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Old 20th February 2005, 18:32
David_Isby David_Isby is offline
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New OSPREY -- C-47/R4D UNITS OF THE ETO/MTO 1942-45

A new Osprey has appeared, and it's my doing.

Members of this board may recall I solicited advice on how to do a worthwhile Osprey a year or so ago. I have tried to apply this in:

C-47/R4D UNITS OF THE EUROPEAN/MEDITERANEAN THEATERS OF OPERATION by David C. Isby

Published in 2005 by Osprey, the well known British publishers, it covers the rise of US military airlift and its commitment to battle in 1942-45 in North Africa, Sicily, Italy, D-Day. Operation MARKET-GARDEN, the Rhine Crossing and many other operations. Its deals with US C-47s (and its derivatives) and it covers all its users: the Troop Carrier Command, transport groups, Air Transport Command, the Naval Air Transport Service (where it was designated the R4D), special operations and many others.

A caveat -- the book only deals with US aircraft. DAKOTA UNITS OF THE ETO/MTO still needs to be done. Now, if only one could find a bunch a photos without going broke paying off the IWM/RAFM.

The book is number 54 in Osprey’s Combat Aircraft series and is a slender (96 pages) eight-by-ten-inch paperback with a color cover, a color illustration section (with 30 original side-view drawings, insignia and markings), and over 100 black and white maps, diagrams and photographs. Appendixes include a listing of all units equipped with C-47/R4Ds in the ETO/MTO and three-view plan drawings. A one-page bibliography helps with follow-on research.

While the book’s length and broad scope preclude an in-depth treatment, it aims to provide insights on a critical element of the air war in Europe that is too often overlooked in favor of coverage of bombers and fighters. At the time of decisive battles in the ETO, there were more C-47s than P-51s in theater. The C-47’s airdrop, resupply, casualty evacuation, and special operations missions made them a critical part of what we today recognize as joint operations.

In addition to the narrative, the book includes a number of first person accounts of significant C-47 missions. This includes Capt John Evans of the 60th Troop Carrier Group describing his dogfight with a Vichy French fighter over Algeria, Lt Col Raymond Nowotny, commanding officer of the 8th Troop Carrier Squadron, describing a night airdrop mission to Italian partisans, and Col C.H. Young leading the 439th Troop Carrier Group on D-Day. The first person accounts include also one from a medical evacuation crewman, another being a mission in which nothing historic happened, but was as good a day’s flying in the bright Mediterranean sky of July 1943 as could be had.

The side-views are also intended to provide a wide sample, with all different types of US insignia, OD, sand-and-spinach, natural metal and field modified paint jobs; aircraft from troop carrier, transport, special operations, NATS, ATC, air depot/service group, VIP transport and other operators.

The book aims to be an introduction and overview of a classic aircraft’s role in the US air war in Europe, the units that flew it, and how it was used. While it is brief (and, I regret to say, there is no single in-depth work I can refer you to) I hope it will be of interest to veterans, model builders, airplane buffs, military historians, and anyone looking for a starting place for research.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 06:38
spookyboss spookyboss is offline
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I am trying to find the history of our C-47 43-16369 N2805J I know that it was delivered to the 9th AF in europe during August of 44 would like to find out which TCG and TCS it served with?
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Old 22nd February 2005, 14:37
David_Isby David_Isby is offline
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As I'm sure you are aware, the standard reference on individual Gooney Bird histories, J.M.G. Gradige, THE DOUGLAS DC-3 AND ITS PREDECESSORS, Tonbridge, 1984, Air Britain, reports that there is no record card on file for this airplane's Second World War service. I will let you know if I run across it, but the history files of the 14 TCGs in the ETO do not regularly refer to the aircraft arriving and leaving the group. Sometimes, you can run across an airplane on a surviving mission list.
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Old 22nd February 2005, 21:30
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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Quote:
A caveat -- the book only deals with US aircraft. DAKOTA UNITS OF THE ETO/MTO still needs to be done. Now, if only one could find a bunch a photos without going broke paying off the IWM/RAFM.
What is the problem?
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Old 23rd February 2005, 00:49
David_Isby David_Isby is offline
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No problem, really. But for those that are not veteran researchers and did not understand my reference, I can take a scanner or (my preference) a camera with a close-focus lense and lots of film to the US National Archives and copy all the photos of Gooney Birds I wish without paying a fee. This liberal attitude does not extend to such wonderful British institutions as the Public Record Office (PRO), Imperial War Museum (IWM) and RAF Museum (RAFM). They want a substantial fee for photo reproduction rights. As Ospreys require a lot of photos, the author of such works is basically, as the RAAF says, up a a gum tree.
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Old 23rd February 2005, 14:33
Franek Grabowski Franek Grabowski is offline
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David
I think you should discuss IWM fees with Osprey first. Then there is really a lot of possibilities to obtain the photos from veterans and collectors, which are otherwise necessary to have a representative selection.
I assume there is no problem with a research for you.
Anyway, if you need, I have some scans of Daks used by Polish government on trips from London as well as some stories related to ferrying and special operations - landings in Poland.
Franek
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Old 24th February 2005, 00:07
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Boris Ciglic Boris Ciglic is offline
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Hello David,

lost your e-mail. I got your book and enyoyed reading it.

Regards,
Boris
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Old 24th February 2005, 00:50
David_Isby David_Isby is offline
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Boris -- Glad you like the book. I am sorry they only had room for one of your photos. I also had an account of a resupply mission to the partisans that did not make it.

Franek -- Thanks for your kind offer. I hope to circumvent the various Cerebus-imitators that guard RAF photographs from us poor but deserving authors and researchers.
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Old 24th February 2005, 01:54
David_Isby David_Isby is offline
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This is the first-person account I mention that did not get published:


Squadron Leader Leslie York, RAF, flew in a “Dakota” of the 60th TCG on an escorted multi-aircraft daylight mission into an airfield in Yugoslavia in the summer of 1944.

Flying in comfortable passenger aircraft over enemy territory gives an extreme but false impression of immunity to danger. This is partly because in the transports there is a room to walk about, light to ready by and time in which to take coffee. A British Army major and myself, who flew to Yugoslavia as passengers, enjoyed these pleasures as we crossed over German slit trenches and the dark Bosnia pine-woods. The major pointed out enemy positions to me as we came to the mountains but there was no incident. On previous occasions when flak had opened up the fighter escort had immediately swooped down and reduced them, thus discouraged other ground gunners. Cattle scattered as we formated into landing pattern for the airstrip but no other sign of life or movement distinguished this minute green valley from any other. Indeed, for a full minute after getting out of the “Dakota” I could not be certain that this was the rendezvous, for the valley seemed deserted.

Then suddenly the Yugoslavs came toward us, running out of cover in the copses—the Partisans dressed in drab British battle suits and starred caps, mixed with scores of peasant girls in their traditional costumes and kerchiefs. While they took the arms and supplies out of the aircraft the wounded were brought up. Some were lifted on pack ponies and lifted down to the ground, some walked, or, if they were one-legged, hopped with the aid of sticks, others were marched on litters borne shoulder-high by the teams of girls-bearers who had in some cases carried them thus for a great distance through the ravines and over the mountains.

I met there a Royal Yugoslav air gunner who had baled out of a [USAAF 376th BG] Liberator turret. That, he told me, had been all there was to leave. His aircraft had been damaged by shellfire and he found himself at 10,000 feet spinning down in his turret. The rest of the Liberator had gone. By good luck the ledge on which his parachute was stored was still with him. On the airfield comforting the people we had come to rescue I found him. For most of them ours were the first airplanes they had seen at close quarters and their apprehension of air travel was as great as their joy at being saved.

These were mountain Partisans and many of them had never seen the sea. One young boy whose leg had been torn open was more concerned with wondering what the Adriatic would be like than he was about either the air passage or his wounds.

The tremendous emotion of the scene of the airfield did not hinder the smooth marshalling and emplaning of the wounded. The shepherd mothers who had to watch their sick children leave them were crying but there were no withdrawals and the planes filled with their quotas.

Peasant girls in red dresses and string shoes who were staring at the protecting fighters weaving overhead stood next to their father, an aged Partisan, who, they told me, was dying of consumption. A blinded woman, a man with stomach wounds from a mine, and a child whose rough bandaging had stuck to his leg injuries were carried into the same plane to complete the load and the door was closed.

Some American air crewmen who had parachuted into Yugoslavia were also evacuated. Some of them had been waiting a long while for rescue and they were wild with joy. In they aircraft they told me the first things they intended doing when they arrived back in Italy. One was going to cable his wife. Another was first going to be deloused and have a hot bath. A third said he had dreamed for a month about a small bar of milk chocolate. I produced one from my emergency rations and they fell on it like kids, breaking it into minute pieces and giving the Partisan stretcher cases first choice. The Dakota crew gave up their own rations to them and as we passed over the Dalmatian islands we all settled down to tinned bacon and eggs, biscuits and cheese. The rest of the voyage was taken up signing things. He signed everything the Americans had, from short snorters and pictures of their wives to a pair of crutches made for a rescued navigator by the Partisans who had found him. While this was going on most of the Yugoslavs in the aircraft who could sit up were staring in silence at the sea below us.

A RAF medical officer and orderlies were waiting with ambulances as soon as we touched down. The Americans were greeted with cans of beer, while the Partisans found old friends. From the beginning to end it was a remarkable trip and a very moving experience for all of us.
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