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Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 54


C-47/R4D Units of the ETO and MTO



David Isby


S u m m a r y

Publisher and Catalogue Details: Osprey Combat Aircraft No. 54
C-47/R4D Units of the ETO and MTO
by David Isby
ISBN: 1841767506
Media and Contents: Soft cover, 64 pages
Price: GB£12.99 online from Osprey Publishing
Review Type: FirstRead
Advantages: Informative operational history of the type; logically and chronologically laid out; clear and relevant photos; logical structure; attractive illustrations.
Recommendation: Highly Recommended

Reviewed by Rodger Kelly

 Osprey's "C-47/R4D Units" may be ordered  online from Squadron.com



Catchy title, translated it is C-47/R4D Units of the European Theatre of Operations and Mediterranean Theatre of Operations.  The book is number 54 and the latest addition to Osprey Publishing's Combat Aircraft series.  The title is a bit of a misnomer and it should really read U.S. C-47/R4D Units of the ETO and MTO as it concentrates on the USAAC/USAAF and US Navy. 

There is no doubt that the C-47 Dakota (just one of the many designations and names borne by the Douglas built machine) has been one of the most outstanding aircraft ever built.  It has enjoyed a long, long life in both peace and war. 

This new book from Osprey deals with a very small part of its wartime history.  It describes its use in both the European and Mediterranean theatres of operation. 

It is logically and chronologically laid out and the reader is initially treated to a potted history to the origins of the both the C-47 and the creation of the USAAC's Air Transport Command.  

With this out of the way, the author launches into the combat use of the machine and the operations it took part in.  The text is a mixture of the "overall picture" and first hand accounts by the people actually who took part in the operations.  To be truthful, the text is a little dry but then again, the book deals with the facts and is not a work of fiction. 



The book comprises eight chapters, two appendices and eleven pages of colour profiles.

The chapters and appendices are: 

  • Origins

How the aircraft came to be.  Service Background.  New Missions and Aircraft.  The Rise of Air Transport Command.  Naval Air Transport Service.  The Airborne Mission.  1 Troop Carrier Command 

  • Into Battle

North Africa.  Egypt.  Operation TORCH.  Tunisian Campaign.  Reinforcements. 

  • MTO 1943-44

Operation LADBROOKE.  Operation HUSKY I.  .  Operation HUSKY II.  Operation Fustian.  After Sicily.  Operation GIANT I – IV.  C-47s in the MTO.  Anzio. 

  • D-Day

D-Day Missions.  Poor Drop Accuracy.  CO's Experiences.  Normandy Operations.  

  • MTO 1944

Operation ANVIL-DRAGOON.    

  • Liberation

C-47 Special Operations.  Operation MARKET-GARDEN.  Operation REPULSE. 

  • Victory

MTO Operations 1944-45.  Operation VARSITY.  Varsity Veteran.  Victory in Europe.  Immediate Post-War Operations.  Conclusion. 

  • Appendix 1: USAAF/USN C-47 Units in ETO/MTO.  To me, the contents of this appendix are very valuable.  It lists the entire Order of Battle, not only who they were but where they were based and when.  It is very comprehensive (six pages) and lists Army as well as Navy units.
  • Appendix 2: The Aircraft.  Another valuable appendix.  It provides a table on the codes worn each squadron as well as information on other distinguishing markings and colours.

As previously mentioned, there are eleven pages of colour profiles – thirty profiles in all (by Chris Davey) with a further page devoted to the upper wing markings worn by the 92nd and 94th Troop Carrier Squadrons.  The captions to these colour profiles are contained on four pages with the introduction page carrying notes on the general camouflage scheme worn by the C-47 as well as colours/markings worn for specific operations. 

The book is well illustrated with 93, black white photos and four maps.  There are also three pages of line drawings of the C-47 to 1/96 scale.  To be truthful, the photographs are of a general nature but then again this is a history type book not a modelling walk-around. 

The book itself has 96 pages printed on glossy paper between thin cardboard covers and is the same size as the Aircraft of the Aces series also produced by Osprey. 

As far as I'm concerned, this is a great reference book as well as record of the C-47's combat use in the MTO and ETO and is worth the price being asked by Osprey. 

Now, where did I put that Monogram 1/48 scale C-47? 


Thanks to Osprey Publishing for the review copy

C-47/R4D Units of the ETO and MTO
(Combat Aircraft 54)
Author: David Isby
Illustrator: Chris Davey
US Price: $19.95
UK Price: £12.99
Publisher: Osprey Publishing
Publish Date: January 13, 2005
Details: 96 pages; ISBN: 1841767506
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Review Copyright © 2005 by Rodger Kelly
Page Created 03 February, 2005
Last updated 03 February, 2005

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