Falling Into France
As the war progressed, it became increasingly obvious that it was necessary to open a Western front against the Germans, which would hopefully ease the pressure on the Soviets in the East – the Allied landings in Sicily and later Italy – had partially served this purpose, but the terrain there favored the strong German defense – and landing sites in Northern Europe began to be considered for an operation of unparalleled scope scheduled for Spring 1944. The start of the operation was delayed by planners – and later by weather – eventually occurring on June 6, 1944.
Featured Aircraft: Douglas C-47 Skytrain
Derived from the Douglas DC-3 – a civilian airliner produced in the pre-war years, the C-47 was a transport and cargo airplane which made a significant mark on the history of the war. In fact, when Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower was asked which pieces of equipment contributed the most to total allied victory he said, The Atomic Bomb, The Bazooka, The Jeep and the C-47. He called them his “Tools of Victory.” The characteristic shape of the C-47 when viewed from below lead the troops to call it the Gooney Bird, and was often a welcome sight – carrying ammunition, food and equipment into remote areas, while also evacuating the wounded. Its chores were certainly myriad – however, its role in the Allied airborne operations of the war saw it burned into the narrative of World War II. On the night of June 5, 1944, 822 C-47s dropped 13,100 Paratroopers of the 82nd and 101st Airborne Divisions into France. These men would be the vanguard of the largest amphibious invasion in history, which arrived at dawn – beginning the liberation of Europe.
**The aircraft listed have agreed to participate in the flyover, but due to factors such as weather or mechanical issues,participating aircraft are subject to change without notice.**
Douglas C-53 Skytrooper
Aircraft Type: Douglas C-53 Skytrooper The Duchess of Dakota
Organization: Texas Flying Legends Museum
Photo Credit: Moose Peterson
Douglas C-47 Skytrain
Aircraft Type: Douglas C-47 Skytrain Miss Virginia
Organization: Karl D. Stoltzfu – Dynamic Aviation
Photo Credit: Richard Mallory Allnutt