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Silent Wings- Savage Death Paperback – December 3, 2007
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The use of gliders in combat was unique to WWII. Entering battle in a plywood box with wings, a glider soldier put his life in the hands of the glider pilotto land the glider safely and smoothly behind enemy lines. It was a harrowing experience which many did not survive. Silent Wings Savage Death authored by Dr. Alfred J. Nigl and his brother Charles A. Nigl chronicles one of these glider units during WWII, the 319th GFAB of the 82nd Airborne Division. The book begins with an indepth look at the development of gliders for combat and their use by the Germans in their Blitzkrieg attacks. The book continues by looking at the British glider program as well as other glider units of the American Army. Although gliders have long since been relegated to the back shelf of history, the 319th continues to be at the fore front of the fight in Iraq and Afghanistan (ie the 319th Artillery Regiment) the sucessor of the 319th Glider Battalion is now the sole arm of artillery support for the 82nd Airborne. Reading this book one feels a sense of pride and tradition and espirit de corps as one reads the personal recollections of some of the men who entered combat in this way. This book records for prosterity the brave men of these specialized units so they will not be forgotten in the annals of history. I highly recommend this book for those interested in understanding the danger and self sacrifice that the men of these specialized units faced during the war. Dominic T. Beillo Webmaster US Airborne during WWII --Dominic T. Beillo, Webmaster, U.S. Airborne WW2
About the Author
Dr. Alfred J. Nigl earned his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology in 1975 from the University of Cincinnati. He is the author and co-author of four books ranging from Pain Management to Childhood Development. Co-author, Charles A. Nigl, earned a Bachelors Degree in the Social Sciences at UW- Oshkosh in 1974. Both of the authors are sons of PFC Alfred J. Nigl who served with the 319th GFAB from 1942 until his discharge in 1945, seeing combat action in Italy, Normandy, Holland, Belgium and Germany.
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Walter Cronkite rode one into Normandy and wrote later, "if going into combat, parachute, walk or swim if you had to but do not set foot in a glider".
My father made 4 combat drops and hundreds of pratice,training drops. He and his friends have hair raising tails to tell.
Nice salute to those who made the flights and didn't make it home. Go to the Silent Wings Musuem in Lubbock Texas to see the whole story.
Silent Wings Savage Death chronicles the story of one of those glider units during World War 2, the 319th Glider Field Artillery Battalions (GFAB) of the 82nd Airborne Division. The book begins with an in depth look at the development of gliders for combat and their application during Germany's Blitzkrieg and continues with a look at other GFAB units in the U.S. Army. Although gliders have long since been relegated to back shelf of history, this book is a great resource and testament to a unit that is still in the thick of combat today in Iraq. Reading this book, one feels a sense of tradition and esprit de corps thread its way through the history and personal accounts of some of the men who entered combat this way.
This book records for posterity the brave men of these specialized units so that they will not be forgotten or overlooked in the annals of history. I highly recommend this book for those interested in understanding the danger and self-sacrifice that the men of these specialized units faced during the war.
Dominic T Biello
US Airborne during WW2