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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. The C-47 was designed by A. E. Raymond and E. F. Burton in 1935.

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

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

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

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

Prototype

The prototype DC-3/C-47 was flown on December 15, 1935 / December 17, 1935.

Production

The first military orders for the C-47 were given in 1940.

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

  • Douglas DC-3 / Douglas DST: 455
  • Douglas C-47: 953
  • Douglas C-47A: 4,931
  • Douglas C-47B: 3,241
  • Douglas C-53: 370
  • Douglas TC-47B: 133
  • Total: 10,048, 10,665, 10,123
  • Russia- Lisunov Li-2: ~2,000, ~2,500, 2,700
  • Japan- Nakajima L2D: 485, 487
  • Grand Total: 13,000

Variants

  • Douglas C-47 / Douglas Dakota Mk I: Had 12 volt system.
  • Douglas C-47A / Douglas Dakota Mk III: Had 24 volt system.
  • Douglas C-47B / Douglas Dakota Mk IV: Had high altitude superchargers with the R-1830-90 engines. Intended for use to fly over the Himalayas between India and China.
  • Douglas C-53 Skytrooper / Douglas Dakota Mk II: Personnel transporter. Also used for glider towing and paratroop drops. The cabin floor was lightly reinforced.
  • Douglas TC-47B: Trainer.
  • Douglas XC-47C: Had floats installed. One was built and a few were field modified.
  • Lisunov Li-2: Soviet built version.
  • Douglas R4D: United States Navy and Marine Corps designation. ~400.

Usage

Australia, Britain, Canada, Germany, India, Japan, Soviet Union, and the United States used the C-47.

DC-3 First Use

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

United Kingdom

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

25 Royal Air Force (RAF) squadrons were outfitted with 1,845 / 1,895 / ~2,000 Dakotas.

There were 50 RAF and Commonwealth squadrons outfitted with the C-47.

United States

There were 34 groups that were equipped with the C-47.

After World War II

The United States Air Force still had over 1,000 C-47s in use as late as 1961.

The last Royal Air Force Dakota was withdrawn from service on April 4, 1970.

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."

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.

Specifications

  Douglas C-47 Skytrain /
Dakota Mk I
Type Transport
Crew 3
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-1839-92 piston
OR 2: Wright R-1820 Cyclone
OR 2: Pratt & Whitney R-1830
Cylinders Radial
R-1820: Radial 9
R-1830: Radial 14
Cooling  
HP 1,200 each
R-1820: 1,000 - 1,200 each
R-1830: 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 95', 95' 6"
28.95 m, 29.11 m
Length 63' 9", 64' 5.5"
19.43 m, 19.62 m
Height 16' 11", 17'
5.15 m, 5.18 m
Wing area 987 ft2
91.69 m2
Weight  
Empty 18,200 lb
8,256 kg
Loaded 26,000 lb
11,805 kg
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed  
Speed @ 8,500' /
2,590 m
230 mph
370 kph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Climb to 10,000 ' /
3,050 m
9.6 minutes
Service ceiling 24,000'
7,315 m
Range 1,600 miles
2,575 km
Armament  
Cargo 10,000 lb
4,536 kg
OR 27 armed troops, 28 troops
OR 25 paratroops
OR 18-25 stretchers , 18-24 stretchers
  Douglas C-47A /
Dakota Mk III
Type Cargo, troop, paratroop transport
Glider tug
Crew 3
Pilot, co-pilot, radio operator
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp
Cylinders Radial
Cooling  
HP 1,200 each
Propeller blades 3 each
Capacity 6.5 gallon
30 liter
Dimensions  
Span 95' 6"
29.11 m
Length 63' 9"
19.43 m
Height 17'
5.18 m
Wing area 987 ft2
91.69 m2
Weight  
Empty 18,163 lb, 18,190 lb
8,250 kg, 8,256 kg
Loaded 25,947 lb
11,794 kg
Maximum load 29,300 lb
13,290 kg
Performance  
Speed 229 mph
368 kph
Speed @ 7,500' /
2,285 m
226 mph
365 kph
Cruising speed 185 mph
298 kph
Climb 1,160'/minute
353 m/minute
Climb to 10,000 ' /
3,050 m
 
Service ceiling 24,000'
7,070 m, 7,315 m
Range 1,500 miles, 1,597 miles
2,414 km
Armament None
Cargo 9,979 lb
4,536 kg
OR 28 paratroopers
OR 18 stretchers
OR  
  Douglas C-47B
Type Transport
Crew 2 - 3
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney R-1830-92 Twin Wasp
Cylinders Radial 14
Cooling Air
HP 1,200 each
Propeller blades  
Capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 95' 6"
Length 63' 9"
Height 17'
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 26,000 lb
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed 230 mph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range 1,600 miles
Armament None
Cargo  
OR 27 passengers
  Douglas C-53 Skytrooper
Type Transport
Crew  
Engine (Type) 2: Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp
Cylinders Radial
Cooling  
HP 1,050 each
Propeller blades  
Capacity  
Dimensions  
Span 95'
Length 64' 6"
Height 16' 11"
Wing area  
Weight  
Empty  
Loaded 26,000 lb
Maximum load  
Performance  
Speed 230 mph
Cruising speed  
Climb  
Service ceiling  
Range 1,300 miles
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
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