Bastogne 27 December 1944 glider mission
Thirteen aircraft of the 440th TCG were dispatched to operate with gliders under the serial leadership of the 439th Troop Carrier Group under mission # 1117
During the 26th the 4th Armored Division punched a mile-wide corridor through to Bastogne from the south. The Germans, however, maintained a cross fire on the secondary road running through the corridor making it difficult to get supplies through. Another resupply by air was necessary. The 439th TCG furnished 37 aircraft with gliders and the 440th TCG furnished 13 aircraft with glider for the same supply mission. The mission took off in formation from A-39 at 1039 hours on December 27.
Of the 37 aircraft and gliders furnished by the 439th TCS, one glider broke away from the tug ship short of the DZ and cut off three other gliders. All four gliders landed SW of the DZ. Of the remaining 33 gliders, 31 landed in the DZ area and two landed South of the town but loads were salvaged by the Airborne. Thirty-three gliders were considered effective.
Five C-47A’s were shot down. The effort of the 439th TCG on this mission was 89% accurate. Of the 112,831 lbs of ammunition dispatched, 100,291 lbs reached the Airborne. Eleven aircraft suffered 1st & 2nd echelon damage and eleven aircraft suffered 3rd & 4th echelon damage.
The 13 aircraft and gliders of the 440th TCG were the rear element of the 50 aircraft/glider serial. Heavy and medium flak was encountered on the route and heavy flak and smoke surrounded the DZ. Visibility was excellent until over the DZ where it was difficult to screen the DZ. Nine aircraft failed to reach the DZ. Eight of these were last seen several miles SW of the DZ and it is assumed that some of the gliders may have landed in friendly territory. The ninth aircraft released its glider short of the DZ and later crash-landed at Varennes. It is assumed that the four gliders released over the DZ were effective although none of the thirteen glider pilots on this mission have returned. Eight aircraft were lost, seven listed as missing and one destroyed. Of these eight aircraft, two were last seen going down, three on fire going down, two crashing in flamed and one unknown. The remaining five aircraft suffered 3rd & 4th echelon damage.
The four gliders released over the DZ each carried 3,000 lbs of 150mm shells and detonators. The effort of the 440th TCG on this mission was 31% accurate.