World War II, was the most brutal and devastating conflict in the history of the humankind. It is said that about 62 million people or 2.5% of the world's population died in the war.
Its consequences brought a new era of weapons of mass destruction and changed the balance of the world powers - for generations to come. The Second World War is thought to be the most documented incident in the archives of the human history.
Countless of books, films and testimonials have been produced about the war, yet one unnoticed and unvoiced chapter remains - the story of the gliding pilots of America. Leading almost every allied attack during the conflict there was courageous bunch of 6,000 American pilots whose deeds and achievements withstand as proof to their important service.
These bold American aviators flew troops and essential cargo on silent, one-way, transport missions deep behind the enemy lines with each enemy-gunfire-obstructed landing likely being their last. What remains is an extraordinary story, graphic in the recollection of the American glider veterans and memorable to men who flew with them.
At the beginning of the war Belgian Fort Eben Emael, safeguarding the Belgian-German border, was largely considered as "the most defended fort in the world", impenetrable by ground and secured by almost 1,000 Belgian gunners. However, the fort became an obstacle to one of the most lethal and boldest attacks in military history.
Operation "Granite", carefully outlined by Adolf Hitler, was about to utilize the fort's single weakness - it's roof. With a horizontal, field-like surface almost 1000 yards long, Fort Eben Emael's covering made the ideal natural airstrip. One morning, 40 attack gliders lifted off from the airports near Cologne and 11 of those headed to Fort Eben Emael.
The airborne Special Forces were well armed with flamethrowers and a top-secret 110 pound hollow charge bomb. The unaware Belgians would soon undergo more devastating force in a shorter time span, than had ever been observed in warfare.