B-26 MARTIN MARAUDER

 

The B-26 Martin Marauder was a shoulder-winged monoplane of all-metal construction, fitted with a tricycle landing gear. It had a streamlined, circular section fuselage housing the crew, consisting of a bombardier in the nose, armed with a .30 in machine gun, a pilot and co-pilot sitting side by side, with positions for the radio operator and navigator behind the pilots. A gunner manned a dorsal turret armed with two .50 in machine guns, while an additional .30 in machine gun was fitted in the tail. Two bomb bays were fitted mid-fuselage, capable of carrying 5,800 lb of bombs.

The Marauder was not an easy aircraft to master and initially received the reputation of a "Widow-maker" due to the early models' high accident rate during takeoffs and landings. The Marauder had to be flown at exact airspeeds, particularly on final runway approach and when one engine was out. The 150 mph speed on short final runway approach was intimidating to pilots who were used to much slower speeds, and whenever they slowed down to speeds below what the manual stated, the aircraft would stall and crash.

The B-26 became a safer aircraft once crews were re-trained, and after aerodynamics modifications were made to increase the wingspan for more stability.

By the end of World War II, it had flown more than 110,000 sorties, dropped 136,078 tonnes of bombs and had been used in combat by British, Free French and South African forces in addition to US units. In 1945, when B-26 production was halted, 5,266 had been built.

One of the most successful B-26 Marauders was 'Flak-Bait' which holds the record within the USAAF for the most number of bombing missions survived during World War II. 

During the course of its 207 bombing missions over Europe Flak-Bait lived up to its name by being shot with over 1,000 holes, returned twice on one engine and once with an engine on fire, lost its electrical system once and its hydraulic system twice, and participated in bombing missions in support of the Normandy Landings and the Battle of the Bulge. In 1946 ‘Flak Bait’ was disassembled, crated, and shipped back to the Douglas factory in Park Ridge, Illinois and is now on display at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum. 

A series of red-coloured bombs are painted on the side of the aircraft, each representing an individual mission (202 bombs in total). White tails painted on the bombs represented every fifth mission. There is one black-coloured bomb which represents a night mission. In addition to the bombs, there are also five red ducks painted on the aircraft representing decoy missions.

All B-26 Martin Maruader Instruments listed below come complete with detailed Scale Model, Mango Wood Stand & Plaque plus Printed Fact Sheet featuring photo of instrument in aircraft cockpit.

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