A real D-Day survivor – the C-47


I have no idea how I resisted posting about the C-47/C-53/R4D/DC-3/Dakota family for so long………….and here is one of the most historically significant aircraft I have ever seen. The Great Vintage Flying Weekend is a wonderful celebration of classic and vintage aviation in all its forms. Last year saw the lunchtime flying display portion of the programme feature the immaculate C-47A, N1994A, ‘J8-B’.

The C47A Skytrain was one of the important weapons available to the Allied forces during WW2, indeed no less a person than General Dwight Eisenhower, the Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force, listed the 6×6 truck, the bulldozer, the landing craft and the C-47 as the four machines that won the Second World War. An excellent load-carrier (after all it had been developed from the DC-3 airliner, and its earlier ‘family members’) it really came into its own during the various African and European invasions. C-47s were used by US Troop Carrier Wings in ‘Operation Torch’, North Africa, ‘Operation Husky’, Sicily, ‘Operation Dragoon’, South of France, and, of course, ‘Operation Overlord’, Normandy. C-47s went on to play a major role in ‘Operation Market Garden’, Holland, and ‘Operation Varsity’, Rhine Crossing, Germany, as well as supporting Allied troops in the China-Burma-India theatre and the Southwest Pacific. 

Powered by two Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines of 1,200hp, over 10,000 of these extremely capable aircraft were built in plants in California and Oklahoma, and saw action on every Allied war front. This C-47A was built in 1943, with the serial ’43-15211′, and was assigned to the 92nd Troop Carrier Squadron of the 439th Troop Carrier Group, 9th Air Force. It, and other aircraft of the 92nd, flew into history on the night of the 5/6th June 1944, when they took off from Upottery Airfield (USAAF Station AAF-462) in Devon, bound for a drop zone on the Cotentin Peninsula,  in Normandy. The 92nd were carrying Easy Company (about to gain fame as the ‘Band of Brothers’), Lt. Dick Winters and many other paratroopers of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 101st Airborne Division on their very first combat jump. This aircraft survived many other tough wartime operations, and was later to serve with both the Norwegian and Danish Air Forces.

Finally sold on the civilian market, it had a number of US-based owners before being acquired by Wings Venture Ltd, an organisation headquartered in Greenwich, Connecticut. Traces of its former civilian life can be seen in the dorsal blade aerial and other equipment changes, but the current camouflage of US  Olive Drab with patches of Medium Green and the black and white D-Day stripes are ‘correct’ for the Overlord drop. It is shown parked outside the Delta Jets Ltd  hangar at Cotswold Airport, Kemble, during the 2010 Great Vintage Flying Weekend. It gave a display which, thanks to RAF operational restrictions, the crew of the Battle of Britain Memorial Flight’s Dakota would simply not be allowed to perform! A superb aircraft, and a wonderous piece of living history.

Addendum: 26th January, 2011

It is with very great sadness that I must record the passing of Major Richard (Dick) Winters, USA (Ret’d), of Hershey, Pennsylvania. We have lost a true gentleman, a magnificent soldier, and a gallant soul. Requisat in pace.

 

http://bit.ly/TPMFund

http://peoplesmosquito.org.uk

Advertisements

4 comments on “A real D-Day survivor – the C-47”

  1. […] A real D-Day survivor by shortfinals | I have no idea how I resisted posting about the C-47/C-53/R4D/DC-3/Dakota family for so long………….and here is one of the most historically significant aircraft I have ever seen. The Great Vintage Flying Weekend is a wonderful weekend of classic and vintage aviation in all its forms. Last year saw the lunchtime flying display portion of the programme feature the immaculate C-47A, N1994A, ‘J8-B’. History Major’s Dream Vacation – Udvar Hazy part II – Reaching … by Redfokker | It does not look like much, but it is another rare piece of aviation history and I was excited to see it. The airplane/spacecraft geek in me got all weepy in viewing some of the most mundane artifacts of the space race of the 1960s. … Airplane Geeks – Episode 123 – Listener Mailbag | Airplane Geeks … by maxflight | We also have David’s This Week in Aviation history segment, the Australia Desk report by Steve and Grant from the Plane Crazy Down Under podcast, and Pieter Johnson’s latest Across the Pond segment. Mentions: The World Airport Data App … Greatest Generation: James Mulder – WSAV-TV | On October 6th on a bomb run to take out a ball bearing factory in Berlin Mulder’s B-17 was shot down. “The two guys in the waist got killed and the guy in … […]

    Like

  2. Reblogged this on justincrewsblog and commented:
    My Great Uncle Carlos Crews was the chief flight Engineer for all of the J series C-47s on D-Day. I want to honor him as well as the Band of Brothers. Amazingly Uncle Carlos is still alive today and I will begin to write some of his stories that he has recently portrayed to us.

    Like

    • Delighted to hear that your Great Uncle Carlos is still with us! Please show him the photograph in the blog and send him my very best wishes. I am now involved in this project http://www.peoplesmosquito.org.uk If you go on our site you will find a 9 minute color film of WW2 Mosquitoes on a bombing raid. Cheers Ross

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for the information on the Mosquitoes. I was really inspired by your blog tonight. I hope to have a great story to post in a couple weeks about WW2 and some of my Great Uncles experiences aboard the C-47.

        Like


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: