Curtis C-46 Commando

As with the other Troop Carrier backbone, the C-47, this plane had its origin in the civilian airliner indusrty. The C-46 was bigger and bulkier then the C-47. It had two doors and paratroopers could jumpt from both doors simultaniously. As the number of paratroopers carried was almost double of that of the C-47, the time that the planes were over the Drop Zone was about the same as for the C-47. But the number of troops landing in the same number of minutes was double that of the C-46.

Although this plane arrived in the European Theatre of Operations in 1944, it wasn’t until 1945 that is was used in larger numbers in a combat operation. At that time, only one Troop Carrier Group, the 313th, would fly with this kind of plane on a combat operation. The operation was Varsity, the crossing of the Rhine River near Wesel.
At that time, none of the big C-46 airplanes had self sealing gas tanks, an issue that had been troublesom to the Troop Carrier units from the start, as the C-47s did not have such during most of the years. The result of the C-46 not having such tanks was devestating. Nineteen out of the seventy-two airplanes were lost.
General characteristics
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Crew: 4  - See remark on C-47 page
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Capacity: [31]
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40 troops or
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30 stretcher patients or
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15,000 lb (6,800 kg) cargo[32]
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Length: 76 ft 4 in (23.27 m)
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Wingspan: 108 ft 0 in (32.91 m)
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Height: 21 ft 9 in (6.62 m)
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Wing area: 1,360 ft2 (126.3 m2)
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Empty weight: 30,669 lb[N 2][31] (14,700 kg)
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Max. takeoff weight: 45,000 lb[N 3] (20,412 kg)
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Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-51 two-row 18-cylinder radial engines, 2,000 hp (1,492 kW) each
Performance
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Maximum speed: 270 mph (235 knots, 435 km/h) at 15,000 ft (4,600 m)
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Cruise speed: 173 mph (150 knots, 278 km/h)
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Range: 3,150 mi (2,739 nmi, 5,069 km at 173 mph (278 km/h))
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Service ceiling: 24,500 ft (7,468 m)
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Rate of climb: 1,175 ft/min[31] (6.0 m/s)
A C-47 (left - 45th Troop Carrier Squadron/ / 316th Troop Carrier Group)) and a C-46 (29th Troop Carrier Squadron / 313th Troop Carrier Group) beside each other. This photo clearly shows the difference in appearance. (H. Den Brok collection)
Paratroopers of the 17th Airborne Division board a C-46 prior to the Rhine mission. The 313th Troop Carrier Group was the only one to fly C-46 type of aircraft in a combat operation. This is a 29th Troop Carrier Squadron aircraft. The crew was:
2nd Lt   Joseph Royer (Pilot)
F/O     Robert Hargrave (Co-pilot)
Cpl      Douglas Dineen (Radio operator)
T/Sgt   Henry von Rhode (Crew chief)
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