07/08/2014: In the first two photos, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain, known as Whiskey 7, flies over Germany, May 30, 2014.
The C-47 came to Ramstein for a week to participate in base activities with its legacy unit, the 37th Airlift Squadron, before returning to Normandy to recreate its role and drop paratroopers over the original drop zone in Sainte-Mere Eglise, France.
In the next three photos, a Douglas C-47 Skytrain flies alongside a C-130J Super Hercules from the 37th Airlift Squadron over Germany, May 30, 2014
Credit:86th Airlift Wing:5/30/14
The AIRBORNE ASSAULT into Normandy as part of the D-Day Allied invasion of Europe was the largest use of airborne troops up to that time. Paratroopers of the U.S. 82d and 101st Airborne divisions, the British 6th Airborne Division, the 1st Canadian Parachute Battalion, and other attached Allied units took part in the assault.
Numbering more than 13,000 men, the paratroopers were flown from bases in southern England to the Cotentin Peninsula in approximately 925 C-47 airplanes. An additional 4,000 men, consisting of glider infantry with supporting weapons and medical and signal units, were to arrive in 500 gliders later on D-Day to reinforce the paratroopers.
The parachute troops were assigned what was probably the most difficult task of the initial operation — a night jump behind enemy lines five hours before the coastal landings.
To protect the invasion zone’s western extremity and to facilitate the “Utah” landing force’s movement into the Cotentin Peninsula, the U.S. 82nd and 101st Airborne divisions descended on the peninsula by parachute and glider in the early hours of D-Day.
The paratroopers were badly scattered.
Many were injured and killed during the attack, and much of their equipment was lost. But the brave paratroopers fought fiercely, causing confusion among the German commanders and keeping the Germans troops occupied. Their efforts, hampered by harsh weather, darkness and disorganization, and initiative of resourceful soldiers and leaders, ensured that the UTAH BEACH assault objectives were eventually accomplished. The British and Canadian attacks also accomplished their primary goal of securing the left flank of the invasion force.