Martin B-26 Marauder

 The Martin B-26 Marauder is an American twin-engine medium bomber that saw extensive service during World War II.

The B-26 was built at two locations: Baltimore, Maryland, and Omaha, Nebraska, USA.

First used in the Pacific Theatre of World War II in early 1942, it was also used in the Mediterranean Theatre and in Western Europe.

Variants

B-26

The first 201 planes were ordered based upon design alone.

Prototypes were not characterized with the usual “X” or “Y” designations.

They had Pratt & Whitney R-2800-5 engines.

Armament consisted of two .30 calibre and two .50 calibre machine guns.

(The last model was armed with nearly three times that number.)

B-26A

Incorporated changes made on the production line to the B-26, including upgrading the two .30 calibre machine guns in the nose and tail to .50 calibre.

A total of 52 B-26As were delivered to the Royal Air Force, which were used as the Marauder Mk I.

B-26B

Model with further improvements on the B-26A, including revised tail gunner’s glazing.

Nineteen were delivered to the Royal Air Forces as the Marauder Mk.IA.

AT-23A or TB-26B

208 B-26Bs converted into target tugs and gunnery trainers designated JM-1 by the US Navy.

B-26B

Single tail gun replaced with twin guns; belly-mounted “tunnel gun” added. 

B-26B-1

Improved B-26B. 

B-26B-2

Pratt & Whitney R-2800-41 radials. 

B-26B-3

Larger carburettor intakes; upgrade to R-2800-43 radials. 

B-26B-4

Improved B-26B-3. 

B-26B-10 through B-26B-55

Beginning with block 10, the wingspan was increased from 65 feet (20 m) to 71 feet (22 m) and flaps were added outboard of the engine nacelle to improve handling problems during landing caused by high wing loads.

The vertical stabilizer height was increased from 19 feet 10 inches (6.05 m) to 21 feet 6 inches (6.55 m).

Armament was increased from six to twelve .50 calibre machine guns; this was done in the forward section so that the B-26 could perform strafing missions.

The tail gun was upgraded from manual to power operated.

Armor was added to protect the pilot and copilot. (1,242 built)

CB-26B

12 B-26Bs were converted into transport aircraft (all were delivered to the US Marine Corps for use in the Philippines).

B-26C

Designation assigned to those B-26Bs built in Omaha, Nebraska instead of Baltimore, Maryland.

Although nominally the B-26B-10 was the first variant to receive the longer wing, it was actually installed on B-26Cs before the B-26B-10, both being in production simultaneously.

A total of 123 B-26Cs were used by the RAF and SAAF as the Marauder Mk II.

Approximate cost then

$138,551.27/aircraft (1,210 built)

TB-26C

Originally designated AT-23B.

Trainer modification of B-26C.

Approximately 300 modified

XB-26D

Modified B-26 used to test hot air de-icing equipment, in which heat exchangers transferred heat from engine exhaust to air circulated to the leading and trailing edges of the wing and empennage surfaces.

This system, while promising, was not incorporated into any production aircraft made during World War II.

B-26E

Modified B-26B constructed to test the effectiveness of moving the dorsal gun turret from the aft fuselage to just behind the cockpit.

The offensive and defensive abilities of the B-26E were tested in combat simulations against normal aircraft. Although the tests showed that gains were made with the new arrangement, they were insignificant.

After a cost analysis, it was concluded that the benefit did not justify the effort needed to convert production lines for the new turret position.

B-26F

Angle-of-incidence of wings increased by 3.5º; fixed .50 calibre machine gun in nose removed; tail turret and associated armour improved.

The first B-26F was produced in February 1944.

One hundred of these were B-26F-1-MAs.

Starting with 42-96231, a revised oil cooler was added, along with wing bottom panels redesigned for easier removal.

A total of 200 of the 300 aircraft were B-26F-2s and F-6s, all of which were used by the RAF and SAAF as the Marauder Mk III.

The F-2 had the Bell M-6 power turret replaced by an M-6A with a flexible canvas cover over the guns.

The T-1 bombsight was installed instead of the M-series sight.

British bomb fusing and radio equipment were provided. 

B-26G

B-26F with standardized interior equipment.

A total of 150 bombers were used by the RAF as the Marauder Mk III. 

TB-26G

B-26G converted for crew training. Most, possibly all, were delivered to the United States Navy as the JM-2. 

XB-26H

Test aircraft for tandem landing gear, and nicknamed the “Middle River Stump Jumper” from its “bicycle” gear configuration, to see if it could be used on the Martin XB-48.

JM-1P

A small number of JM-1s were converted into photo-reconnaissance aircraft for the US Navy.

Marauder I

British designation for 52 B-26As for the Royal Air Force.

Marauder IA

British designation for 19 B-26Bs for the Royal Air Force.

Marauder II

British designation for 123 B-26Cs for the Royal Air Force; 100 passed on to South African Air Force and supported invasion of Italy

Marauder III

British designation for 200 B-26F and 150 B-26G for the Royal Air Force and South African Air Force.

With the exception of the B-26C, all models and variants of the B-26 were produced at Martin’s Middle River, Maryland manufacturing plant.

The B-26C was built at the Martin plant in Omaha, Nebraska.

Specifications

Crew

7

Length

58 ft 3 in (17.75 m)

Wingspan

71 ft 0 in (21.64 m)

Height

21 ft 6 in (6.55 m)

Wing area

658 sq ft (61.1 m2)

Airfoil

Root

NACA 0017-64

Tip

NACA 0010-64

Empty weight

24,000 lb (10,886 kg)

Gross weight

37,000 lb (16,783 kg)

Powerplant

2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-43 Double Wasp 18-cylinder radial piston engines, 2,000–2,200 hp (1,500–1,600 kW) each

Propellers

4-bladed constant-speed feathering propellers

Performance

Maximum speed

287 mph (462 km/h, 249 kn) at 5,000 feet (1,500 m)

Cruise speed

216 mph (348 km/h, 188 kn) * Landing speed: 114 mph (99 kn; 183 km/h)

Combat range

1,150 mi (1,850 km, 1,000 nmi) with 3,000 pounds (1,400 kg) bombload

&

1,153 US gal (4,365 l) of fuel

Ferry range

2,850 mi (4,590 km, 2,480 nmi)

Service ceiling

21,000 ft (6,400 m)

Rate of climb

1,200 ft/min (6.1 m/s)

Power/mass

0.10 hp/lb (0.16 kW/kg)

Armament

Guns

11 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns.

One in nose position,

Four in blisters on fuselage,

Two in dorsal turret,

Two in tail turret,

Two in waist positions

Bombs

4,000 lb (1,800 kg).

 

 

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