Why the Douglas C-47 was so important in World War Two

General Eisenhower listed four devices that were vital to the war: the atom bomb, the bazooka, the jeep and the C-47. In the November 2011 Flypast, Michael O’Leary outlined the latter’s contribution

When the Japanese struck at Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 American factories and training schools were already spooled up to unprecedented levels. But the country was not ready for war and was soon reeling from almost daily defeats in the Pacific. Even at this stage it was obvious that the Douglas C-47 Skytrain, which entered service in that fateful year, was going to be an important tool of war and it was imperative to get it to combat zones as quickly as possible.

Combat units for flying troops and cargo were being formed as quickly as C-47s and other variants of the DC-3 came off the production lines. The 60th, 62nd and 64th Troop Carrier Groups (TCGs) were assigned to the 8th Air Force (in June, September and August 1942 respectively) with each group parenting four squadrons.

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