I was reading the British Journal for Military History and an article caught my eye titled The Psychological Impact of Airborne Warfare & the British Response to the Airborne Threat by Dr Tim Jenkins.
In 1940 the Germans achieved stunning successes with the use of airborne troops, the Fallschirmjäger. The first recorded attack by parachutists was in Denmark against the fortress at Masnedø. The reputed impregnable fortress at Eben Emael in Belgium would surrender to just 78 German airborne troops who had landed on top in Gliders.
Traditionally Britain was safe beyond the English Channel, protected by the Royal Navy, this new threat from the air caught the public imagination. There was a clamour in the press, questions were raised in Parliament... What to do?
The result would be thousands of sign posts removed to confuse enemy parachutists, golf course would be ploughed up to prevent glider landings and of course the Home Guard would be formed.
It’s a brilliant article and I suggest you give it a read, you can find it here. Tim agreed to come on the podcast and have a chat.
In this episode I’m looking at Operation Tonga, the British airborne element that led the way during the D-Day landings in 1944.
I’m joined by Stephen Wright.
Stephen is keenly interested in the operation, an operation his uncle was killed taking part in. For the last twenty years he’s been researching the airborne, and particularly the use of Gliders during the closing years of the war.
His book, co-authored with Bill Shannon, Operation Tonga brings to the reader first hand accounts of that night. Stephen is also involved with a new feature film True Valour, you can follow its progress here on Facebook and for more information the website is truevalourmovie.com.