These pages of the website are created to show the machines and gear used by the US Troop Carrier units that saw action in Europe 1944-1945.

 1. The Aircraft

A few types of airplane formed the backbone for the Troop Carrier units.
- C-47 / C-53
- C-46
- Waco CG-4A glider
- C-109
Douglas C-47 / C-53

This type of aircraft is the most famous one. On the five things that helped to win the war, Eisenhower listed this aircraft.

Looking at the history of airborne warfare, it seems logic that this airplane became the work-horse for the Allied forced. The Germans were the first to use Airborne tactics in battle. For their paratroopers, the Germans used the Junkers JU 52. This plane was designed to be a comercial airliner and put into service by the German Luftwaffe.
After the German successes with Airborne operations, the Americans speeded up their Airborne program and the C-47 came out as the aircraft to be used by them. The C-47 and C-53 were actually military versions of the Douglas DC-3, an American airliner.

The C-53 was the plane used to ferry personnel around. The C-47 was more for cargo. The differences were that the C-47 had:
                  1. Reinforced cabin floor
                  2. Large cargo door

The C-53 had a small door, which makes it pretty easy to identify a plame as C-47 or C-53. In reports from 314th TCG veterans it was learned that the C-53 was not very well suited for paratroop missions, because of the smaller door.
The differences in the doorway is clearly visible in these two photos. Left the C-47 with the double cargo door. Right the C-53, with a single passenger door.
General characteristics
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Crew: A regular number of crew was four. A pilot and co-pilot. Further a crew chief and radio operator. Lead planes of formations usually had a navigator. Sometimes and extra navigator was on board. This was with Serial Leaders. In cases of resupply flights over the friendly continent, a three men crew could be seen as well.
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Capacity: 28 troops
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Payload: 6,000 lb (2,700 kg)
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Length: 63 ft 9 in (19.43 m)
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Wingspan: 95 ft 6 in (29.41 m)
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Height: 17 ft 0 in (5.18 m)
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Wing area: 987 ft² (91.70 m²)
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Empty weight: 18,135 lb (8,226 kg)
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Loaded weight: 26,000 lb (11,793 kg)
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Max. takeoff weight: 31,000 lb (14,061 kg)
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Powerplant: 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1830-90C Twin Wasp 14-cylinder radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each
Performance
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Maximum speed: 224 mph (195 kn, 360 km/h) at 10,000 ft (3,050 m)
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Cruise speed: 160 mph (139 kn, 257 km/h)
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Range: 1,600 mi (1,391 nmi, 2,575 km)
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Ferry range: 3,600 mi (3,130 nmi, 5,795 km)
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Service ceiling: 26,400 ft (8,045 m)
Side view of a C-47. This is one of the 80th Troop Carrier Squadron, 436th Troop Carrier Group, as can be seen by its Squadron Code 7D.
A typical C-47 crew. Fo the airplanes, the C-47 and C-46 there was no difference in crews.
This is a 50th Troop Carrier Squadron crew. Left to right:
Sgt. Ray Loughry (Radio Operator)
2nd Lt. Alan G. Sargent (Navigator)
1st Lt. Lawrence J. Haas (Pilot)
2nd Lt. Ralph E. Jarratt (Co-pilot)
T/Sgt. Joe P. Greeg (Crew Chief)

Airborne Troop Carrier - Articles
Airborne Troop Carrier machines - C-46
The C-47/C-53 were used in Airborne operations throughout the war, dropping paratroopers.
They also towed gliders, for which a device was placed in the tail section for the tow rope, with a release mechanism.
Farrying equipment from England to the continent was commonly done. Gasoline was important, the flying PipelLne.
Wounded were taken back to hospitals in England.  
Airborne Troop Carrier machines - gliders
Airborne Troop Carrier machines - C-109
Left: The tail end of a C-47 where the mechanism for the glider tow cable is being attached. The back part could be removed to get access to this mechanism. The tow rope could be dropped by the pilot from their cockpit. This photo was taken on June 6 1944 at Greenham Common, home of the 438th Troop Carrier Group. (NARA)
Right: It seemed that everything fitted inside the C-47. It sure needed some steering skills. Here is jeep is driven into a 440th Troop Carrier Group C-47. All other kinds of equipment was moved in as well, even buldozers. (Bryan collection)
Left: Interior for a paratroop mission. Middle: Evacuating wounded. (NARA) Right: What seems to be an anti-aircraft gun inside the aircraft. (NARA)
A recent fund raising for saving a C-47 focussed on the Airborne troopers who has one-way tickets in the airplanes. This picture shows the significance of mentioning, or actually focusing, on the Troop Carrier men when it gets to surviving
C-47s.
From their training in the USA until getting back home after two years in Europe, the Troop Carrier men took care of the planes. They gave them names. They maintained them. Kept them clean and safe for flying. And on the numerous resupply missions, the plane became their home. They had their meals inside the plane. And even slept inside the plane, which is nothing more then a thin layer of alluminium.
Here, three men of the 440th Troop Carrier Group have their meal while on a resupply mission to Germany, 1945. (D. Beaumont)