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U.S. Marine Corps World War II Glider Program | Photos

The early success of German glider operations in World War II prompted the U.S. Navy and U.S. Marine Corps to start a glider program of their own. Despite limited experience with gliders, the Marine Corps envisioned gliders as contributing to its amphibious doctrine. To that end, the Navy procured a number of Schweizer LNS-1 two-seat gliders and assigned them to Glider Group 71, based at the Glider Pilot Training Center at Page Field, Parris Island, S.C. At Page Field, would-be Marine glider pilots trained with the LNS-1 and LNE-1. The LNS-1 was a sailplane-type glider, and therefore unsuitable for the training necessary to learn how to pilot the heavier assault gliders. The impracticality of using gliders in amphibious operations on the small atolls and in the jungles of the Pacific, where the Marine Corps was primarily focused, doomed the Marine Corps glider program. In June 1943, the program was scrapped and the pilots involved were transferred to more traditional flying units. However, at the time these photographs were taken by Alfred Palmer in May, 1942, the program was very much active. Palmer visited Page Field as part of his duties with the Office of War Information.

 

Schweizer LNS-1

Type: Sailplane glider

Crew: Pilot and instructor

Dimensions: Length 25 feet;  wingspan: 52 feet, 3 inches; wing area 214 square feet

Weight: Empty: 450 pounds; maximum: 850 pounds

Performance: Glide Ratio 23.5 to 1; rate of sink: 165 feet/minute

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Steven Hoarn is the Editor/Photo Editor for Defense Media Network. He is a graduate of...