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

C47_21_80-G-K-5297_R4D_Flag aircraft of Rear Admiral Osbourne B. Hardison, chief of Naval Air Primary Training, is checked out by ground crew at NAS New Orleans, circa early 1945
Not all R4D’s were camouflaged. This is the aircraft of Rear Admiral Osbourne B. Hardsion, Chief of Naval Air Primary Training. His two-star flag placard is visible beneath the pilot’s window. (80-G-K-5297)

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Another Navy R4D in a natural metal finish, this one is assigned to the Naval Air Transport Service.

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Another mission frequently assigned to the Dakota was casualty evacuation, as being performed by the Royal Air Force example seen here.

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A patient being transferred to a Skytrain with invasion stripes. This photo provides a good view of the boarding ladder and inside of the cargo door.

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A similar view of a U.S. Marine casualty being evacuated from Vella Lavella in the Solomon Islands.

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Not the clearest of photographs but some interesting markings with yellow and red identification panels. An earlier “55” aircraft identification number has been removed aft of the yellow 25.

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A paratrooper poses in front of a rather weathered C-47, the nose of which has been repainted. Compare the size and positioning of the Troop Carrier Command lettering with that of the photo of the paratrooper from last week’s post here:  https://inchhighguy.wordpress.com/2021/06/09/douglas-c-47-r4d-skytrain-dakoda-color-photographs-part-ii/

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42-92862, a Skytrain of the 32nd Troop Carrier Squadron.

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Sad Sack hauling cargo is the subject of this nose art.

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Puddle-Jumper displaying some interesting details of propeller markings. Note the white trim to the carburetor intakes. One has to wonder if the nose art is intentional or the victim of an over-zealous removal of another marking. (LIFE Magazine)

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

42-100646 displays one of the more extremely faded paint jobs. She was assigned to the 47th Troup Carrier Squadron and is seen in Germany just after the war.

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A formation of C-47’s showing various degrees of wear. The vertical stabilizer appears to have faded more rapidly, likely the assembly was painted with a different Olive Drab paint formulation by a sub-contractor, similar to the B-17. The wing in the foreground shows details of the weathering.

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The same formation as the photo above. The factory Olive Drab finish on some of the C-47’s has shifted to a variety of browns and buffs.

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The C-47 was also utilized as a glider tug, seen here towing the Waco CG-4 Hadrian.

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Paratroopers of the 555th Parachute Infantry Battalion prepare to board a C-47. The “Triple Nickles” were a segregated unit utilized as “smoke jumpers” in the Pacific Northwest. Their mission was to extinguish fires set by Japanese Fu-Go incendiary balloons, 9,300 of which were released during the winter of 1944-45.

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Paratroopers don their parachutes. 43-48910 displays extensive fading and the remnants of the code “CK –“ on the fuselage aft of the cockpit.

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Lieutenant Clifford Allen smiles for the camera. Each paratrooper carried 150 feet of rope to enable them to descend safely in the event their parachute became tangled in trees or the mountainous terrain.

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Troop Carrier Command C-47’s bank over the Oregon back country.

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A close up of the nose of C-47 42-92095 showing details of the Troop Carrier Command insignia and nose art. The number “442” has replaced at least two previous identifiers.

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This is the nose of 43-48910, also seen in previous photographs. The “CK –“ code behind the cockpit is visible, as are the remains of other codes under the Troop Carrier Command insignia. These aircraft would make for interesting modeling subjects!

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Three Navy R4D’s in flight, demonstrating the effectiveness of their Blue Gray / Light Gray camouflage.

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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. 

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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.

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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.

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Nose art on several C-47’s were photographed for LIFE Magazine at Townsend, Australia in 1943. These are two examples.

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New York City Vintage Photographs Part IV

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A Douglas DC-3 of The Great Silver Fleet over Manhattan before the war. The DC-3 is a classic design, adapted as the primary air transport type of the U.S. and Allied services under a wide variety of designations. Many still fly today.

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A fireboat welcomes the USS Nautilus (SSN-571) to New York Harbor in 1958. Nautilus was the world’s first nuclear powered submarine, and the first submarine to travel submerged to the North Pole under the arctic ice sheet.

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Another submarine from a different era, USS Plunger (SS-2) underway off the Brooklyn Naval Yard. In September 1905 Theodore Roosevelt became the first U.S. President to submerge in a submarine aboard Plunger. In 1909 she was commanded by Ensign Chester Nimitz, who would rise to the rank of Fleet Admiral in the Second World War.

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A Y1B-17 flies over New York with Manhattan in the background. The US Army Air Corps almost did not order Boeing’s B-17 into production, some officers favoring the less expensive and less radical Douglas B-18 Bolo instead.

NYC_35_SS-Normandie-ca.-1935-1941-One-of-the-most-beautiful-Ocean-Liners-ever-built-in-Art-Deco-Style.-Renamed-to-USS-Lafayette-in-WWII
A beautiful photograph of the ill-fated French liner SS Normandy entering New York Harbor with the Manhattan skyline in the background. This view would be seen by thousands of U.S. soldiers and sailors leaving for and returning from the war in Europe.

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A NYC police officer directs traffic as a US Army M-7 Priest self-propelled howitzer navigates an intersection. The M-7 received its nickname because of the round “pulpit” with machine gun for the vehicle commander.

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The USS Saratoga (CV-60) seen leaving New York Harbor. The automobiles on the flight deck indicate she is transiting to a new home port, the crew being allowed to take their cars with them as deck cargo.

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The crew musters on the deck of the USS Franklin D. Roosevelt (CVA-42) for her commissioning ceremony on Navy Day, 27OCT45. She was the second of three Midway class aircraft carriers, which were half again as big as the previous Essex class carriers but too late to see action in WWII.

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The Iowa class battleship USS Missouri (BB-63) silhouetted against the Manhattan skyline. Missouri was the site of the formal Japanese surrender which ended the Second World War on 02SEP45.

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The Douglas DC-4E prototype over Manhattan. This aircraft was evaluated by United Airlines during 1938-39. The design was later refined with a shorter wingspan and more conventional tail as the DC-4, and was adopted by the USAAF as the C-54 transport. Japanese Airways bought the DC-4E prototype, which was reverse-engineered by Nakajima as the unsuccessful G5N “Liz” bomber.