Aviation of World War II

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B-26 Botha

Reconnaissance Bomber


B-26 Botha

The Botha B-26 reconnaissance bomber was designed in accordance with the specification for a twin-engined reconnaissance bomber capable of carrying a torpedo. Competitor Beaufort used 1130 hp Bristol Taurus radial engines. with., supplies of which were limited, so the first Botha aircraft had to be equipped with Bristol Perseus X engines with a capacity of only 880 hp. from. In 1936, orders were received for the production of 442 aircraft, and the first production aircraft took off on December 28, 1938. Based on the results of flight tests, the tail area was increased and elevators with horn compensation were installed to improve longitudinal controllability. Then the aircraft was tested as a torpedo bomber.

B-26 Botha
Crew 4
Length, m 15.58
Height, m 4.46
Wing span, m 17.98
Wing area, m² 48.12
Weight, kg
Empty 5,366
Gross weight, kg 8,369
2×PE Bristol Perseus ХА, h.p. 2×930
Maximum speed, km/h 401
Cruising speed, km/h 341
Service ceiling, m 5,335
Service range, km 2,044
1 × 7.7mm machine gun in front and 2 × 7.7mm in turrets, bombs, kg 907

Combat use. The first aircraft of the "Bot" entered the disposal of the 608th AE Beregovoy on December 12, 1939, which carried out combat patrols on this aircraft in the North Sea, but in the first half of 1940 from plane, a series of unexplained accidents occurred. The power of the power plant was clearly not enough, and although Bristol was able to increase the power of the Perseus Mk XA engines to 930 hp. with., the aircraft "Bot" showed clearly poor fighting qualities. For a combination of reasons, they decided to transfer the plane to training units, where it continued to get into fatal accidents. Several Bot aircraft were converted into target towing vehicles, armament was removed from them and towing equipment installed. A total of 580 Bot aircraft were built, the operation of the aircraft continued until September 1944.

Photo Description
Drawing B-26 Botha Drawing B-26 Botha
B-26 Botha B-26 Botha in flight and on the ground
B-26 Botha L6104 side and back view 3/4
B-26 Botha L6244 at the site for writing off radio deviation


  • "Encyclopedia of military engineering" /Aerospace Publising/
  • "British warplanes of World War II" /under cor. Daniel March/