Chris Brown has attached the tow hook and jumped on board with the Air Landing troops to have a look at how they differed to the other British Airborne units:
The Airlanding battalions of the Airborne Divisions are often ignored, or, at best, seen as the poor relation of the Parachute Regiment. They were actually, without exception, tremendously effective units and fought with distinction in North Africa, Italy and Northern Europe. They were not volunteers, but standard infantry battalions allotted to glider service and they make excellent Bolt Action forces…
The Airlanding Platoon was designed to fit neatly into a single Horsa glider as a discrete unit. Airlanding units were rained to a very high standard indeed and should always be rated as veterans.
The precise structure of an airlanding platoon varied considerably at the discretion of battalion and even company commanders, but typically it was about 27 men. Led by a lieutenant, the platoon had two sections of eight men with a Bren gun and two Stens.
The third ‘scout’ section had only five men but sported two Bren guns and two men trained as snipers. The balance of the platoon would be a combination that might consist of of a signaler, a two-man 2” mortar team or PIAT team, a medic and one or more runners for the platoon headquarters team.
Each platoon had a handcart which would generally be the responsibility of the headquarters group and would contain ammunition and either the PIAT or the 2” mortar or even both.
An airlanding company would typically travel in five gliders; one for each of the four platoons and a fifth for the twelve men and two officers of the company headquarters. By 1944 the remaining space in the company HQ glider would generally be taken up by men from other parts of the battalion, but prior to that each company had a section of two 3” mortars to provide close support under the direct control of the company commander.
An airlanding battalion was more heavily equipped than paratroop units, with two anti-tank gun platoons and would also have a stock of 300 Sten guns which could be issued to increase short-range firepower for combat in forests or built-up areas. In Bolt Action terms an airlanding unit is a potent force with plenty of options!
Make your own Airborne platoon!
Check out the Market Garden theatre selector on page 83!