Aviation of Word War II
1,100 aircraft, designated B-26, were ordered in September 1939, and the first aircraft (40-1361) flew on 25 November 1940 under the direction of William K. Ebel. There were no prototypes as such. The first 201 aircraft with R-2800-5 engines were designed primarily for experimental and training flights.
The first deliveries to the US Army Air Corps began in 1941. In the second half of the year, the B-26A went into production.It was distinguished by an additional external fuel tank in the bomb bay, fastenings for the suspension of a 588-mm torpedo under the fuselage and replacement of 7.62-mm machine guns for 12.7 mm machine guns in the bow and stern turrets. The maximum weight has increased to 14 606 kg. Simultaneously, the electrical system was switched from 12 to 24 volts.
A total of 139 B-26A were built, and all aircraft of this version were sent as part of the 22nd (medium) bomber group to Australia, immediately after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941. In April of the following year, these aircraft attacked targets in New Guinea, using additional tanks in bomb bays. In June of the same year, B-26A torpedo bombers took part in the grand battle of Midway, while the 73rd and 77th bomber squadrons attacked the ships off the Aleutian Islands.
Production of the B-26A continued at the Maryland plant in Baltimore until May 1942, when the first B-26B appeared. These aircraft were built in 1883, making it the most numerous variant of the B-26. The V-26V-1 had enhanced armor, an improved engine hood (without propeller cocks), a lower firing point and a pair of 12.7 mm machine guns in the aft turret. These changes increased the weight of the aircraft to 16,556 kg, without changing the power plant, but in the produced series V-2, -3 and -4 the engines were replaced by R-2800-41 or -43 with a capacity of 1920 hp. (1432 kW).
The B-26V-4 sub-variant had an extended front landing gear to improve the wing position during takeoff; instead of the lower firing point, single 12.7 mm machine guns appeared in the side openings. On the B-5, slotted flaps were installed to improve handling when landing. A total of 641 B-1, -2, -3, -4 and -5 were produced.
Marauders Mk.II (similar to B-26C-30-MO). Aircraft of this modification entered the 12th, 21st, 24th, 25th and 30th squadrons of the South African Air Force. 19 "short-winged" B-26Bs carried the main load in the RAF. In 1944 g.
Marauders Mk.III (corresponding B-26F and B-26G) arrived in the Mediterranean theater of operations and entered the SA Air Force, as well as six squadrons of the new, re-emerging French Air Force. A total of 525 Marauders were sent to Great Britain under Lend-Lease.
Production of the B-26B ended in Baltimore in February 1944 with the delivery of the last B-26B-55-MA. Accordingly, Martin produced 208 AT-23As for the US Air Force, which were used as training vehicles to prepare for the B-26B, or target towing vehicles (without armor, machine guns and turrets, but with a C-5 towing winch). In Omaha, until the end of 1944, the V-26S-45-MO were built, 350 AT-23V training aircraft and target towing vehicles were produced. 225 tugs were supplied to the United States Navy and the Marine Corps under the designation JM-JM-1. US Air Force aircraft received the designation TV-26 in 1944.
After the modernization of the first aircraft, a single copy of the XB-26D was built for testing the anti-icing system. The planned modification of the B-26E with a reduced mass and an upper turret moved forward towards the navigator's cockpit was not built.
The other two developed options went into production. Both of them were distinguished by increased wingspan and wing angle (up to 3.5 °). According to most pilots, this was supposed to improve takeoff and landing performance, and ultimately the handling improved during the approach, but the top speed dropped to 446 km/h. Production of the B-26F began in late 1943, and the first deliveries to the US Air Force were made in February of the following year. Nearly 300 B-26Fs were completed, 200 of them made it to the Middle East under Lend-Lease as Marauder Mk.III (matched B-26F-2 and B-26F-6).
A large number of minor changes in design and equipment characterized the B-26G. Firm "Martin" produced 893 copies, of which 150 arrived in the UK, also under the brand name "Marauder" Mk.III. About 57 TB-26Gs were also produced in 1944, of which 15 were delivered to the US Navy and Marine Corps under the designation JM-2.
The last B-26s were delivered on March 30, 1945. The total number of Marauders delivered reached 5157. (Another XB-26N, 44-28221 was built to test a four-wheeled bicycle chassis intended for installation on Boeing bombers B-47 and "Martin" XB-48.) Despite the problems inherent in the chosen forward-looking design philosophy, the B-26 had outstanding achievements for the war. It flew 129,943 combat missions in the European and Middle East theaters, dropping 162,382 tons of bombs. Their crews shot down 402 enemy aircraft, losing 911 of their own, which in the total combat losses is less than one percent.