"Four things won the Second World War-the bazooka, the Jeep, the atom bomb, and the C-47 Gooney Bird," said General Dwight D. Eisenhower.
The Dakota, the C-47’s designation in service with the Royal Air Force, was used in European and Southeast Asia (SEA) theaters of operation by the British throughout WW II. Modified from the civilian DC-3 airliner design, C-47/Dakota transports provided a host of unique benefits which included exceptional speed, payload, reliability, ruggedness, and versatility. Dakotas hauled everything from oxen to airborne troops, often operating from unimproved or improvised airfields near front lines.
From 1942 until the end of the war in 1945, RAF Dakotas in SEA were instrumental in keeping Allied forces in China supplied after Japanese forces cut off land-based supply routes. Dakota crews and their American C-47 counterparts flew the perilous “Hump” of the Himalaya Mountains between supply bases in India and forward operating bases in China, enabling constant and prevailing pressure against Japanese forces.