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Normandy Grasshoppers  
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3935 posts, RR: 18
Posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 4 days 7 hours ago) and read 4853 times:

When watching a documentary with colourized WW footage,
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Apocalypse:_The_Second_World_War
I came across something which struck me as rather odd in the D-Day episode.

http://www.horizonten.nl/ruw/Normandy.jpg

A light aircraft being unloaded from a transport ship on one of the Normandy beaches?
Why didn't they fly it across, and save valuable shipping volume? If you don't have airstrips to land on yet, you can't take off either, right?

Thanks for any thoughts.

Peter 


The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
8 replies: All unread, jump to last
 
User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 1, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 10 hours ago) and read 4638 times:

Quoting ptrjong (Thread starter):
A light aircraft being unloaded from a transport ship on one of the Normandy beaches?
Why didn't they fly it across, and save valuable shipping volume? If you don't have airstrips to land on yet, you can't take off either, right?

I'll see if I can research this a little more later today, but if I remember correctly some of these aircraft were directly assigned to artillery units. It is possible that they landed with their battalions on the beaches of Normandy for front line deployment. As they don't need much of a runway to take off perhaps it wasn't seen necessary to fly them across the Channel at the time. But, again that's just a guess at this point.



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3935 posts, RR: 18
Reply 2, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4608 times:

Thanks. But I'd say if you can fly them it's not necessary to ship them.


The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlinerfields5421 From United States of America, joined Jul 2007, 7607 posts, RR: 32
Reply 3, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 9 hours ago) and read 4600 times:

I saw an article on those planes years ago, so this is my best memory.

1) The planes were completely minimally manual - no navigation instruments except a compass.

2) Very little fuel capacity - just a few gallons for a couple hours flight.

3) The distance from England to the Normandy beaches was 95 nm - it was not VMC weather, and probably beyond the range of the aircraft.

4) The aircraft could take off from the beach in a couple hundred feet and be ditched if necessary. If they had survived flying across, they would need fuel, and could not expect a clear landing zone and refuel capability to be availalbe.


User currently offlinecanoecarrier From United States of America, joined Feb 2004, 2839 posts, RR: 12
Reply 4, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 5 hours ago) and read 4508 times:

Quoting ptrjong (Reply 2):
Thanks. But I'd say if you can fly them it's not necessary to ship them.

It appears that during Operation Torch some L-4s were flown off converted LSTs with a temporary deck and that during Overlord a number did fly from England over to Normandy. Not sure if this link will work but page 33 has some discussion about them:
http://www.scribd.com/doc/43813068/U...iason-Aircraft-From-www-jgokey-com

There's a photo on Page 40 here of another disassembled L-4 being loaded on a LST in England prior to the invasion, the caption says that it was landed on the beach, reassembled and used to spot gunfire for the invasion fleet.

http://www.scribd.com/doc/44476792/W...-Landing-Craft-From-www-jgokey-com

As Fields mentioned range appears to be the major reason for this. From the US Army Aviation Museum, "During the Normandy invasion, some L-4s were dismantled and shipped across the English Channel to Normandy on LSTs (landing, ship, tanks); others were flown across with auxiliary fuel tanks in the rear seats......

In the Pacific campaigns, L-4s had to be disassembled and transported by sea; they then took off from the decks of LSTs and other type ships and flew to the islands being invaded to adjust fire and perform other missions. When carriers were not involved in an invasion force, the L-4s usually had to land on the beaches. In some instances, wooden floats were attached to L-4s so they could land and take off from water.

http://www.armyavnmuseum.org/history/war/ww2/overview6.html



The beatings will continue until morale improves
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3935 posts, RR: 18
Reply 5, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 3 days 3 hours ago) and read 4473 times:

Quoting rfields5421 (Reply 3):

Thanks. A Piper Cub should have almost twice the necessary range I think, but the weather and poor equipment are good answers I suppose.



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlineptrjong From Netherlands, joined Mar 2005, 3935 posts, RR: 18
Reply 6, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4110 times:

Quoting canoecarrier (Reply 4):
others were flown across with auxiliary fuel tanks in the rear seats......

So I was wrong, they didn't have the range. Thank you too.  



The only difference between me and a madman is that I am not mad (Salvador Dali)
User currently offlinekanban From United States of America, joined Jan 2008, 3499 posts, RR: 27
Reply 7, posted (2 years 2 months 2 weeks 1 day 2 hours ago) and read 4095 times:
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Went to a fund raiser this AM in the Air Museum outside Port Townsend WA, and there sat a fully restored Grasshopper 30 feet from my table. Amazing.

User currently offlineatct From United States of America, joined Mar 2001, 2287 posts, RR: 38
Reply 8, posted (2 years 2 months 1 week 6 days 6 hours ago) and read 3895 times:

I have a few hundred hours in a J-3 (L4) and 95 miles is within range. The header tank is 11 gallons burning 4.5 gallons an hour so roughly 100 mile range with reserve. "VMC" to a cub is also kinda miseleading as most of our flights are below 1000agl! As said above its not really a big deal to land or takeoff in short distances in a cub (I went into 600ft one-way in / out strips frequently) but not having a prepared landing site would make it an interesting flight over!

atct



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Normandy Grasshoppers posted Mon Jun 11 2012 11:04:54 by ptrjong

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