Douglas C-74 Globemaster Strategic Heavy-Lift Transport Aircraft
The Douglas C-74 began the line of long-running line of Globemaster military transports embodied in the modern Globemaster III series today.
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World War 2 (1939-1945) pushed the American military to require all sorts of aircraft types and aviation concerns were only too happy to answer the call. Douglas Aircraft Company had been making aircraft for quite some time, having established operations as far back as 1921, and the firm went on to provide some of the most famous platforms of the war - the A-26 "Invader" attack system, the SBD "Dauntless" naval dive bomber and the C-47 "Skytrain" transport. The Skytrain was a further development of the earlier DC-3 passenger hauler of 1936 and was used extensively during the war with production exceeding 10,000 units before the end.
Following the DC-3 into service for Douglas was the DC-4 product. This model introduced a rather modern tricycle undercarriage, featured two engines on its low-mounted monoplane wing appendages and saw military service as the C-54 "Skymaster". Over 1,200 of this model were produced from the period spanning 1942 to 1947. It was this aircraft that was selected by the Douglas team for modification into a large, long-range heavy-lifter for the U.S. Army Air Forces. Engineers essentially retained the same design lines of the original but made a dimensionally larger version of their DC-4 with working beginning in 1942. This produced the "Model 415" which impressed Army officials enough to order it without a prototype or developmental products as part of a hurried program - a rarity for military market aircraft. The Army order covered a solo test bed platform and 50 production-quality units for service.
By this point in the war, the Army required a heavy-hauler to move man, machine, and supplies across vast distances of ocean. The American military was operating in North Africa, Europe and the Pacific where all manner of war-making goods would be needed. The Model 415 was certainly a step in the right direction from a company experienced in the design and delivery of transport types for military service. The Model 415 was already some 30 feet longer than the C-54 in service, promising even greater strategic capabilities.