Issue #36

Gliders Over Burma:
Operation Thursday

By George A. Larson

The Allied offensive into northern Burma began in early March 1944 with preparatory air strikes against Japanese installations. The operation’s go-order was published on 29 February 1944, with D-Day scheduled for 5 March. Twenty C-47s—13 from the 5318th Provisional Air Unit (PAU) and seven from 27th Troop Carrier Squadron (TCS)—each towing two CG-4A gliders, would fl y from Lalaghat Air Base (AB) in eastern India to a jungle landing strip in Burma codenamed “Broadway.” Five other secondary landing sites were located in an arc around Broadway, to its west and south, but it was Broadway that would be the locale for about three-quarters of the entire operation’s sorties.

The first two C-47s were to takeoff at 5:00 p.m. The remaining 18 C-47s and 36 CG-4As were to start taking-off at 5:40 at one-minute intervals.


Once the British “Chindit” commandoes had secured each landing zone’s perimeter, follow-on gliders would deliver US airborne aviation engineers, along with their air-transportable construction equipment, to upgrade the clearings into C-47 airstrips.

 


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