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Old 20th February 2005, 17:32
David_Isby David_Isby is offline
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Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Washingtin - Inside the Beltway
Posts: 5

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:


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.
David Isby
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