Fairchild C-119 "Boxcar", Background Information


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There was very little literature on the Fairchild C-119s and no reference books on the individual C-119 individual histories, when I started these C-119 Info Pages. I started these pages in an attempt to learn a little more about 'the Dollar Nineteen'; when I started Wikipedia wasn't available yet!
Meanwhile the invitation to send contributions for sharing first hand experiences on these airplanes still stands. Thanks to those who did!

 

John P. Stewart noticed the item on my page Abandoned Plane Wrecks of the North, featuring Interior Airways'
C-82A N208M; John subsequently wrote me: "After seeing the report of the wreckage of N208M possibly being spotted in the Alaska bush, I thought everyone would be interested in a photo of the sister ship, N209M.  This was shot at Fairbanks, September, 1968."

C-82 Interior Airways

Karl E. Hayes wrote an excellent article about Interior Airways in Air Britain's quarterly magazine 'Aviation World', issue June 2009.
For even more detail on Interior Airways I can recommend the book "Triumph over Turbulence" by Jim Magoffin (also the founder of Interior Airways), see MyBooks page.

 

 


Ron Mak sent me a glorious selection of C-119 images in March 2017

C-119 line up
The Flying Boxcars formed the main transport element of the Belgian Air Force from 1951 to 1973.

With the arrival of the C-119G Flying Boxcar for 15 Wing a 3rd squadron was formed to share the type with 20 Smaldeel, and this was established on 01Apr1954 as 40 Transportsmaldeel, based at Melsbroek.
Following the pattern set by the other 2 squadrons of 15 Wing, a Sioux indian head was adopted as the unit insignia, but circled in green.
40 Smaldeel remained in commission only until June 1954 when it was disbanded as an economy measure and the Boxcars re-grouped under 20 Smaldeel.
Between 1957 and 1960 the 'green' Sioux was used by the Transport Flight at Kamina, Congo, but 40 Smaldeel was re-formed in June 1961 and once again claimed the insignia.
With the arrival of the Hercules, the Boxcars were placed in storage and 40 Smaldeel disbanded on 31Jun1973.
The unit was later made a helo Smaldeel under a different insignia.
From: 'Belgian Military Aviation', by Paul A. Jackson (Midland Counties Publications, 1977)

 

C-119
C-119 CP-11 OT-CAK (c/n 10685) served Feb.1961 - Oct.1975, scrap parts used for the CP-10 at Melsbroek.
Its registration would be CP-11 while 'OT-CAK' would be its radio callsign. It was ex/ USAF 51-2702 and went, supposedly, to Norway after its phase out (which is in contradiction to Ron Mak's information - but see below).

Joe Baugher's website has c/n as 10691 for 51-2701 and : "....CP11, radio call sign OT-CAK. Returned to USAF
12Sep1955. Converted to C-119G by SABENA. To Royal Norwegian AF as 12702/BW-H 'Hiawatha'.
Ret to USAF in 1969. To MASDC as CJ308 18Jul1969. Declared excess 26Dec1973. Scrapped in 1976."

But.. Joe Baugher has on that same page another CP11/OT-CAK!
51-2696 (msn 10685) to Belgian AF 13Oct1952 as CP5, radio call sign OT-CAE. Returned to USAF 12Sep1955. Purchased by Belgian government 21May1959. Converted to C-119G by SABENA between 1955 and 1957. Transferred to Spanish AF in 1956 as T.9-4 but not accepted and returned to USAF at Chateauroux, France
that same year.
Moved to Brussels for storage and transferred back to Belgian AF 20May1959, being reserialled CP11, radio call sign OT-CAK.
Struck off charge Jan. 1975 and broken up at Neuville, Belgium

Anyone an idea which CP-11 we are looking at here? I have a feeling it is c/n 10691 51-2701... EMAIL

 

The batch 51-2690/2717 were C-119F-FA Flying Boxcar of which some were converted to C-119G.

C-119
Fairchild C-119G CP-22 OT-CBB (ex/USAF 52-6023; c/n 10953)
Joe Baugher has: "52-6023 (msn 10953) to Belgian AF Feb 23, 1954 as CP22, radio call sign OT-CBB.
To storage at Koksijde 02May1972. Returned to USAF July 1974. Scrapped at Koksijde 1977-78.

Melsbroek, some history of the 15 Wing.

In 1950, the 15th Wing of Evere moved to Melsbroek where the buildings and runways, established during the occupation by the Germans, lend themselves for development of a modern airport and which could be adapted to the needs of the increased flight operations. The infrastructure in Evere had become inadequate, not least due to the lack of a paved runway.
That year 2 DC-4's were acquired to be used for flights to the colonies.

On 24Sep1952 the first C-119 Fairchild Packet ('Flying Boxcar') arrived in Melsbroek. They were the first of a total of 46 aircraft in use for tactical airlift of 20 Squadron.
For this purpose, a third squadron, no.40 was established; it had been dissolved in 1955, but was again re-installed for operations between 1960 and 1972.
The remaining DC-3 Dakota was operated by 21 squadron.
When the Oxfords and Ansons were to be replaced in 1953, the 21 Squadron received 12 Percival Pembrokes.
These aircraft (especially the ones with a glass nose) were put to good use for aerial photography and calibration, in addition to the transportation of light cargo.
Meanwhile, it was found that the DC-4 were insufficiently equipped for the task for which they were purchased, connecting Belgium with its colonies.
Thus in 1958 two DC-6 were acquired from the USAF and in 1960 another two from Sabena.

The Flying Boxcars were decommissioned between 1971 and 1973 and disposed at the aircraft park of Koksijde.
The DC-4's had been phased out in 1971. The career of the DC-3 in the 15 Wing ended also at Koksijde,  flown over for storage in 1976. And the Pembrokes and DC-6 were phased out that year too.
From:  www.dakota15wing.be/Vliegtuigen_NL.html (translation by webmaster, RL)

 

C-119
Fairchild C-119G CP-38 OT-CBR (ex/ USAF 52-6051; c/n 11119)
Joe Baugher has for 52-6051 (msn 11119): "to Belgian AF 21Feb1954 as CP38, radio call sign OT-CBR.
To storage at Koksijde 01Dec1972. Returned to USAF July 1974. Scrapped at Koksijde 1977-78."

After the independence of (Belgian) Congo on 30Jun1960, the Europeans in the Congo began a mass exodus. Beginning in July 1960, airlift by the Force Aérienne Belge was provided by 15 Wing, using C-47s, C-54s,DC-6s and C-119s operated out of Leopoldville in the west and Kamina in the south.
Tensions escalated as the Belgians began to intervene in the Congo. A force of 10.000 UN troops was airlifted to the theater, primarily by the USAF (operating C-130s and C-124s).

C-119G CP-36 crashed at Rushengo on 19Jul1960, after an engine had departed the aircraft. Most of the occupants, paratroopers and crew, perished.
C-119G CP-45 was destroyed during an exercise, when it was struck by a live phosphorous mortar shell on 23Jun1963, fired by a British Army unit. It crashed near Augustdorf and while some paratroopers managed to jump in time, again most occupants perished.
No.15 Wing operated 18 C-119F's between Sep.1953 - Oct.1956, and 28 C-119G's between Aug.1953 and Sep.1973.
From: 'Fairchild C-82 & C-119', by Alwyn T. Lloyd (AeroFax, 2005)

 

C-119
C-119 CP-32 OT-CBL (ex/ USAF 52-6045; c/n 11084) served from Feb.1954 - July 1974.
Joe Baugher has for 52-6045 (msn 11084): "to Belgian AF 14Feb1954 as CP32, radio call sign OT-CBL.
To storage at Koksijde 10Feb1972. Returned to USAF in July 1974. Scrapped at Koksijde 1977-78."


The Aeronautica Militare Italiano (AMI) acquired 70 C-119Gs and C-119Js between May 1953 and Jan. 1979.
Adapting to the new aircraft was a major undertaking and required a new mindset in maintenance and operations. The C-119, with almost twice the horsepower, in essence doubled speed and tripled the payload compared to the G.12 and G.212 aircraft which they replaced.
Flight without the rear clamshell doors also posed problems for the crews. USAFE instructors were dispatched to help with training. Some AMI personnel were sent to Canada and USA to gain experience with the C-119s. Some crews were even sent to airlines for training.

From: Fairchild C-82 & C-119, by Alwyn T. Lloyd (Aeroffax, 2005)

C-119
Fairchild C-119G 46-22; ex/ USAF 52-6037 (c/n 11076)
C-119G-35-FA 46-22 Italian Air Force (ex/ USAF 52-6037); it crashed at Kwamouth, Congo on 02Feb1961.
Joe Baugher's USAF 1952 Serials offers: 52-6037 (MSN 11076) to Italian AF as MM52-6037.

ASN Crashreport C-119 Italian Air Force 46-22
https://aviation-safety.net/database/record.php?id=19610202-0

The Aeronautica Militare Italiano operated a total of 65 C-119's between 1965 and 1979. No.46 Stormo had been established in 1940 as a bomber unit.
C-119s were introduced into the Italian Air Force on 19May1953 and based at Pisa (San Guista). The No.2 Gruppo became the 1st squadron to be equipped with C-119s.
A USAF training unit was in place there to assist with the transition of No.46 Stormo.
The airplanes were finished in aluminized paint; the USAF roundel were removed and replaced by the Italian AF roundel. Codes for No.46 Stormo were applied to either side of the roundel. The USAF serials were retained
on the vertical fins.

In 1954 the 46e Stormo was redesignated No.46 Aerobrigata Transporti Medi (Medium Transport Brigade).
No.50 Gruppo was formed late-1960s when the C-119J's came into the inventory.
In 1963 the C-119G's received a camouflaged scheme, followed in 1965 by the C-119J's. A green/grey paint was applied. Dayglo orange (later yellow) bands were applied to the nose, wingtips and booms.
Smaller USAF-style serial numbers were applied to the fins with an 'MM' -prefix, representing Matricola Militaire or military serial.
While the nose colours remained for each squadron, the codes were changed to provide squadron identity as follows: No.2 Gruppo 46-20 thru 46-39, No.50 Gruppo 46-50 thru 46-69, No.98 Gruppo 47-80 thru 46-99.
Four C-119s (46-55, 46-62, 46-30 & 46-68) were used in a VIP -transport capacity.
Three C-119s were converted for use in the ECM role, by 71 Gruppo / 14 Stormo (46-30 ex/ VIP, 46-35, 46-63).

From: 'Fairchild C-82 and C-119' by Alwyn T. Lloyd (Aerofax, 2005) - the only authoritative C-119 publication in print!

C-119 46-96 Italian AF, by Rolf Larsson
C-119 46-96 of the Italian Air Force, photographed by Rolf Larsson at Stockholm-Bromma airport on 04Jul1970.
As yet I was unable to find the matching USAF serial or the MM-number... EMAIL

 


 
Rolf Larsson added another fine C-119 for my C-119 Dossier!
C-119 46-96 Italian AF, by Rolf Larsson
C-119 46-96 of the Italian Air Force, photographed at Stockholm-Bromma airport on 04Jul1970.
Probably another one of the 52-6000/6058 batch on www.joebaugher.com/usaf_serials/1952 for the
Italian- & Belgian Air Force but I saw no reference of 46-90 to an USAF serial or MM-number - EMAIL


 

 

 

 

My gateway to various C-119 pages

External links:
N15501 on Mojave Weblog (Feb.2005)
C-119 crashes in Aviation Safety Net database
David Steiner's C-119 webpage
12th T.C. Squadron A webpage with lots of information on the C-119
Last commercial C-119s, now in Alaska
C-119 Census at OldProps
WIKIPEDIA
en.wikipedia.org:_Fairchild_C-119_Flying_Boxcar#Surviving_aircraft
C-119 information by David Steiner
Joe Baugher's USAF Serial Number Search Results: C-119
Joe Baugher's Navy & Serial Number Search Results: C-119
Flying Boxcar Registry on WIX (probably not maintained / updated anymore)

 

 

 

Chuck Lunsford wrote a book about his days as a radio operator onboard the C-119:
Click here "Departure Message"

He also wrote a novel, featuring the C-119 Flying Boxcar, called "Boxcar Down, the Albanian Incident" Click here

Both books can be bought through Amazon.com and are also available as eBook for Kindle!

Charles 'Chuck' Lunsford (76) succumbed to cancer; he passed away on 21Sep12.
I will miss our regular correspondence on the C-119 and less mundane subjects. I learned much from him and shared the information on the
C-119 Information Pages, esspecially at a time when so little on this aircraft had been published in writing.
Rest in peace, old friend. - Ruud Leeuw, webmaster

Another writer, Larry E. Fletcher (ex USAF Captain), used his personal experience to write a novel about the C-119 Gunship in Vietnam: "Shadows of Saigon, Air Commandos in SE Asia".
Update Jan.2014: the book CHARLIE CHASERS – History of USAF AC-119 “Shadow” Gunships in the Vietnam War – was published by Hellgate Press in 2013. My website is www.shadowgunships.com. Hardback, Paperback, and Ebooks are available at Amazon, Barnes & Nobel, and from the publisher at http://hellgatepress.com.

 

 


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