Operation Tonga – The Glider Assault: 6 June 1944 is an account of the Glider Pilot Regiment’s role in Operation Tonga, the first stage of the airborne assault in the Normandy landings in June 1944. The story is told through the eyes of those who were there – glider pilots, paratroopers, pathfinders, tug crews and passengers – and covers the operation from training through to evacuations after D-Day.
Operation Tonga was vital to the success of D-Day and included the now famous attacks on the Merville Battery and the bridges over the Orne River and Caen Canal. The equally important, though less well known, part of the operation was to provide an anti-tank screen to protect the southern and eastern flanks of the invasion beaches from German counter attacks. The account includes stories of crew who evaded capture by the Germans and pays tribute to the help they received from local resistance fighters. The contribution of the nine gliders which took part in the ‘Coup de Main’ landings has been well-documented, but of the other eighty-nine gliders which took part, little has been written. Operation Tonga: The Glider Assault: 6 June 1944 tells the full story.
Kevin Shannon’s father, Bill, took part in Operation Tonga. Shannon spent ten years in the British Army, serving in a number of regiments. After many years of teaching history in a secondary school, he now works with young people with behavioural problems.
Stephen Wright is the nephew of Billy Marfleet who was killed on Operation Tonga. He is a former teacher and currently works as a youth officer in the fire and rescue service. It was through their mutual interest in the operation that the two spent three years gathering stories from survivors and reading official accounts.
Dimensions: 234 x 156 mm
Illustrations: 31 b/w photographs