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Curtiss C-46 "Commando"

Developed in 1936 with its first flight in March 1940, this 36 seat commercial airliner noted as the CW-20 "Subsratrosphere Transport" was of little interest to the military at that time. Powered by (2) 2,100 hp, 18 cylinder radial engines, it had a maximum air speed of 270 mph and a range of 1,800 miles. However, after the attack on Pearl Habor in 1941, the U.S. Army Air Corps need for a troop and cargo aircraft became very obvious. Designated by the military as the C-46, "Commando" this heavy, mono wing, twin engine aircraft proved highly successful and provided reliable performance in this role during WWII. Its became legendary during the massive airlift of supplies to 14th Air Force and Chiang Kai-shek in China after the lost of the Burma road to the Japanese. Flying out of India from primitive airstrips and over the Himalayan Mountains known as the "Hump" the C-46 ferried over 25 million pounds of supplies by December 1943. Unfortunately, weight, cost and other deficiencies limited it production to around 3,000 by the wars end and was declared obsolete by the United States Air Force in 1953.



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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net