were declared surplus and almost all were sold. Many were bought for the wood in the large shipping boxes. Others were bought for conversion to towed camping homes with the wing and tail end cut off and being towed by the rear section and others sold for hunting cabins and lake side vacation cabins.

The last known use of the CG-4A was in the early 1950s by the USAF with an Arctic detachment aiding scientific research. The CG-4As were used for getting personnel down to, and up from, floating ice floes, with the glider being towed out, released for landing, and then picked up later by the same type of aircraft, using the hook and line method developed during World War II. The only modification to the CG-4A was the fitting of wide skis in place of the landing gear for landing on the Arctic ice floes.[10]

Variants


XCG-4
Prototypes, two built, plus one stress test article
CG-4A
Main Production variant, survivors became G-4A in 1948, 13,903 built by 16 contractors
XCG-4B
One Timm-built CG-4A with a plywood structure
XPG-1
One CG-4A converted with two Franklin 6AC-298-N3 engines by Northwestern
XPG-2
One CG-4A converted with two 175 hp (130 kW) Ranger L-440-1 engines by Ridgefield
XPG-2A
Two articles: XPG-2 engines changed to 200 hp (150 kW) plus one CG-4A converted also with 200 hp (150 kW) engines
PG-2A
Production PG-2A with two 200 hp (150 kW) L-440-7s, redesignated G-2A in 1948, 10 built by Northwestern
XPG-2B
Cancelled variant with two R-775-9 engines
LRW-1
CG-4A transferred to the United States Navy (13 units)
G-2A
PG-2A re-designated in 1948
G-4A
CG-4A re-designated in 1948
G-4C
G-4A with different tow-bar, 35 conversions
Hadrian Mk.I
Royal Air Force designation for the CG-4A, 25 delivered
Hadrian Mk.II
Royal Air Force designation for the CG-4A with equipment changes

Operators


 Canada
 Czechoslovakia
 United Kingdom
 United States

Surviving aircraft


Specifications (CG-4A)

Data from

General characteristics
  • Crew: two pilots
  • Capacity: 13 troops, or quarter-ton truck (Jeep) and 4 troopers, or 6 litters
  • Length: 48 ft 8 in (14.8 m)
  • Wingspan: 83 ft 8 in (25.5 m)
  • Height: 15 ft 4 in (4.7 m)
  • Wing area: 900 ft² (83.6 m²)
  • Empty weight: 3,900 lb (1,769 kg)
  • Loaded weight: 7,500 lb (3,402 kg)
  • Useful load:
"Troop Carrier (2 crew & 13 passengers): 4197 lb";
"Cargo Carrier - Jeep (2 crew, 4 passengers, 1 Jeep Car): 4197 lb"
"Cargo Carrier - 75 MM howitzer (2 crew, 3 passengers, 1 Howitzer, 18 rounds ammunition): 4197 lb[16] ()

Performance

  • Never exceed speed: 150 mph IAS [N 1] (241 km/h)
  • Maximum speed: 150 mph CAS[N 2] (240 km/h CAS[17]) at 7,500 lb (3,400 kg) 128 mph CAS/135 mph IAS at 9,000 lb
  • Cruise speed: IAS 72.6 mph[N 3] (117 km/h[N 4])
  • Stall speed: 49 mph[N 5] (79 km/h[N 6]) with design load 7,500 lb (3,400 kg)
  • Wing loading: 8.33 lb/ft² (40.7 kg/m²
  • Rate of sink: About 400 ft/min (2 m/s) at tactical glide speed (IAS 60 mph, 96 km/h)
  • Landing run: 600-800 feet (180-244 m) for normal three-point landing; "Landing rolls of approximately 2,000 to 3,000 feet are to be expected at the higher emergency gross weights...")
Armament

none

See also

Related development
Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era

Related lists

References

In the Movie Top of the World, it is used to save standed soldiers from melting ice

Notes

Citations

Bibliography

  • AAF Manual No. 50-17, Pilot Training Manual for the CG-4A Glider. US Government, 1945, select pages available on Commons, Category:Waco CG-4.
  • AAF TO NO. 09-40CA-1, Pilot's Flight Operating Instructions for Army Model CG-4A Glider, British Model Hadrian.US Government, 1944, available on Commons, Category:Waco CG-4.
  • Andrade, John M. U.S. Military Aircraft Designations and Serials since 1909. Earl Shilton, Leister, UK: Midland Counties Publications, 1979. ISBN 0-904597-22-9.
  • Diehl, Alan E., PhD. Silent Knights: Blowing the Whistle on Military Accidents and Their Cover-ups. Dulles, Virginia: Brassey's, Inc., 2002. ISBN 1-57488-412-3.
  • Fitzsimons, Bernard, ed. "Waco CG-4A." Illustrated Encyclopedia of 20th Century Weapons and Warfare, Volume 11. London: Phoebus, 1978. ISBN 978-0-241-10864-2.

External links

  • 3D-model of Waco CG-4
  • , February 1944, pp. 94-101. First large article on CG-4A published during World War II; rare photos and drawings
  • "Glider Parade" Popular Mechanics,August 1944, pp. 14–15.
  • The Assault Glider Trust
  • Silent Wings Museum
  • U.S. Army Airborne and Special Operations Museum, World War II CG-4A Glider Exhibit, Fort Bragg NC
  • Detailed photos of the CG-4A in the National Soaring Museum
  • More detailed photos of the CG-4A in the National Soaring Museum, including manual pages
  • [1]
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