B-26 Marauder on display at the US Air Force Museum,
Dayton, Ohio, USA.
(Photo courtesy USAF Museum.)
History: Responding to the US
Army Air Corps need for a high speed medium bomber, the Martin Company submitted an
unusual design; a cantilever shoulder wing monoplane carrying five (later seven) crewmen.
While the plane met or exceeded all performance requirements, with a wing optimized for
high speed cruising, it was found to be unstable at low speeds during take-offs and
landings. After a number of training accidents, modifications were made and the Marauder
went on to record the lowest attrition rate of any American aircraft serving with the Air
Corps' 9th Air Force in Europe, a remarkable feat considering the plane's undeserved
nickname of "Widow-maker," among others (see Nicknames below.)
The B-26 carried a normal bomb load of 3,000 pounds, though
another 1,000 pounds could be added when fitted with special wing hardpoints. Armament
included eleven 12.7-mm machine guns in fixed, forward-firing, nose and waist mounts, and
in powered dorsal- and tail-turrets. Though its service ceiling was 19,800 feet, the
Marauders primary role was close tactical ground support. As such, it was widely
used in the Pacific theater and the Mediterranean by both the USAAC and the RAF, which had
acquired 522 B-26s under Lend-Lease.
Some of the twenty variants of this aircraft included the B-26A
(increased added fuel capacity, externally mounted torpedo, system revisions and heavier
armament, of which 139 were built); the B-26B (bigger engines,
armament revisions and better armor protection, a 6-foot increase in wing span, taller
vertical tail and more armament, of which 1,883 were built); the B26-F
(improved take-off performance and equipment changes, of which 300 were built); and the JM-1
(one of several designations for US Navy models of the Marauder, used mainly for training
of shipboard anti-air crews and photo-reconnaissance.)
Nicknames: Widow-Maker; The Flying
Coffin; B-Dash-Crash; The Flying Prostitute; The Baltimore Whore (The last two
because it had no visible means of support; "Baltimore" because the Martin
Company was located there.)
Engines: Two 2,000-hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-43 Double Wasp radial piston engines.
Weight: Empty 25,300 lbs., Max
Takeoff 38,200 lbs.
Wing Span: 71ft. 0in.
Length: 56ft. 1in.
Height: 20ft. 4in.
(0.5-inch) machine guns
Up to 4,000
pounds of bombs
Number Still Airworthy: One, with at least
one more undergoing restoration to flying condition.
B-26 Marauder Film Clip
B-26 Marauder Historical Society
Bill's B-26 Marauder Page
Fantasy of Flight
Museum -- B-26 page -- Information about the only airworthy B-26.
Light and Medium Bombers of WWII --
Discussion groups, research information, etc.
MAPS Air Museum, N. Canton,
Ohio, USA: B-26 restoration
B-26 Marauder Books from Amazon.com:
[ Click for more great books about the B-26! ]
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