The Martin B-26 Marauder

United States of America
United States of America

side viewfront viewunder view

In Januari 1939, the USAAC issued a requirement for a medium bomber capable of delivering a 2,000 lb (907 kg) weapons load over a tactically long range at a high speed. Up until then this fast tactical bomber role was in the hands of the Martin B-10, and the Douglas B-18, both being obsolescent or even obsolete. Martin handed the responsibilities of this new design over to a team under the supervision of Peyton M. Magruder (maybe this is the origin of the operational name &Marauder&?)
The result was the very clean, all-metal Model 179. Although impressive as far as performance was concerned, it wasn't a very popular aircraft in the beginning. Because of the high wing loading, and the high landing speeds resulting from it, it turned out to be a difficult aircraft for 'beginner' pilots. Once mastered, the Marauder could fulfil it's promise, and subsequently turned out to be a very effective tactical bomber with a comparatively low loss rate.
The USAAC decided to skip the normal prototype testing, and ordered 1.100 aircraft right off the drawing boards.

Version list:

Further pictures:

Martin B-26 Marauder taking off
Martin B-26 Marauder taking off

Martin B-26 Marauder landing
Martin B-26 Marauder landing

 

Technical data on the Martin B-26G Marauder
Powerplant 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-3 radial, rated at 2000 hp (1490.98 kW) each Role during war
  • Medium Bomber
  • Torpedo Bomber
  • Anti-shipping Aircraft
Length 56 ft 1 inch Height 20 ft 4 inch
Empty weight 25300 lb Operational weight 38200 lb max
Wing Span 71 ft 0 inch Wing Aspect ratio 7.66
Wing Area 658 sq ft Service ceiling 19800 ft
Maximum speed 283 mph at 5000 ft Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate 1,000 ft per min Range 1100 miles max
Fuel capacity internal 784 Imp gal (942 US gal) total, consisting of 583 Imp gal (700 US gal) in two main self sealing tanks, plus 202 Imp gal (242 US gal) of auxiliairy fuel in two unprotected tanks Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 4 × 0.50 inch Browning fixed forward-firing on the sides of the forward fuselage
  • 1 × 0.50 inch Browning trainable forward-firing in the nose position
  • 2 × 0.50 inch Browning trainable lateral-firing, one in each of the beam positions
  • 2 × 0.50 inch Browning trainable in the Martin power-operated dorsal turret
  • 2 × 0.50 inch Browning trainable rearward-firing in the power-operated Bell tail turret
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 4,000 lb, carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated 4,000 lb. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 2 × 2,000 lb bombs, or
  • 4 × 1,000 lb bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -
Crew 7: pilot, co-pilot, bombardier/gunner, navigator/radio operator, 3 gunners Naval or ground based Ground
First flight (prototype) 25 November 1941 Operational Service 1941 - late 1940's
Manufacturer Glenn L. Martin Company Number produced 5.157 total, 893 this version
Metric system
Length 17.09 m Height 6.2 m
Empty weight 11476 kg Operational weight 17328 kg max
Wing Span 21.64 m Wing Aspect ratio 7.66
Wing Area 61.13 m² Service ceiling 6035 m
Maximum speed 455 km/h at 1524 m Cruising speed unknown
Initial climb rate 305 m per min Range 1770 km max
Fuel capacity internal 3.566 liters total, consisting of 2.650 liters in two main self sealing tanks, plus 916 liters of auxiliairy fuel in two unprotected tanks Fuel capacity external -
Machine guns
  • 4 × 12,7 mm Browning fixed forward-firing on the sides of the forward fuselage
  • 1 × 12,7 mm Browning trainable forward-firing in the nose position
  • 2 × 12,7 mm Browning trainable lateral-firing, one in each of the beam positions
  • 2 × 12,7 mm Browning trainable in the Martin power-operated dorsal turret
  • 2 × 12,7 mm Browning trainable rearward-firing in the power-operated Bell tail turret
Cannons -
Bomb load Up to 1.814 kg, carried in a lower-fuselage weapons bay rated 1.814 kg. General disposables load consisted of:
  • 2 × 907 kg bombs, or
  • 4 × 454 kg bombs
Torpedoes/rockets -

Here is a quick overview of all different versions, without the full technical specifications:

Different versions of the Martin B-26  Marauder
Martin B-26 Marauder The initial version of the B-26 was mainly used as development and training aircraft. It was powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-1800-5 radials, rated at 1,850 hp (1.380 kW) each. This version could carry up to 5,200 lb (2.359 kg) of bombs, in a wide variety of sizes and numbers. It was armed with 4 guns only: 2 in a dorsal turret, 1 in the nose position, and 1 in the tail position. It was the fastest of all versions, reaching 315 mph (507 km/h) at optimum altitude.
Number built: 201
Martin B-26A Marauder This version was powered by 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-9 or R-2800-39 radial, rated at 1,850 hp (1.380 kW) each. It introduced provisions for four additional ferry fuel tanks, with a total capacity of 833 Imp gal (1,000 US gal, 3.785 liters). Also it had shackles for 1 × 22 inch (559 mm) torpedo weighing 2,000 lb (907 kg) or 2 × 1,600 lb (726 kg) bombs. Both nose and tail guns were replaced by a 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) calibre gun (was: 0.30 inch, 7,62 mm). The electrical system was changed from 12 Volts to 24 Volts.
Number built: 139
Martin B-26B Marauder This version was built from may 1942 onwards. Based on the B-26A Marauder, it had increased armor, an improved cowling design, improved defensive armament with 1 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) trainable gun in a ventral position and 1 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) trainable gun in the tail position, and without propeller spinners. These changes increased the maximum take-off weight to 36,500 lb (16.556 kg). This needed a more powerful powerplant, and from the 306th aircraft on, the powerplant consisted of 2 × Pratt & Whitney R-2800-41 or R-2800-43 radial, rated at 1,920 hp (1.432 kW) each.
Later changes included a longer nose-wheel leg that increased the wing incidence during take-off, shortening the runway. Also the single lateral gun was replaced by 2 guns in the beam positions, both 0.50 inch (12,7 mm). On the outside the aircraft received slotted flaps to reduce the landing speed, a vertical tail surface of increased height and area, and an increased wing span from 65 ft 0 inch (19,81 m) to 71 ft 0 inch (21,64 m). The latter was meant to cope with an increaing wing loading. However, since these latter B-26B's maximum weight was increased to 38,200 lb (17.328 kg) the wing loading kept high. The additional weight was caused by adding 4 × 0.50 inch (12,7 mm) fixed forward-firing guns
Number built: 1.833
Martin B-26C Marauder The B-26B was built at Baltimore, Maryland. This version is identical to the late B-26B's but built at Omaha, Nesbraska.
Number built: 1.210
Martin B-26F Marauder This version of the Marauder was based on the B-26C (with long wing span). The wing's incidence was increased with 3,5 degrees to improve landing and take-off characteristics. It did however have a penalty: max level speed was reduced to 277 mph (446 km/h) at optimum altitude.
Number built: 300
Martin B-26G Marauder Based on the B-26F, this version only had equipment changes.
Number built: 893
Martin CB-26B Marauder Converted from B-26B's, this version was used as transports
Number converted: unknown
Martin TB-26B Marauder In 1944, the AT-23A Marauder target tower was redesignated to TB-26B
Redesignated aircraft
Martin TB-26C Marauder In 1944, the AT-23B Marauder target tower was redesignated to TB-26B
Redesignated aircraft
Martin TB-26G Marauder This version was based on the B-26G, and converted for training purposes.
Number converted: 57
Martin AT-23A Marauder Because of the high speed of the Marauder, it was considered to be well suited as a target tug. This version was a conversion of the B-26B
Number converted: 208
Martin AT-23B Marauder Identical to the AT-23A, but based on the B-26C.
Number converted: 375
Martin JM-1 Some 225 AT-23B's were transferred to the US Navy, redesignated to JM-1
Redesignated aircraft
Martin JM-1 15 TB-26G Marausders were transferred to the US Navy, redesignated to JM-2
Redesignated aircraft
Martin Marauder Mk I The RAF designation for 52 aircraft of the B-26A, delivered under the Lend-Lease Act
Redesignated aircraft
Martin Marauder Mk IA The RAF designation for 19 aircraft of the B-26B, delivered under the Lend-Lease Act
Redesignated aircraft
Martin Marauder Mk II The RAF designation for 123 aircraft of the B-26C, delivered under the Lend-Lease Act
Redesignated aircraft
Martin Marauder Mk III The RAF designation for 350 aircraft of the B-26F and B-26G, delivered under the Lend-Lease Act
Redesignated aircraft

Operational remarks:

The B-26 Marauder was most extensively used in the Pacific Theatre, but also in the European Theatre, Middle East, and Mediterranean Theatre.
The B-26A Marauders opened the account by placing small but accurate bombloads on Japanese positions in New Guinea in April 1942. They also were used as torpedo bombers in the Battle of Midway in June 1942, and as anti-shipping aircraft near the Aleutian Islands.
The most noteable feat of the Marauder is it's low loss ratio, owing to it's speed and ruggedness

Strengths:

Weaknesses:

 

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© by Frans Bonné, 2000
Last revision: 9/23/01