A glider pilot in Overasselt

 

On September 23 1944 the last large glider mission in operation Market Garden was flown. This mission had been planned to be executed on the third day of the operation, thus on September 19.

The 325th Glider Infantry Regiment was to be flown to the battle area of the 82nd Airborne Division. Bad weather prevented that flight. Even worse, it prevented the flight until the 23rd.

 

The 82nd Airborne Division planners had chosen the fields around the village Groesbeek to be the landing zones. This area was used for the first glider landings here on September 17, the first day of the operation.

The fields were used again on the 18th. This time, it wasn’t that peaceful as German troops had attacked the area. The 82nd Airborne Division was able to recover and the Germans were driven away. Not far away from the landing zones, the area was still under German fire.

The area became front line area for a longer period.

 

To give the 325th GIR a better start, the landing zones were shifter west, to the area of Overasselt. This area had been used on the first day as drop-zone for the 504th Parachute Infantry Regiment. The flat field were excellent for the glider. And DZ-O became LZ-O.

 

On Saturday the 23rd, 408 tow planes departed their airfields, towing the same number of gliders. The flight was uneventful until the area of Veghel was reached. Here, the 101st Airborne Division had just repulsed a German attack on the corridor. The Germans were in the vicinity and were able to lay their fire onto the air-armada. A few planes were lost.

Despite this, and the loss of gliders due to other circumstances, 354 glider reached the LZ.

One of them was F/O Lloyd J. Bloomstine. He was a glider pilot with the 14th Troop Carrier Squadron, on of the four squadrons of the 61st Troop Carrier Group. After he returned to England, he reported:

 

Take off went good, ship trimmed up real well. Got in prop wash of squadron ahead of us several times. Weather as a whole was good.

A few minutes out of IP we received some light flak, which lasted not over a minute.

Fell short of LZ due to a slight overload. Made a cross wind landing. No one was hurt.

Was greeted by Dutch underground. Told us front was at least a mile away.

Heard heavy guns all night. Road was cut off but opened the next morning. Area landed in was in our hands. Four glider waves came in after us using the same LZ. Lots of fighters around  LZ, 51’s, 47’s and Spits. Made way back to Brussels where a full Col. was in charge of seeing we got planes back. A ship from the 436th took us to Cottesmore. They flew us here, arrived at about 19.30 the 25th.  

 

An glider pilot account from a GP who ended up in the village Overasselt and was photographed there. A part of history to be told and shown for the future.

 

At the intersection at Overasselt, F/L Lloyd Bloomstine gets himself pictured. What used to be the main road to Nijmegen is now the bicylce route. The glider pilots moved to the Heumen - Mook area.

Airborne Troop Carrier - Holland