From a leading aviation author, an excellent account of the contribution made by the iconic DC-3/Dakota/C-47 to the success of D-Day. This versatile transport aircraft was one of a handful of truly iconic aircraft to serve in WWII – Most Highly Recommended
NAME: D Day Dakotas 6th June 1944 FILE: R2945 AUTHOR: Martin W Bowman PUBLISHER: Pen and Sword BINDING: hard back PAGES: 335 PRICE: £25.00 GENRE: Non Fiction SUBJECT: World War Two, World War 2, World War II, WWII, Second World War, military aviation, transport aircraft, C-47, Dakota, D-Day, Operation Overlord, vertical insertion, paratroopers, freight, supplies drops, aviation icon
IMAGE: B2945.jpg BUYNOW: tinyurl.com/y26eka7u LINKS: DESCRIPTION: From a leading aviation author, an excellent account of the contribution made by the iconic DC-3/Dakota/C-47 to the success of D-Day. This versatile transport aircraft was one of a handful of truly iconic aircraft to serve in WWII – Most Highly Recommended If a single vehicle deployed during D-Day could claim to have been key to the success of this huge, complex and very risky operation, it is probably the Dakota. All of the amphibious landings of WWII saw high casualty rates and some came very close to being thrown back into the sea. The Normandy shores offered an equally risky prospect but by D-Day, the Allies had learned a great deal about landing troops onto a fortified beach where the defender held a considerable advantage. On the shore line, the troops had to fight ashore in the face of heavy fire from prepared positions but they were completely exposed with little opportunity to avoid the fire. To mitigate the risk, 'swimming' tanks were developed to provide some cover and heavy direct fire on enemy positions. Once ashore, the troops faced enormous risk in taking the bunkers and trenches to free the beaches for reinforcements and supplies to be landed at lower risk. Once the enemy could see the armada of landing craft approaching, they could call for their own heavy reinforcements. If these arrived before the assault troops could clear the initial defences, it was highly likely that the ensuing bloodbath would see the invaders killed or captured and their reinforcements prevented from even landing. To increase their chances of success, the Allies employed some co-ordinated support. Heavy bombardment by naval guns and aircraft kept enemy heads down and inflicted damage on the defences. Two prefabricated harbours were towed across the Channel and placed in position to provide a much faster and easier path for the vital supplies and reinforcements needed for the next stages of the battle. Equally important was the laying of an underwater fuel pipeline, PLUTO, to provide the volume of fuel needed for all of the fighting and transport vehicles employed. What made the significant difference beyond and, some might argue, above, was the fleet of transport aircraft and gliders that had taken airborne troops inland to seize and hold key bridges and transport links. These troops denied access to the defences for German reinforcements and co-ordinated with the French Resistance volunteers who were busy blowing rail track, tunnels and communications lines. They also ensured that when the break-out from the beaches began, the Allied armour and troops had bridges they could cross as they concluded the Battle of Normandy. Critical to this operation was the highly versatile Douglas DC-3/C-47 Dakota. Further paradrops were carried out on or near the beaches to enable the landed troops and vehicles get off the beaches and through the coastal defences. In the case of the Americas bogged down on Omaha Beach attempting to survive and advance, a large paradrop was critical to them The author has provided his usual highly readable text, very ably supported by a fine selection of images contained in photo-plate sections. The narrative combines extensive historical notes with personal accounts of those who fought. The Dakotas' contribution to victory is well told. This amazing aircraft not only survived its punishing tasks of WWII, but many are still flying and not only as historic war birds. Even more than seven decades on some have continued to haul freight and passengers for a living. The military C-47 has been flown in some of the more remote regions as cargo carriers and some, like those operated in Kenya by Sunbird Airlines, carried tourists between game reserves and towns. However, the many triumphs of this incredible aircraft will always be remembered for how they contributed to the success of D-Day and the liberation of Europe.