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Douglas C-42

Douglas C-42

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Douglas C-42

Like the C-41 the Douglas C-42 was the designation given to a single transport aircraft similar to the C-39, with the fuselage of the DC-2 but the tail and wing centre section of the DC-3. It was identical to the C-41 other than in the use of less powerful 1,000hp Wright Cyclone engines, although these still gave it a better cruising speed than the C-39. The C-41 was used by the Commanding General, Air Force GHQ. During the Second World War two C-39s were converted to the C-42 standard, and were used as Staff and VIP transports.

Engines: Wright Cyclone x2
Power: 1,000hp
Wing span: 85ft 0in
Length: 61ft 6in
Height: 18ft 8in
Empty weight: 15,712lb
Loaded weight: 21,000lb
Maximum weight: 23,625lb
Maximum speed: 214 mph at 5,000ft
Cruising speed: 170mph at 5,000ft
Service ceiling: 22,000ft
Normal range: 1,000 miles
Maximum range: 1,600 miles

That's All, Brother

Over 75 years ago, on June 6, 1944, That’s All, Brother led the main airborne invasion of Normandy. Piloted by Lt. Col John Donalson, the plane led over 800 C-47s that dropped over 13,000 paratroopers into a battle that changed the course of mankind. 75 years later, we were able to bring this great airplane back to the skies over Normandy for the commemoration of the 75th anniversary of D-Day.

Nearly Lost Forever

After serving on D-Day, and in Operations Dragoon, Market Garden, Repulse, and Varsity, the airplane returned to the United States and was sold to the civilian market in 1945. During the course of many owners over the next several decades, the historical significance of the airplane was lost and it was eventually sold to be scrapped. Fortunately, two historians from the United States Air Force discovered that this historic airplane was lying in a boneyard in Wisconsin. The Commemorative Air Force was able to acquire the airplane, and through a large group of donors and volunteers, restore the airplane to flying status.

That’s All, Brother” has been restored to its 1944 condition, including its D-Day paint scheme along with a thorough historic interior restoration. The CAF maintains airplanes to be artifacts of living history, and you can experience the airplane first hand by touring and even going for a flight.

As part of the Commemorative Air Force (CAF) Central Texas Wing, That’s All, Brother flew with 14 other C-47/DC-3 airplanes to make the epic journey back over the Atlantic in 2019. We retraced the classic ferry path from the United States to Canada, Greenland, Iceland, Scotland, and England to join up with over 30 C-47/DC-3 airplanes in Duxford, England. On June 5, 2019, That’s All, Brother flew with 18 re-enactor paratroops who boarded the plane in England, flew over the English channel, and made a successful paradrop flight over Normandy. On June 6, 2019, That’s All, Brother flew with 12 other C-47/DC-3 airplanes in formation to close out the D-Day commemoration over the US Cemetery in Normandy, and then continued on to Germany for the 70th commemoration of the Berlin Airlift and back to France for the Paris Airshow.

Help Wanted

We are greatly appreciative of the donors who have brought us this far, and to continue to honor the contributions of the Greatest Generation, we still need your help! Any donation you can make will help us pay tribute to those who so bravely fought for us all.

Douglas AC-47 Spooky

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/11/2019 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site.

Despite its service entry in 1941 and an American military career spanning across both World War 2 (1939-1945) and the Korean War (1950-1953), the Douglas C-47 "Skytrain" transport saw renewed life during the American involvement in the Vietnam War (1955-1975) as the converted AC-47 "Spooky" gunship. The AC-47 was an interim solution intended for Close-Air Support (CAS) for friendly ground forces and was capably armed with 3 x 7.62mm General Electric SUU-11A miniguns for the role. 53 x C-47 United States Air Force (USAF) transports were converted for the gunship role, beginning a long, illustrious line of "Spooky" gunships born from similar beginnings (i.e. the Lockheed C-130 "Hercules" transport reborn as the AC-130 "Spectre" gunship). AC-47 Spookies were introduced in 1965 during the run-up of increased American involvement in Southeast Asia. The C-47 was itself the militarized form of the Douglas DC-3 airliner. AC-47s were from C-47D production marks (and therefore formally designated "AC-47D") and initially recognized under the designation of FC-47D for "Fighter-Cargo". However, fighter pilots got their way and the "F" in the designation was changed to "A" for "Attack".

Fixed-wing gunships proved a viable CAS platform during the conflict where they could loiter on station and deliver relatively accurate fire onto enemy forces within close proximity of operating allies - this accomplished through a banking action with the guns trained downwards off of portside. Fixed-wing strike jets offered a different sort of strike element for warplanners, one that was fast-moving and could carry mixed ordnance loads but lacked the low-level, lows-speed flight characteristics offered by prop-driven types such as the AC-47. Use of gunships grew considerably as the Vietnam War raged and helicopter gunships further solidified the role of such aircraft in the U.S. Air Force inventory - one that remains even today (2014). The conversion of existing C-47 into make-shift gunship platforms marked the first time that the American military opted for this type of aircraft.

On the whole, the external arrangement of the C-47 was held intact. Aircraft were powered by two Pratt & Whitney radial engines in the wing leading edges, the engines driving three-blade propellers. The pilot's allowed for adequate viewing out of the cockpit but in ground running, views were limited - no thanks to the tail-dragger undercarriage. The nose cone assembly was short which helped forward viewing. The fuselage remained tubular and was lined with small, rectangular windows for what - in any other role - would have been designed with passengers in mind. For the gunship role, they served to provide some level of situational awareness. The fuselage tapered at the rear to which a large, single vertical tail fin was affixed. The mainplanes were low-mounted under the fuselage with the horizontal tailplanes elevated slightly over the main wing assemblies.

Internally, the three miniguns were installed with their mounting hardware and ammunition stocks along the portside - two at cabin windows and the third gun system at the cargo door. The guns held a rate-of-fire of 6,000 rounds-per-minute because of their rotating Gatling concept. Such a weapon also burned through ammunition as quite a rate so short bursts were typically used. A general ammunition load for sorties was about 16,500 x 7.62mm cartridges. While gunners were kept aboard to monitor the gun's performance and make any necessary repairs, the weapons were controlled directly by the pilot through his control yoke. The guns could be fired in unison for maximum effect or individually as the situation warranted. A typical crew number eight to include two pilots, a navigator, a flight engineer, a loadmaster, two gunners, and an observer (typically from the South Vietnamese military). While primarily outfitted with the GE miniguns, some early-batch forms were delivered with 8 to 10 x 0.30 caliber Browning machine guns due to minigun shortages. Still others were operated with only 2 x minigun mountings. The AC-47 also stocked 47 x Mk 24 series flares for illumination. Typical engagement altitudes ranged from 2,500 to 3,000 feet. A gun sight allowed for the needed accuracy when banking the aircraft.

Power was served through 2 x Pratt & Whitney R-1830 series air-cooled, radial piston engines developing 1,200 horsepower each. Coupled with the airframe's design, this allowed for a maximum airspeed of 230 miles per hour, a cruise speed nearing 175 miles per hour, a range out to 2,175 miles, and a service ceiling of 24,450 feet.

Testing of AC-47 aircraft in the Vietnam theater began in late 1964 and continued into early 1965 with success. The 4th Commando Squadron was then established in August 1965 to become its first formal operator. AC-47 gunships were pressed into service as convoy escorts/general strike and Forward Air Control (FAC) during daylight hours and as CAS platforms during low-light, nighttime hours - including illumination of enemy positions. In the latter, flares were dropped manually from the rear cargo door after a signal was delivered from the pilot in the cockpit. To ground troops, the aircraft became known as "Puff" or "Puff the Magic Dragon" for its ferocious portside lethality on unprotected enemies. AC-47s were later passed on to the South Vietnamese Air Force during "Vietnamization" in the U.S. drawdown of combat actions in the region.

Of note is that base C-47 transports arrived in the theater during earlier in February 1962 though these were strictly used on illumination runs - these aircraft known as "flareships".

Of the 53 AC-47s delivered, about 41 of this inventory saw combat service in the Vietnam War. Some twelve were lost to combat reason while nineteen airframes were lost in all - proving the aircraft was not invulnerable to all manner of battlefield dangers. It was slow and poorly protected which made for disastrous results in some cases. The AC-47 - forgotten by many in today's technology-laden world of military hardware - was a potent platform to the extreme - a life-saver to some and a life-taker to her enemies. Despite their age, some air forces continue their operation from ex-USAF stocks, this being Colombia and El Salvador for counter-insurgency work. They have been outfitted for the carrying of conventional drop ordnance and feature modern implements such as FLIR (Forward-Looking InfraRed).

Former operators beyond the United States have become Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Philippines, Rhodesia, South Africa, South Vietnam, and Thailand.

U.S. forces in Vietnam operated AC-47s through 3d Air Commando Squadron (from 1968 to 1969), the 4th Air Commando Squadron (from 1964 to 1969) and the 5th Air Commando Squadron of the 14th Special Operations Wing. From August 1968, their names were revised from "Air Commando" to "Special Operations".

Action reports concerning these early American gunships proved critical in the upcoming C-130 ("Gunship II") and the subsequent Fairchild C-119 ("Gunship III") conversion programs.

Betsy's Biscuit Bomber in the News

Manufacturer: Douglas
Year/Model: 1943 C-47B Dakota
S/N: 43-48608
Tail Number: 14424/25869
Power Plant: Two x Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C Twin Wasp 14 cylinder radial engines 1,200 hp each
Wingspan: 95 feet 6 inches
Length: 63 feet 9 inches
Height: 17 feet 0 inches
Empty Weight: 18,135 lbs)
Loaded Weight: 26,000 pounds
Payload: 6,000 pounds
Maximum Takeoff Weight: 31,000 pounds
Maximum Speed: 224 mph
Maximum Range: 2,125 statute miles
Service Ceiling: 26,400 feet
Crew: 4
Capacity: 28 troops
Status: On Loan
Owner: Gooney Bird Group

*Aircraft listed "On Loan" are privately owned by individuals or corporations and are proudly displayed at the Estrella Warbird Museum. The Estrella WarBirds Museum does not own, restore, operate nor maintain flyable aircraft. We are grateful that the owners display their aircraft at the museum for the public to view. Any courtesy rides given by aircraft owners is an agreement solely between the person that owns the aircraft and passenger.

Historic Douglas C-47 aircraft lands in Terre Haute

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTWO/WAWV) — A part of WWII history landed in Terre Haute and is now available up close to anyone who wants to climb aboard.

“That’s All Brother” is a Douglas C-47 aircraft that was used in a key moment of not only American history but world history.

Pilots for the Commemorative Air Force were excited to save this aircraft because of its uniqueness compared to other planes of its kind.

“What really makes it famous and unique is it was the lead airplane on the Allied invasion into Normandy on June 6th,” said Jordan Brown, pilot for Commemorative Air Force. “Over 800 planes from the Allied invasion dropped paratroopers in there. This airplane led the invasion force.”

The Commemorative Air Force operates historical aircrafts across the country and is one of the largest operators of WWII-era aircrafts, according to retired Air Force Lieutenant Colonel TJ Cook. Cook said for him, the goal is to teach.

“For me joining the CAF was…sharing the history of these airplanes,” said Cook. “To honor the veterans and people who served in all the wars and sacrifice everyone has made. I look at it about the future generations. I like putting the kids up in the cockpit of the airplane.”

The C-47 is currently making tour stops throughout the Midwest in which people are welcome to fly aboard the aircraft.

“Stopping at airports to be able to offer tours of the airplane — people to walk through and look at it and see it as well as flight experiences to ride on the airplane taking time to go up for 30, 40 minutes and see the airplane in action, be able to hear and feel it as a living piece of history,” said Brown.

The plane will be available for tours through Thursday, April 15 at the Terre Haute Regional Airport. The next on the tour will be in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

How the C-47 "Gooney Bird" Transport Helped America Win World War II

Key point: These planes carried troops and vital supplies across warzones. This is the story of the legendary C-47.

Of all the workhorse weapons in the Allies’ World War II arsenal, from the American M-4 Sherman medium tank and jeep to the British Handley Page Halifax bomber and 25-pounder field gun, none was more widely and effectively deployed than the Douglas C-47 transport plane.

Dubbed the Skytrain by the U.S. armed forces and the Dakota by the British, the C-47 was the most ubiquitous airplane of the war, performing a variety of services in all theaters of operation, from North Africa to Burma, from New Guinea to Normandy, and from Sicily to Holland.

General Dwight D. Eisenhower believed that the rugged, dependable aircraft was one of the five pieces of equipment—along with the jeep, bulldozer, 21/2-ton truck, and DUKW amphibious vehicle—that were “among the most vital to our success in Africa and Europe,” while the official U.S. Army Air Forces history noted, “A steady and proven aircraft, the C-47 earned for itself a reputation hardly eclipsed even by the more glamorous combat planes.” Nicknamed the “Gooney Bird” by its American crews and passengers, the C-47 was regarded by some as the most remarkable plane in the history of aviation.

The design of the C-47 originated from the Douglas DC-2 and DC-3 family of commercial transports that followed in the wake of the DC-1 prototype that flew for the first time on July 1, 1933. The DC-3 airliner made its maiden flight on December 17, 1935, the 32nd anniversary of the Wright brothers’ historic first powered flight. A military role for their plane was the last thing on the minds of Douglas Aircraft officials observing the maiden flight at Santa Monica, California.

Yet the U.S. Army Air Corps gained early experience with the basic aircraft after acquiring production DC-2s in 1936, followed by more specialized variants for use as cargo and personnel transports. In August of that year, an improved DC-3 entered service with domestic airlines and revolutionized air travel. Its larger capacity and upgraded performance made it an even more attractive proposition to the Air Corps, which quickly advised Douglas on changes in configuration considered desirable to make it suitable for a variety of military roles.

The modifications included more powerful engines, a strengthened rear fuselage to allow for the inclusion of large cargo doors, and a reinforced cabin floor to make it suitable for heavy loads. Much of the basic design work had been completed by Douglas engineers, with a C-41 cargo prototype mounting 1,200-horsepower Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp engines in a DC-2 fuselage. It reached Wright-Patterson Field in Dayton, Ohio, in late 1939. So, when the Army Air Corps started issuing contracts in 1940 for the new transport planes designated C-47, the company was well prepared to meet the requirements and get production underway.

The only serious problem was the limited production capacity at Douglas’s Santa Monica plant, where European war demands for the DB-7 light bomber—forerunner of the famous A-20 Havoc—had filled the factory floor. Therefore, C-47s were built in a new plant erected in Long Beach, California. The basic structural design remained virtually unchanged through the entire production run.

Powered by the Twin Wasp engines, the low-wing, all-purpose transport had a maximum speed of 230 miles per hour, a range of 1,350 miles, a ceiling of 24,100 feet, and a load capacity of 12,000 pounds. Its crew comprised a pilot, copilot-navigator, and radio operator. A total of 10,123 C-47s were built before production ceased in 1945.

Besides supplies, the Skytrain could be modified to transport 28 fully armed troops or 18 to 24 stretchers and a three-man medical team. The plane was a favorite with pilots, who eventually gave it a host of affectionate nicknames, including “Douglas Racer,” “Dowager Duchess,” “Grand Old Lady,” “Old Methuselah,” and “Placid Plodder.”

The first C-47s were delivered in 1941 to the Army Air Corps (renamed the Army Air Forces that June), but the flow was small and slow because the production line at Long Beach still needed time to settle down. When the Pearl Harbor attack thrust America into World War II, attempts were made to boost production, so to meet the military demand DC-3s operating with airlines or well advanced in construction were impressed into USAAF service.

When Douglas began to draw contracts for thousands of C-47s, it became obvious that the Long Beach plant could not cope, so a second production line was set up in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The first model built at Tulsa was the second production version, the C-47A. Tulsa built 2,099 of the planes, and Long Beach 2,832, and 962 of them were delivered to the hard-pressed Royal Air Force, which designated them Dakota IIIs.

The formation of the USAAF’s Air Transport Command on July 1, 1942, brought about the wide-scale deployment of C-47s as haulers of an incredible range of supplies, from weapons to rations to small vehicles for carrying troops into combat for dropping paratroops for towing Waco and Horsa gliders and for evacuating wounded. The C-47 became the workhorse airlifter of the ATC fleet, and after being incorporated into the Troop Carrier Command that year it took part in all major airborne operations of the war.

Skytrains were among the first types of aircraft delivered by the Air Corps Ferrying Command across the North Atlantic to Great Britain in 1942. In the war zones, the Douglas transports were initially used extensively by the U.S. Navy and the RAF. Six hundred of them were in U.S. Navy service, and a number of them were operated initially by the Naval Air Transport Service, which was established within five days of the Pearl Harbor attack. C-47s were later kept busy supplying U.S. Marine Corps and Army units when they invaded Japanese-held islands across the Pacific.

The Lend-Lease Dakotas began to arrive in England in February 1943, and several—wearing RAF camouflage—were immediately put to use by British Overseas Airways Corporation on its routes to Gibraltar and Africa. Another early user of Dakotas was No. 216 Squadron of the RAF, based in Cairo, for its regular supply runs between Egypt and West Africa and for evacuating casualties from the Western Desert. More Dakotas were sent to British bases in India.

American Skytrains and British Dakotas saw plenty of action when the Allies launched Operation Torch, the three-pronged invasion of North Africa, on November 8-11, 1942, and a number of the C-47s made military history. Late in the evening of November 7, the 556 men of Lt. Col. Edson D. Raff’s 509th Parachute Infantry Battalion clambered aboard 39 C-47s of the 60th Troop Carrier Group at two airfields in southern England and took off. Their mission to capture two airfields near the Algerian port of Oran after flying nonstop for 1,500 miles set a distance record for an airborne operation.

The planes ran into foul weather, and most got lost over the Mediterranean. Widely scattered, they landed in Gibraltar and Spanish and French Morocco, and only six of the C-47s managed to fly directly to Oran. Some of the troopers, including the fearless, egotistical Raff, jumped in daylight, but they were attacked by Vichy French planes and troops in a confused action. The French killed eight paratroopers and two C-47 crewmen, and none of the survivors were able to play a decisive role in the battle for Oran or seize the airfields.

Major General Frederick “Boy” Browning’s British 1st Parachute Brigade left England on November 10, landed at the Maison Blanche airfield near Algiers the following day, and dropped from Dakotas onto the airfield at Bone, a seaport on the Tunisian border, on the 12th. They seized the field and helped to capture the port.

Raff’s battalion, meanwhile, was soon in action again. On the night of November 14, a few hours after moving to Maison Blanche, he was ordered to carry out an operation at dawn the next day. The objective was the capture of a French airfield and large stocks of fuel at Youks-les-Bains, near Tebessa on the Tunisian border. Raff and about 350 of his men jumped in daylight from 33 C-47s. Troops of the 3rd Zouave Regiment zeroed in on the Americans, but neither side fired, and Raff was able to persuade the defenders to surrender the airfield. The troopers hastily dug in, secured the airfield, and shot down a German plane attempting to land.

One night in late December, “Little Caesar” Raff led a smaller airborne mission 110 miles inside the German lines in Tunisia. Two C-47s airlifted 30 of his troopers to blow up a bridge near El Djem. Dropped in the wrong place, they were unable to locate the bridge and were discovered by a German patrol the next day. Twenty-two of the paratroopers were killed or captured, but eight escaped and hid for a month before reaching the Allied lines. The operations of Raff’s battalion earned high praise from General Eisenhower, the Allied commander in North Africa, and his deputy, Lt. Gen. Mark W. Clark.


The AC-47 was a United States Air Force (USAF) C-47, (the military version of the DC-3) that had been modified by mounting three 7.62 mm General Electric miniguns to fire through two rear window openings and the side cargo door, all on the left (pilot's) side of the aircraft, to provide close air support for ground troops. Other armament configurations could also be found on similar C-47-based aircraft around the world. The guns were actuated by a control on the pilot's yoke whereby he could control the guns either individually or together, although gunners were also among the crew to assist with gun failures and similar issues. It could orbit the target for hours, providing suppressing fire over an elliptical area about 52 yd (47.5 m) in diameter, placing a round every 2.4 yd (2.2 m) during a three-second burst. The aircraft also carried flares it could drop to illuminate the battleground.

The AC-47 had no previous design to gauge how successful it would be, because it was the first of its kind. The USAF found itself in a precarious situation when requests for additional gunships began to come in because it simply lacked miniguns to fit additional aircraft after the first two conversions. The next four aircraft were equipped with ten .30 caliber AN/M2 machine guns. These weapons, using World War II and Korean War ammunition stocks, were quickly discovered to jam easily, produce large amounts of gases from firing, and, even in ten-gun groups, only provide the density of fire of a single minigun. All four of these aircraft were retrofitted to the standard armament configuration when additional miniguns arrived.

The AC-47 initially used SUU-11/A gun pods that were installed on locally fabricated mounts for the gunship application. Emerson Electric eventually developed the MXU-470/A to replace the gun pods, which were also used on later gunships.

United States Air Force Edit

In August 1964, years of fixed-wing gunship experimentation reached a new peak with Project Tailchaser under the direction of Captain John C. Simons. This test involved the conversion of a single Convair C-131B to be capable of firing a single GAU-2/A Minigun at a downward angle out of the left side of the aircraft. Even crude grease pencil crosshairs were quickly discovered to enable a pilot flying in a pylon turn to hit a stationary area target with relative accuracy and ease. The Armament Development and Test Center tested the craft at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, but lack of funding soon suspended the tests. In 1964, Captain Ron W. Terry returned from temporary duty in South Vietnam as part of an Air Force Systems Command team reviewing all aspects of air operations in counter-insurgency warfare, where he had noted the usefulness of C-47s and C-123s orbiting as flare ships during night attacks on fortified hamlets. He received permission to conduct a live-fire test using the C-131 and revived the side-firing gunship program.

By October, Terry's team under Project Gunship provided a C-47D, which was converted to a similar standard as the Project Tailchaser aircraft and armed with three miniguns, which were initially mounted on locally fabricated mounts—essentially strapped gun pods intended for fixed-wing aircraft (SUU-11/A) onto a mount allowing them to be fired remotely out the port side. Terry and a testing team arrived at Bien Hoa Air Base, South Vietnam, on 2 December 1964, with equipment needed to modify two C-47s. The first test aircraft (43-48579, a C-47B-5-DK mail courier converted to C-47D standard by removal of its superchargers) was ready by 11 December, the second by 15 December, and both were allocated to the 1st Air Commando Squadron for combat testing. The newly dubbed "FC-47" often operated under the radio call sign "Puff". Its primary mission involved protecting villages, hamlets, and personnel from mass attacks by Vietcong (VC) guerrilla units.

Puff's first significant success occurred on the night of 23–24 December 1964. An FC-47 arrived over the Special Forces outpost at Tranh Yend in the Mekong Delta just 37 minutes after an air support request, fired 4,500 rounds of ammunition, and broke the VC attack. The FC-47 was then called to support a second outpost at Trung Hung, about 20 miles (32 km) away. The aircraft again blunted the VC attack and forced a retreat. Between 15 and 26 December, all the FC-47's 16 combat sorties were successful. On 8 February 1965, an FC-47 flying over the Bồng Sơn area demonstrated its capabilities in the process of blunting a VC offensive. For over four hours, it fired 20,500 rounds into a VC hilltop position, killing an estimated 300 VC troops.

The early gunship trials were so successful, the second aircraft was returned to the United States early in 1965 to provide crew training. In July 1965, Headquarters USAF ordered TAC to establish an AC-47 squadron. By November 1965, a total of five aircraft were operating with the 4th Air Commando Squadron, activated in August as the first operational unit, and by the end of 1965, a total of 26 had been converted. Training Detachment 8, 1st Air Commando Wing, was subsequently established at Forbes AFB, Kansas. In Operation Big Shoot, the 4th ACS in Vietnam grew to 20 AC-47s (16 aircraft plus four reserves for attrition).

The 4th ACS deployed to Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam, on 14 November 1965. Now using the call sign Spooky, each of its three 7.62 mm miniguns could selectively fire either 50 or 100 rounds per second. [1] Cruising in an overhead left-hand orbit at 120 knots air speed at an altitude of 3,000 feet (910 m), the gunship could put a bullet or glowing red tracer bullet (every fifth round) into every square yard of a football field-sized target in potentially less than 10 seconds. [2] As long as its 45-flare and 24,000-round basic load of ammunition held out, it could do this intermittently while loitering over the target for hours.

In May 1966, the squadron moved north to Nha Trang Air Base to join the newly activated 14th Air Commando Wing. The 3rd Air Commando Squadron was activated at Nha Trang on 5 April 1968 as a second AC-47 squadron, with both squadrons redesignated as Special Operations Squadrons on 1 August 1968. Flights of both squadrons were stationed at bases throughout South Vietnam, and one flight of the 4th SOS served at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base with the 432nd Tactical Reconnaissance Wing. The work of the two AC-47 squadrons, each with 16 AC-47s flown by aircrews younger than the aircraft they flew, was undoubtedly a key contributor to the award of the Presidential Unit Citation to the 14th Air Commando Wing in June 1968.

One of the most publicized battles of the Vietnam War was the Battle of Khe Sanh in early 1968. More than 24,000 tactical and 2,700 B-52 strikes dropped 110,000 tons of ordnance in attacks that averaged over 300 sorties per day. During the two and a half months of combat, fighters were in the air day and night. At night, AC-47 gunships kept up constant fire against enemy troops and provided illumination for the base. [ citation needed ]

The AC-47D gunship should not be confused with a small number of C-47s that were fitted with electronic equipment in the 1950s. Prior to 1962, these aircraft were designated AC-47D. When a new designation system was adopted in 1962, these became EC-47Ds. The original gunships had been designated FC-47D by the USAF, but with protests from fighter pilots, this designation was changed to AC-47D during 1965. Of the 53 aircraft converted to AC-47 configuration, 41 served in Vietnam and 19 were lost to all causes, 12 in combat. [3] Combat reports indicate that no village or hamlet under Spooky protection was ever lost, and a plethora of reports from civilians and military personnel were made about AC-47s coming to the rescue and saving their lives.

As the United States began Project Gunship II and Project Gunship III, many of the remaining AC-47Ds were transferred to the Republic of Vietnam Air Force, the Royal Lao Air Force, and Cambodia's Khmer Air Force, after Prince Norodom Sihanouk was deposed in a coup by General Lon Nol.

Airman First Class John L. Levitow, an AC-47 loadmaster with the 3rd SOS, received the Medal of Honor for saving his aircraft, Spooky 71, from destruction on 24 February 1969 during a fire-support mission at Long Binh. The aircraft was struck by an 82-mm mortar round that inflicted 3,500 shrapnel holes, wounding Levitow 40 times, but he used his body to jettison an armed magnesium flare, which ignited shortly after Levitow ejected it from the aircraft, allowing the AC-47 to return to base.

Other air forces Edit

North Vietnam captured several AC-47s in 1975, and some of them are very likely to have seen combat in Cambodia.

In December 1984 and January 1985, the United States supplied two AC-47D gunships to the El Salvador Air Force (FAS) and trained aircrews to operate the system. [4] The AC-47 gunship carried three .50 cal machine guns and could loiter and provide heavy firepower for army operations. As the FAS had long operated C-47s, training pilots and crew to operate the aircraft as a weapons platform was easy for the United States. By all accounts, the AC-47 soon became probably the most effective weapon in the FAS arsenal. [5]

Armed conversions of C-47s (not Douglas AC-47s) Edit

In 2006, Colombia started operating five armed Basler BT-67 (Colombian Air Force designation : AC-47T), known by civilians as avion fantasma (ghost plane), on counter-insurgency operations in conjunction with Sikorsky AH-60 Arpia armed helicopters and Cessna A-37 Dragonflys against local illegally armed groups. The BT-67s are armed with .50 cal (12.7 mm) GAU-19/A machine guns slaved to a forward looking infrared system. They also have the ability to carry bombs. [6] [7] At least one has been seen fitted with one GAU-19/A and a 20 mm cannon, most likely a French-made M621. The BT-67s are C-47/DC-3s modified by the Basler Corporation of Oshkosh, Wisconsin, and are not variants of the Douglas AC-47.

In 1970, the Indonesian Air Force converted a former civilian DC-3. The converted aircraft was armed with three .50 cal machine guns. During 1975, the Indonesian Air Force used its "AC-47" in the Indonesian invasion of East Timor to attack the city of Dili. Later, the aircraft was used in Indonesian military close air support missions in East Timor. Its retirement date is unknown.

Armed variants of the C-47, including the BT-67, have been used by various air forces including those of Laos, Cambodia, South Africa, El Salvador, and Rhodesia. Several weapons configurations were used, including Gatling guns of numerous types, various medium and heavy machine guns, and larger autocannon (South African "Dragon Daks" were known to fit 20 mm cannons). The Republic of China Air Force (Taiwan) also converted some of its C-47s to gunships. These machines were armed with M2 machine guns taken from retired F-86 Sabres.

  • AC-47D US conversion of C-47 with M134 7.62-mm minigun Colombian military conversion of civilian DC-3 by Basler Turbo with infrared sensor pod with upgrade PT-6A engines and GAU-19 .50 caliber triple Gatling guns (replacing Browning .50 caliber miniguns)

Current operators Edit

Former operators Edit

    – Tactical Air Command
      – Nha Trang Air Base, Vietnam (detachments at Danang, Pleiku, Bien Hoa and Binh Thuy)
      • 3rd Air Commando Squadron 1968–69
      • 4th Air Commando Squadron 1964–69

      Aircraft painted to represent AC-47s are on static display at the Air Commando Park at Hurlburt Field and the Air Force Armament Museum at Eglin Air Force Base. [10] These airframes never were AC-47s and were actually regular unarmed C-47s. [11] [12] [ self-published source? ]

      General characteristics

      • Crew: 7: pilot, copilot, navigator, flight engineer, loadmaster and 2 gunners
      • Length: 64 ft 5 in (19.63 m)
      • Wingspan: 95 ft 0 in (28.96 m)
      • Height: 16 ft 11 in (5.16 m)
      • Wing area: 987 sq ft (91.7 m 2 )
      • Empty weight: 18,080 lb (8,201 kg)
      • Gross weight: 33,000 lb (14,969 kg)
      • Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830 Twin Wasp 14-cylinder air-cooled radial piston engines, 1,200 hp (890 kW) each
      • Maximum speed: 230 mph (370 km/h, 200 kn)
      • Cruise speed: 175 mph (282 km/h, 152 kn)
      • Range: 2,175 mi (3,500 km, 1,890 nmi)
      • Service ceiling: 24,450 ft (7,450 m)
      • Wing loading: 33.4 lb/sq ft (163 kg/m 2 )
      • Power/mass: 0.15 hp/lb (0.25 kW/kg)
      • Guns:
        • 3 × 7.62 mm General Electric GAU-2/M134 miniguns, 2,000 rpm or
        • 10 × .30 in Browning AN/M2 machine guns

        Aircraft of comparable role, configuration, and era

        1. ^ It can be seen in action here.
        2. ^"AC-47 Factsheet". Archived from the original on 2014-10-11.
        3. ^ Hobson, Chris. Vietnam Air Losses, USAF/USN/USMC, Fixed-Wing Aircraft Losses in Southeast Asia 1961–1973. North Branch, Minnesota: Specialty Press, 2001. 1-85780-115-6.
        4. ^ А. Кувшинников. "Драконы" расправляют крылья // "Известия", № 12 (21089) от 12 января 1985. стр.4
        5. ^ Corum, James S. and Johnson, Wray R. "Airpower in Small Wars: Fighting Insurgents and Terrorists" Kansas University Press: 2003. 0-7006-1239-4. p.337.
        6. ^"Colombia: Seguridad & Defensa."Archived 2016-03-08 at the Wayback Machinefuerzasmilitares.net. Retrieved: 12 December 2011.
        7. ^"The Only World War II Aircraft Still In Service."Strategypage.com. Retrieved: 14 December 2012.
        8. ^https://warisboring.com/colombias-ac-47t-fantasmas-are-still-going-strong/
        9. ^https://warisboring.com/colombias-ac-47t-fantasmas-are-still-going-strong/
        10. ^
        11. "Hurlburt Field Memorial Airpark Guide" (PDF) . Hurlburt Field. Archived from the original (PDF) on 27 December 2016 . Retrieved 19 October 2016 .
        12. ^
        13. "Old friends reunite at Hurlburt". Hurlburt Field. 28 November 2007 . Retrieved 19 October 2016 .
        14. ^
        15. Campbell, Douglas E. (1 February 2012). BuNos! Disposition of World War II USN, USMC and USCG Aircraft Listed by Bureau Number. Lulu.com. p. 300. ISBN9781105420719 . Retrieved 19 October 2016 . [self-published source]

        13. On their 1989 album "Agent Orange", Thrash metal band Sodom made a song about the AC-47 called "Magic Dragon". The album's cover art shows the inside of an AC-47, and the inner sleeve shows AC-47's encircling a VC camp.

        42: The answer to life, the universe and everything

        When Douglas Adams wrote The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, he added a central joke which has become more famous over the years than the novel itself: "The answer to the ultimate question of life, the universe and everything is 42." Geeks have since wasted years and massive effort trying to ascribe some deep, symbolic significance to the number and its occurrences.

        Now, in an attempt to cash in on their obsession, a new book published this week, 42: Douglas Adams' Amazingly Accurate Answer to Life, the Universe and Everything, looks at real-life occurrences of the number 42. The book is timed to coincide with the 10th anniversary of Adams's death this spring.

        Scores of adolescents have posited theories about significance of the number. The actor Stephen Fry claimed to know the true answer, but won't tell, saying he'll take it to his grave. The author himself rather undermined the myriad analyses when he dismissed them all with the simple answer that the choice of the number was a joke.

        "The answer to this is very simple," Adams said. "It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number, and I chose that one. Binary representations, base 13, Tibetan monks are all complete nonsense. I sat on my desk, stared in to the garden and thought 42 will do. I typed it out. End of story."

        Throughout history, various numbers have had special meanings ascribed to them. Plato called the study of number symbolism "the highest level of knowledge" while Pythagoras believed numbers had souls as well as magical powers.

        Meanwhile, millions of Hitchhiker's fans to this day persist in trying to decipher what they imagine was Adams' secret motivations. Here are 42 things to fuel their fascination with the number 42.

        1. Queen Victoria's husband Prince Albert died aged 42 they had 42 grandchildren and their great-grandson, Edward VIII, abdicated at the age of 42.

        2. The world's first book printed with movable type is the Gutenberg Bible which has 42 lines per page.

        3. On page 42 of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, Harry discovers he's a wizard.

        4. The first time Douglas Adams essayed the number 42 was in a sketch called "The Hole in the Wall Club". In it, comedian Griff Rhys Jones mentions the 42nd meeting of the Crawley and District Paranoid Society.

        5. Lord Lucan's last known location was outside 42 Norman Road, Newhaven, East Sussex.

        6. The Doctor Who episode entitled "42" lasts for 42 minutes.

        7. Titanic was travelling at a speed equivalent to 42km/hour when it collided with an iceberg.

        8. The marine battalion 42 Commando insists that it be known as "Four two, Sir!"

        9. In east Asia, including parts of China, tall buildings often avoid having a 42nd floor because of tetraphobia – fear of the number four because the words "four" and "death" sound the same (si or sei). Likewise, four 14, 24, etc.

        10. Elvis Presley died at the age of 42.

        11. BBC Radio 4's Desert Island Discs was created in 1942. There are 42 guests per year.

        12. Toy Story character Buzz Lightyear's spaceship is named 42.

        13. Fox Mulder's apartment in the US TV series The X Files was number 42.

        14. The youngest president of the United States,Theodore Roosevelt, was 42 when he was elected.

        15. The office of Google's chief executive Eric Schmidt is called Building 42 of the firm's San Francisco complex.

        16. The Bell-X1 rocket plane Glamorous Glennis piloted by Chuck Yeager, first broke the sound barrier at 42,000 feet.

        17. The atomic bomb that devastated Nagasaki, Japan, contained the destructive power of 42 million sticks of dynamite.

        18. A single Big Mac contains 42 per cent of the recommended daily intake of salt.

        19. Cricket has 42 laws.

        20. On page 42 of Bram Stoker's Dracula, Jonathan Harker discovers he is a prisoner of the vampire. And on the same page of Frankenstein, Victor Frankenstein reveals he is able to create life.

        21. In Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet, Friar Laurence gives Juliet a potion that allows for her to be in a death-like coma for "two and forty hours".

        22. The three best-selling music albums – Michael Jackson's Thriller, AC/DC's Back in Black and Pink Floyd's The Dark Side of the Moon – last 42 minutes.

        23. The result of the most famous game in English football – the world cup final of 1966 – was 4-2.

        24. The type 42 vacuum tube was one of the most popular audio output amplifiers of the 1930s.

        25. A marathon course is 42km and 195m.

        26. Samuel Johnson compiled the Dictionary of the English Language, regarded as one of the greatest works of scholarship. In a nine-year period he defined a total of 42,777 words.

        27. 42,000 balls were used at Wimbledon last year.

        28. The wonder horse Nijinsky was 42 months old in 1970 when he became the last horse to win the English Triple Crown: the Derby the 2000 Guineas and the St Leger.

        29. The element molybdenum has the atomic number 42 and is also the 42nd most common element in the universe.

        30. Dodi Fayed was 42 when he was killed alongside Princess Diana.

        31. Cell 42 on Alcatraz Island was once home to Robert Stroud who was transferred to The Rock in 1942. After murdering a guard he spent 42 years in solitary confinement in different prisons.

        32. In the Book of Revelation, it is prophesised that the beast will hold dominion over the earth for 42 months.

        33. The Moorgate Tube disaster of 1975 killed 42 passengers.

        34. When the growing numbers of Large Hadron Collider scientists acquired more office space recently, they named their new complex Building 42.

        35. Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland has 42 illustrations.

        36. 42 is the favourite number of Dr House, the American television doctor played by Hugh Laurie.

        37. There are 42 US gallons in a barrel of oil.

        38. In an episode of The Simpsons, police chief Wiggum wakes up to a question aimed at him and replies "42".

        39. Best Western is the world's largest hotel chain with more than 4,200 hotels in 80 countries.

        40. There are 42 principles of Ma'at, the ancient Egyptian goddess – and concept – of physical and moral law, order and truth.

        41. Mungo Jerry's 1970 hit "In the Summertime", written by Ray Dorset, has a tempo of 42 beats per minute.

        42. The band Level 42 chose their name in recognition of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy and not – as is often repeated – after the world's tallest car park.

        Historical Snapshot

        In 1938, the Douglas Aircraft Co. decided to produce a four-engine transport about twice the size of the DC-3. It developed the single DC-4E to carry 42 passengers by day or 30 by night. The DC-4E had complete sleeping accommodations, including a private bridal room.

        It proved too expensive to maintain, so airlines agreed to suspend development in favor of the less complex DC-4, which was not put into commercial service until 1946. Its military derivative was the C-54 &rdquoSkymaster&rdquo transport, ordered by the U.S. Army Air Forces in 1942.

        Douglas built 1,241 of the DC-4s and its military counterparts, including the R5D for the Navy. During the war, C-54s flew a million miles a month over the rugged North Atlantic &mdash more than 20 roundtrips a day. A special VC-54C, nicknamed the &rdquoSacred Cow&rdquo by the White House press corps, became the first presidential aircraft, ordered for Franklin D. Roosevelt.

        After World War II, commercial airlines placed more than 300 civilian DC-4 transports into service, these DC-4s, along with C-54s converted for civil use, carried more passengers than any other four-engine transport. Some were still flying through 2014.

        Watch the video: Παγκόσμιος πόλεμος 2 Ανίχνευση μετάλλων - Γερμανικά γυάλινα ορυχεία παντού! (June 2022).


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