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United States' Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport

Photos

Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport:
United States' Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport
U.S. Army Signal Corps
Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport:
United States' Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport
U.S. Army Signal Corps
Douglas C-47 Skytrain taking off towing a glider:
United States' Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport
United States Army in World War II, Pictorial Record, The War Against Germany and Italy: Mediterranean and Adjacent Areas, 1951, pg 82
Douglas C-53 Skytrooper transport:
United States' Douglas C-53 Skytrooper transport
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Douglas C-53 Skytrooper transport:
United States' Douglas C-53 Skytrooper transport
Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook
Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport:
United States' Douglas C-47 Skytrain transport

Design

The Douglas C-47 Skytrain was based on the DC-3 airliner.1,2,3 The C-47 was designed by A. E. Raymond and E. F. Burton in 1935.4

Was nicknamed the "gooney bird" by United States Air Force Personnel.1

The radio operator was located in a compartment behind the cockpit.1

There were folding wooden seats for the passengers.1 There were also fittings for carrying 18 stretchers.1

There were two cargo doors that opened outwards for loading and unloading.1 There was a smaller inset door for dropping paratroopers.1

Prototype

The prototype DC-3/C-47 was flown on December 15, 19352 / December 17, 19351,3,4.

Production

The first military orders for the C-47 were given in 1940.2,4

Douglas built 10,691 C-47 Skytrains.1 Some were built in Japan, by Nakajima, and the Soviet Union, by Lisunov.1,3

  • Douglas DC-3 / Douglas DST: 4553
  • Douglas C-47: 9532,3
  • Douglas C-47A: 4,9312,3
  • Douglas C-47B: 3,2412,3
  • Douglas C-53: 3703
  • Douglas TC-47B: 1332
  • Total: 10,0482, 10,6653, 10,1234
  • Russia- Lisunov Li-2: ~2,0004, ~2,5003, 2,7002
  • Japan- Nakajima L2D: 4853, 4874
  • Grand Total: 13,0004

Variants

  • Douglas C-47 / Douglas Dakota Mk I: Had 12 volt system.2
  • Douglas C-47A / Douglas Dakota Mk III: Had 24 volt system.2
  • Douglas C-47B / Douglas Dakota Mk IV: Had high altitude superchargers with the R-1830-90 engines.2,3 Intended for use to fly over the Himalayas between India and China.4
  • Douglas C-53 Skytrooper / Douglas Dakota Mk II: Personnel transporter.3,4 Also used for glider towing and paratroop drops. The cabin floor was lightly reinforced.5
  • Douglas TC-47B: Trainer.2
  • Douglas XC-47C: Had floats installed.1,3 One was built and a few were field modified.1
  • Lisunov Li-2: Soviet built version.2
  • Douglas R4D: United States Navy and Marine Corps designation.3 ~400.3

Usage

Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Soviet Union, and the United States used the C-47.3

DC-3 First Use

American Airways first used the DC-3 in June 1936 for its New York to Chicago line.4

United Kingdom

The British gave the C-47 the nickname "Dakota."4

25 Royal Air Force (RAF) squadrons were outfitted with 1,8453 / 1,895 / ~2,0004 Dakotas.2

There were 50 RAF and Commonwealth squadrons outfitted with the C-47.3

United States

There were 34 groups that were equipped with the C-47.3

After World War II

The United States Air Force still had over 1,000 C-47s in use as late as 1961.2

The last Royal Air Force Dakota was withdrawn from service on April 4, 1970.4

A War Winner

When asked about the key equipment used to win World War II, Dwight Eisenhower said "The bazooka, the jeep, the atom bomb, and the DC-3."4

Japan

Nakajima built the L2D, code named Tabby by the Allies.

Vietnam War

During the Vietnam War some C-47s were converted into minigun platforms by installing heavy weapons in the fuselage.4

Specifications

  Douglas C-47 Skytrain /
Dakota Mk I
Type Transport2,3
Crew 32
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-1839-92 piston2
OR 2: Wright R-1820 Cyclone3
OR 2: Pratt & Whitney R-18303
Cylinders Radial2
R-1820: Radial 93
R-1830: Radial 143
Cooling  
HP 1,200 each2
R-1820: 1,000 - 1,200 each3
R-1830: 1,200 each3
Propeller blades 3 each3
Capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 95'3, 95' 6"2
28.95 m3, 29.11 m2
Length 63' 9"2, 64' 5.5"3
19.43 m2, 19.62 m3
Height 16' 11"3, 17'2
5.15 m3, 5.18 m2
Wing area 987 ft2 2
91.69 m2 2
Weight  
Empty 18,200 lb2
8,256 kg2
Loaded 26,000 lb2
11,805 kg2
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 8,500' /
2,590 m
230 mph2
370 kph2
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Climb to 10,000 ' /
3,050 m
9.6 minutes2
Service ceiling 24,000'2
7,315 m2
Range 1,600 miles2
2,575 km2
Armament  
Cargo 10,000 lb2,3
4,536 kg2,3
OR 27 armed troops2, 28 troops3
OR 25 paratroops2
OR 18-25 stretchers2 , 18-24 stretchers3
  Douglas C-47A /
Dakota Mk III
Type Cargo, troop, paratroop transport1
Glider tug1
Crew 31
Pilot, co-pilot, radio operator1
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp1
Cylinders Radial1
Cooling  
HP 1,200 each1
Propeller blades 3 each1
Capacity 6.5 gallon1
30 liter1
Dimensions  
Span 95' 6"1
29.11 m1
Length 63' 9"1
19.43 m1
Height 17'1
5.18 m1
Wing area 987 ft2 1
91.69 m2 1
Weight  
Empty 18,163 lb1, 18,190 lb3
8,250 kg3, 8,256 kg1
Loaded 25,947 lb1
11,794 kg1
Maximum load 29,300 lb3
13,290 kg3
Performance  
Speed 229 mph3
368 kph3
Speed @ 7,500' /
2,285 m
226 mph1
365 kph1
Cruising speed 185 mph3
298 kph3
Climb 1,160'/minute3
353 m/minute3
Climb to 10,000 ' /
3,050 m
 
Service ceiling 24,000'1,3
7,070 m1, 7,315 m3
Range 1,500 miles3, 1,597 miles1
2,414 km1,3
Armament None1
Cargo 9,979 lb1
4,536 kg1
OR 28 paratroopers1
OR 18 stretchers1
OR  
  Douglas C-47B
Type Transport4
Crew 2 - 34
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp4
Cylinders Radial 144
Cooling Air4
HP 1,200 each4
Propeller blades  
Capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 95' 6"4
Length 63' 9"4
Height 17'4
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 26,000 lb4
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed 230 mph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range 1,600 miles4
Armament None4
Cargo  
OR 27 passengers4
  Douglas C-53 Skytrooper
Type Transport5
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp5
Cylinders Radial5
Cooling  
HP 1,050 each5
Propeller blades  
Capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 95'5
Length 64' 6"5
Height 16' 11"5
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 26,000 lb5
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed 230 mph5
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range 1,300 miles5
Armament  
Cargo  

Sources:

  1. Aircraft of WWII, General Editor: Jim Winchester, 2004
  2. Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Editor: Karen Leverington, 1995
  3. Aircraft of WWII, Stewart Wilson, 1998
  4. World War II Airplanes Volume 2, Enzo Angelucci, Paolo Matricardi, 1976
  5. Aeronautics Aircraft Spotters' Handbook, Ensign L. C. Guthman, 1943
20th Century American Military History Crucial Site