Military History Books
by Harold A. Skaarup   www.SilverHawkAuthor.com   
 
Canadian Warplanes 4: The Second World War, and post-War, Douglas Dakota

Douglas CC-129 Dakota

Data current to 2 June 2020.

 (DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Douglas CC-129 Dakotas from No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron that went on a road trip across Canada in 1989 to help celebrate the retirement of the type from Canadian military service.  Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12963) was nicknamed "Manitoba Flyer", and painted in the colours of the Second World War "'Canucks Unlimited", (Serial No. FZ658/P).  Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12944) nicknamed "¼ Time" was painted in the colours of the Second World War (Serial No. FZ671), coded Z2-B, including D-Day stripes.

Douglas C-47 Dakota Mk. I (15), (Serial Nos. 650-664), Mk. III (44), (Serial Nos. 960-994, 10910-10918, FL595, 98, FL615, 16, 18, 21, 36, 50, FZ557, 58, 71, 75, 76, 81, 83, 84, 86, FZ634, 35, 69, 71, 78, 92, 94, 95, KG312, 17, 20, 30, 37, 45, 50, 54, 68, 82, 89, 94, 95, KG400, 03, 14, 16, 23, 30, 41, 55, 79, 85, 86, KG526, 45, 57, 59, 62, 63, 68, 77, 80, 87, KG600, 02, 23, 32, 34, 35, 41, 65, 68, 92, 93, KG713, 69, KG808, 27, 28, KG936, TS422, 25), DC-3, CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (31), (Serial Nos. 1000, KJ956, KK101, 02, 43, 60, KN200, 01, 56, 58, 61, 70, 77, 78, 81, 91, KN392, KN427, 36, 43, 48, 51, 85, KN511, KN665, 66, 76, KP221, 24, 27), for a total of 169 aircraft.

607 civil variants of the Douglas Commercial DC-3; and 10,048 military C-47 Skytrain and C-53 Skytrooper variants were built at Santa Monica, California, Long Beach, California, and Oklahoma City.
4,937 were built under license in the Soviet Union (1939–1950) as the Lisunov Li-2 (NATO reporting name: Cab).
487 Mitsubishi Kinsei-engined aircraft were built by Showa and Nakajima in Japan (1939–1945), as the L2D Type 0 transport (Allied codename Tabby).
None were built in Canada, but many have been refurbished at a number of Canadian plants including Winnipeg and Montreal.
The RAF and the RCAF designated the aircraft as a Dakota.
The Greenwich Aircraft Corp DC-3-TP is a conversion with an extended fuselage and with Pratt & Whitney Canada PT6A-65AR or PT6A-67R engines fitted.
607 variantes civiles du Douglas Commercial DC-3; et 10 048 variantes de C-47 Skytrain et C-53 Skytrooper militaires ont été construites à Santa Monica, en Californie, à Long Beach, en Californie et à Oklahoma City. 4 937 ont été construits sous licence en Union soviétique (1939–1950) sous le nom de Lisunov Li-2 (nom de l'OTAN: Cab). 487 avions à moteur Mitsubishi Kinsei ont été construits par Showa et Nakajima au Japon (1939–1945), en tant que transport L2D Type 0 (nom de code allié Tabby). Aucun n'a été construit au Canada, mais plusieurs ont été rénovés dans plusieurs usines canadiennes, dont Winnipeg et Montréal. La RAF et l'ARC ont désigné l'avion comme Dakota. Le Greenwich Aircraft Corp DC-3-TP est une conversion avec un fuselage allongé et des moteurs PT6A-65AR ou PT6A-67R de Pratt & Whitney Canada montés.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583024)

Douglas Dakota Mk. 1 (Serial No. 652) from No. 164 (T) Squadron in RCAF service as a medevac aircraft.  This Dakota had a long post-war service with the RCAF and later Canadian Armed Forces.  It became CAF (Serial No. 12936) in 1970.  It last served with No. 429 Squadron in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583025)

Douglas Dakota in RCAF service as a medevac aircraft.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583026)

Douglas Dakota in RCAF service as a medevac aircraft.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583027)

Douglas Dakota in RCAF service as a medevac aircraft.

 (City of Vancouver Archives Photo, AM640-S1-: CVA 260-1532)

Douglas Dakota, RCAF, Richmond, British Columbia, Aug 1945.

  (RCAF Photo courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

Douglas Dakota wartime groundcrew, RCAF, ca 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3397094)

Douglas Dakota, evacuation of wounded, France, 16 June 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583070)

Bofors 40-mm AA Gun being loaded into a Douglas Dakota Mk III, RCAF (Serial No. 653), No. 12 (Comm) Sqn, Rockcliffe, 28 Oct 1943.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583409)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota with truck being loaded, 14 Aug 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583495)

Douglas Dakota Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 664), serving with No. 165 (T) Squadron at RCAF Station Sea Island, British Columbia, 18 Sep 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3583496)

Douglas Dakota Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 664), serving with No. 165 (T) Squadron at RCAF Station Sea Island, 18 Sep 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650727)

Douglas Dakota Mk III, RCAF (Serial No. 661), Moncton, New Brunswick, Jan 1944.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3650728)

Douglas Dakota Mk III, RCAF (Serial No. 661), Moncton, New Brunswick, Jan 1944.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 4002569)

Douglas C-47 Skytrain, USAAF (Serial No. 223934), delivering RCAF fighter squadron groundcrew in Normandy, 16 June 1944.  There is a story that this Dakota was a USAAF used by Field Marshal Montgomery around the time of D-Day.  He apparently won it and its crew in a card game!  Note the Union Flag, small fin flash and appropriate star rank markings, although it retained USAAF national insignia.

 (RAF Photo)

Douglas Dakota Mk. III (Serial No. KG425), coded Z2-M, "Fort Rae", diamond OM, No. 437 Squadron, RCAF, No. 120 Transport Wing, RCAF at RAF Odiham, UK, Oct 1945.  It was later coded *DM and finally ODO*M.  This Dakota experienced an engine failure which led to a crash landing near Anzio on 1 March, 1946.  (Chris Charland)

From the history of RAF Odiham: No. 110 Squadron, RCAF, arrived in 1940. Following the formation of the Army Co-operation Command in December 1940, it was decided to replace the aging Westland Lysander with fighter aircraft capable of completing photo reconnaissance missions. The American Curtiss Tomahawk was chosen and in April 1941 No. 110 Squadron was renumbered No. 400 Squadron, RCAF, at Odiham, and began to re-equip. Transport Command came in 1945 with No. 233 and No. 271 Squadrons of Dakota aircraft and the Canadian Transport Wing was formed.

  (Tony O'Toole Photo)

Front view of the same Skytrain/Dakota, wearing the markings of the 21st Army Group and 8th Army (FM Montgomery's old command) insignia.

  

21st Army Group and 8th Army badges.

 (Gordon Franklin Snider Photo, via the BCAM)

USAAF Douglas C-47 Skytrain, about to tow a WACO glider at Rockcliffe, Ontario, 1947.  From a photo album given to the British Columbia Air Museum, that belonged to Gordon Franklin Snider, who was posted at Patricia Bay, BC.  He also was posted to the Experimental Proving Establishment at Rockcliffe, Ontario, in 1947, where he took this photo.

 (DND Photo via Benoit Thibault)

The roundel is a c-1 type in use by RAF/RCAF during the war.  This Dakota is fitted with Eureka/Rebecca aerials on the nose.   There are additional antenae on the bottom of the rear fuselage.  The Rebecca antenna was used by aircraft used to drop paratroopers and Special Operations Executive (SOE) personnel.  The holes in the windows are gunports that could be closed off by rubber grommetted plugs.  All the cargo area windows appear to be blanked, likely to keep light from escaping during night operations.  The photo was likely taken using orthochromatic film which makes the pre 1946 RAF/RCAF roundel red, white, blue, yellow colours appear to be inverted.  The tail fin flash has the blue aft red forward.

 (DND Photo, PL38821)

Douglas Dakota Mk. 3N, RCAF (Serial No. KG330), coded VC-CFB, No. 435 'Chinthe' (T) Squadron, serving with No. 111 (K) Flight, based at RCAF Station Winnipeg, Manitoba.  It is carrying out a rescue of Edith Dodds who needed urgent medical care, at Arctic Bay, (Nunavut), 24 March 1948.  KG330 later became CAF (Serial No. 12913) and post-military Reg. No. C-GWZS. It is still in service with Buffalo Airways at Yellowknife, NWT.  Carrying out a search and rescue mission at the time, when they arrived at Arctic Bay, they were met with four to ten inches of “virgin” snow.  This Dakota was equipped with skis.  The crew had no problems departing other than a longer than normal take-off run.  This was also a record-setting flight as the unit had the distinction of having landed a wheeled/ski mounted aircraft the farthest north in Canada.

 (Robert St Pierre Photos via Benoit De Mulder)

Douglas C-47 Dakota Mk. I, RCAF (Serial No. 657), coded CJ-D, painted in yellow and black target towing colours, No. 121 (K) Flight. RCAF Station Sea Island, British Columbia.  

Code letters found on these Dakotas included:

CJ - No. 121 (K) Flight. RCAF Station Sea Island, BC.
BZ- No. 1 Air Armament School, RCAF Station Trenton, Ontario.
MH- No. 1 Pilot Weapons School RCAF Station MacDonald, Manitoba.

 (RCAF Photo via Benoit Thibeault)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF (Serial No. 987).  Ex-USAAF C-47B-30-DK, (Serial No. 44-76783).  This aircraft served with No. 9 (T) Group in 1945.   later, with No. 435 (T) Squadron, RCAF Station Edmonton, Alberta, in August 1946.  It performed a paradrop at Camp Shilo, Manitoba on 15 August 1946.  It later went to Rockcliffe and returned, later that month.  It was with the Winnipeg Detachment by September 1946.  Delivered to Rockcliffe on 20 January 1947, for use by Photo Wing.  Converted to Mk. III, date unknown.  It was written off on 27 January 1949.

This Dakota Mk. IV served with the following units:

No. 164 (T) Squadron based at RCAF Station Moncton. It is possible that it was assigned to one of the Western Canada detachments, either Rivers, Edmonton or Winnipeg when the photo was taken.  No. 1 Air Supply Unit which provided airlift support for Operation 'Musk Ox'.  The exercise was held between the 15th of February and the 6th of May, 1946. The unit was disbanded on the 31st of July, 1946.  A number of personnel and equipment were transferred to No. 435 (T) Squadron Detachment, Winnipeg.  No. 435 `Chinthe`(T) Squadron at RCAF Station Edmonton was then re-formed on the 1st of August 1946 when No. 1 Air Supply Unit and the RCAF Station Edmonton Detachment of No. 164 (T) Squadron were amalgamated to reform the squadron.  No. 435 `Chinthe`(T) Squadron Detachment, Winnipeg began to be phased out.  A decision was made that would see it be re-designated as No. 112 (T) Flight effective the 1st of April, 1947.  Now designated a Dakota Mk. 4F and coded CA-D from No. 112 (T) Flight based at RCAF Station Rivers, Manitoba, it ran out of fuel and forced landed on an ice flow east of Churchill, Manitoba in Hudson Bay on the 21st of January 1949.  The crew were carrying out a search and rescue mission.  The aircraft was not recovered and subsequently sank.  (Chris Charland)

 (RCAF Photo courtesy of Jeff Austin)

Douglas Dakota Mk. 4F, coded CA-D, dropping Princess Patricia's Canadian Light Infantry (PPCLI) paratroopers over Rivers, Manitoba ca 1948.  The PPCLI paratroopers jumping are members of the  Mobile Strike Force (MSF).  (PPCLI Museum and Archives, The Military Museums, Calgary, Alberta)

 (RCAF Photo via Benoit Thibeault)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, RCAF (Serial No. 969), ex-USAAF (Serial No. 42-93432).

 (RCAF Photo courtesy of the Canadian Aviation Preservation Association)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, RCAF (Serial No. KN427), coded AP-R.

 (DND Photo via Benoit Thibault)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, with  RCMP Royal Outriders loading their motorcycles at Rockcliffe, before 1953.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3521772)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, (Serial No. KN511) in flight, 28 June 1948, RCAF.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584152)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. 969), coded CA-A, with Canadian paratroops, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 19 July 1948.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584153)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. T5422), coded CA-C, with Canadian paratroops, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 19 July 1948.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584241)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, coded AQW, No. 414 Squadron, 29 Apr 1949.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584249)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, coded AQ-A, No. 414 Sqn, 29 Apr 1949.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3574076)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF, port engine change, Norman Wells, July 1950.

(Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3584477)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, coded AQ-A, and a Consolidated PBY-5 Canso.

 (DND Photo via Benoit Thibeault)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota line-up, 23 Jan 1953.  Air Transport Command.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No. 3643749)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, (Serial No. KP221), 414 Sqn, June 1950, RCAF.

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV, RCAF Training Command.

 (Library and Archives Canada Photo, MIKAN No.  3584789)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, RCAF Air Transport Command, coded AQ-F, Rockcliffe, Ontario, 26 May 1953.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. KN258), 424 "Tiger" Communications and Rescue Squadron, RCAF Station Trenton. This aircraft later became known as "Miss Piggy".  Ex-USAAF C-47B-20-DK (Serial No. 43-49926), ex RAF (Serial No. KN258).  Delivered to USAAF on 19 January 1945, transferred to the RAF on 23 January 1945.  Struck off RAF books on 22 April 1946, probably to the RCAF Overseas, TOS 20 July 1946.  Participated in Operation Sundog III (airborne assault on Fort Chimo, PQ, from Goose Bay), February 1952, while serving with C & R Flight, RCAF Station Edmonton, Alberta.  Dropped jumpers in 1968 Para Rescue Competition at CFB Trenton, Ontario.  With No.424 (T&R) Squadron at CFB Trenton, Ontario in 1970.  Located downed Cessna near Bagotville, PQ in June of that year.  Still with this unit when renumbered as 12907 on 3 June 1970.

 (DND Photo via Bob Pionteck)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12938),  "Dolly's Folly" with super-charged engines on the left, and (Serial No. 12959), "Pinocchio" on the right, over CFB Cold Lake, Alberta.  These are two of the three aircraft that were equipped with the CF-104 nose and radar.  The third aircraft, RAF (Serial No. KN278), RCAF (Serial No. 27214), was known as "Woody Woodpecker".

 (Craig Lowe Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota "Pinocchio" (Serial No. 12959), C/N 15196/26641, now mounted on a pylon.

 (DND Photo via James Craik)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. KN676).

 (Author Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12950), from No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, supporting the Canadian Forces Parachute Team, the Sky Hawks, ca. 1977.  (We knew her as "Myrtle, the Aluminum Turtle").

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. 1000), coded VC, No. 412 Squadron.

(RCAF Photo)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota Mk. IV (Serial No. 1000), No. 412 Sqn, RCAF Air Transport Command.

 (DND Photo via Mike Kaehler)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota, CAF (Serial No. 12950), 16 Hangar, Winnipeg ca 1970s.

 (DND Photo via Chris Charland)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12939), "Southern Comfort", No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron.  

The last nine serving CC-129 Dakotas in Canadian military service with No. 402 "City of Winnipeg" Squadron were nicknamed:

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12937), "Southern Comfort".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12938), "Dolly's Folly" (also "Electric Dak").
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12944), "1/4 Time".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12950), "Gimli Goose".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12957), "Millenium Falcon".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12959), "Pinocchio".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12907), "Miss Piggy".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12933), "Old Faithful".
Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12963), "Manitoba Flyer".

 (US National Archives Photo via Graham Caroll)

Douglas CC-129 Dakota (Serial No. 12963), "Manitoba Flyer".  Canadian Forces Base Winnipeg, Don Sutherland, Photographer, 14 May 1990.

 (The A-Team Photos)

Douglas Dakota Mk. III(Serial No. ), FZ671, C/N 12256, later  (Serial No. 12944), in the markings of No. 437 Squadron, RCAF, coded Z-2B, painted as a Second World War camouflaged transport.

FZ671 was delivered to the No. 48 Squadron, RAF on 4 Feb 1944.  This Dakota made at least two flights into Arnhem for Operation Market Garden.  The first one was on 17 Jul 1944.   The Pilot Officer on the first lift was Flight Lieutenant A.C. Blythe, RCAF, who went on to win a DFC.  It also went in on the third lift on 19 Sep 1944, with Pilot Officer A.M. Smith. 
It joined 4No. 37 Squadron, RCAF in Sep 1945 and also served with Nos. 426, 429, 435, and 437 Squadrons, No. 25 Ambulance, and No. 1 Air Navigation School through the years as FZ671.  Its Serial Number changed to 12944 with the Canadian Armed Forces in June 1970.  It was transferred to No. 429 Squadron at Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, in March 1975, and then to No. 429 Communications Squadron in Winnipeg, Manitoba, from 1979 to 1980.  12944 was struck off strength with the RCAF on 14 Apr 1989.  It now resides in the Heritage Air Park as Dakota EZ761

In the post-war period Dakotas served with No. 123 Rescue Unit/121 Composite Unit at Sea Island, BC and Comox, BC.
They also served with No. 442 (Transport & Rescue) Squadron out of Comox, BC.