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C-46 Commando in action


Aircraft Number 188

Squadron/Signal Publications


S u m m a r y

Title, Description & Publisher Squadron/Signal Publications No. 1188; Aircraft Number 188: C-46 Commando in action by Terry Love, color by Don Greer, illustrations by Darren Glenn and Dave Gebhardt; Squadron/Signal Publications, Carrollton, TX 2002;
ISBN: 0-89747-452-X
Media and Contents: 50 pages plus soft cover; landscape format
Price: USD$8.46 from Squadron.com
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Compact format; 117 black and white photos; good summary of development and operations; nice to have some exposure for a significant yet relatively unknown aircraft
Recommendation: Recommended

Reviewed by Brett Green

C-46 Commando in action is available online from Squadron.com




The Curtiss-Wright CW-20 was the world's largest twin engine aircraft in 1940. Its wingspan of 108 feet was more than 4 feet greater than the span of the Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. The CW-20 was the direct equivalent to the first C-46 Commando to serve with the US Army Air Force.

The CW-20/C-46 family featured a number of innovations that are stilled used in airliners of the 21st Century. The most obvious of these innovations is the "double bubble" fuselage cross section, initially specified due to the pressurisation of the civil CW-20 airliner. This double bubble was even more apparent on the C-46, as the fairing on the fuselage sides covering the join between the upper and lower cylinders was omitted, resulting in the characteristic crease along the sides of the Commando.

This book follows Squadron/Signal’s popular “In Action” format with Don Greer cover art, two colour pages as a “centrefold” with ten attractive profiles (plenty of variety in colour schemes here), helpful line drawings and specifications spread over 50 pages in landscape format. As with the rest of the series, the real backbone of these books are the multitude of photographs packed between the covers. 117 photographss are captioned in detail.

The text seems a little more detailed than usual, with a good summary of the development of the CW-20, is competitive position in the emerging airline era of the DC-3, its adoption my the military at the personal "suggestion" of General "Hap" Arnold, and the military developments to the airframe and powerplants.

As with other "in action" books, variants and operations are also well covered. The operations cover a wide time span, from WWII to Vietnam. Even today, around 60 Commandos are still airworthy.

This is an interesting introduction to an important aircraft that has perhaps not received the exposure it deserves.


Review Copyright © 2003 by Brett Green
Page Created 23 March, 2003
Last updated 24 August, 2003

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