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Transport planes are the workhorses of any modern army, transporting men and equipment over long distances. They are also instrumental in keeping surrounded troops alive by dropping supplies to them, or carrying Paratroopers or Airborne into action. As two factions use this plane, the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, it can be easily recognized, as the British is more colorful, and the American has only one colour and the markings.


Douglas C-47 Skytrain.jpg

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) made it possible for Allied troops to counter the mobility of the light-traveling 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. The expertise gained flying "The Hump" would later be used in the Berlin Airlift, in which the C-47 would play a major role, until being replaced by the C-54. Large numbers of C-47s were used in 'Operation Market Garden', in which British, American and Polish forces would secure key bridges in Holland, planning to end the war by Christmas 1944. This was considered to be the largest airborne operation in history.

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. In the Pacific, with careful use of the island landing strips of the Pacific Ocean, C-47s were even used for ferrying soldiers serving in the Pacific theater back to the United States. The Soviets copied down it to the last rivet as the Li-2 . The Japanese did the same.

C-47s in British and Commonwealth service took the name Dakota, from the acronym "DACoTA" for Douglas Aircraft Company Transport Aircraft. The C-47 also earned the informal nickname Gooney Bird in the European theater of operations. The USAF Strategic Air Command had C-47 Skytrains in service from 1946 through 1967.

After World War II thousands of surplus C-47s were converted to civil airline use, some still remaining in operation in 2010.


See also