Thursday, March 16, 2023

Brotherhood of the Flying Coffin: The Glider Pilots of World War II (Scott McGaugh)

The Waco CG-4A was a military glider that was used by the Americans in World War II to carry troops and cargo behind enemy lines while also taking out enemy military installations. These planes could fly independently or get towed behind a larger cargo plane and were used to carry out high-risk military operations. They became known as “flying coffins” because of the risk of being shot out of the sky, or simply crashing due to turbulence and weather. Scott McGaugh captures the stories of these brave men who flew in these planes in Brotherhood of the Flying Coffin: The Glider Pilots of World War II. 

McGaugh’s book goes into detail about the use of these military gliders in the European theater of World War II, as well as the stories of those who flew in these risky missions from their debut in Sicily in 1943 to their final use in the late stages of World War II in 1945. Their most critical contributions arguably occurred in the Battle of the Bulge, delivering medical goods and gasoline to troops that were surrounded by Germans.

McGaugh highlights the stories of these battle-tested individuals, bringing to the forefront unsung and often anonymous individuals who contributed to the Allied victory in Europe. His detailed analysis of their contributions, along with transcribed oral histories, brings to life another chapter in the history of World War II.