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C-53 Invasion Stripes
Ragged edges lend authenticity to the invasion stripes applied to a C-53 Monday by re-enactors at AirVenture. (photo by Frederick A. Johnsen)
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By Frederick A. Johnsen

July 29, 2013 - Warbird re-enactors created a realistic living history tableau Monday as they painted black and white stripes on a World War II C-53 transport. Their hurried and sometimes blotchy efforts deliberately mimicked the hasty stripes given to combat planes just before strategic invasions.

Friendly forces mistakenly opened fire on American transport aircraft and gliders during the invasion of Sicily in 1943. In an effort to prevent more friendly fire incidents, aircraft involved in the invasions of Normandy and southern France in 1944 wore temporary invasion stripes.

Initially wrapping around the fuselage and wings, the stripes were diminished to the undersurfaces a few months later, just to remind gunners looking up from below.

The aircraft receiving the invasion treatment is a Douglas C-53 flown to Oshkosh by members of the Texas Flying Legends Museum.


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