Scale of Model:
Rules on how to use this piece in HBG's Global War Game.
The HORSA was a large British Glider produced by Airspeed Industries in Great Britain. The HORSA carried 30 troops, a jeep or 6LB anti-tank gun.
Purchase: Gliders must be placed at a factory when produced
Movement: Gliders move with their base unit, which must be either a strategic bomber (unless stated otherwise) or an air transport. Such an aircraft has its range reduced by 2 when towing a glider. A glider can otherwise move “1” in non-combat movement. A glider remains in the zone it attacks and does not return with the towing unit.
Transporting Units: A glider can transport 1 infantry in combat movement. That infantry need not be an airborne but may not be a mechanized infantry.
Attack: Gliders must be delivered to their destination and have no combat move of their own. Upon reaching their destination they and their towing aircraft are subject to AA fire. After AA fire, Gliders land in the zone and units from them can participate in the attack. Units attacking from a glider may not retreat. Gliders are destroyed if the territory is not captured by the attacking units.
Restrictions: Gliders may never be launched from a carrier.
As base unit
Glider: The AS.51 may deliver 1 infantry unit
Availability: 1941 (Turn 5)
The Airspeed AS.51 Horsa was a British World War II troop-carrying glider built by Airspeed Limited and subcontractors and used for air assault by British and Allied armed forces. It was named after Horsa, the legendary 5th century conqueror of southern Britain.
With up to 30 troop seats, the Horsa was much bigger than the 13-troop American Waco CG-4A (known as the Hadrian by the British), and the 8-troopGeneral Aircraft Hotspur glider which was intended for training duties only. Instead of troops, the AS 51 could carry a jeep or a 6 pounder anti tank gun.
The Horsa was first used operationally on the night of 19/20 November 1942 in the unsuccessful attack on the German Heavy Water Plant at Rjukan inNorway (Operation Freshman). The two Horsa gliders, each carrying 15 sappers, and one of the Halifax tug aircraft, crashed in Norway due to bad weather. All 23 survivors from the glider crashes were executed on the orders of Hitler, in a flagrant breach of the Geneva Convention which protects POWs fromsummary execution.
In preparation for further operational deployment, 30 Horsa gliders were air-towed by Halifax bombers from Great Britain to North Africa but three aircraft were lost in transit. On 10 July 1943, 27 surviving Horsas were used in Operation Husky, the invasion of Sicily. Large numbers (estimated at over 250) were subsequently used in Battle of Normandy; in the British Operation Tonga and American operations. The first units to land in France, during the Battle of Normandy, was a coup de main force carried by 6 Horsas that captured Pegasus Bridge in Operation Deadstick, over the Caen canal, and a further bridge over the River Orne. 320 Horsas were used in the first lift and a further 296 Horsas were used in the second lift. Large numbers were also used for Operation Dragoon and Operation Market Garden, both in 1944, and Operation Varsity in March 1945; the final operation for the Horsa when 440 gliders carried soldiers of the 6th Airborne Division across the Rhine.
On operations, the Horsa was towed by various aircraft: four engined heavy bombers displaced from operational service such as the Short Stirling andHandley Page Halifax, the Armstrong Whitworth Albemarle and Armstrong Whitworth Whitley twin engined bombers, as well as the US Douglas C-47 Skytrain/Dakota (not as often due to the weight of the glider, however in Operation Market Garden, a total of 1,336 C-47s along with 340 Stirlings were employed to tow 1,205 gliders,) and Curtiss C-46 Commando. They were towed with a harness that attached to points on both wings, and also carried an intercom between tug and glider. The glider pilots were usually from the Glider Pilot Regiment, part of the Army Air Corps, although Royal Air Force pilots were used on occasion.
The United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) acquired approximately 400 Horsas in a form of "reverse" Lend-Lease. A small number of Horsa Mk IIs were obtained by the Royal Canadian Air Force for post-Second World War evaluation at CFB Gimli, Manitoba. Three of these survivors were purchased as surplus in the early 1950s and ended up in Matlock, Manitoba where they were eventually scrapped. A small number of Horsas were also evaluated postwar in India. Due to low surplus prices in the UK, many were bought and converted to travel trailers and vacation cottages.
On 5 June 2004, as part of the 60th anniversary commemoration of D-Day, Prince Charles unveiled a replica Horsa on the site of the first landing at Pegasus Bridge, and talked with Jim Wallwork, the first pilot to land the aircraft on French soil during D-Day.
Ten replicas were built for use in the 1977 film A Bridge Too Far, mainly for static display and set-dressing, although one Horsa was modified to make a brief "hop" towed behind a Dakota at Deelen, the Netherlands. During the production, seven of the replicas were damaged in a wind storm; the contingent were repaired in time for use in the film. Five of the Horsa "film models" were destroyed during filming with the survivors sold as a lot to John Hawke, aircraft collector in the UK.