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Martin B-26 Marauder Medium Bomber

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B-26, the Widow Maker

B-26 Marauder - WWII U.S. medium bomber bomber

B-26 Marauder Dee Feater with D-Day invasion stripes. USAAF by Charles E. Brown.

The worth of the Martin B-26 Marauder was not immediately evident to the air crews when it was first introduced. Being a high performance aircraft, it was difficult to fly and early combat assignments saw it used as a low level bomber (a role for which it was not intended) in the European and Mediterranean theaters where it sustained unacceptable losses. It soon gained the name of Widow Maker.

Successful Changes for the B-26

B-26 Marauders dropping bombs

B-26s in action during a bombing raid. U.S.A.F. photo.

After a number of changes were made the B-26 eventually came to be a quite successful bomber. Theses changes included: training crews for its high performance handling, using the he B-26 as a medium-altitude bomber for which it was designed, and using fighter escorts to accompany the Marauder on bombing assignments. Modifications to the B-26 also made it safer to fly such as a change to the wing angle.

Marauder 1st at 200 Combat Missions

B-26 successes included being the aircraft with the lowest loss rate in the European theater. This accomplishment was highlighted by the fact that a B-26 was the first to carry out 200 combat missions during World War II. This was attained by the aircraft Flak Bait, which had also accrued over 1000 holes by the end of the war.

Bombs being readied for B-26 Marauders

Bombs ready to be loaded into B-26 Marauders U.S.A.F. photo.

Armament for the B-26

The B-26 Marauder had a crew of 7 and an armament which included 11-12 machine guns, and a bomb load of 4000 pounds.

Theaters and Air Forces

Serving in all theaters during WWII the B-26 was used by the U.S. Army Air Corps with some going to the U.S. Navy as well. Through the Lend-Lease program the B-26 was used by the French Armée de l'Air and by the RAF who called it the Marauder MkIII.


Lowest Losses, yet Unpopular

Although combat records proved the B-26 to have one of the lowest number of losses the end of World War II, it never gained the popularity of the other bombers.


* B-26 Marauder facts

Category Bomber
Manufacturer Glenn L. Martin Company
Introduced 1941
Used in

US Army Air Forces
US Army Air Corps
Royal Air Force
South African Air Force
Produced 1941–1945
Number built 5,288
Cruising speed 214 mph
Max. speed 287 mph
Altitude 19,800 feet service ceiling
Range 1,100 miles
* Numbers are approximate


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