DC3 – the world’s most successful aircraft | DW Documentary World war II – The Douglas DC-3 is by far the most successful aircraft in the world. Sixteen thousand of them were built, and they flew under various different names, including “Skytrain,” “Skysleeper,” “Dakota,” “C-47” – and in Germany “Raisin Bomber.”
During the Second World War, the DC-3 was used in the Normandy invasion in 1944 to drop and supply allied airborne forces. Ed Shames, one of the first paratroopers land to behind the German lines on D-Day, tells about the operation. Another chapter in the DC-3’s long life was particularly important for Germany and will be celebrated in 2019: the end of the Berlin Airlift in 1949. For over a year, the Western allies supplied West Berlin by air after the Soviet Union closed off all land routes and the DC-3 played a prominent role, especially in the early months. The Berlin Airlift ensured the survival of two million West Berliners and delivered the Soviet Union its first defeat in the Cold War. More than 200 DC-3s are still in continuous use today, especially in difficult places such as the Amazon Basin, Africa and the Arctic.