RETURN TO NORMANDY

WARBIRDS

A FULL 75 YEARS AFTER ITS FIRST VISIT, C-47 SKYTRAIN DRAG-’EM- OOT HAS ONCE AGAIN DROPPED PARACHUTISTS OVER NORTHERN FRANCE. AERO LEGENDS BOSS KEITH PERKINS SPOKE TO STEVE BEEBEE ABOUT THIS REMARKABLE AIRCRAFT

DOUGLAS C-47A SKYTRAIN

Douglas C-47A Skytrain 42-100882 ‘Drag-’em-oot’ (N473DC) flying over Hanningfield Reservoir in Essex on June 5. ALL DARREN HARBAR UNLESS NOTED

In the darkness, 18 men sat huddled on parallel benches, facing one another. The Douglas C-47 Skytrain’s rumbling Pratt & Whitney engines reduced conversation to the occasional shout as paratroopers of the US 82nd Airborne Division mentally prepared themselves for the job they had both trained for and dreaded. As they crossed the coast of enemy-held France not long after midnight on June 6, 1944 they knew they were among the first of many. The seaborne landings would not commence for several hours. When the soldiers jumped out over Normandy, as they did from C-47A Drag-’em-oot at precisely 0046hrs, they would be on their own.

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