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The B-26

Discussion in 'Air War in Western Europe 1939 - 1945' started by denny, Dec 11, 2013.

  1. denny

    denny Member

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    Hmmmmm...
    I did a search, but could not find anything with b-26 punched in.
    Just wondering how well received the plane was with the 8th Airforce.?
    I guess its "competitor" would have been the B-25.?

    I read the Wiki link...does not appear to have been the best or most popular plane...but it sure made some interesting raids.

    Not sure what a planes "loading" is...I could look it up...is it something to do with how much lift is created by how much square feet of wing.?
    Thank You
     
  2. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    Loading - The total weight, when loaded of the aircraft - then divided by the area of the wing...

    Wasnt received well at first, being given the "widow maker" tag early due to its high speed landing (from memory) - The probs were fixed with retraning and a few changes to the design.
     
  3. belasar

    belasar Court Jester Staff Member

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    Not an expert on the craft, but my memory has it as a "hot" plane that demanded respect from its pilots. As I recall Doolittle went on a tour showing skeptical pilots the planes virtues, which were several and it is notable that the B-26 had a much longer post war career with many nations the the venerable B-25 did not.
     
  4. Skipper

    Skipper Kommodore

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    It was an aircraft that took skills to land and to take off though. It flew at a landing speed that was faster than expected and landing accidents were a commun thing the first months. Also pilots had a hard time using the landing gear properly .

    source: A Tribute to our Liberators C.D 2009
     
  5. CAC

    CAC Ace of Spades

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    The day after Pearl Harbour, a bunch were sent to...Australia!
     
  6. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    How To Fly The B-26 Martin Airplane (1944) USAAF - Pilot Training Film part 1-4

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzEUfcBY5Fk
     
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  7. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    As far as I can see the B26 was the main US medium bomber in the ETO, whereas the B25 (as featured in Catch 22) tended to be used in the MTO. In service with the IX AF its crews suffered lower loss rates than in the heavy bombers. So statistically B26 aircrew were safer than many. The B25 had a good reputation as a pleasant aircraft to fly. The B26 aquired a nickname of the widow maker.


    Here is a websiter dedicated to the aircraft and the men who flew it. http://www.b26.com/ (There are some women too. I recall reading an account about an RAF unit claiming thei aircraft highly dangerous - and the next aircraft to arrive delivered by a petite female ATA pilot who reported no problems with the type.

    Several aircraft have genuinely unpleasant flying characteristics as can be seen in the accounts by test pilots such as Eric Brown and .Werner Lercke who tested captured enemy aircraft. In many cases the aircraft's other qualities made up for the idiosyncrasies. .You cna find some of these in this set of the manufacturers flight test procedures for the B26. http://www.b26.com/page/production.flight.test.procedure.martin.b26.marauder.htm

    Early in service life learning to work around the quirks of particular aircraft can be difficult - and at the cost of lives. The Ju88 and Lockheed Hudson were also regarded as "hot aircraft" when first introduced, in both cases because they had a higher performance and higher landing speeds than the more docile aircraft with which they were familiar. (In the Hudson's case the lateral stability changes when the flaps are lowered as the Fowler flaps mask the rudders. Eric Brown wrote that after flying the Hudson he was full of admiration for 161 Sqn RAF who had to land on rough airstrips to land and recover agents from occupied France.)

    I think the introduction of the B26 was marred by this factor.

    The excellent training film posted by Fred on how to fly the B26 was made in 1944. Aircrew converting to the type before this date would not have been able to use this training aide. .Maybe the films were made because of the problems faced by aircraft converting to the B26?
     
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  8. DaveBj

    DaveBj Member

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    I can't copy the link, but a search on "B-26" in Youtube will bring up a 44-minute documentary on the B-26 from the Battle Stations series. Maybe someone smarter than I can copy it over.

    DaveBj
     
  9. Sandwichery

    Sandwichery Active Member

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    It's always been one of my favorite WWII aircraft. Much of it's bad reputation was gained due to the number of operational training accidents early in its career. It was an aircraft with a higher than usual wing-loading which demanded the full concentration of its often under-trained crews, something which often was lacking and thus the phrase "One a day in Tampa Bay". Tampa being one of the primary training sites for the aircraft.
    That wing-loading (wing area compared to the actual size of the aircraft) led to one of my favorite nick-names for the aircraft, "The Flying Prostitute". She had no visible means of support!
    In action, after its operational altitude was raised from low to medium, its combat losses became some of the lowest in the theater.
    The ultimate insult came when its designation B26 was lifted and given to the up and coming A26 Invader which thus became the B26 Invader. It was like the Marauder never even existed.
    If your looking for a good book on the airplane, I would recommend "The Martin B26 Marauder" written by J.K. Havener.
     
  10. lwd

    lwd Ace

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    Wasn't there a fairly significant change to the wing early on as well?
     
  11. Dave55

    Dave55 Member

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    I've heard the cruder version, "The Baltimore Whore"

    Here's the website of a crewman who was quite acive on the web until eight or ten years ago

    http://artkramer.blackapplehost.com/index.htm

    I had heard that Bobby Hutchins (Wheezer from Our Gang) was killed in one in a training accident but I just checked Wike and it says he died in an AT-6
     
  12. denny

    denny Member

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    Wow...!!
    Lots of good info posted.....Thank You

    I dig the "No visible means of support" quote. Nothing like clean humor (to describe a "dirty" analogy) to get a laugh.

    I did see that 1944 training video. What a well made episode that was. Felt sorry for the Corporal that got busted down to Private though..... ;-)
     
  13. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Dave. Only one url type works here. This: http : // www . youtube . com / watch?v=P5CRneZz1KA
    Very good find. Thank you.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P5CRneZz1KA
     
  14. Carronade

    Carronade Ace

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    As mentioned, one B-26 group operated in northern Australia and Port Moresby for several months in 1942; also four Marauders fought at Midway, carrying torpedos. Experience showed that they were not well suited to rough fields or conditions, so it was decided to concentrate them in Europe, mainly England where there were good-quality airfields. In fact it was the only US medium bomber in Britain, although the RAF used B-25s. IIRC there was one American B-25 used as an executive transport (and one flown by Harrison Ford in the movie Hanover Street ;)). The MTO was about half B-25s, half -26s, and the Pacific, Aleutians, and other unpleasant places were reserved for the B-25. B-25s were also Lend-Leased to Russia, where this "medium" was one of the Red Air Force's heaviest bombers.
     
  15. Sandwichery

    Sandwichery Active Member

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    I've heard the "Baltimore Whore" nick-name as well, but I decided to use the sanitized version in an attempt to keep my "PG" rating.
     
  16. Sheldrake

    Sheldrake Member

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    Eric Brown's comments on some of the other air craft he flew should put reputation of the B26 into perspective. Brown reserved his biggest criticisms for under powered twin engine aircraft, such as the Do217 and Hs 129. . An engine failure before the aircraft had reached safe single engine speed could be fatal. An engine failure on an aircraft such as the Whitley, which could not maintain altitude on one engine would condemn its crew to capture if it occurred over enemy territory or death if over water. The Whitley was one of the main RAF night bombers at the beginning of the war and then used extensively for maritime reconnaissance. That is a widow-maker. Another was the Henschel 129 with a 20% loss rate on operations not helped by the low power of the engines used. Eric Brown quoted a German pilot as describing the 129A as an "ungehoyer" -a monster.

    The B26 was never as bad as these types.
     
  17. Fred Wilson

    Fred Wilson "The" Rogue of Rogues

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    Mis-tited short film, mostly about the Marauder.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aX8eLNz13V0
     
  18. mike471

    mike471 New Member

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    theres a WWII B-26 marauder pilot in my town. i spoke to him over the phone, we exchanged emails but he doesnt seem to like to type on the keyboard much. i suppose he could be around 90 years old.

    he said they lost way more b-26 pilots in training than in combat.
     
  19. denny

    denny Member

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    That's a worrisome statistic.
    I wonder how those numbers add up for other planes...the percentage of Combat Vs. Non-Combat accidents.
    I have often heard the Bf-109 had a lot of non-combat problems.
     
  20. KJ Jr

    KJ Jr Well-Known Member

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    They were pumping out new aircraft on a consistent basis. Think of just the B class bombers and updates in technology throughout the war. The speed in which these aircraft were constructed and screened was in haste
     

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