Talk:Douglas C-47 Skytrain

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Front view of a C-47 "Skytrain".
Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas (March 2007).

location of C-47 plant[edit]

The article says that C-47s were manufactured in Tulsa, OK. While Douglas had a factory there, my sources indicate that C-47s were manufactured at a different factory in Oklahoma City, which is now part of Tinker AFB. Anyone know which is correct? Tulsa or Oklahoma City? Dabarkey 05:18, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

The item at has impressive sources. GraemeLeggett 08:54, 9 August 2005 (UTC)

This source seems to be consistent with the books that I've consulted: The Tulsa plant built bombers and the OC plant built C-47s. Oklahoma City planes had a DK appended to their identifier (e.g. - C-47-2-DK) while Tulsa planes had a DT appended (e.g. - A-26B-15-DT). Several other sources refer to Tulsa as the "bomber plant". I think I'll stick to Oklahoma City. Dabarkey 04:46, 10 August 2005 (UTC)

In WW2 some American soldiers were in China flying in a Dakota. The plane was shot so many times it was like a flying cheese grater, also one of the engines was on fire. Now the American command had gotten news of a Japanese advance the next day so the soldiers had to get out of their quickly so they patched up the holes in the plane with cigar papers and chewing gum and took off. But after a few minutes they were attacked by a Japanese zero. They were forced to fly through a storm for cover, all the cigar papers fell off. Suddenly there was a horrible shrieking noise from the wind blowing through the holes. Then the zero stopped shooting and flew off. The Japanese newspapers said the following morning that the Americans had invented a horrible flying machine that shrieked and breathed fire. — Preceding unsigned comment added by Blood spud (talkcontribs) 19:58, 27 June 2011 (UTC)

supply drops during the Battle of Bastogne[edit]

Edited to add the part about the C-47's bringing in supplies to the embattled Allied forces during the Battle of Bastogne. - RegBarc 05:15, 27 May 2006 (UTC)


Lisunov and Li-2 are mentioned exactly once, in a section header. They need to be explained. Not only to make the wiki better, but now I'm curious.--J Clear 00:24, 5 July 2006 (UTC)


Official U.S. Air Force aviation display sign for a
C-47 Skytrain located on Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas (March 2007).

I've bumped the importance rating down to "High", since the article doesn't really mention any significant state of "well-knowedness" the aircraft has (and I don't think, off the top of my head, that very many people would have heard of it). Feel free to bump it back up if this is just me being unaware of how well-known this thing is. Kirill Lokshin 16:33, 13 July 2006 (UTC)

I rated "top" since it was the primary transport for the US in WWII (dropping troops in all major airborne ops, flying supplies in both theaters), and also the military variant of the DC-3, the first successsful airlner aircraft. Its probably pretty well established in the public conciousness. Could probably go either way, "top" or "high." Maybe this will be the first debate in the Military Hitory Wikiproject over the importance ratings. I'd be interested in the input of some other project members. While not contentious for me, I think maybe this would be a good starting point in finding out how we will rate these articles.--Nobunaga24 22:50, 13 July 2006 (UTC)
The C-47 was one of the most important aircraft of the 20th century and this article is clearly in need of expansion, so I think that it justifies a 'top' rating. --Nick Dowling 10:40, 28 July 2006 (UTC)
I concur with Nick. The C-47 would be on anyone's short list of the key weapons of World War II (many of which like the jeep were not weapons per se). This article does not even explain the difference between C-47 and C-53, and what info there is appears contradictory. I vote "Top" importance.--Buckboard 02:19, 10 June 2007 (UTC)

Use of apostrophes[edit]

I noticed that this article makes use of both "C-47's" and "C-47s" when referring to the aircraft in plural. Please use consistent punctuation when writing articles on Wikipedia. At the moment, I have changed all instances of "C-47s" to "C-47's" as this will avoid confusion with a non-existent model of the C-47, the C-47s.

I doubt anyone is going to be confused and look for an S model. And I'd rather not be consistently wrong. --J Clear 00:03, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
The problem is that when using a letter in plural, you are supposed to use an apostrophe (C's for example). This is discussed in Eats, Shoots & Leaves—a great book by the way, I recommend that you read it. Also, the website you linked to says nothing about the plurals of letters that are hyphenated to numbers; however, I did soon after check with a professional editor who said to go with the version without the apostrophe. JR98664 05:41, 7 November 2006 (UTC)
This (see rule 8) also disagrees with Eats. But it wouldn't surprise me at all if there were conflicting rules out there. It's not like we have a compiler that's going to complain. And I can't claim to be perfect here myself, but by coincidence I had just looked up the first reference for a friend earlier in the day. This states it can be used for the non-possesive plurals of single lower case letters, but allows that some editors prefer them for numbers and uppercase, too. --J Clear 00:57, 8 November 2006 (UTC)

Why so many RAF units?[edit]

Out of curiosity, why are there so many RAF units that are listed for use of the C-47? Is this documented?--Signaleer 22:09, 14 December 2006 (UTC)

Removed all units from page[edit]

There is no need to list every unit that has flown the C-47, the numbers would be staggering and it is irrelavent for basic information about the aircraft on an online dictionary like Wikipedia. If someone wants to contribute with facts versus listing every unit that ever fielded and flown the aircraft, please add away. --Signaleer 16:04, 10 January 2007 (UTC)

I'm inclined to agree, but to preempt anybody re-adding the lists we've often spun such gigantic wastes of space off into new articles, such as List of PBY Catalina operators and the like, simply adding a {{main}} tag. ericg 18:50, 10 January 2007 (UTC)


As it's been removed from the article I thought I'd stick it here as it might be of interest or use to readers - it's an interesting detail shot and shows the scale of the props:

Ex-internee children from Batu Lintang camp, Sarawak, inspecting the RAAF Douglas Dakota C-47 on which they were to be transferred to Labuan, September 1945.

Jasper33 09:17, 8 July 2007 (UTC)


What does the 'R' in R4D stand for? Resupply? Drutt (talk) 06:37, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Under the 1922 United States Navy aircraft designation system, "R" meant Transport, as "T" was used for "Trainer". Whether the "R" actually stood for an "r"-word is anyone's guess. In the various US military designation systems, if the first letter was taken, another letter in the meaning's word was often used instead. An example of this is "K" for "tanKer" in the USAF and Tri-service systems. At other times, any availble letter was assigned arbitrarily, like "J" for "Utility" under the 1922 USN system. Hope tht helps. - BillCJ (talk) 07:36, 18 December 2008 (UTC)

Actually the 'K' stands for Kerosene (as in Kerosene Tanker). Not sure what the 'R' stands for —Preceding unsigned comment added by Redjacket3827 (talkcontribs) 17:56, 6 October 2009 (UTC)

Naming of AC-47[edit]

From my redo edit:

19:33, 3 April 2009 BeBoldInEdits (talk | contribs) (17,379 bytes) (Redid: This very article lists Variation: AC-47 Spooky, it links to the article AC-47 spooky, Puff is not a codename it was a nickname, spooky was official, I did nothing to disagree with the citation).

Be Bold In Edits (talk) 19:39, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I'm sick of BZUK saying anything that has a citation can't ever be changed (Second article today he has pulled this one on me) when the citation here is from a 40+ year old book, when the project was likely classified, that pretty much none of us have. If the book said it was the AC-47 Poopy Farts which seemingly no other source agrees with would we have to leave it named the AC-47 Poopyfart, let alone the fact that the original is poorly worded, which no citation can fix.

This cite links to the nickname not the official name. FWiW, this source was originally posted on numerous articles and the editor explained the relevance of the origin of various military nicknames. Bzuk (talk) 19:43, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

I don't think I'm going to take the word of some 40+ year old book or a barnes and nobles discount book over ever other source ever including this article and the ac-47 article.

How about

"On 15 December 1964, the AC-47D, using the callsign "Spooky", was introduced into combat in Southeast Asia. It was an instant success in breaking up enemy attacks on hamlets and other defensive positions, and within a year, substantial numbers of the rehabilitated "Gooney Birds" were in action throughout the region. "

"Although the AC-47D "Spooky", commonly referred to as "Puff" (as in "Puff the Magic Dragon"), was an effective attack system, it was also vulnerable to enemy fire. Fifteen aircraft were lost between December 1965 and September 1969. "


Excerpts from"Douglas AC-47 "Spooky" Gunships: The Record", USAF Museum.

Sgt. John L. Levitow

"On 24 February 1969, while serving as a loadmaster aboard an AC-47 gunship (Call sign "Spooky 71") flying a night mission in support of Long Binh Army post, located a few miles northeast of Saigon, Airman First Class Levitow's aircraft was struck by a hostile mortar round."

Notice not Puff the Magic Dragon 71 and the Museum piece itself uses Spooky.

and based on project to naming:

Project Name Aircraft Designation(s) Project Gunship I AC-47D (Spooky) Project Gunship II AC-130A/E/H/U (Spectre/Spooky II) Project Gunship III AC-119G/K (Shadow/Stinger) Project Black Spot AC-123K (Black Spot)(Black Spot was not a gunship. It was a C-123 that had been converted to carry cluster bombs.) (talk) 20:39, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

And from previously quoted USAF museum:

"Upon witnessing the wrath that the AC-47 brought down on the VC attackers that night, he reported that visual effect of the tracers, 1 in every 5 rounds or 20 per second, gave the appearance of dragon's breath. He also tied the roar of the guns into the description. Upon reading the account in the Stars and Stripes, the CO of the 1st Commando Squadron exclaimed 'Well, I'll be damned! Puff, the Magic Dragon.' from a child's song recently popularized in the U.S. by the trio Peter, Paul and Mary. Captured VC documents later told of orders not to attack the Dragon as weapons are useless and it will only infuriate the monster."

But from the same site their is one article agreeing with you somewhat at one point (strangly close to exact wording which makes me think same author as source):

"The gunship version of the C-47D was initially designated FC-47D (Fighter-Cargo), but was changed to AC (Attack Cargo) primarily because of complaints by traditional fighter pilots. The aircraft had several nicknames: "Spooky," "Puff the Magic Dragon" and "Puff." "

but the same article also links to the first also says:

"The AC-47D combat test program was very successful and the Air Force created the 4th Air Commando Squadron in August 1965 as the first operational unit equipped with the "Spooky" gunship. "


"The "Spooky" fired 4,500 rounds of ammunition and broke the Viet Cong attack, forcing a retreat. The AC-47 was then called to defend another outpost (Trung Hung) about 20 miles away. The aircraft again broke the VC attack forcing a retreat. "

I think that based on Spooky being the first name, their being an anecdote as to how it got nicknamed Puff and Puff the magic dragon, and that the rest of the series started with S names Spooky can be considered the official name and the rest as nicknames. —Preceding unsigned comment added by BeBoldInEdits (talkcontribs) 20:08, 3 April 2009 (UTC)

Please note that the recent change in the article corrects the confusion over nicknames. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 20:11, 3 April 2009 (UTC).

SPOOKY, SPECTRE and SHADOW were tactical radio call signs. The first FC-47 was indeed nicknamed "Puff The Magic Dragon" after the Army personnel it was supporting started using that name. It was armed with conventional machineguns, the miniguns were added when the Air Force decided to go ahead and convert additional airplanes. If you want to get the facts, access the official US Air Force history of the fixed-wing gunship progarm. It is available online from the Air Force Historical Office web site at It is unfortunate that writers and historians often misuse terms that cause untold confusion among enthusiasts. SamMcGowan (talk) 20:41, 26 March 2010 (UTC) (talk) 20:39, 26 March 2010 (UTC)

Japanese WW2 DC-3?[edit]

Didn't the Japanese have a production of DC-3's during WW2? Or was that modified US built DC-3? Edit: AH, should have looked under DC-3! "A total of 487 were built in Japan, as the L2D Type 0 transport." In that case, should a mention in C47 be about a military DC-3 in Japan? They are after all almost identical (DC-3/C47).--Flightsoffancy (talk) 16:57, 23 May 2009 (UTC)

Accidents and incidents[edit]

Is there some reason this article doesn't have a section which other a/c articles have? LeadSongDog come howl 16:05, 14 August 2009 (UTC)

Never had an accident! - probably because a lot of the C-47s were lost, although most would be combat losses. The DC-3 hasnt got a list of civil accidents either, ASN has over 2000 hull-losses for both C-47/DC-3s. MilborneOne (talk) 16:28, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
I just now moved to the Holding zone this 1951 entry deleted from the list for WP:ADL no-linked-article rule:
  • March 27 - a Douglas C-47A-75-DL Dakota 3 cargo aircraft operated by Air Transport Charter and en route from London Heathrow to Nutts Corner Airport, Antrim, Northern Ireland, crashed shortly after take-off following the aircraft's failure to gain height. There were four fatalities, two of the three crew on board and two of the three passengers.
It's listed on ASN I believe.LeadSongDog come howl 17:16, 14 August 2009 (UTC)
At this record. Casualties show there as the 2 crew only, no pax. As expected, there are many other civil accidents on record, the most recent major one being this Rutaca accident 25 Jan 2001 with 24 casualties. LeadSongDog come howl 05:35, 15 August 2009 (UTC)

Picture is squashed[edit]

The picture at the top of the article is squashed and looks bad. Wistchars (talk) 10:49, 24 April 2013 (UTC)

I have had a tweak - any better? MilborneOne (talk) 18:45, 24 April 2013 (UTC)
Thanks, it looks better. Wistchars (talk) 01:54, 27 April 2013 (UTC)

R-1830 and superchargers[edit]

Now, it may be just that I'm a lot more ignorant than I realized, but I don't think the listing saying the "C-47B was given fly over the Hump..." is accurate. It is my understanding that by WWII ALL aircraft engines other than some very small, very basic ones had forced induction (i.e. centrifugal supercharger 99.9% of the time). I believe you will find that ALL R-1830 engines came with some form of supercharging, and what the person actually was thinking of is either 2-stage and/or 2-speed supercharging, to give greater high altitude ability. The original Spitfire had a supercharged engine. The later marks had a 2-stage, 2-speed supercharger, which gave very good altitude capability. Thus, it was given an IMPROVED supercharger, in lieu of the one that every Merlin had from day one. Just like the R-1830. If I am wrong and the standard R-1830 was an un-supercharged engine, I would love to hear about it, because it would mean that my understanding of WWII engines has been way off this whole time. BEst of my knowledge, and engine that could be called a "combat engine" has at least a basic supercharger..45Colt 03:17, 14 February 2014 (UTC) — Preceding unsigned comment added by .45Colt (talkcontribs)