Brotherhood of the Flying Coffin

The Glider Pilots of World War II

Brotherhood of the Flying Coffin cover

Brotherhood of the Flying Coffin

The Glider Pilots of World War II

Pre-order. Available Sep 10 2024

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The first major history of the American glider pilots, the forgotten heroes of World War II, by a New York Times bestselling author. A story of no guns, no engines and no second chances.

This book distills war down to individual young men climbing into defenseless gliders made of plywood, ready to trust the towing aircraft that would pull them into enemy territory by a single cable wrapped with telephone wire. Based on their after-action reports, journals, oral histories, and letters home, this book reveals every terrifying minute of their missions.

They were all volunteers, for a specialized duty that their own government projected would have a 50 percent casualty rate. None faltered. In every major European invasion of the war they led the way. They landed their gliders ahead of the troops who stormed Omaha Beach, and sometimes miles ahead of the paratroopers bound for the far side of the Rhine River in Germany itself. From there, they had to hold their positions. They delivered medical teams, supplies and gasoline to troops surrounded in the Battle of the Bulge, ahead even of Patton's famous supply truck convoy. These all-volunteer glider pilots played a pivotal role in liberating the West from tyranny, from the day the Allies invaded Occupied Europe to the day Germany finally surrendered. Yet the story of these anonymous heroes is virtually unknown. Here it is told in full – a story which epitomizes courage and sacrifice.

Table of Contents

Author's Notes

List of Illustrations
1. Guts and Gliders Wanted
2. Crashing is a Lonely Sound
3. “Prepare to Ditch”
4. Pea Patch Savior
5. Popcorn Popping
6. “The Germans Are Coming!”
7. “Our Men Were Lucky”
8. Like Hornets at a Church Cookout
9. They Were Invisible
10. The Hole in the Donut
11. Beyond Commendation
12. World War II's Orphans
13. Epilogue

Selected Bibliography

Product details

Published Sep 10 2024
Format Paperback
Edition 1st
Extent 288
ISBN 9781472852953
Imprint Osprey Publishing
Illustrations 16-page plate section in black & white
Dimensions 9 x 6 inches
Series General Military
Short code GNM
Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing

About the contributors


Scott McGaugh

Scott McGaugh is a veteran journalist and publishe…


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