Douglas C-47 / R4D Skytrain / Dakota Color Photographs Part I

C47_01
The Douglas C-47 Skytrain (R4D for you Navy types) is one of the classic designs of aeronautical engineering. Rugged and versatile, many are still flying today, almost eighty years after they were built – a testament to their design and construction.
C47_02_NASM-NASM-9A12408_Over Mindanao_PI_1945
From a modeling perspective the C-47 offers many interesting possibilities. Here a USAAF C-47 is seen over Mindanao, Philippines in 1945. While the tail markings are somewhat unusual, the high degree of fading and wear to the finish is common to the type and can be a challenge to replicate.
C47_03
An adaptation of the DC-3 civilian airliner, Douglas produced over 10,000 C-47’s during the Second World War. Interestingly, the Japanese obtained a license to produce the design before the war, and built over 500 as the L2D. Similarly, the Soviet Union produced approximately 5,000 (counts vary) as the Lisunov Li-2.
C47_04
A U.S. Navy R4D is seen at Ciudad Trujillo, Dominican Republic. It was called Ciudad Trujillo from 1936 to 1961, but is known as Santo Domingo today. Notice the paint has worn off the back of the propeller blades.
C47_05_R4D
Three Navy R4D’s in flight, demonstrating the effectiveness of their Blue Gray / Light Gray camouflage.
C47_06
The British received around 2,000 C-47’s under Lend Lease and gave the type the name “Dakota”. After the war many were distributed to Commonwealth and former colonial countries. Several of these aircraft are still flying today, including some with the South African Air Force in the maritime patrol role. 
C47_07
42-32892 served with the Soviet Air Force and was transferred to Aeroflot after the war. It crashed on the Taymyr Peninsula on 13APR47 with 9 fatalities, 28 were later rescued. The aircraft is pictured as it remained in 2012.
C47_08
Many civilian DC-3’s were pressed into military service before and at the beginning of the war, one of which may be this aircraft pictured in pre-war USAAC markings and insignia.
C47_09
Nose art on several C-47’s were photographed for LIFE Magazine at Townsend, Australia in 1943. These are two examples.

C47_10

4 thoughts on “Douglas C-47 / R4D Skytrain / Dakota Color Photographs Part I

  1. Beautiful collection of pictures Jeff.
    When I see anything about the C-47 Skytrain I am always reminded of that scene from Band of Brothers where they talk about the big Football game in 1944 between the 101st Airborne vs USAAF (The Skytrain Boys). Good Stuff!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It is surprising how many tones of OD there were, and they all seem to fade differently. Numbers aft of the cockpit appear to be fairly temporary, many pictures show removal or overpainting there. It would be a subtle detail to add to a model!

      Liked by 1 person

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