This mindboggling project lead by Patrick Elie (the man with the biggest knowledge of D-Day and the Invasion), is simply breathtaking! With a group of enthousiast and highly devoted people and volunteers, they fully restored an original C-47.
The Douglas C-47-A-80-DL, c/n 19539, is delivered by Douglas company at Long beach, California, on 29 january 1944. She is assigned to the 8th US Army Air Force on 29 February 1944 with serial number # 43-15073 then, at the beginning of May 1944, to the 9th US Army Air Force in the 95th Troop Carrier Squadron (Squadron code 9X) of the 440th Troop Carrier Group based at Exeter, England. She is nicknamed by her crew «The SNAFU Special» painted near the cockpit window. S.N.A.F.U. is the acronym of «Situation Normal: All Fucked Up».
On decemer 13th 2013, the National Council of Historical Monuments (CNMH) decided to classify the Douglas C-47 called 'The SNAFU Special' as Historical Monument, after consulting the expert panel, set up by the Ministry of Culture and chaired by Max Armanet, both president of the Heritage Committee of the Aero club of France and of the Scientific Council of the Air and Space Museum at Paris Le Bourget.
In early 2014, 70 years after leaving the factory, the Douglas C-47 #43-15073 is the only C-47 in Normandy to be repainted in the colors she wore in 1944 but also the second aircraft of the second World War to be so classified by the Ministry of Culture, after B-17G #44-8846 'The Pink Lady'. During his last visit, in June 2013, Eugene M. Noble, who flew this plane in 1945 had declared 'What a beautiful job! Everything has been put in his place, I am touched, it is a great job.' Of course, the restoration inside the aircraft, by a small team of enthusiasts, is on its way but the next big step will be to put, definitely, the aircraft under a hangar. The Mayor and president of the association managing the battery, Olivier Paz, announced it for 2016 at the last general meeting of the association.
Located east side of the Invasion beaches, the Merville battery museum houses C-47 #43-15073 : 'The SNAFU Special'. In order to get a good understanding of each stage of the Landing and the ensuing operations, simply follow the Battle of Normandy historical center itineraries. The Merville battery museum is included in the itinerary : 'Overlord Assault'.
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