As described in the Design Analysis article [ HTML ], the C-47 was indeed the workhorse of the AAF. For all that, however, it was fairly poorly represented in the contemporary publications.
There is a fair amount of confusion about the DC-3 airframe in military service. The Design Analysis article lists
C-53 was called Skytrooper, and C-48, C-49 should also be so called. C-47 was called Skytrain. However, the C-47 Skytrain name was casually applied to all DC-3 airframes in the popular press. The Gooney Bird nickname, also freely popularly applied to all DC-3 airframes, appears to have originated in WWII.
- C-33 modified DC-2
- C-39 DC-2 fuselage with DC-3 empennage, wings and engines
- C-47 purpose-built military transport, designed to handle heavy cargo, with large cargo door
- C-48 DC-3 in OD camouflage with place for an extra crewman, with original seating, used as passenger transport
- C-49 DC-3 with reinforced floor to handle heavy cargo
- C-53 DC-3 in OD camouflage with interior modified for troop transport or ambulance service
Wikipedia lists a few more types
And, of course, there were the various versions of the Navy's R4D. Plus the experimental XCG-17 glider and XC-47C floatplane. Postwar there were air-sea rescue, ELINT and gunship variants. More than 75 years after first commercial flight, the basic DC-3 airframe is still in revenue service.
- C-41 modified C-33
- C-41A impressed DC-3 used as VIP transport
- C-50 impressed DC-3
- C-51 impressed DC-3
- C-52 impressed DC-3
- C-68 impressed DC-3
- C-84 impressed DC-3
- C-117 late series DC-3 used as passenger transport or VIP transport
Wikipedia makes distinction between DC-3, DC-3A and DC-3B; I don't in this context
All of the types (except the DC-2 variants) were built on the same basic DC-3 airframe, as evolved and modified over time. This airframe has to qualify as one of the outstanding engineering achievements of all time.
- "Sky Freighter" [ HTML ] mentions the C-47 and C-53 variants.
- "Burma Banshee" [ HTML ] tells the story of a China National Airways DC-3 ferrying refugees out of Burma. It got shot up badly, was patched, had the patches wash off in a rainstorm turning the plane into a giant flying ocarina.
- "Douglas Licks U-Boats Without Bombs" [ HTML ] describes Douglas' production line organization and processes.
- "New Wings over America" [ HTML ] introduces the F6F and the XC-47C amphibian. The article relates successful testing of both land and sea landing capabilities.
- A news clip, "China's 'C-47 Road,'" [ HTML ] tells of the arrival of 35 C-47s to start "flying the Hump" ferrying supplies into China while the Burma Road was unusable.
- An article, "Filling Up the Instrument Panel," includes a photo of the cockpit of a prewar DC-3 looking forward from behind the seats.
- A Snap-On Tools ad, "At Eastern Air Lines", shows mechanics working on the nose and left engine of a DC-3.
- A BF Goodrich "Airliner of the Month" ad, "American Airlines' Flagship", is a color painting of a DC-3, lit from below, seen from just below 2 o'clock.
- The front cover of Aviation for September, 1942, is a Pratt & Whitney ad, "Africa and points East", featuring a color painting of conscripted DC-3s in OD camo over the pyramids in Egypt.
- A BF Goodrich "Airliner of the Month" ad, "United Mainliner", features a color painting of a DC-3 on final, gear down, seen from the control tower. Viewpoint is from 10 o'clock low.
- An article on Pan American Airways, "Around the World in Fifteen Years," includes a pair of photos of the famous DC-2½, one showing the damage to the right wing (seen from 4 o'clock) and one showing the repaired plane, (seen from directly above the tail.)
- The crisis of war met by the China National Aviation Corporation. Below, a DC-3, strafed by the Japs, has lost a wing. Ingenuity and courage fitted it with a DC-2 wing and put it into acceptable flying condition again (above).
- A BF Goodrich "Airline of the Month" ad, "Eastern Air Lines", is a color painting showing a DC-3 in Eastern livery and a C-47 in OD-over-light-grey camo. DC-3 is seen from 2 o'clock; C-47 is seen from 1 o'clock high.
- A Snap-On Tools ad, "Line Moves", shows C-47 fuselages on the assembly line. View shows fuselage from the left, from wing trailing edge on back. Tail numbers have been dodged out.
From the spacing, the fuselages don't seem to have wings attached yet. They appear to be painted (otherwise the tail numbers wouldn't be on yet.)
- A news clip with photo, "Flying Ward", shows a view of the interior of a C-47 fitted with litters.
The C-47 is not one of the "largest planes" that could carry 30 casualties. Jane's lists litter capacity of the C-47 as 18.
- "Douglas Licks U-Boats Without Bombs" [ HTML ] includes an exploded-view drawing and 17 assembly-line photos:
- Breakdown of C-47 with nomenclature of parts and assemblies. [ drawing ]
- Individual jigs are used for smaller assemblies. [ photo ]
- Instruments and internal equipment are installed in the pilot's section after cockpit roof is in place. These assemblies are in double line of eight sections each. [ photo ]
- Two of nine jigs used in fabricating bottom fuselage sections. Jig in foreground is just started upon, but one behind it is ready for skin. [ photo ]
- Roof section jigs are a good example of careful design. Accessibility is stressed in all parts of plant. [ photo ]
- After cutting to size, plates are fastened into large sheets by this Erco riveting machine. [ photo ]
- After Erco machine work, plates are Clecoed onto fuselage frames, then riveted in place. [ photo ]
- Two-level platforms are used in final stages of fuselage construction. [ photo ]
- Interior work is facilitated by use of portable plank platforms. [ photo ]
- Commencing at left, nacelles progress through various stages. [ photo ]
- Wing center sections are riveted into nacelles, main tanks are installed, and tubing inserted by workers at different levels. [ photo ]
- Mounted on two dollys, center wing section will shortly be connected to fuselage. [ photo ]
- Empennages are connected, wing fairings are in place, and fuselage is ready for wings and engine. [ photo ]
- Engines are added in line at left, mounts and parts coming from section at right. [ photo ]
- Outer wings are first Clecoed together, then riveted as they move across floor. [ photo ]
- Before adding outer wings, planes are turned at 30° to save space. [ photo ]
- Wheels are mounted on dollys set to run at that angle in a rail. [ photo ]
- Keeping line clear. Finished planes are pushed out of shops immediately to prevent production holdup. [ photo ]
- An Edo Aircraft Corp (float gear) ad, "Something Really New!", shows 4 views of the prototype XC-47C (C-47-DL 25671, modified).
- An Edo Aircraft Corp (float gear) ad, "Army's Amphibious Transport", shows 4 views of a C-47C equipped with amphibious float gear. Views are from 3 o'clock, 12 o'clock, 10 oclock (all small) and 2 o'clock low (large.)
- A Roller Bearing Co of America ad, "Edo float gear uses RBC needle bearings", has three views of a C-47C equipped with amphibious float gear: "Takeoff from Water Wheels Retracted", Taxiing up ramp Wheels Lowered", "Takeoff from Land Wheels Lowered." Views are from 3, 2, 2 o'clock respectively.
- A news clip with photo, "A Lugger is Lugged", shows the XCG-17 (C-47-DL 118496, modified) from 2 o'clock high.
- An untitled color Gallery photo shows C-47B-1-DL 316298 in flight, seen from 2 o'clock high.
Additional information from Technical Orders
TO 1-C-47-3 Handbook, Structural Repair Instructions
- Exploded views of C-47 and C-117, showing differences between the airframes [ drawing ]
- Fuselage Structure (C-117A Model) station diagram [ drawing ]
- Camouflage plan drawing [ drawing ]
- Station diagram of C-47 [ drawing ]
- Rigging diagram three-view drawing with detail dimensions [ drawing ]