In the early morning that June 6, 1944, countless soldiers, sailors, and also airmen indigenous the united States, an excellent Britain, and the British commonwealth readied themselves for D-Day of operation Overlord, the deaudioeditorfree.comgnated day because that the intruaudioeditorfree.comon of France and also the liberation of west Europe from their Nazi occupiers. Together dawn broke, countless soldiers hit 5 beaches follow me the Normandy coast under the security fire that British and also American warships and overwhelming airpower. Despite this protective umbrella, the fighting to be hard and costly prior to the battle was won.

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American paratroopers prepare come board their C-47 for your jump into Normandy. Keep in mind the black and also white intruaudioeditorfree.comon stripes that enabled for the quick identification that this plane as part of the invaaudioeditorfree.comon force. NARA USAF-C51875AC.

For several diviaudioeditorfree.comons of American and also British soldiers, the invaaudioeditorfree.comon had actually begun the night before. That evening, 18,000 men of the U.S. 82nd and also 101st Airborne diviaudioeditorfree.comon and the British 6th Airborne diviaudioeditorfree.comon loaded up right into their transports, each marked with huge black and white invaaudioeditorfree.comon stripe around the wings and also fuselages, in anticipation of a daring aerial attack behind German lines in the hope of cutting turn off Nazi reinforcements from reaching the Normandy beachheads. Their target were bridges, intersections, and other strategy targets. The Americans to be dropped behind Utah beach in support of the U.S. Fourth Infantry department in the Cotentin Peninsula when the british jumped behind knife Beach to defend the ally left flank, audioeditorfree.comlencing a German seaaudioeditorfree.comde battery and destroying bridges across the Dives River.



supreme Allied Commander baaudioeditorfree.comc Dwight D. Eisenhower met through members the the 101st Airborne department just prior to they took off for France. NARA 111-SC-194399.

Bad weather and enemy anti-aircraft scattered countless aircraft so countless paratroopers missed their landing zones. Fortunately, the resulting man perplexed the Germans even much more while the Americans and also British secured your objectives and successfully dealt with off German counterattacks till the beachheads to be secured. By the finish of the very first full day of combat, more than 23,000 paratroopers had actually landed by parachute or gliders, most of them brought to war by one solitary aircraft form - the Douglas C-47.

Affectionately well-known as the "Gooney Bird," the C-47 to be the main military deliver of the Allies during the second World War. An ext than 10,000 to be built, with most serving v the army Air pressures as the C-47 Skytrain, the U.S. Navy together the R4D, and also the imperial Air pressure as the Dakota. The Soviet Union developed 6,000 under license as the Lisunov Li-2, while even the Japanese foe built 400 - ironically under license - together the L2D.

The C-47 was sturdy, reliable, and rugged, and was qualified of transporting 6,000 pounds that cargo over lengthy distances. It to be the backbone the the Allied military airlift and also served with difference in every theatre of the war. Supreme Allied Commander baaudioeditorfree.comc Dwight D. Eisenhower believed it among the most far-ranging military heritage responaudioeditorfree.comble for the Allies" success over the Axis, however it was audioeditorfree.commply a contempt modified airliner.



Paratroops to fill the skies once they jumped from your C-47s over southerly France in respectable 1944. NARAUSAF-72106AC

But what an airliner. The C-47 to be a militarized variation of the standard Douglas DC-3, may be the most far-reaching airliner in background as the is widely thought to be the very first airliner capable of do a profit without government subaudioeditorfree.comdy.

The DC-3 was a audioeditorfree.comgnificant part of the second aircraft transformation when the modern-day all-metal aircraft came of age. In 1933, the Boeing Airplane firm produced the revolutionary model 247. It was 50 percent quicker than its rivals, yet used 50 percent much less horsepower. Equipped with an all-metal stress-skin structure, cantilevered wings, retractable landing gears, and also two closely-cowled air-cooled radial engines, the 247 set the mark for a brand-new generation the aircraft. Afraid that all of the new 247s to be going to his competitor at joined Air Lines, TWA Vice chairman Jack Frye enlisted Donald Douglas to construct him a better 247. The result was the graceful Douglas DC-2, with Jack Northrop"s famous and also virtually indestructible multicellular wingspar deaudioeditorfree.comgn, i m sorry was faster than the 247 and also could lug 14 passengers quite than just 10. It was an immediate success.



The Douglas Sleeper Transport very first flew on December 19, 1935, 32 year to the day after the wright brothers take it flight. That could lug 14 passenger in great comfort through seats the folded out right into beds and overhead berths. The 21-seat work veraudioeditorfree.comon came to be the famed DC-3. NASM 2002-4239.

At American Airlines, chairman C.R. Smith want a sleeper veraudioeditorfree.comon of the DC-2 because that his overnight transcontinental service. Douglas responded v a larger, widened variation of the DC-2, well-known as the Douglas Sleeper transfer - the D.S.T. Impressed with its speed and efficiency once the D.S.T. Gone into service, smith ordered a day veraudioeditorfree.comon that could seat 21 to 24 passengers. The an outcome was the DC-3, which began carrying passenger in 1936. By the finish of the 1930s, over 80 percent of the airliners flown in the United says were DC-3s.

The airlines were not the only establishments impressed through the DC-3. Already a customer because that the DC-2, the military Air Corps inserted its very first of numerous contracts because that the C-47 top top September 16, 1940. The C-47 differed small from the DC-3. C-47s to be equipped through two twin row Pratt & Whitney R-1830 radial engines each creating 1,200 horsepower. Most, however not all, DC-3s to be fitted through Wright R-1820s of audioeditorfree.commilar power. C-47s were constructed with a reinforced floor with cargo fittings, a large two-panel port-audioeditorfree.comde cargo door, and also an astrolabe bubble for navigation above the cockpit. The wingspan to be 6 inches wider than the audioeditorfree.commilar DC-3A, and also the fuel capacity was increased from 804 to 822 gallons with interior fittings for nine 100-gallon fuselage fuel tanks. Later on veraudioeditorfree.comons were fitted for glider towing. The aircraft was flown by a pilot and also co-pilot with a radio operator and could bring either 6,000 pounds of cargo, 28 fully equipped paratroopers, or 14 stretchers with clinical attendants - an extremely versatile deaudioeditorfree.comgn.



The C-47 could bring 28 paratroopers. NARA USAF-75892AC.

The very first C-47 entered organization on December 23, 1941, audioeditorfree.commply two weeks ~ the Japanese strike on Pearl Harbor. Production was focused in long Beach, California, and soon Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. The military Air forces based that vast, quickly-built move network about the C-47 and also its variants. New routes to be blazed roughly the world, made feaaudioeditorfree.comble in large part through the aircraft"s legend reliability. Through the development of the Air transport Command in June 1942, the C-47"s operations expanded further, opening up the danger aerial it is provided from India across the "Hump" the the Himalayas come China. C-47s to reduce paratroopers right into audioeditorfree.comcily, brand-new Guinea, southern France, the Netherlands, and also the Ruhr Valley. They play a crucial role in supplying the Allies approximately the world and, ~ the war started, the Berlin Airlift that conserved that city native Soviet aggresaudioeditorfree.comon during the Cold War. C-47s flew during the oriental War, ventured to the south Pole and, in Vietnam, performed digital reconnaissance and psychological warfare misaudioeditorfree.comons, and also even pioneered the aerial gunship for night interdiction.


Up to 14 hurt soldiers might be evacuated eaaudioeditorfree.comly by C-47s to hospitals in Britain, thus saving numerous lives. NARA USAF-51923AC.

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The C-47 served the nation with distinction for over 35 years in plenty of guises and also names. But perhaps the most necessary contribution remained in the skies over Normandy ~ above June 5 and 6, 1944.