WW II, a British focus  

Report on Primasole
The 2nd Battalion, Parachute Regiment

1.   General

This operation was planned to land 1 PARACHUTE BDE GP consisting of Bde H.Q. 1, 2, and 3 Bns Parachute Regt. with under comd dets 1 Airborne A. Tk Bty, 1 Parachute Fd Sqn, R.E., 16 Parachute Fd Amb, R.A.M.C., 21 Indep Parachute Coy and 4 Army Film and Photographic Section by parachute and glider on night 12/13 or any subsequent night to carry out task of capturing rd bridge over R. SIMETO on the main road AUGUSTA - CATANIA to assist the advance of Eighth Army northwards.

The Bde Group was to land on 4 D.Z.s and 2 L.Z.s in the area close to the br.

The Bde Group was prepared to depart on night 12/13 July, but the operation was postponed for 24 hrs; it took place on the night 13/14.

2.   Availability of A/C

For this operation one additional Troop Carrier Group - 64 Group - was made available for 51 Wing. The whole Group was not used as such, but individual A/C were taken from the Group to replace deficiencies in the 60th and 62nd Groups.

The following numbers of A/C were available for take off:-

Parachute A/C -

51 A/C from 60 Troop Carrier Group.
50 A/C from 62 Troop Carrier Group.
4 A/C from 64 Troop Carrier Group.
11 Albemarles from 296 Sqn., R.A.F.

Gliders - 1 Airborne A/T Bty

8 Albemarles towing WACO gliders from 296 Sqn., R.A.F.
4 Albemarles towing HORSA gliders from 296 Sqn., R.A.F.
7 Halifax towing HORSA gliders from 295 Sqn., R.A.F.

A total of -

116 Parachute A/C
8 WACO Gliders
11 HORSA Gliders
Allocation of A/C to airfields is shown in Appx 'A'

In addition to the above totals, spare A/C were available on each airfield in the event of any A/C going u/s. It was only possible to provider this large number of gliders owing to their not being used for 2 Bde operation. Had this operation taken place, approx. 5 HORSA and 5 WACO Gliders would have been available for 1 Para Bde operation.

3. Preparation

Containers were painted white and fitted with lighting sets by R.E.M.E. personnel and the direction of C.R.E.M.E. some 600 containerss of various types were requiered. Those containers were delivered to 1 Parachute Bde approx three days prior to the operation, and loaded in unit lines the day prior.

Parachutes, both X Type and container chutes, were delivered to unit lines by the M.P.S.U. at 1800 hrs the evening prior to the operation.

4. Move to Airfields

One three-ton lorry was provided from Div R.A.S.C. on the morning of take off for each A/C load, each lorry bore the serial number or letter of the A/C/ These lorries were loaded in unit lines with the stick, their own parachutes and containers. Lorries moved to Airfields according to a simple march table from 1345 hrs onwards. On arrival at Airfields lorries were routed direct to their respective A/C in their dispersal areas, where container loading commenced at approx 1630 hrs. Containers were loaded on A/C in accordance with the standard procedure, i.e. by each stick themselves, under Air Corps and R.A.F. supervision. The Air side being responsible for the correct loading of the A/C.

Glider loading was carried out the day prior to the operation, in the same manner as outlined for 1 Air Landing Bde operation.

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