No this is not about the current T.V. show or the voice inside your head… This is about “The Voice” a C-47 used by the French in Vietnam for PSYOPs warfare.
As WWII shifted to retaining territory before the war, The French Air Force soon considered using loudspeaker aircraft to maintain order in their overseas territories. A first series of tests was conducted by the CEAM (Military Air Experiences Centre) in Mont-de-Marsan (South-West France), General de Lattre – who knew about the use of C-47 loudspeakers by the Americans in Korea – did not hesitate to ask for the loan (by right of the American Help to Indochina) of three public address systems especially developed for aircraft propaganda. This was tested on a "Toucan", the French name of the German three-engine transporter JU52. With excessive noise they installed it then on a Morane 500 or a helicopter. Unfortunately, due to lack of significant results and immediate solutions, the project was temporarily given up.
1952 – the "Quadripartite Liaison Committee for Information and Psychological Action" was created, composed of American, British, French and Vietnamese specialists, certainly renewed the interest of the French military authorities for loudspeaker aircraft. The new organization – whose aim was to consolidate the Allied material and equipment - decided that the Korean program should be integrated into the French Indochina program because of their common enemy, communism, and the border with China. Loudspeaker aircraft over the Indochinese would be conditioned by the loan of an American plane serving in Korea. Thus, in early November 1952, General Mac Clark (Chief Commander of the United Nations in the Far East) sent a message to General Salan in which he granted the loan of a C-47 to the French troops in Indochina for three weeks. This loan was placed under the care of the Military Assistance Advisory Group and submitted to certain rules: the aircraft was "to be used only in Indochina, would not transport American staff or crew; should bear French or Vietnamese signs". The C47 landed on December 3, 1952, in Hanoi and was none other than “The Speaker”, coming from Malaya, which the British had used. During a certain time, it bore French and Vietnamese roundels, while the fuselage, the flanks and the wings were painted with Vietnamese slogans. The first mission was on the morning of December 4 and when the last of the 14 were completed it was returned to the Americans on December 20, 1952. 10 missions were over North Vietnam, totaling 52 hours which 31 were of broadcasting recorded messages. These were short slogans of not more than three or four sentences repeated 4 to 6 times for the civilians and Vietminh fighters:
"V.M. Soldiers! Today the Air Force, tomorrow, the tanks!"
"Compatriots! You have planted a tree! The time has come for you to pick the fruit. V.M. wants to take this fruit away from you."
"Working people, today the Air Force, tomorrow the guns, the machine-guns, the mortars and the mines. Leave your jobs and go back home!"
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observance of a certain number of rules was indispensable. The amplifier was to
work for periods of 20 minutes, with 10-minute pauses for it cool down. Tape
recordings gave better results than someone speaking through a microphone,
because of the vibrations and noise of the plane. For best reception on the
ground, the plane had to fly at less than 5,000 ft. and its speed was not to
exceed 120 miles/hour. If the target was only the population in friendly areas
or in uncontrolled areas (but with anti-aircraft equipment) the C-47 gave good
results by flying circles within circles of about 2 miles diameter. In enemy
combatant areas, with anti-aircraft, it was recommended to fly in straight
lines, changing the axis at each passage with messages not to exceeding thirty
seconds. The loudspeaker missions lasted 4 to 6 hours with the launching of
leaflets bearing the previously broadcast text. The results in December 1952
were satisfactory enough to ask for the loan of identical aircraft and for
longer periods of time. It was not before July 1953 that the Psychological
Warfare Office – created within the H.Q. EMFIT finally received the American
agreement for the new loan of The Speaker.
The aircraft arrived from Japan on August 10 and remained active until October 31, 1953. GT 2/64 Anjou, the “Voice” recovered its Vietnamese dressing, with no French roundels and no slogans. No precise indication about the number of missions flown during this period.
The “Voice” was engaged in Indochina, one last time, between March 12 and November 30, 1954. Used by the GT 2-62 Franche Comté, it was little employed because the crews were involved in more urgent missions. The situation was so crucial – the staff being totally exhausted – that trusting these missions to a civilian company was even considered for a short time. However, the “Voice” was used to launch leaflets over Dien Bien Phû in order to shake the moral of the Vietminh units around the entrenched camp. After the cease-fire and the Geneva Agreements forbidding propaganda in the Vietminh area, the “Voice” was then mainly used in Laos, painted with the Laotian colors, for so-called "consolidation" missions with friendly populations.
A report filed by the Flight mechanic is provided on the decal sheet:
July 3, 1954, the “Voice” departed from Gia Lam for a leaflet raid over the delta region of the Red River. These leaflets carried in bags were thrown manually from the planes rear door, locked in the open position. We fly low over the delta villages, as if by magic, the populations have disappeared. Our circuit is terminated over Haiphong. While passing over the western part of the city we take small arms fire, all seems in good order and “India Bravo”, IB965 continues on. Upon landing we find a projectile near the auxiliary fuel tank, it has been identified as a rifle bullet. No other damage is found and IB965 remains operational.
Is the Monogram C-47 which I built around 1987. The original decals applied had yellowed and the aircraft was looking a bit shabby. Having seen these decals on the FlightDecs web site, I got the crazy idea to strip the model down, repaint and apply the new decals. The restoration went quite well and I have a unique C-47 added back into my aircraft collection. As it so happens not long after I purchased these, PT-Decal stopped making decals, as these happened to be the only set they had published. I found the decals in perfect registration and the instructions for the most part very good. My only complaint was any visible shot of the upper portion of the plane. I could not discern, by the information provided, how far onto the wing the black paint extended, so I had to use my modeling discretion. I would recommend this sheet if you like something unique, if they can be found.
“Voices from Heaven”, Paper by Marie-Catherine and Paul Villatoux
PT-Decal Sheet, Adjutant Camille Acquarone Flight Mechanic GT/2/63 Senegal
Mark L. Rossmann
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