The Douglas C-47 Skytrain flew for the first time 73 years ago today. Developed from the Douglas DC-3, the C-47 was the most widely-used transport of World War II. Douglass built over 10,000 Skytrains and every branch of the U.S. military and all the major allied powers operated it. The C-47 hauled cargo, dropped paratroops and even towed gliders. More than 1,000 Skytrains participated in the D-Day invasion. Unofficially known as “Gooney Bird,” General Dwight D. Eisenhower called the C-47 one of the four most important weapons of the war, along with the bazooka, the jeep and the atomic bomb. C-47s remained in active military service long after the end of World War II, playing a vital role in the 1948 Berlin Airlift and participating in the Korean and Vietnam wars.
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