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B-26 Marauder, U.S. Medium Bomber


Photograph of B-26G in
                  flight

USAF

Schematic of B-26

FM 30-30


Martin B-26A Maurader


Specifications:


Crew 5 to 7
Dimensions 65’ x 56’ x 19’10”
19.81m by 17.07m by 6.05m
Wing area 602 square feet
55.9 square meters
Weights 23,000-37,000 lbs
10,200-16,800 kg
Maximum speed       313 mph
504 km/h
Cruising speed 243 mph
391 km/h
Climb rate 17 feet per second
5.2 m/s
Service ceiling 23,500 feet
7163 m
Power plant 2 1850 hp (1379 kW) Pratt and Whitney R-2800-5 engines
Armament 1 flexible 0.50 machine gun in nose
1 twin 0.50 machine gun dorsal turret
2 waist 0.50 machine guns
1 tunnel 0.50 machine gun
1 twin 0.50 machine gun tail turret
4 fixed nose 0.50 machine guns
Bomb load 5,200 lb (2359 kg) max internal or 1 21.7” external torpedo
Range 1000 miles (1610 km) with 3000 lb (1360 kg) load
2600 miles (4180 km) max
Fuel 962 gallons (1462 gallons with aft bomb bay tanks)
3640 liters (5534 liters with aft bomb bay tanks)
Production 4683 of all models at Glenn L. Martin Co., Baltimore MD and Omaha, NE, from 1941-2 to 1945-4.
  201 B-26
  139 B-26A
  1883 B-26B
  1210 B-26C
  300 B-26F
  893 B-26G
  57 TB-26G
Variants

The B-26B replaced the rear bomb bay with a fuel tank to increase the range at the expense of bomb load. It also increased the wing span and tail area to increase stability.

The B-26G introduced a slight wing angle to improve handling during takeoff.

The Marauder was an extremely “hot” bomber, with very high wing loading and touchy handling. Some crews dubbed it the “Flying Prostitute” because, with its stubby wings, it had no visible means of support. However, it won the support of Doolittle, and with its heavy armament and great structural strength, it proved a fine combat aircraft in the European and Mediterranean theaters, once pilots learned to give it proper respect. It was less successful in the Pacific, where the Army Air Forces tended to favor the longer-ranged B-25 Mitchell.

The design team under Peyton Magruder emphasized streamlining and produced a bomber that was nearly as fast as contemporary fighters.  The prototype first flew on 25 November 1940. The first units were deployed to the Pacific and entered combat over Rabaul in April 1942, and a small number were employed as land-based torpedo bombers at Midway. However, the type was subsequently earmarked for Europe, and only about 10% of all B-26 squadrons were sent to the Pacific. Improved tactics based on combat experience, and tweaks to the design, including a slight tilt to the wings to improve handling, brought the loss rate down, and by 1945 the Marauder had the lowest loss rate of any U.S. bomber in Europe. However, the aircraft was very expensive to build at 40,000 man-hours per plane, the Army Air Forces had become increasingly disenchanted with Martin, and the decision to phase out production beginning in 1944 had already been made by mid-1943.

About 521 were allocated to Britain and other Commonwealth countries and served mostly in the Mediterranean.

Image Gallery


B-26 Marauder from below

USAF

B-26 Marauder from above

USAF

B-26 Marauder being bombed up

USAF

FM 30-30 page for B-26 Marauder

USAF

FM 30-30 page for B-26 Marauder

USAF


References

Bergerud (2000)

Gunston (1986)
Sharpe et al. (1999)

Wilson (1998)

Wolf (2008)



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