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Fairchild C-119 & Douglas C-47 Rescue And Recovery

DC3 / C-47 'Dakota' operational history

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History of the Douglas C-47 Dakota
Type Military transport aircraft Manufacturer Douglas Aircraft Company
Designed by Douglas Aircraft Developed from Douglas DC-3
Number built >10,000 Produced 1949-1955
Primary users
U.S. Army Air Force,
US Air Force
Royal Air Force
Lisunov Li-2
AC-47 Spooky
The C-47 was vital to the success of many Allied campaigns, in particular those at Guadalcanal and in the jungles of New Guinea and Burma where the C-47 (and its naval version, the R4D) alone made it possible for Allied troops to counter the mobility of the light-travelling Japanese army. Additionally, C-47s were used to airlift supplies to the embattled American forces during the Battle of Bastogne. But possibly its most influential role in military aviation was flying The Hump from India into China where the expertise gained would later be used in the Berlin Airlift in which the C-47 would also play its part.

In Europe, the C-47 and a specialized paratroop variant, the C-53 Skytrooper, were used in vast numbers in the later stages of the war, particularly to tow gliders and drop paratroops during the D-Day Landings.

C-47 in its Glory Days
C-47 42-100611 in service Photo credit - Coert Monk

C-47s in British and Commonwealth service took the name Dakota. The C-47 also earned the nickname Gooney Bird during the European theater of operations.

The USAF Strategic Air Command had C-47 Skytrains in service from 1946 through 1947.

After World War II the U.S. Navy also structurally modified a number of the early Navy R4D aircraft and re-designated the modified aircraft as R4D-8.

The C-47 was used by the Americans in the initial stages of the Berlin Airlift and was subsequently replaced by the C-54.

The Air Force also continued to use the C-47 for various roles, including the AC-47 gunships - code named Puff the Magic Dragon or Spooky - and the EC-47 for counterintelligence during the Vietnam War.

The Royal Canadian Air Force also adopted the C-47 for use in search & rescue operations throughout the 1940s and 50s.

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