The Douglas C-47 Skytrain or Dakota (RAF and RAAF designation) is a military transport aircraft developed from the civilian Douglas DC-3 airliner . It was used extensively by the Allies during World War II and remains in front line service with various military operators.
The C-47 differed from the civilian DC-3 in numerous modifications, including being fitted with a cargo door , hoist attachment, and strengthened floor , along with a shortened tail cone for glider-towing shackles, and an astrodome in the cabin roof .During World War II, the armed forces of many countries used the C-47 and modified DC-3s for the transport of troops, cargo , and wounded. The U.S. Naval designation was R4D. More than 10,000 aircraft were produced in Long Beach and Santa Monica , California and Oklahoma City , Oklahoma. Between March 1943 and August 1945 the Oklahoma City plant produced 5,354 C-47s.The specialized C-53 Skytrooper troop transport started production in October 1941 at Douglas Aircraft 's Santa Monica , California plant . It lacked the cargo door , hoist attachment, and reinforced floor of the C-47. Only a total of 380 aircraft were produced in all because the C-47 was found to be more versatile.
The C-47 was vital to the success of many Allied campaigns, in particular those at Guadalcanal and in the jungles of New Guinea and Burma, where the C-47 (and its naval version, the R4D) made it possible for Allied troops to counter the mobility of the light -travelling Japanese Army . Additionally, C-47s were used to airlift supplies to the embattled American forces during the Battle of Bastogne. Possibly its most influential role in military aviation , however, was flying "The Hump" from India into China .