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German glider troopers on an exercise, charging from a DFS 230 glider upon landing, somewhere in Italy, September 1943.

This photo shows a training exercise either before or soon after the Gran Sasso raid "Operation Eiche", the rescue of the Italian dictator Benito Mussolini by German paratroopers led by Major Otto-Harald Mors and Waffen-SS commandos in September 1943.

The DFS 230 was a Luftwaffe assault glider, developed by the Deutsche Forschungsanstalt für Segelflug (German Research Institute for Sailplane Flight). Hans Jacobs was the lead designer.
It was intended for paratrooper assault operations, carrying ten soldiers with equipment or a payload of about 1,200 kg. The usual tug was a JU-52 but photos exist showing tugs as varied as Ju-87 and Ju-88's. DFS-230 gliders were used famously and successfully in the assaults at Eben-Emael and in the raid at Gran Sasso (Photo source - Bundesarchiv - Bild 101I-569-1579-14A) (Colorised by Tom Thounaojam from Imphal, India)


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A Fallschirmjäger with an FG-42 around his shoulder, poses in front of a DFS-230/C1 glider on top of Gran Sasso (the mountain) during Operation Eik to rescue Benito Mussolini, 12 September 1943. -------------

The DFS 230 transport glider. Mostly used for paratrooper assault operations, this glider could carry 9-10 soldiers. As it had no powerhouse, they were usually tugged by Ju 52s as well as Ju 87s (pictured above) and Ju 88s. Such gliders are noted for being summoned for the Mussolini rescue, Operation Rösselsprung, the Battle of Crete and the assault on Fort Eben-Emael in Belgium. The Battle for Eben-Emael in 1940 was the first major utilization of these gliders, forty two DFS 230s carrying 493 paratroopers were committed to taking the fortress and bridges in the area. Nine gliders landed in the fort and nearly 80 paratroopers succeeded taking it. They rid of any resistance, as well as demolished key gun emplacements with explosives. They then continued to hold the fort for 24 hours until they were relieved by other German armed forces.

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