The Pacific War Online Encyclopedia
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U.S. Air Force
Curtiss C-46 Commando
|Dimensions||108'1" x 76'4"
32.94m by 23.27m by 6.63m
|Wing area||1360 sq ft
126 sq m
|Maximum speed||269 mph at 15,000 feet
433 km/h at 4600 meters
|Rate of climb||20 feet per second
6.1 meters per second
|Powerplant||2 2000 hp (1490 kW) Pratt
& Whitney R-2800-51
engines driving three-bladed propellers
|Range||1600 miles (2600 km) maximum
890 miles (1430 km) with maximum payload
||50 passengers or 33 casualties
or 6 tons
|Production||3,341 by 1945 at Curtiss-Wright Corporation, Buffalo,
NY and other sites
The C-46A added a large cargo door, strengthened floor, and folding troop seats. About 1941 were produced.
The C-46D had a modified nose and double cargo doors.
The C-46F used 2200 hp (1640 kW) R-2800-75
The Commando was developed starting in 1936 as the
CW-20, a pressurized airliner carrying 36 passengers. The first
prototype flew on 26 March 1940 and immediately attracted the interest
of the Army Air Corps. The militarized version replaced the original
double fin with a single fin and dispensed with the pressurization
system and most of the cabin windows.
The Commando was the principal cargo aircraft over The Hump. It also saw service in Europe, and it is still flying in some South American countries. (Take the bus.) It was capable of carrying 50 troops, or up to 33 litter casualties with nursing staff, or up to 6 tons of cargo. It was designated by the U.S. Navy as the R5C.
The Commando saw limited use as a transport for paratroops
late in the war in Europe. Its large capacity and double doors were
advantageous, but it had a tendency to catch fire when hit by antiaircraft fire, due poorly placed fuel tanks that were not self-sealing to maximize range.
About 80% of Commando aircrew were deployed against the Japanese.
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