Operation C-47 #43-15073 must be saved

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  Operation 'Saving C-47 #43-15073' : Mission Accomplished
The C-47 #43-15073 during Operation Neptune

The C-47 #43-15073 is assigned to the 440th Troop Carrier Group - 95th Troop Carrier Squadron of the 9th U.S.A.A.F.

- She is nicknamed "The S.N.A.F.U. Special" by her crew. (Situation Normal, All Fucked Up)

- On 9 May 1944, by Special Order #83, Headquarters 440th Troop Carrier Group, the plane is transferred to the 441st Troop Carrier Group / 302nd Troop Carrier Squadron.
Along with eight other aircraft from the 440th T.C.G. she will fly as last nine-ship in a "Vee of Vees" 45 planes serial formation.

- On 12 May 1944 the SNAFU Special takes part in Operation "Eagle", full scale rehearsal before d-day. In the 302nd T.C.S. the SNAFU Special is the lead plane in "C" element of the third wave.

  6 June 1944 - Operation Albany

From Merryfield airstrip, the 441st Troop Carrier Group will form up serials #14 & #15 (see parachute table ) with 90 planes, carrying units of the 101st Airborne Division into Normandy.

The 45 planes of serial #15 shall carry the following elements:
- 2nd Battalion 501st Parachute Infantry Regiment
- C/326th Airborne Engineer Battalion (-1st et 3rd platoons)
- Det. 326th Airborne Medical Company

In this serial #15, stick #88 of paratroopers is assigned to C-47 #43-15073. She is to be the lead plane of the last 'V' in the last wave of the 45 planes, same position as during Operation "Eagle", at the begining of May. (see diagram)

Her crew during the night 5 / 6 june is :
- Pilot : 2nd Lieutenant James P. HARPER
- Co-pilot : 2nd Lieutenant Luther J. LIZANA
- Navigator : 2nd Lieutenant Murray J. WINTER
- Radio-operator : Sergeant Joseph R. BUCKNER
- Crew-chief : Staff-Sergeant Howard F. LINDLSEY

The flight plan, Annex to the Field Order #1 dated 3 June 1944, describes precisely the route to be followed by the group.

These corridors, marked by appropriate Troop Carrier navigational aids, must be followed at specific altitudes, constant airspeeds and with a rigourous timing to allow each serial to find its place in the formation of 821 C-47s flying towards Normandy to drop the 101st and 82nd Airborne Divisions.

The first plane of serial #15, piloted by Major William H. Parkhill, took off at 2349½ and, once assembled in their traditional formation of nine-ship 'V of Vs', the group flew towards the first navigational aid on its route. They passed at 0037 the coast of England at Portland Bill, a marker codenamed 'Flatbush', and they began to cross the Channel at the flight level of 500 feet. The heading of 214° during 57 miles bring them to the point codenamed 'Hoboken' which they reached at 0101.

From this point they changed again their course, flying towards the French coast and reaching it at 0127. Then, following heading 103°, the planes dropped their paratroopers over DZ 'D' at 0137. The prescribed route was used for the return trip to Merryfield. One plane from serial #15 didn't make it. Hit by the German Flak, she crashed with all personnel aboard in the Bois de Limors.

The S.N.A.F.U. Special also, came back with battle damages. A .30 Cal. hole in center of fuselage going through belly, flooring and out top. Also .30 Cal. hole in left wing.

The last plane of the group landed at Merryfield at 0430.

Back to the 440th Troop Carrier Group.

On 6 June 1944, by Special Order #75, Hq 441st Troop Carrier Group, the S.N.A.F.U. Special and the eight other planes and personnels are transferred back to the 440th Troop Carrier Group.


Any help to find the paratroopers who were aboard the plane on D-Day will be greatly appreciated. Thanks! (Our current research leads to men of F Company / 501st PIR... but???)