US Bombers of WW2

I M P O R T A N T N E W C O I N A N N O U N C E M E N T A new crown commemorating the First World War Centenary fully layered with pure 24 carat gold,...

368 downloads 1226 Views 17MB Size

I M P O R TA N T N E W C O I N A N N O U N C E M E N T The Union Flag is proudly accented in full colour

Fully layered with pure 24 carat gold

Each coin uniquely numbered here

Apply now and it may be yours for just £9.95

Shown larger than actual size of 38.6 mm in diameter

A new crown commemorating i the h

First World War Centenary fully layered with pure 24 carat gold, yours for just £9.95 KEY DETAILS

WE WILL REMEMBER THEM: This year marks the centenary of the First World War, the “war to end all wars”. There are generations alive today who have no direct knowledge of this conflict or of the sacrifice made by all who fought for their country, making it more important than ever that we remember them with a lasting commemoration using the words from the famous 1914 war poem known as the ‘Ode Of Remembrance’. A crown coin has been released to mark this important anniversary. Struck to a high specification, only 49,995 LIMITED RELEASE: The edition limit of this coin is 49,995. Only 1 in are available. Applications are now open for the ‘Ode Of Remembrance’ Golden Crown, fully layered with every 500 British households will be pure 24 carat gold and accented in full colour, for just £9.95 (plus £2.99 S&H)*. This offer is likely to attract considerable interest, and not just from collectors. able to own one EVENT: The First World War Centenary, honouring all who fought for their country

AUTHENTICATION: Each coin INSTRUCTIONS FOR APPLICANTS is uniquely numbered and comes 1. You may apply now to secure the 'Ode Of Remembrance' Golden Crown for just £9.95 (plus £2.99 S&H)*. with a certificate of authenticity. A Certificate of Authenticity is included at no additional cost.

2. Apply now: Applications will be approved in strict order of receipt. if your application is successful you will HIGH SPECIFICATION: be notified in writing within 7 days. Offer is limited to one coin per household. Intended as a collectors’ item this crown is fully layered with pure 24 3. Successful applicants will qualify to view the next coin in 'The First World War Centenary Crown Collection', a series of six gold layered crowns commemorating major campaigns of the First World War. These further carat gold and the Union Flag is crowns, which may be yours for only £29.95 (plus £2.99 S&H)* each will be sent at monthly intervals after your accented in full colour 'Ode Of Remembrance' Golden Crown. Each will be yours to view on approval for 14 days. You may cancel

YOURS FOR ONLY £9.95 at any time. (plus £2.99 S&H)*: an informative 4. To apply now, send the coupon below, or for priority call free on 0333 003 0019. Lines open Mon-Fri Certificate of Authenticity is included 9.00am-8.00pm and Sat 9.00am-5.30pm. FREE of charge and successful *Calls to 0333 numbers are chargeable at local rates from both UK landline and mobile phones but they are also applicants enjoy other benefits included in most network providers’ ‘free minutes’ packages. (see right)



YES, I wish to formally apply for the 'Ode Of Remembrance' Golden Crown, to be delivered to my UK mainland address, for just £9.95 (plus £2.99 shipping and handling). An informative Certificate of Authenticity is included, free of charge. I do not need to send any money now. If my application is successful I will be notified in writing within 7 days. I understand I can apply for only one coin, and that my application should be made within 7 days. I may return the coin within 14 days if I am not satisfied. I confirm I am aged 18 years or over. Applications are only open to UK mainland households and is limited to one coin per household.

Send this coupon postfree to: FREEPOST RRHH-RCLL-BCAC, BRADFORD EXCHANGE, STOKE ON TRENT, ST4 4RX Order reference:

309852 Title

Apply by telephone on Mr




0333 003 0019 Other _______________



Postcode Telephone (0



© The Bradford Exchange. * S&H – Service and Handling. Offer applies UK only and is subject to availability. Our guarantee is in addition to the rights provided to you by Consumer Protection Regulations. Calls to 0333 numbers are chargable at local rates from both UK landline and mobile phones but they are also included in most network providers “free minutes” packages. 426-COM14.01

The Lest We Forget Figurine has been endorsed by the Lest We Forget Association (charity number 200390).

PxxxxxxWorldWarCoins 210 x 297 6mm.indd 1

13/10/2014 11:15



US Bombers of WW2


he role of the bomber has been pushed, pulled, extended and expanded over the years and, compared to those machines which served during the Second World War, present day equivalents are required to perform in a wide variety of roles. However, the modern USAF has retained three examples of pure strategic bombers in the shape of the B-52 Stratofortress, B-1 Lancer and the B-2 Spirit, while much smaller aircraft, such as the F-15E Strike Eagle remain capable of delivering up to 23,000lb of bombs in a tactical role that’s 3,000lb more than a B-29 Superfortress! The US-built bomber did not come to fruition until after the First World War, due mainly to the persistent efforts of characters such as Maj Gen ‘Billy’ Mitchell, a staunch advocate of aerial bombing. It would take time for sufficiently powerful engines to be developed in order to realise Mitchell’s vision and it was a shame that he never got to see his idea of a strategic bomber enter USAAC service in the shape of the B-17 Flying Fortress in 1938. Even this iconic aircraft would take time to evolve into the successful bomber that we are familiar with today and it was the combat reports that were passed on to the US aircraft manufacturers by the British and French during the early stages of the Second World War, which helped to shape the designs that the USAAF would take into combat. Reliance on good performance combined with good defensive firepower was never

enough to stop a determined foe but it was these two characteristics which would shape US bomber design for the period. The one main advantage that the US aircraft manufacturing industry had over all other countries was the ability to mass produce on a scale which had never been seen before. While aircraft manufacturing in Britain expanded to a few shadow factories, in the US, colossal buildings covering thousands of acres were established in short order and operated around the clock. Sub-contracts were issued across the industry and anything up to four, sometimes five, other major manufacture’s would also be producing the aircraft, the B-17, B-24 and B-29 are good examples of aircraft that were produced in this way. The numbers involved were mind-blowing, between July 1940 and August 1945, 3,740 very heavy bombers, 31,685 heavy bombers, 21,461 medium bombers and 39,989 light bombers were built. Out of these numbers, Britain and the Soviet Union received 13,385 and 4,031 bombers respectively, both nations having taken full advantage of the Lend-Lease system. While some of the bombers featured in this issue performed better than others, their prime advantage over any other was that they were available in numbers when and where it counted and in all theatres of war.

Martyn Chorlton, Editor

Examples of the first mass produced Liberator, the B-24D, of which 2,696 were built, 2,381 of them by Consolidated, San Diego, 305 by Consolidated at Fort Worth and ten by Douglas at Tulsa. Via editor

Aviation Archive Series

US Bombers of WW2 Acknowledgments

Editor: Martyn Chorlton • Design: Paul Sander • Production Manager: Janet Watkins • Publisher and Managing Director: Adrian Cox • Executive Chairman: Richard Cox • Commercial Director: Ann Saundry Picture Credits: All photographs from the Key Archive unless otherwise credited. • Distribution: Seymour Distribution Ltd: +44 (0)20 7429 4000 • Printing: Warners (Midlands) All rights reserved. The entire content of Aviation Archive is © Key Publishing 2014. Reproduction in whole or part and in any form whatsoever is strictly prohibited without the prior permission of the Publisher. While every care is taken with submissions, the Publisher cannot be held responsible for any loss or damage incurred. All items submitted for publication are subject to our terms and conditions which are regularly updated without prior notice and downloadable from We are unable to guarantee the bona fides of any of our advertisers. Readers are strongly recommended to take their own precautions before parting with any information or item of value, including, but not limited to, money, manuscripts, photographs or personal information in response to any advertisements within this publication. Published by: Key Publishing Ltd, PO Box 100, Stamford, Lincs, PE9 1XQ. Tel: +44 (0)1780 755131 Fax: +44 (0)1780 757261 Website:

US Bombers of WW2 6

The US bomber of WW2

12 Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress 21 Lockheed Hudson


28 Martin Maryland 30 Lockheed Ventura 34 Douglas A-20 family 41 Consolidated B-24 Liberator


Wichita-built Boeing B-29-45-BW Superfortress awaiting delivery to their respective USAAF bomb groups on October 18, 1944. Nearest to the camera is 42-24727 which was allocated to the 498th BG based at Isley Field, Saipan. On March 31, 1945 the bomber was forced to ditch in the Pacific because of an engine failure; one crewman was drowned in the incident. Via editor

 70

50 61 70 74 81 92 96

North American B-25 Mitchell Martin B-26 Marauder Martin Baltimore Douglas A-26 Invader Boeing B-29 Superfortress Consolidated B-32 Dominator Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer

the three to complete its tour of duty with Imperial Airways which came to an end in 1938 when the aircraft was scrapped at Hythe.


B-24 Liberators of the 15th Air Force operating out of Foggia, Italy en route to a target in southern Germany. Via editor

The rapid rise and rise of the American-built bomber Within the space of three decades, the fledgling USAAS had evolved from a service equipped with variety of foreign-designed machines into the formidable USAAF which was capable of delivering an atomic weapon. No home-grown bombers When the United States of America declared war on Germany in April 1917, the USAAS (United States Army Air Service) had no military aircraft to its name and the American aircraft industry had no capacity to design, let alone produce, them in the required quantities. Instead, a short term solution was sought where British, French and Italian fighters and bombers were purchased to equip the USAAS, while a select few types would be manufactured under licence in America. With regard to bombers, the USAAS chose to operate

the Breguet 14, the Caproni Ca.3, the Handley Page O/100 and later the preferred O/400 and the Airco DH.4. It was only the DH.4 that entered anything close to full scale production before the end of the First World War; the light bomber was produced by Dayton-Wright and Fisher Body. USAAC aircrew managed to build up some early combat experience operating the Breguet 14 and DH.4 over the Western Front, while further early ‘strategic’ bombing experience was gained with the Italians and their high-flying Capronis. With regard to the Western Front, British and

French machines lacked range or any significant load-carrying capability and were usually operated in daylight against supply lines or troop concentrations. The few USAAS personnel who flew with the Italian Air Force experienced ‘strategic’ bombing for the first time as the Caproni bombers crossed the Alps at 12,000ft, without oxygen, to bomb targets in Austria. A combination of basic navigational equipment and simple bombing aids made the task of finding the target incredibly difficult, let alone actually hitting it. While the Italians overcame



The one and only Wittemann-Lewis NBL-1 ‘Barling Bomber’ designed by Walter Barling who had also designed the Tarrant Tabor in Britain. The 42,569lb bomber was powered by six 420hp Liberty 12A engines. Editor’s collection these problems, strategic bombing for all parties at the beginning of the Second World War was still proving a challenge.

In pursuit of a strategic capability One of the most influential ambassadors, with regard to the future of air power, was Lt Col (later Maj Gen) Billy Mitchell who, on America’s entry into the war, established an Aviation Section in Paris. He quickly latched onto the experience that had already been gained by the British and

French and was heavily influenced in particular by Maj Gen Hugh Trenchard. The future ‘Father of the RAF’ was a strong advocate of the use of large numbers of heavy bombers and, if the First World War had continued, he would have been given the opportunity to unleash his Independent Air Force which was equipped with large numbers of O/400s and DH.9s and would have received the giant V/1500 in quantity as well. There is no doubt that this force would have been able to attack targets deep in Germany at will, decades

Initially assigned to the 390th BS, 42nd BG, B-18A Bolo 37-508 served on with the 33rd SRS, 24th SRG and was not written off until August 15, 1944 at Waller Field, Trinidad, British West Indies. Andy Hay/

8 before the destruction that was caused during the second great war. The development of America’s first strategic bomber began in 1917 when the Glenn L Martin Aircraft Company was approached. The best that the company could offer was the Martin MB-2 (NBS-1) which could only travel at 100mph and had a range of 500 miles. Falling well short of what Mitchell was hoping for, the bomber did play a crucial role in a famous demonstration of airpower in 1921. Already at loggerheads with the US Navy, who were convinced that there was no need for a strategic bomber force, Mitchell arranged for a number of bombing trials against a pair of redundant battleships; the German ship Ostfreisland and the USS Alabama. While both of the ships were sunk by aerial bombing, there is still debate today as to the authenticity of the actual trial and a great deal of friction was created between the US Navy and the USAAC as result. Mitchell also instigated the construction of the costly Wittemann-Lewis NBL-1, nicknamed the ‘Barling Bomber’ after its designer, Walter Barling. The 120ft-span triplane bomber was designed to carry a single 6,000lb bomb; it achieved this at the expense of a maximum speed of just 96mph and a range of only 170 miles. Only one prototype was built at a cost of over half a million

Boeing’s first bomber, the Y1B-9A, powered by a pair of 600hp Pratt & Whitney R-1860-11 Hornet B engines. Only five were built, serving with the 20th and 39th BS, 2nd BG from September 1932 through to April 1935. Editor’s collection



dollars and Mitchell’s dream of a new generation of ‘super bombers’, remained just that, an idea that was way ahead of its time.

Significant steps

Designed by Peyton M Magruder (who later designed the B-26) and first flown on February 16, 1932, the Martin B-10 was an excellent bomber for its day. With excellent performance, the type was only marginally superseded by the Douglas B-18, which was actually inferior to the final B-10 variant. Via editor

While the whole idea of an aerial bomber force languished for most nations during the 1920s while all parties licked their wounds, in America, the concept was put back on track by Boeing and it’s YB-9, a development of the Monomail. A twinengined, all-metal monoplane, only seven were produced, although five of them did see limited service with the 20th BS (Bomb Squadron) and 2nd BG (Bomb Group) between 1932 and 1935. Martin was quick to follow with their more successful B-10, which became the first mass-produced bomber to enter USAAC service and was faster than a fighter.Described by Gen Henry H ‘Hap’ Arnold as ‘the airpower wonder of its day’, the B-10 was capable of more than 200mph, could reach 25,000ft and carry a 1,000lb bomb load over 700 miles; the Americans had finally got their first capable strategic bomber. The bomber was a huge success at home and abroad and 348 were built between 1933 and 1940, 182 of them were export variants for the Argentinian, the Chinese Nationalist, Royal Netherlands East Indies (121 ordered), Philippine, Royal Thai Sir Force and the Turkish Air Forces.

With a wing span of 149ft and a maximum take-off weight of 70,706lb, the Boeing XB-15 was an intimidating looking bomber for the mid-1930s which was let down by a serious lack of horsepower. The sole aircraft, nicknamed ‘Grandpappy’, served with the 2nd BG at Langley Field and later, after being re-designated as the XC-105 transport, with the 20th TCS (Troop Carrier Squadron). The giant aircraft was retired on December 18, 1944. Editor’s collection


The XB-15 set a number of ‘payload to height and speed/weight over distance’ records including the international 5,000km speed record with a 2,000kg payload. Editor’s collection The idea of a ‘super bomber’ was fully revived in April 1934 when Boeing was awarded a contract for a heavy bomber with a range of 5,000 miles. Capable of carrying up to 12,000lb in bombs, the aircraft, designated the XB-15, was let down by its Pratt & Whitney R-1830 engines which could only generate 850hp apiece. With a cruising speed of just 152 mph and a maximum speed, when empty, of 197 mph, the huge 149ft-span bomber remained a single prototype and the project was cancelled. For Boeing,the whole exercise had gained them a large amount of experience in building large aircraft which was later applied to the Model 314 flyingboat and eventually the B-29 Superfortress, via the Y1B-20 (Model 316), which never left the drawing board but laid the foundation blocks for a new generation of bombers.

B-10 replacements Just a few weeks after Boeing signed the contract for the XB-15, the company responded to a USAAC specification for a multi-engined bomber capable of carrying a ‘useful bomb load’ to replace the Martin B-10. Other key points of the specification stated that the aircraft should be capable of reinforcing American forces based in Alaska, Hawaii and Panama, be able to reach speed of 250mphs and have a range of 2,000 miles. The result was the Model 299, more familiarly known as the B-17 Flying Fortress which would evolve into one of the USAAF’s most celebrated strategic bombers which embodied the Mitchell’s post-First World War bombing strategy. Douglas also competed to the same specification as the B-17 and it was only when the Boeing

Douglas B-18A Bolos over Floyd Bennett Field, New York, on August 8, 1940. Editor’s collection

prototype crashed that the DB-1 was brought forward as an alternative. Based on the DC-2 airliner, the medium bomber, designated the B-18 Bolo in USAAC, plugged an important gap and remained in operational service into the early war period. The B-17 was an impressive bomber when it first entered service but there was an overconfidence that the aircraft could easily out-run and/or carry sufficient defensive armament to deal with an enemy fighter attack. However, the reality of war, especially in the European Theatre, proved that the long-range strategic bomber would still have to rely on a fighter escort and even then, this could not thwart a determined attack. The B-17, in company with the B-24, formed the backbone of the USAAF’s 8th Air Force, both types operated during the daylight hours while the RAF’s Bomber Command kept up the pressure at night. Despite operating in various formations, each was designed to provide the most effective defensive firepower, losses were insufferably high. Of the B-17 alone, almost 5,000 of 12,731 built between 1936 and 1945 were lost in combat, while nearly 4,000 were lost in flying accidents. Generally operating above 20,000ft, the 8th Air Force tactic was for both



A Boeing YB-17 Flying Fortress of the 1st BG based at Langley Field. First flown on December 2, 1936, only 13 YB-17s were built. Via editor

the B-17 and B-24 formations to release their bombs at the same time as the lead aircraft. Described as a precision bombing method, the idea was to achieve good accuracy and complete saturation of the target. However, relentless Luftwaffe attacks and the unpredictable, but generally poor, weather conditions over Northern Europe, tended to reduce the attacking bombers’ combat effectiveness and it was not uncommon for the phrase, ‘area bombing of a precision targets’ to be used by bomb group commanders. Regardless of the troubles faced by the USAAF and RAF Bomber Command, the effects of the bombing did grind the German industrial machine down but could never be a war winning tactic on its own and, just like today, boots on the ground were and still are the final winning solution.

The tactical machines The US medium bomber proved to be a useful ‘battle-turning’ aircraft when used tactically. It made making an immediate difference when used to influence an individual battle. All of the USAAF’s bombers were twin-engined aircraft and all exuded good performance, a good bomb load-carrying capability and the ability to defend

themselves and pack a punch in reply, usually against ground targets. The big four in this role were the North American B-25 Mitchell, Martin B-26 Marauder, Douglas A-20 Havoc and the Douglas A-26 Invader. Operated constantly at medium and low-level, the latter in particular in the Pacific Theatre, these bombers were allocated a wide range of targets including bridges, railway junctions, troop concentrations and supply depots and facilities. The A-20 and B-25 were incredibly effective against Japanese shipping through the Pacific and could be credited with the destruction of Japanese invasion fleet during the Battle of the Bismarck Sea. There was one significant operation in which the USAAF used their medium bombers in a strategic role. This was when Col James ‘Jimmy’ Doolittle famously led a small force of B-25s off the USS Hornet to attack Tokyo in April 1942. However ineffective on paper the raid appears, the effect on morale in the USA following the attack on Pearl Harbor was enormous, while the shock in Japan following the realisation that US bombers could attack at will was never fully recovered from.

The dawning of the atomic age When the Boeing B-29 began its first combat operations in 1944, this impressive machine could carry a bombload three times heavier than the B-17, fly twice as far and cruise 10,000ft higher. Because of its pressurised fuselage, the B-29 could operate at over 30,000ft and, during the closing stages of the Second World War, hundreds were employed to attack Japan from their recently captured Pacific Island bases. Raids designed to raze Japan’s cities to the ground reached a pinnacle when 300 B-29s dropped thousands of incendiaries on Tokyo on the night of March 9, 1945, killing 84,000 people and making at least one million homeless. Much worse was to follow for the long-suffering Japanese civilian population when, in August 1945, the fire-bombing came to end thanks to the atomic bomb attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which were delivered by the B-29s named ‘Enola Gay’ and ‘Bockscar’ respectively. It was the dawning of a new age in which bombers would be produced as part of a policy of deterrent. This would result in the beginning of the long Cold War that hung over the world until the latter part of the 20th Century.

the three to complete its tour of duty with Imperial Airways which came to an end in 1938 when the aircraft was scrapped at Hythe.


Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress Advanced ‘multi-engine’ bomber It was in May 1934 that the USAAC issued a specification for a new multi-engine bomber which could carry a 2,000lb bomb load over 1,020 miles or, 2,200 miles at a speed of between 200 and 250mph; the latter being a particularly optimistic request for the period. The USAAC’s interpretation of ‘multi’ meant nothing ‘more than one engine’, while Boeing saw the opportunity to produce a four-engined design, having already gained experience

producing the huge XB-15 (Model 294). In midJune 1934, Boeing began to design the Model 269, later to be designated as the B-17. Powered by four 750hp Pratt & Whitney Hornet radials, the prototype XB-17, with civil registration NX13372, made its maiden flight on July 28, 1935, with Boeing chief test pilot, Leslie Tower, at the controls. Just over three weeks later, the bomber was flown non-stop from Seattle to Wright Field for its USAAC evaluation; a flight of 2,100 miles, during

which an average speed of 252mph was achieved. All was going well for the XB-17 and early trials were promising but were threatened when the bomber crashed on take-off on October 30, 1935, killing Tower and USAAC test pilot Major Ployer Peter Hill. The USAAC was impressed with the bomber and 13 YB-17s were ordered for further evaluation; the first of these, 36-147, flew on December 3, 1936. These aircraft had more powerful 930hp Wright Cyclone engines, a crew of nine and all

BOEING B-17 FLYING FORTRESS were delivered between January and August 1937, twelve of them were allocated to the 2nd BG at Langley Field. The first major contract was for 39 B-17Bs (Model 299E (later 299M)) which were installed with turbo-charged engines. The B-17B was delivered to the USAAC between June 27, 1939 and March 1940 and was followed by the 1,200hp R-1820-35-powered B-17C (Model 299H). 38 of this variant were ordered and the first example flew on July 21, 1940. The RAF showed an interest in the B-17C and the first of 20 aircraft, named the Fortress Mk I, was delivered to 90 Squadron in July 1941. The strength of the B-17 was its ability to fly at highaltitude but the RAF soon found that this was not a good form of defence, especially in daylight, and a considerably heavier defensive armament would be needed if the type was to survive operations in the European Theatre.

The next major variant to enter production was the B-17D which was updated after the combat reports received that were from Europe and, as a result, was fitted with self-sealing fuel tanks and extra armour to protect the crew. The next three models, the B-17E, F and G (Modell 299-O) all featured re-designed and larger tail surfaces, the bigger dorsal fin alone distinguished them from the earlier aircraft. The B-17E and B-17F were the first examples of the Flying Fortress to arrive in Britain as part of the 8th Air Force. The USAAF were keen to show off the potential of the B-17 but, during two operations to Germany in August and October 1943, 120 aircraft were lost. It was obvious from the outset that even the most cleverly laid out formations did not have sufficient fire power to hold off a determined Luftwaffe fighter attack and, it was not until the arrival of the long-range


escort fighter, that losses began to be checked. The problem of defence was partly improved with the arrival of the B-17G and, thanks to its chin turret, the total defensive fire power of the Flying Fortress rose to 13 0.5in machine guns. While the B-17 was most prevalent in the European and North African theatres, the bomber could be found in all areas where US forces were active. In the Pacific, the B-17 served in the role of maritime patrol, reconnaissance, close-support and in conventional bombing roles. A multitude of sub-variants were produced, including the B-17H (SB-17G) ASR aircraft, the TB-40 trainer and the BQ-7 and QB-17 drone. 12,731 B-17s were built, although only a few hundred remained in USAAF service after the war. Today, 13 remain airworthy and a large number are in varying stages of restoration or on display across the world.

One of 13 YB-17s (later Y1B-17) procured by the USAAC for flight testing and evaluation. Via editor

14 Right: The ‘Memphis Belle’, one of the first B-17s to complete 25 combat missions over Europe between November 7, 1942 (Brest) and May 19, 1943 (Kiel). A B-17F-10-BO serialled 41-24485, the bomber was flown back to the USA on June 8, 1943 to begin a 31 city war bond tour before being retired in 1945. After many years of being displayed outside and suffering as a result the aircraft is today being restored at the National Museum of the USAF at Wright-Patterson AFB, Dayton, Ohio. Andy Hay/

Main: The cheek-mounted 0.5in machine guns give this machine away as a B-17F Flying Fortress belonging to the 97th BG. The 97th BG was the first 8th Air Force unit to carry out a mission from Britain, operating from Polebrook and Grafton Underwood between May and September 1942. The 97th BG was later transferred to North Africa to serve the 12th and later 15th Air Forces. Via editor






Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress

Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress

Lockheed Hudson Mk l

Lockheed Hudson Mk l




FIRST FLIGHT: (XB-17 (Model 299)) July 28, 1935 ENGINE: Four 1,200hp Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone radials SPAN: 103ft 9in LENGTH: 74ft 4in MAX SPEED: 287mph CLIMB RATE: 900ft/min ARMAMENT: 13 0.5in M2 Browning machine-guns and up to 8,000lb of bombs

(XB-17 (Model 299)) Single prototype registered NX13372 f/f July 28, 1935; (YB-17) 13 aircraft ordered by the USAAC for service testing, f/f December 2, 1936; (YB-17A) Single aircraft for ground testing, later re-designated as a B-17A, f/f April 29, 1938; (B-17B) Improved variant with better performance at lower speeds, 39 built, the first flying on June 27, 1939; (B-17C) Defensive machine gun positions changed to a pair of oval-shaped apertures in the rear fuselage and a ventral bath tub, 38 built, f/f July 21, 1940 ; (B-17D) Incorporated several minor improvements, inside and out, 42 built (last 18

B-17Cs built were modified to B-17D standard), f/f Feb 3, 1971; (B-17E) Re-design which included a new vertical stabilizer, rear gunner’s position, dorsal turret and later production had a ventral, ball turret installed. 512 built, f/f September 5, 1941; (B-17F) Upgraded B-17E with new Plexiglas nose cone, cheek-mounted machine guns and several other minor modifications. 3,405 built (2,300 by Boeing (BO), 605 by Douglas (DL) and 500 by Lockheed Vega (VE)), f/f May 30, 1942; (B-17G) The definitive variant which incorporated all modifications introduced into the B-17F production line including a Bendix chin turret and revised tail gun position. 8,680 B-17Gs were built, 4,035 by Boeing, 2,293 by Douglas and 2,250 by Lockheed Vega.

B-17Gs of the 523nd BS and the 535th BS, 381st BG based at Ridgewell, Essex. Nearest to the camera is B-17G-20-BP Flying Fortress, 42-31443, ‘VE-M’ named ‘Friday the 13th’ which was shot down by a German fighter near Munster on a mission to Oscherleben on February 22, 1944.



Lockheed Hudson LOCKHEED HUDSON CUTAWAY KEY 1 Starboard navigation/ identification lights 2 Starboard wingtip 3 De-icing slots 4 Internal vanes 5 Aileron internal mass balance 6 Starboard aileron 7 Aileron tab 8 Tab mechanism 9 Control cables 10 Wing main spar structure 11 De-icing tubes 12 Leading-edge de-icing boot 13 Main wing rib stations 14 Wing skinning 15 Flap control cables 16 Flap tracks 17 Flap cables/pulleys 18 Track fairings 19 Port flap (extended) 20 Aerial mast 21 D/F loop fairing 22 Supported structure 23 Aerial lead-in 24 Cockpit cold air 25 Flight deck sun-blind 26 Windscreen wiper motor 27 Jettisonable canopy hatch 28 Console light 29 Windscreen wipers 30 Second-pilot’s jump seat 31 Adjustable quarterlight 32 Windscreen frame support member 33 External gunsight 34 Second-pilot’s (backup) control column (cantilevered)

35 Central instrument console 36 Starboard nose entry tunnel 37 Bulkhead 38 Starboard engine oil tank 39 Fixed forward-firing 0.303in (7.7mm) Browning machineguns (two) 40 Carburettor intake 41 Wright R-1820-G102A radial engine 42 Starboard nacelle 43 Cowling nose ring 44 Three-blade propeller 45 Spinner 46 Nose compartment cold air 47 Machine gun muzzles 48 Nose structure 49 Roof glazing 50 Window frames 51 Nose cone 52 Navigator’s side windows 53 Compass 54 Navigator’s table 55 Navigator’s (sliding) seat 56 Bomb-aimer’s flat panels 57 Bomb-aimer’s prone 58 Bomb selector/switch 59 Navigator’s instrument panel 60 Forward flare chute 61 Bombsight support 62 Nose frames 63 Nose compartment warm 64 Windscreen de-icing tank

An RAF Lockheed Hudson of the Middle East Communication Squadron captured near Cairo in mid-1942. Via editor

65 Machine gun ammunition 66 Rudder pedal assembly 67 Pilot’s control column 68 Pilot’s seat 69 Pilot’s radio control boxes 70 Forward (canted) fuselage 71 Frame/wing pick-up 72 Hydraulics reservoir 73 Wireless-operator’s table 74 Wireless-operator’s seat 75 Transmitter 76 Receiver 77 Main spar centresection carry-through 78 Spar/frame attachment 79 Wireless bay racks 80 Cabin cold air 81 Astrograph table/supply 82 Wing flaps actuating cylinder 83 Smoke-float stowage rack 84 Port cabin windows 85 Beam machinegun positions (field modification) 86 Gun support frame 87 Starboard cabin windows 88 Astrodrome (Mk III and retrofit) 89 Fuselage frames 90 Stringers 91 Flare stowage racks 92 Parachute stowage 93 Aft fuselage bulkhead 94 Aerials 95 Boulton Paul dorsal turret

96 Turret support canted 97 Turret ring 98 Dorsal cut-out former 99 Bulkhead 100 Rear bulkhead/tailplane 101 Tail surface control linkage 102 Starboard tailplane 103 Twin 0.303in (7.7mm) machine-guns 104 Rudder control quadrant 105 Cable linkage 106 De-icing tube 107 Starboard end plane 108 Tailfin de-icing boot 109 Tailfin skinning 110 Rudder tab actuator 111 Aerial attachment 112 Rudder upper balance 113 Rudder tab 114 Starboard rudder 115 Elevator tab 116 Starboard elevator 117 Tab actuating linkage 118 Elevator control 119 Fixed centre-section 120 Tail navigation light 121 Port elevator 122 Elevator tab 123 Port tailfin de-icing boot 124 Tailfin structure 125 Rudder upper balance 126 Rudder upper hinge 127 Rudder tab 128 Port rudder structure 129 Port end plane 130 Rudder lower balance 131 Fixed tailwheel 132 Port tailplane structure 133 Tailwheel shockabsorber

134 Tailplane support bulkhead 135 Warm air conduit 136 Bulkhead cover plate 137 Control pulley quadrant 138 Turret mechanism/ support 139 Aft flare tube 140 Toilet location 141 Step 142 Entry door (jettisonable dinghy housing) 143 Ammunition feed/ magazine 144 Dinghy release cylinder/ hand lever 145 Tunnel (ventral) gun station (optional) 146 Cabin entry walkway (port) 147 Ventral camera port 148 Ventral gun well 149 Bomb-doors operating 150 Bomb-bay rear well 151 Port flap section 152 Flap track fairings 153 Aileron tab 154 Port aileron 155 Aileron internal mass 156 Port wingtip structure 157 Port navigation/ identification lights 158 Internal vanes 159 Wing slots 160 Wing structure 161 Main spar 162 Nose ribs 163 Port wing leading-edge de-icing boot 164 Rib assembly 165 Mainwheel recess 166 Port nacelle fairing

167 Rear spar wing join 168 Main spar wing join 169 Port wing aft fuel tank 170 Fuselage bomb-bay 171 Port wing forward fuel tank 172 Control servos 173 Undercarriage retraction 174 Undercarriage support/ 175 Port engine oil tank bay 176 Engine support frame 177 Carburettor anti-icing tank 178 Engine bearer assembly 179 Bomb-bay forward wall 180 Carburettor intake 181 Battery 182 Smoke floats 183 Propeller anti-icing tank (fuselage) 184 Engine bearer ring 185 Cowling nose ring 186 Spinner 187 Three-blade propeller 188 Starboard mainwheel 189 Pitot head 190 Oil cooler intake 191 Exhaust louvres 192 Landing gear fulcrum 193 Drag strut 194 Exhaust stub 195 Side strut 196 Mainwheel oleo leg 197 Torque links 198 Port mainwheel 199 Axle hub 200 Towing lug 201 Undercarriage door 202 Float marker 203 250lb (113.5kg) A/S bomb


The RAF puts Lockheed on the aviation map The Lockheed Hudson was the first Americanbuilt aircraft to see operational service with the RAF during the Second World War. The aircraft originated from a British requirement for a maritime patrol/navigation trainer in 1938 and, to meet the urgent need quickly, Lockheed proposed a militarized version of their own Model 14 Super Electra. The design was very similar to the Lockheed Model 14-WF62 with the exception of a modified fuselage that was installed with nose guns and dorsal turret, a bomb bay and a navigator’s station located to the rear of the trailing edge of the wing. The latter feature was not acceptable to the British Purchasing Commission (BPC) who wanted a maritime machine rather than a bomber and the navigator’s position was quickly re-positioned much closer to the pilot. Within 24 hours, a new mock-up of the aircraft was presented to the BPC and, following negotiations, an order for 200 Model B14Ls was placed in June 1938. This was later raised to 250 aircraft as long as all of them

could be delivered before the end of December 1939. On December 10, 1938, the first Model B14L made its maiden flight and the 250th production aircraft was completed during the first week of November 1939, well ahead of the deadline. When production came to end in May 1943, 2,941 aircraft had been built, made up of 1,338 purchased directly from Lockheed, 1,302 under Lend Lease and 300 training machines for the USAAF. Named the ‘Hudson’ by the aircraft, this highly successful machine quickly elevated Lockheed into one of the US’s major manufacturers. The Hudson entered RAF service with 224 Squadron at Leuchars in May 1939 and it was with this unit that the type became the first Allied aircraft, operating from the UK, to shoot down an enemy machine when a Dornier Do 18 was downed on October 8, 1939. It was a Hudson of 220 Squadron which discovered the German prison ship Altmark in February 1940 and then successfully directed British naval forces

Lockheed Hudson Mk I, N7221, one of 200 delivered to the RAF (although some were diverted to Canada) between April 1939 and January 1940. This particular aircraft served with 224, 220 and 161 (Special Duties) Squadrons before it was written off in a crash on March 28, 1944. 161 Squadron was generally tasked with support operations for the SOE, delivering and collecting secret agents throughout the Second World War. Key Archive

towards it. A Hudson of 269 Squadron attacked the U-boat U-570 in the Atlantic on August 27, 1941 and then accepted the crippled vessel’s surrender. A 280 Squadron Hudson was the first of many to be fitted with an airborne lifeboat in May 1943 and, at the same time, a 608 Squadron Hudson became the first to sink a U-boat using rockets alone. In USAAF service, it was an A-29 that recorded the first U-boat kill when, on July 7, 1942, U-701 was sent to the bottom. The US Navy could also credit the Hudson for its first U-boat successes when, on March 1 and March 15, 1942, a PBO-1 sunk a pair of U-boats. The Hudson saw widespread service with the RAF, USAAF and USN but also served the RAAF, RCAF, Brazilian Air Force, Irish Air Corps, Chinese Air Force, Dutch Air Force, Portuguese Air Force and SAAF and in small numbers in a civilian capacity for BOAC (British Overseas Aircraft Corporation), EastWest Airlines, Adastra Air Surveys and British West Indian Airways.



LOCKHEED HUDSON MK I FIRST FLIGHT: (Model 14) December 10, 1938 ENGINE: Two 1,100hp Wright GR1820-G-102A radials SPAN: 65ft 6in LENGTH: 44ft 4in MAX SPEED: 246mph at 6,500ft CLIMB RATE: 1,200ft/min ARMAMENT: Two 0.303in forwardfiring machine-guns and two .303in machine guns in a dorsal turret. Up to 1,400lb of bombs or depths carried internally

Left: A tantalizing glimpse of Lockheed A-29-LO Hudson, 41-23403 in USAAF service. Via editor

26 Main: Resplendent in its all-white camouflage with grey upper surfaces, the Hudson Mk VI was ideally suited to Coastal Command operations. This machine, FK689 is pictured during RP and Armament trials with the A&AEE (Aeroplane & Armament Experimental Establishment) before being transferred to 301 FTU and later 500 Squadron. Via editor


(Hudson Mk I) Original RAF variant powered by a pair of 1,100hp Wright GR-1820-G102A engines, 351 built; (Hudson Mk II) As per Mk I but with a strengthened airframe and constant-speed propellers, 20 built; (Hudson Mk III) Mk II airframe combined with 1,200hp Wright GR-1820-G205A radial engines. As per previous marks, this variant was acquired through direct-purchase for British/Commonwealth air forces before Lend-Lease began, 428 built; (Hudson Mk IIIA) British and Commonwealth designation for all LendLease Mk IIIs powered by 1,200hp Wright R-1820-87 engines. Later procured by the USAAF as the A-29 and the US Navy as the PBO-1. 800 Mk IIIAs built including 384 troop transport variants which were supplied as A-29As; (Hudson Mk IV) RAAF designation for 50 Hudson Mk Is fitted with 1,050hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S3C-G engines. This designation also applied to an improved version, originally purchased as the Mk II; (Hudson Mk IVA) RAAF Lend-Lease designation for the USAAF A-28, 52 built; (Hudson Mk V) Direct purchase variant, like the Mk III but powered by 1,200hp Twin Wasp S3C4-G engines, 409 built; (Hudson Mk VI) Lend-Lease variant procured by the USAAF as the A-29A. Similar to the Mk III/V but powered by 1,200hp Chevrolet-built Pratt & Whitney R-1830-67 engines, 450 built; (Hudson C Mk VI) A number of Hudson Mk VIs were stripped of armament and converted to the transport role, re-designated C Mk VI; (A-29B) 24 USAAF A-29As were re-designated and converted to the photographic reconnaissance role; (AT-18) USAAF gunnery trainer powered by 1,200hp Wright R-1820-87 engines and designated AT-18, 217 built; (AT-18A) Unarmed navigation trainers for the USAAF, similar to the AT-18, 83 aircraft; (B14S) One aircraft used as an instrument test aircraft for the Sperry Gyroscope Company.



Above: Laid down as an A-29-LO Hudson and delivered to the RAF as Mk III, BW751, this aircraft ended up in the hands of the RAAF as A16-211. Named ‘Tojo Busters’, the aircraft served with 2 Squadron, operating out of Millingimbi in the Northern Territory. The aircraft ground looped after returning from an operation on May 7, 1943 and was reduced to components. Andy Hay/

the three to complete its tour of duty with Imperial Airways which came to an end in 1938 when the aircraft was scrapped at Hythe.


Martin Maryland Rejected by the Americans, embraced by the British and the French Originally designated as the Martin XA-22 and designed in response to a USAAC specification for an attack bomber, this twin-engine low/mid cantilever wing aircraft was rejected following official flight testing. First flown on March 14, 1939, the XA-22 was powered by a pair of Twin Wasp radials fitted with a retractable undercarriage and had been designed for a crew of three. It is not exactly known why the XA-22 was rejected as it was a good all round performer for its day and this was not lost on the French, who placed an order for 115 aircraft some time before the prototype even left the ground. Deliveries of the first aircraft, then designated as the Model 167F were delayed until a US arms embargo was lifted in October 1939. By that time, the French had placed an order for a further 100 Model 167Fs but, by the time of the French armistice in June 1940, only 140 of the total order had been delivered. Re-designated by the French to the Martin 167A-3, a number saw action during the final few weeks of the German advance while many more fell into Vichy hands to serve against the Allies in West Africa and Middle East.

One of a batch of 50 delivered to the RAF between July 1940 and January 1941, AR711 initially served with 22 Squadron then 431 Flight and finally 69 Squadron. The aircraft suffered serious damage after a wheels-up landing at Ta Kali on March 1, 1942 but, before repairs could be started, the aircraft was damaged but repair by Luftwaffe bombs a few days later. Key Archive

The outstanding 75 aircraft did not go to waste and were instead diverted to the RAF where they were designated as the Maryland Mk I, powered by a pair of 1,050hp R-1830-SC3G Twin Wasp radial engines. The British were impressed with the aircraft to such an extent that they placed an order for a more powerful version, to be named the Maryland Mk II. These aircraft were powered by R-1830-S3C4G Twin Wasp radial engines which were fitted with twin-stage superchargers. 150 Mk IIs were delivered to the RAF to not only serve in their intended light bomber role but also as target tugs and as long-range reconnaissance aircraft the Maryland was particularly suited to the latter role. The first RAF unit to receive the Maryland was 431 Flight (re-designated as 69 Squadron) in Malta, followed by 39 and 223 Squadrons both of which saw extensive action over the Western Desert. More than 70 Marylands were transferred to the SAAF to serve with 12, 20, 21 and 23 Squadrons in the Middle East and North Africa. A few Marylands also saw service with the FAA and one aircraft provided valuable reconnaissance prior to the

attack on the Italian Fleet at Taranto in November 1940, while another spotted the Bismarck and Prinz Eugen making their final breaks for the open ocean in May 1941.

MARTIN MARYLAND MK I FIRST FLIGHT: (Model 167) March 14, 1939 ENGINE: Two 1,200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-S3C4G Twin Wasp radials SPAN: 61ft 4in LENGTH: 46ft 8in MAX SPEED: 278mph at 11,800ft CLIMB RATE: 2,400ft/min ARMAMENT: Four 0.303in wingmounted Browning machine-guns and one .303in Vickers K in dorsal and ventral positions. Up to 2,000lb of bombs or depths carried internally

MARTIN MARYLAND Right: The prototype Martin Model 167 (with civilian registration NX22076), designated as the XA-22 by the USAAC, which first flew on March 14, 1939. Via editor Below: On May 22, 1941, thanks to the initiative of Lt N E Goddard, the CO of 771 Squadron, one of the unit’s unarmed Maryland target tugs spotted the German battleship Bismarck making for the North Atlantic and, only days later, the ship was sunk. Andy Hay/


the three to complete its tour of duty with Imperial Airways which came to an end in 1938 when the aircraft was scrapped at Hythe.


Lockheed 37 Ventura & Harpoon Hudson replacement The Hudson proved to be a huge success in RAF service and this prompted Lockheed into designing a larger military version of excellent 18 Lodestar. Once again, it was the British who were interested in the aircraft which was developed into the Lockheed 37 and named Ventura by the RAF. 675 aircraft were ordered in 1940, all of which were produced in Lockheed’s Vega factory. The Ventura had great potential when it was first ordered because the aircraft was able to carry a larger bomb load than the Hudson, greater defensive armament and more powerful

675 Venturas were delivered to the RAF, including this Mk I, AE748, pictured during trials with the A&AEE on June 2, 1942. The aircraft never entered operational service and was transferred to the ECFS (Empire Central Flying School) until it was SOC (Struck Off Charge) on August 9, 1945.

Double Wasp engines. The RAF’s first aircraft, Mk I AE658, made its maiden flight on July 31, 1941 but, consequently the planned delivery date of March 1941 was missed by some margin and, the first Venturas did not arrive in Britain until the summer of 1942. The type entered service with 21 Squadron on May 31, 1942 with operations, in daylight, not beginning until November 3. It was quickly found that the Ventura, nicknamed ‘The Pig’, was not suited to daylight operations and the aircraft was withdrawn from Bomber Command service in early September 1943. The surviving

aircraft were transferred to Coastal Command and, along with those serving in the maritime role in the Middle East, served on until mid-1944. In USAAF service, the type served as the B-34 Lexington and with the US Navy as the PV-1 Ventura and PV-2 Harpoon. The latter was a long-range version of the PV-1 and served the US Navy from June 1943 until the end of the war. The Ventura also served with the RAAF, RCAF, RNZAF and SAAF while post various PV-types served in Brazil, France, Japan, the Netherlands and Portugal, the latter of which served until 1975.

MARTIN MARYLAND Right: The first PV-1s were delivered in December 1942 and were in service from February 1943.The first operational sorties were carried out by VP135 from the Aleutian Islands in April 1943. Below: Lockheed PV-1 Ventura 34991 of VPB-150 which operated the type from November 1943 until March 1945. Andy Hay/



LOCKHEED PV-1 VENTURA FIRST FLIGHT: July 31, 1941 ENGINE: Two 2,000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-31 radials SPAN: 65ft 6in LENGTH: 46ft 8in MAX SPEED: 322mph at 13,800ft CLIMB RATE: 2,000ft/min ARMAMENT: Two 0.5in forwardfiring machine guns, two 0.5in in dorsal turret and a pair of 0.3in machine guns in the ventral position. Up to 3,000lb of bombs or six 325lb depth charges or a single torpedo


(Ventura Mk I) First production contract to British specification powered by two 1,850hp Pratt & Whitney Double Wasp S1A4-G engines. A number of Mk Is were modified for use by Coastal Command and re-designated GR Mk 1s; (Ventura Mk II) Similar to Mk I but powered by two 2,000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-31 radials and was fitted with a large bomb bay; (Ventura Mk II) Revised armament; (Ventura GR Mk V) RAF Coastal Command designated for the US Navy PV-1, several were converted into transports Ventura C Mk V; (B-34 (later RB-34)) Similar to Ventura Mk IIA, 20 examples were impressed by the USAAF from the Lend Lease production line, a few were later installed with ASV radar; (B-34A Lexington (later RB-34A)) 101aircraft which were impressed by the USAAF as trainers; (B-34B Lexington (later RB-34B)) 13 aircraft used by the USAAF as navigation trainers;

(B-37) Powered by a pair of 1,700hp Wright R-260013 engines and revised armament for service with the USAAF, 550 aircraft were ordered but only 18 were actually built; (PV-1) The first US Navy variant which was similar to the Ventura Mk II but with lower defensive armament, a modified bomb bay designed to carry depth charges or a torpedo and a search radar. Later production PV-1s could carry HVAR rockets and a handful were modified to nightfighters for the USMC; (PV-1P) A few PV-1s were modified to the photographic-reconnaissance role; (PV-2 Harpoon) An improved US Navy variant with longer span outer wing panels (75ft span and a wing area of 686 sq/ft), increased fuel capacity, revised tail surfaces and armament. Problems with fuel tanks and skin wrinkling saw a new wing applied to the 31st production aircraft, 500 built; (PV-2C) 30 PV-2 redesignated as trainers, outer wing fuel tanks sealed off; (PV-2D) A PV-2 with revised armament, only 35 delivered by VJ Day; (PV-2T) A few PV-2s converted as unarmed trainers; (PV-3) US Navy designation for 27 Ventura Mk IIs taken from British contract.



The US Navy version of the Lockheed B-34 Lexington was the PV-1 Ventura. 1,600 of the version were built, 388 of them went on to serve the RAF, RAAF, RNZAF and SAAF as the Ventura GR Mk V. Lockheed-Martin

the three to complete its tour of duty with Imperial Airways which came to an end in 1938 when the aircraft was scrapped at Hythe.


Douglas A-20/DB-7/Boston and Havoc A ‘hot’ combat aircraft Designed by Ed Heinemann and Jack Northrop, the DB-7 family of aircraft was one of the greatest of the Second World War. Designed to meet a USAAC attack specification dating back to 1938, the aircraft was quickly modified with a pair of powerful Twin Wasp engines and, for the first time in any military aircraft, a nosewheel undercarriage. The French were the first to place an order in February 1939 for 100 (later increased to 270) aircraft, which were modified still further with a deeper, narrower fuselage. Named the DB-7, this variant, armed with six 7.5mm MAC (Military Armament Corporation) machine guns and capable of carrying a 1,764lb bomb load, went into production at El Segundo and Santa Monica. The first DB-7s were delivered to the Armée de l’Air via Casablanca in early 1940 and the first operations began on May 31. The DB-7 was described by its pilots as a ‘hot’ aircraft, its performance belying the fact that it was a bomber. It was also more complex than its European contemporaries and, at first, operating it from small unpaved airfields with few facilities caused maintenance issues. The aircraft had many unusual features for the day, including an

An early USAAC Douglas A-20 which was powered by a pair of two-stage supercharged Wright R-2600-11 radial engines specifically for improved high-altitude operations. Via editor

emergency control column in the rear gunner’s compartment which enabled him to fly the aircraft should the pilot become incapacitated. A number of DB-7s and DB-7As were diverted to Britain from the French order and at least 100 were converted into Havoc night fighters at Burtonwood. A few Havocs were converted to Turbinlite standard with a 2,700-million candlepower searchlight in the nose which was designed to illuminate enemy raiders. The RAF took to the aircraft and, from February 1942, were flying low-level daylight operations with the more powerful Boston Mk III. Across the pond, the USAAF placed orders for the A-20, the most significant of which was the A-20G which could carry up to 4,000lb in bombs and pack a serious punch thanks to its nose armament. The USAAF made full use of the P-70 night fighter and the glazed-nosed A-20J and A-20K which, among other things, were employed as lead ships by the 9th and 15th Air Forces over in the European and Mediterranean theatres. The RAF’s equivalent of the A-20J and K were the Boston Mk IV and Mk V which served the 2nd

Tactical Air Force and the Desert Air Force. 7,385 DB family aircraft were built, 3,125 of which were supplied direct to the Soviet Air Force.

DOUGLAS A-20G FIRST FLIGHT: (Model 7B) October 26, 1938 ENGINE: Two 1,600hp Wright R-2600-23 Cyclone 14 radials SPAN: 61ft 4in LENGTH: 48ft MAX SPEED: 317mph at 10,000ft CLIMB RATE: 2,000ft/min ARMAMENT: Six 0.5in Browning machine guns or Four 20mm Hispano Cannon in nose and two 0.5in M2 Browning machine guns in a power operated turret and one 0.5in machine gun firing through a ventral tunnel, plus up 4,000lb of bombs


(Boston Mk I & Mk II) Aircraft that were transferred from the French order to the RAF were designated Boston Mk I or Mk II, the Mk I was powered by a pair of 1,200hp Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp S3C-G engines; (Havoc Mk I) DB-7 conversion as night intruder with 2,400lb of bombs of a night fighter fitted with an AI Mk IV radar; (Havoc-Pandora) 93 Squadron were tasked with operating this variant which trailed a Long Aerial Mine on a lengthy cable into the path of oncoming enemy bombers; (Havoc Mk I Turbinlite (aka Helmore)) 31 Havoc Mk Is and 39 Mk IIs were converted with a searchlight in the nose; (DB-7A/Havoc Mk II) Powered by two 1,600hp Wright R-2600-A5B Twin Cyclone engines, 200 were ordered by France but none were delivered before the country fell. All were diverted to the RAF and converted into night fighters with a dozen .303in machine guns and additional fuel tanks. (DB-7B/Boston Mk III) The first variant to be ordered by the RAF direct in February 1940, 300 built; (DB-73) Variant with French instruments and secondary equipment, 480 ordered, 240 of them built by Boeing and Seattle. None delivered to France, all converted

to Boston Mk III standard and ordered by the RAF. Actual delivery saw 151 DB-73s sent to the USSR and post-December 1941, 356 DB-73s were ordered by the USAAF; (DB-7C) Intended for service with the Dutch East Indies Air Force, but only 31 aircraft reached Australia before the Japanese invasion; (A-20) High-altitude bomber for the USAAC, similar to the DB-7B but fitted with two-stage supercharged Wright R-2600-11 engines; (A-20A) Low to mediumaltitude bomber for the USAAF with R-2600-3 and R-2600-11 (last 20 built) engines. Entered service April 1941, 123 aircraft built; (A-20B) Similar to DB-7A, with stepped glazed nose and twin 0.5in nose machine guns. 999 aircraft built, 665 sent to the Soviets; (A-20C) First attempt to standardise the type with slanting glazed nose, RF-2600-23 engines, self-sealing fuel tanks and extra armour. 948 aircraft were built for the RAF (Boston Mk III) and the Soviet Union but large numbers were diverted to the USAAF postDecember 1941; (A-20E) A-20As with minor internal modifications, 17 built; (XA-20F) Single A-20A modified with a pair of twin 0.5in General Electric turrets and, later, a 37mm cannon in the nose; (A-20G) 2,850 aircraft built by Douglas


at Santa Monica with a solid nose containing various armament configurations. A number had a wider fuselage to accommodate a power-driven turret; (A-20H) Similar to A-20G but powered by a pair of 1,700hp R-2600-20 engines, 412 built; (ZB-20H) The last A-20H in USAF service after re-designation; (A-20J/Boston Mk IV) Variant with extended glazed nose for an extra bombardier, 450 built, 169 of them delivered to the RAF from June 1944 onwards as the Boston Mk IV; (A-20K/ Boston Mk V) Last major production variant with R-2600-29 engines, 90 were delivered to the RAF from mid-1944 onwards as the Boston Mk V; (P-70 family) 39 A-20C conversions with six 0.5in machine guns designated P-70A-1. 65 A-20G conversions without rear guns designated P-70A-2. One experimental A-20G converted to P-70B-1 standard with SCR-720 radar and six 0.5 machine guns in blisters either side of the forward fuselage. 105 A-30G and J conversions to P-70B-2 with SCR-720 or SCR-729 radar and provision for six or eight 0.5in machine guns in nose; (F-3A) 46 A-20Js and Ks converted to nighttime photographic-reconnaissance role; (BD-1) Single A-20A evaluated by the USMC; (BD-2) Eight A-20Bs for the US Navy as target tugs.

Below: The first 9th Air Force Douglas A-20G Havoc to complete 100 operations was 43-9224 ‘5H-E’ named ‘La France Libre’ (originally named ‘Miss Laid’). Andy Hay/




Boeing-built A-20C-BO Havoc, 4119635, being serviced at Langley Field, Virginia in July 1942. USAF/Life

Douglas Boston Mklll

Douglas Boston Mklll

Consolidated B-24J Liberator

Consolidated B-24J Liberator


DOUGLAS BOSTON MK III CUTAWAY KEY 1 Starboard fabric covered elevator 2 Starboard tailplane 3 Elevator tab 4 Tail navigation and signal lights 5 Tailcone 6 Rudder tab 7 Fabric covered rudder construction 8 Rudder hinges 9 Pitot tube 10 Fin tip fairing 11 Aerial cable 12 Port elevator 13 Port tailplane 14 Fin leading edge 15 Tailfin construction 16 Elevator hinge control 17 Rudder hinge control 18 Fin attachment joints 19 Tailplane stub attachment 20 Tailplane root fillet 21 Tail bumper 22 Tailcone construction 23 Rear fuselage/tailcone joint frame 24 Fin root fillet 25 Flare launcher tube 26 Reconnaissance flares 27 Ventral hatch cover, open 28 Rear gunner’s side window 29 Reconnaissance camera

30 Vickers 0.303in (7.7mm) ventral machine-gun 31 Spare ammunition containers 32 Map case 33 Upper identification light 34 Dorsal gun stowage doors 35 Dorsal gun mounting ring 36 Twin Browning 0.303in (7.7mm) machine-guns 37 Armour plated screen 38 Rear gunner’s cockpit enclosure 39 Gunner’s seat 40 Rear emergency control column 41 Trailing aerial reel 42 Wing root trailing edge fillet 43 Starboard inboard flap 44 Rear spar attachment joint 45 Radio racks 46 Rear gunner’s canopy cover, open position 47 Radio receiver 48 Cabin heater pack 49 Propeller de-icing fluid tank 50 D/F loop aerial 51 Aerial mast 52 Radio transmitters 53 Main spar attachment joint

Early production A-20A Havocs await delivery; nearest to the camera is 40-082 which remained in USAAF service until October 1944. Via editor

54 Inboard wing panel construction 55 Main, undercarriage wheel well housing 56 Hydraulic flap jack 57 Nacelle tail fairing 58 Outer flap construction 59 Main spar 60 Outer wing panel attachment joint 61 Wing ribs 62 Aileron tab 63 Fabric covered aileron construction 64 Formation light 65 Starboard navigation light 66 Leading edge nose ribs 67 Wing stringer construction 68 Mainwheel doors 69 Starboard mainwheel 70 Undercarriage leg strut 71 Mainwheel pivot mounting struts 72 Hydraulic retraction jack 73 Engine exhaust 74 Sloping fireproof bulkhead 75 Engine bearer struts 76 Cooling air exit flaps 77 Exhaust collector ring 78 Detachable engine cowlings 79 Hamilton Standard three-bladed, constant

speed propeller. 11ft 3in (3.43m) diameter 80 Propeller hub pitch change mechanism 81 Propeller reduction gearbox 82 Wright GR-2600-A5B Cyclone, two-row radial engine 83 Upper cooling air duct 84 Carburettor air intake 85 Starboard oil tank, 19 Imp gal (86 ltr) capacity 86 Fuel filler cap 87 Inboard main fuel tank, 110 Imp gal (500 ltr) capacity 88 Bomb door central hydraulic jack 89 Wing root fillet 90 Cockpit heater duct 91 Bomb doors 92 Forward pair of 500lb (227kg) bombs, maximum bomb load 2,000lb (907kg) 93 Lower fuselage box beam construction 94 Bomb carrier 95 Bomb hoist winches 96 Bomb bay top decking 97 Cockpit entry hatch aft extension 98 Port inboard main fuel tank, 110 Imp gal (500 ltr) capacity

99 Engine nacelle fairing 100 Port oil tank. 19 Imp gal (86 ltr) capacity 101 Port outer flap 102 Outer wing panel joint 103 Aileron trim tab 104 Port aileron 105 Formation light 106 Port navigation light 107 Trim tab screw jack 108 Aileron hinge control 109 Port outer auxiliary fuel tank, 51 lmp gal (232 ltr) capacity 110 Carburettor intake tropical air filter housing 111 Port propeller 112 Port engine nacelle 113 Cockpit roof entry hatch 114 Emergency equipment packs 115 Crash axe 116 Pilot’s folding head armour 117 Hydraulic reservoir 118 Batteries 119 Signal flare chute 120 Nose undercarriage wheel bay 121 Trim tab control hand wheels 122 Cockpit sloping bulkhead 123 Pilot’s seat 124 Engine throttle and propeller controls

125 Armoured windscreen 126 Control column hand wheel 127 Instrument panel 128 Rudder pedals 129 Gun gas exhaust vent 130 Fixed forward gun blister fairing 131 Nosewheel doors 132 Nose undercarriage leg strut 133 Nosewheel 134 Torque scissor links 135 Twin fixed Browning 0.303in (7.7mm) machine-guns 136 Ammunition boxes 137 First aid and emergency ration packs 138 Nose compartment joint frame 139 Observer’s seat 140 Vacuum flask 141 Pilot’s fixed gunsight 142 Observer’s ditching hatch 143 Nose compartment glazing 144 Map case 145 Bomb electrical switches and release control 146 Fixed gun muzzles 147 Observer’s entry hatch 148 Bomb aiming window 149 Drift sight 150 Observer’s instrument panel



Consolidated B-24 Liberator B-24J LIBERATOR CUTAWAY KEY 1 Rudder trim tab 2 Fabric-covered rudder 3 Rudder hinges (metal leading edge) 4 Starboard tailfin 5 Leading-edge de-icing boot 6 Starboard rudder horn 7 Rudder push-pull tube 8 Rear navigation light 9 Tailplane stringers 10 Consolidated (or Motor Products) two-gun electrically-operated tail turret (0.5 in/12.7 mm) 11 Elevator torque tube 12 Elevator trim tab 13 Elevator frame (fabric-covered) 14 Rudder trim tab 15 Tab control linkage 16 Rudder post 17 Light alloy rudder frame 18 HF aerial 19 Tailfin construction 20 Metal-covered fixed surfaces 21 Tailplane front spar 22 Port elevator push/pull tube 23 Elevator drive quadrant 24 Elevator servo unit 25 Rudder servo unit 26 Ammunition feed track (tail turret) 27 Fuselage aft main frame 28 Walkway 29 Signal cartridges 30 Longitudinal ‘Z’ section stringers 31 Control cables 32 Fuselage intermediate secondary frames

33 Ammunition box 34 Aft fuselage camera installation 35 Lower windows 36 Waist gun support mounting 37 Starboard manually operated waist gun (0.5in/12.7mm) 38 Waist position (open) 39 Wind deflector plate 40 Waist position hinged cover 41 Port manuallyoperated waist gun (0.5in/12.7mm) 42 Dorsal aerial 43 Ball-turret stanchion support beam 44 Ammunition box 45 Ball-turret stanchion 46 Midships window 47 Turret well 48 Cabin floor 49 Tail-bumper operating jack 50 Tailbumper fairing 51 Briggs-Sperry two-gun electricallyoperated ball-turret (0.5in/12.7mm) 52 Turret actuation mechanism 53 Bomb-door actuation sprocket (hydraulicallyoperated) 54 Bomb-door corrugated inner skin 55 Bomb-bay catwalk (box keel) 56 Bomb-bay catwalk vertical channel support members (bomb release solenoids)

Liberators of the 93rd BG which carried out the first B-24 combat mission from England on October 9, 1942. Nearest to the camera is B-24D-25-CO, 41-24226 ‘Joisey Bounce’. USAF via editor

57 Bomb-door actuation track and rollers 58 Wing rear spar 59 Bomb-bay access tunnel 60 Fuselage main frame/ bulkhead 61 D/F loop housing 62 Whip antenna 63 Oxygen cylinders 64 Aileron cable drum 65 Starboard flap extension cable 66 Wing rib cut-outs 67 Wing centre section carry-through 68 Two 5-man inflatable dinghies 69 Flap hydraulic jack 70 Flap/cable attachments 71 Hydraulically-operated Fowler flap 72 Wing rear spar 73 Port mainwheel well and rear fairing 74 Engine supercharger waste gate 75 Three auxiliary selfsealing fuel cells (port and starboard) 76 Wing outer section 77 Aileron gear boxes 78 Flush riveted smooth metal wing skinning 79 Port statically-balanced aileron (fabric-covered) 80 Port wingtip 81 Port navigation light 82 Wing leading-edge deicing boot 83 Hopper-type selfsealing oil tank (32.9 US gal/125 litres) 84 Engine nacelle

85 1,200hp (895-kW) Pratt & Whitney Twin Wasp R-1830-65 14-cylinder two-row radial engine 86 Hamilton Standard Hydromatic constantspeed airscrew (11ft 7in/3.53m diameter) 87 Landing/taxiing light 88 Nacelle structure 89 Supercharger ducting 90 12 self-sealing inter-rib fuel cells (wing centre section) 91 Martin two-gun electrically-operated dorsal turret (0.5 in/12.7mm) 92 Turret mechanism 93 Fuselage main frame/ bulkhead 94 Radio compartment starboard window 95 Bomb-bay catwalk access trap 96 Radio-operator’s position 97 Sound-insulation wall padding 98 Emergency escape hatch 99 Pilot’s seat 100 Co-pilot’s seat 101 Co-pilot’s rudder pedals 102 Instrument panel 103 Windscreen panels 104 Compass housing 105 Control wheel 106 Control wheel mounting 107 Control linkage chain 108 Fuselage forward main frame bulkhead 109 Pitot heads

110 Navigator’s chart table 111 Navigator’s compartment starboard window 112 Chart table lighting 113 Astro-dome 114 Consolidated (or Emerson) two-gun electrically-operated nose turret (0.5in/ 12.7 mm) 115 Turret seating 116 Optically-flat bombaiming panel 117 Nose side-glazing 118 Bombardier’s prone couch 119 Ammunition boxes 120 Navigator’s swivel seat 121 Navigator’s compartment entry hatch (via nosewheel well) 122 Nosewheel well 123 Nosewheel door 124 Forward-retracting freeswivelling nosewheel (self-aligning) 125 Mudguard 126 Torque links 127 Nosewheel oleo strut 128 Angled bulkhead 129 Cockpit floor support structure 130 Nosewheel retraction jack 131 Smooth-stressed Alclad fuselage skinning 132 Underfloor electrics bay 133 Roll top desk-type bomb-bay doors (four) 134 Supercharger nacelle cheek intakes

135 Ventral aerial (beneath bomb-bay catwalk) 136 Nacelle/wing attachment cut-out 137 Wing front spar nacelle support 138 Undercarriage frontpivoting shaft 139 Drag strut 140 Bendix scissors 141 Internal bomb load (max 8,0000lb/3629 kg) 142 Starboard mainwheel 143 Engine-mounting ring 144 Firewall 145 Monocoque oil tank 146 Mainwheel oleo (Bendix pneudraulic strut) 147 Side brace (jointed) 148 Undercarriage actuating cylinder 149 Starboard mainwheel well and rear fairing 150 Fowler flap structure 151 Wing front spar 152 Wing leading-edge deicing boot 153 All-metal wing structure 154 Span-wise wing stringers 155 Aileron trim tab (starboard only) 156 Wing rear spar 157 Wing ribs (pressed and built-up former) 158 Statically-balanced aileron (metal frame) 159 Starboard navigation light 160 Wingtip structure


The most produced heavy bomber in history Even though the B-24 Liberator was conceived five years after the B-17 Flying Fortress and did not greatly improve in performance, the Liberator was one of the most significant aircraft in aviation history. It was the most complex and expensive combat aircraft ever produced but this did not stop it being built in greater numbers, in more variants and with the ability to operate in more roles than any other machine in in American aircraft manufacturing history. The B-24 was an unusual design, dominated by the slim David Davis-designed high-mounted

Douglas-Tulsa B-24E-20-DT Liberators of the 34th Flying Training Wing operating out of Midland Army Field, Midland, Texas. Operational between January 1942 and December 1945, Midland was tasked with Bombardier training under the control of the 78th Bombardier Training Group. Via editor

wing which allowed the bomb bays to be much deeper than normal, with a capacity of 8,000lb. With its incredibly efficient aerofoil, this, combined with a high fuel capacity, gave the B-24 a very long-range. The position of the wing resulted in a very long main undercarriage which was retracted outwards by electric motors. The contract to build a single prototype for the USAAC was issued in March 1939 and requested that the aircraft should be ready before the end of the year. This was achieved when the prototype XB-24 (aka Model 32) made its maiden

flight on December 29, 1939. The aircraft was far from being combat ready, its mechanically supercharged Pratt & Whitney R-2800-33 engines could only give a top speed of 273mph rather than the expected 311mph. Various modifications followed, including turbo-supercharged R-1830 engines and a wider tail plane which resulted in the aircraft being re-designated XB-24B and all subsequent production aircraft, from the B-24C onwards, received the same modifications. Seven YB-24s were ordered by the USAAC in April 1939 and all were re-designated as LB-30A transports


as they were not deemed combat ready by either the RAF or the USAAC. Improved defensive armament led to the Liberator Mk I which first entered RAF Coastal Command service with 120 Squadron in June 1941. Fitted with ASV radar and with an operational range of 2,400 miles, the Mk I went a long way in helping to close the ‘gap’ in the mid-Atlantic where German U-boats had a free reign. The B-24C entered USAAC service in November 1941 and served the RAF as the Liberator Mk II, mainly in the Middle East. This variant was the first to introduce

power-operated turrets and can be officially described as the first fully operational Liberator. The first mass-produced version was the B-24D (Liberator Mk III and Mk V) which featured oval cowled engines, extra fuel capacity and improved armament. 2,738 B-24Ds served with a number of USAAF bomber groups across Europe and the Pacific and with RAF Coastal Command over the North Atlantic. The most significant variants of all were the B-24G, H and J (USN PB4Y and RAF B Mk IV and GR Mk IV) of which 10,208 were produced. Built by


Convair, Douglas, Ford and North American, these machines featured four turrets. The C-87 Liberator Express transport aircraft were a huge family of machines in their own right, all of which contributed to an eyewatering final production total of 19,203 aircraft which excludes at least an equivalent of 1,800 aircraft that were delivered as spare parts. Just as the Halifax was overshadowed by the Lancaster in RAF service, the B-24 always played second fiddle to the B-17 yet, in both cases their contribution to the war effort was colossal.

CONSOLIDATED B-24H/J LIBERATOR FIRST FLIGHT: (XB-24) December 29, 1939 ENGINE: Four 1,200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-65 Twin Wasp radials SPAN: 110ft LENGTH: 67ft 2in MAX SPEED: 290mph at 25,000ft CLIMB RATE: 1,025ft/min ARMAMENT: Ten 0.5in machine guns as standard, plus up to a maximum bomb load of 12,800lb or a normal load of 5,000lb



(XB-24 (Model 32)) Single prototype f/f December 29, 1939; (YB-24/LB-30A) Six aircraft despatched to Britain to serve as LB-30A transports; (B-24) Seven aircraft ordered for service testing on April 27, 1939; (B-24A/LB-30B) First production model with improved aerodynamics, 20 LB-30Bs, some of which were sent to Britain under Lend-Lease and a single B-24A built; (XB-24B)Powered by four Pratt & Whitney R-1830-41 turbo-supercharged engines which increased the initial disappointing top speed by 37mph, one XB-24 converted; (B-24C) B-24A installed with R-1830-41 engines, modified engine cowlings, improved tail gunner’s position fitted with A-6 turret, nine aircraft converted; (B-24D) First major production variant with improved R-1830-43 supercharged engines, Bendix ventral turret up to the 289th aircraft, replaced by early type tunnel gun position and finally the Sperry ball turret, 2,696 built, 2,381 by Consolidated (San Diego), 305 by Consolidated (Fort Worth) and ten by Douglas (Tulsa); (B-24E) Installed with R-1830-65 engines, mainly used as training machines, 801 built; (XB-24F) Thermal de-icer test-bed, one B-24D converted; (B-24G) 25 North American-built aircraft with Sperry ball turret and three .50in Browning machine guns in the nose; (B-24G-1) North American-built version of the B-24H, 405 built; (B-24H) Multiple design changes including an Emerson A-15 front turret, 3,100 built; (XB-24K) Single aircraft converted from a B-24D with a single tail layout from a C-54 Skymaster, the resulting improved handling saw the single fin adopted for the PB4Y-2 and B-24; (B-24L) Lighter version of the B-24J which concentrated and modified and reduced armament to achieve the weight reduction, 1,667 built; (B-24M) Lighter version of the B-24L, 2,593 built; (XB-24N) Only one example built despite 5,168 being ordered; (YB-24N) Seven pre-production test aircraft were built; (XB-24P) One B-24D fitted with fire control systems for the Sperry Gyroscope Co.; (XB-24Q) One B-24L by General Electric with a radar-controlled designed for the B-24; (XB-41) One B-24D converted into a heavily armed gunship with 14 0.50in machine guns, which included a Bendix chin turret and an addition Martin A-3 turret, however, the aircraft was unable to keep up with the formation it was designed to protect; (B-24ST) Single aircraft with a single fin tail from a B-23 Dragon; (AT-22/TB-24) These were C-87s employed for flight engineer training, sub-variants were the RB-24L, used to train B-29 gunners and the TB-24L, installed with extra radar equipment; (C-87 Liberator Express) Three sub-variants, all capable of carrying up to 20 passengers, the C-87A was VIP transport, the C-87B was a projected armed version and the C-87C was the USAAF/USAF designation for the RY-3; (CX-109/C-109) Fuel transport used in support of the B-29 operations from China; (Photographic Reconnaissance variants) These were the XF-7 (converted B-24D), the F-7 (converted B-24H), F-7A (converted B-24J) with six cameras, three in the nose and three in the bomb bay and the F-7B (converted B-24J) with all six cameras positioned in the bomb bay; (BQ-8) Several B-24Ds and B-24Js were converted into radio-controlled flying bombs as part of Operation Aphrodite;(PB4Y-1) US Navy version of the B-24D, 976 aircraft navalized; (PB4Y-1P) Photo recce version of the PB4Y-1; (RY-1, 2 & 3) US Navy designation for the C-87A, C-87 and PB4Y-2 respectively;(Liberator B Mk I) RAF designation for the B-24A, 20 aircraft received, several later converted to GR Mk 1 standard; (Liberator B Mk II) Built to British specifications, 165 built; (Liberator B Mk III) RAF designation for the B-24D with one .303in in nose, a pair in the waist positions and four in a Boulton Paul rear turret, 156 built; (Liberator B Mk V) Modified B-24D variant with higher fuel capacity but less armour; (Liberator B Mk VI) RAF designation for the B-24H only modified with the Boulton Paul rear turret; (Liberator B Mk VIII) RAF designation for the B-24J; (Liberator GR Mk V) Modified B-24D for RAF Coastal Command with search radar and Leigh Light; (Liberator GR Mk VI) Re-designated B-24Gs, Hs and Js used by RAF Coastal Command for long-range reconnaissance duties; (Liberator GR Mk VIII) Re-designated B-24J for RAF Coastal Command for anti-submarine work; (Liberator C Mk VI) B Mk VIII transport conversion; (Liberator C Mk VII) British re-designation for the C-87; (Liberator C Mk VIII) G Mk VIII transport conversion; (Liberator C Mk IX) RAF version of the RY-3/C87C powered by four 1,300hp Pratt & Whitney GR-1830-65 Twin wasp engines.

A B-24 Liberator of the 11th Bomb Group, 7th Air Force, climbing out of Yontan airfield, Okinawa on July 27, 1945. Via editor



Consolidated B-24D-30-CO Liberator, 42-40128 ‘Ball of Fire III’ of the 328th BS, 93rd BG. The aircraft was damaged during an operation on November 18, 1943 and was forced to divert to Sweden where the aircraft and crew were interned. Andy Hay/




A never ending stream of B-24s work their way down Consolidated’s production line at its huge San Diego factory. Nearest to the camera is B-24D-105-CO Liberator, 42-40823 in ‘Sea-Search’ camouflage.

the three to complete its tour of duty with Imperial Airways which came to an end in 1938 when the aircraft was scrapped at Hythe.


North American B-25 Mitchell FILLING THE USAAC’S REQUIREMENT FOR A NEW MEDIUM BOMBER The latest requirement for a new medium bomber for the USAAC was issued in March 1939, only weeks before the crash of the NA-40B. The USAAC needed an aircraft that had a range of 2,000 miles, a maximum speed of 400mph and the ability to carry a bomb load of 3,000lbs. Also in the race for this lucrative contract was Martin’s Type 179 (aka the B-26), which would be a far more aesthetically pleasing design but considerably more complex. The USAAC wanted the B-26 but still had their reservations so, in addition to placing an order for the maximum number of aircraft Martin could deliver at the time (201), an order for 184 NA-62s (aka the B-25) was also placed. As with the B-26, the USAAC was sufficiently impressed to order the B-25 straight from the drawing board. The order was placed in September 1939, many months before the first flight of the prototype. The B-25 clearly had its roots in the general layout of the NA-40, the bomber having the same

One of the very first production B-25s, complete with its original straight wing which, from the tenth aircraft onwards, was exchanged with the traditional gull-wing design. Via editor

style of tricycle landing gear, twin tail fins and a pair of Wright Twin Cyclone engines. Defensive armament was a little on the light side and was made up of three 0.30in machine guns fitted into the nose, waist and lower fuselage plus a 0.50in in the tail. The rear gunner’s position was not ideal because he had to lie prone in order to fire the weapon and use a telescopic sight to aim it. The fuselage, although retaining the general shape of the NA-40 from the side, was actually twice as wide and not so deep, allowing for a more traditional side-by-side seating arrangement in the cockpit for the pilot and co-pilot. The wing was mid rather than shouldermounted and had no dihedral, which would lead to a number of directional stability issues during the early flight trials. These problems would later be eradicated from the tenth production onwards by the introduction of a shallow ‘gull-wing’ design which would be one of the classic features of the B-25. The prototype’s tail fins were generally a rounded off rectangular shape but eventually,

after experimenting with five different designs, a tail fin with an angled leading edge proved to be the most efficient. Once a few items were modified, including the fitment of the new wing, the B-25 exuded excellent handling characteristics and a performance range which achieved all that the USAAC had set out in early 1939. By this stage, the aircraft had been christened the ‘Mitchell’, after General William ‘Billy’ Mitchell who had campaigned for greater use of air power during the 1920s. The first 24 B-25s built (40-2165 to 40-2188) were delivered to the USAAC in February 1941, the majority serving as coastal patrol aircraft leading up to USA’s entry in the Second World War. The prototype, 40-2165, was converted into a company transport with five passenger seats and considerably more home comforts installed compared to an operational machine. Named Whiskey Express, the B-25 served NAA until August 1, 1945 when it was written off following a wheels-up landing.



The prototype, B-25, 40-2165, was completed by the summer of 1940 and, on August 19, Vance Breese, in company with engineer Roy Ferren flew, the B-25 for the first time. Andy Hay/

52 FINE TUNING NAA’S MEDIUM BOMBER  THE B25A & B The first major variant of the Mitchell was the B-25A, of which the USAAC ordered 40 examples. Overall, the ‘A’ was not dissimilar from the standard B-25 but featured additional armour for crew protection and self-sealing fuel tanks of slightly less capacity. While making the aircraft more operationally friendly, this came at the cost of reduced speed and a shorter range. The B-25B was introduced to address the weak defensive armament of the earlier variants. This came in the shape of a pair of Bendix poweroperated turrets. One was placed on top of the rear fuselage and contained a pair of 0.5in Browning machine-guns, while the other was almost directly below. The latter was retractable, contained a pair of 0.5in machine-guns and was remotely sighted by a periscope. The additional turrets made the rear gun redundant and this was removed but the single

0.30in machine gun in the nose was retained. These turrets, with even more armour to protect the crew, once again added to the aircraft’s weight and therefore reduced performance because the original R-2600 engines were retained. The first of 40 B-25As made its maiden flight on February 25, 1941 and, like the B-25s before them, were generally assigned to coastal defence operations. All of the B-25Bs that were ordered had been delivered to the USAAF by early 1942. 23 of the B-25Bs were later redesignated as Mitchell Is for the RAF. The majority of these served with 111 (Coastal) Operational Training Unit, based at Nassau/Oakes Field, in the Bahamas. Several B-25Bs also found their way into Soviet hands. Both the B-25A and B-25B served in a variety of theatres throughout the Second World War. Neither aircraft was operationally perfect but the definitive and most successful version was yet to come.

Only 40 B-25As were built, the first of them serving with the 34th, 37th and 95th Bomb Squadrons and the 89th Reconnaissance Squadron of the 17th BG based at McChord Field. Via editor



The B-25B’s baptism of fire came on April 18, 1942 when it took part in one of the most famous bombing raids of the Second World War. The operation, which was officially known as the Tokyo Raid, was more popularly referred to as the ‘Doolittle Raid’, after its leader, Lt Col ‘Jimmy’ Doolittle. This remarkable operation involved 16 B-25Bs transported within striking distant of Japan aboard the USS Hornet. None of the aircraft returned because of the distance involved and the attack was not heavy but the fact that the US had shown the Japanese that it could strike back after a series of defeats was invaluable. Andy Hay/

54 THE MASS-PRODUCED AND MURDEROUSLY EFFECTIVE MITCHELL – THE B-25C & D With the exception of the activities of Doolittle’s B-25Bs, the next variants, the B-25C and D, were the first mass-produced examples to fully enter combat. The B-25C and D were identical and were only given a different suffix to distinguish the Inglewood-built (B-25C-NA) from the Fairfax Field, Kansas City-built (B-25D-NC) machines. Externally, the B-25C/D was little changed from the B-25B, although the keen eyed would be able to spot the new variant from the bumper under the rear fuselage. Under the skin though, the original design had a great number of subtle changes, the most significant being a pair of 1,700hp R-2600-13 engines to help cancel out the increasing weight of the bomber. The first batch to be built had a new de-icing system fitted; the outer panels of the wings were made stronger and the bomber’s range was raised through the addition of a 152-gallon self-sealing fuel tank in each wing. Later production aircraft were revised further with a modified exhaust system, a cabin

A trio of North American B-25D-20 Mitchells of the USAAF Central Instructors School. Via editor

heater, provision for a fuel tank in the bomb bay and underwing bomb and torpedo racks. The only other difference from the earlier models was that the B-25C/D was ten inches shorter and from the 383rd production machine onwards, a navigators’ astrodome was added. Early production models had the same armament as the B-25B, the only change coming later on when the single machine-gun in the nose was upgraded to a pair of 0.5in. The first B-25C made its maiden flight in November 1941 and was followed by the first B-25D in January 1942. By March 1942, the first batch of 48 B-25Cs were being ferried to Brisbane via Hamilton Field, Hawaii and the Fiji Islands. In the Southern Pacific theatre, the B-25s were put to good use as part of the 5th Air Force, under the command of Maj Gen George C Kenney. In company with A-20s, the B-25s adopted a successful low-level attack tactic using 23lb parachute retarded bombs which proved particularly effective against airfields. A similar type of attack was used against shipping although ‘skip bombing’, which involved a B-25 coming

in very, very low over the water, also proved extremely successful. In March 1943, B-25s caused havoc amongst the attacking Japanese during their attempted invasion of Rabaul, New Britain. The B-25C/D also saw extensive action in the China-Burma-India theatre as well as with the 12th Air Force in North Africa, which used the type throughout the Mediterranean and onwards through Italy. The RAF operated almost 600 B-25C/Ds which were designated as the Mitchell II. The type first went into action on January 22, 1943, proving particularly useful during the build-up to D-Day. Several sub-variants of the B-25C/D family were produced, such as the WB-25D, which served with the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron and the XB-25E which was modified to carry out flight testing of de-icing equipment. Another B-25C was converted into a ZXB-25E specifically to test insulated electrical de-icing coils and one was also converted to a XB-25G. The latter had its transparent nose converted to carry two .50in and a 75mm M4 cannon.



North American B-25C Mitchell ‘Pink Petunia’ of the 83rd BS, 12th BG, operating out of North Africa in 1942. Andy Hay/

56 PACKING A PUNCH  THE B25G, H & J During the 1930s, several flight trials were carried out by the USAAC to see if a modern aircraft could stand the stresses and strains of high calibre weaponry. Tests were carried out using a 37 and 75mm gun which proved to be successful. The B-25 seemed the ideal, solid, stable platform to carry such big guns, in particular, the 75mm. Using B-25C-1, 41-13296, as a prototype, the 9ft 6in long weapon (weighing more than 900lbs) was trunionmounted into the bombardier’s crawl tunnel. The nose of the bomber was shortened to give clearance around the muzzle and the structure was strengthened to handle the cannon. Only 21 rounds of ammunition were carried for the manually loaded M-4 which was first flown in 41-13296 by Ed Virgin and Paul Brewer on October 22, 1942. The first production B-25G entered USAAF service in May 1943 while the first B-25H made its maiden flight the same month but did not enter service until early 1944. The B-25H was first delivered to the 498th BS, 345th BG and, alongside its older stablemate, the ground attack machines served extensively in the Pacific theatre. Both variants were enthusiastically employed against noth the enemy target that floated, and shore targets. The 7th Air Force, which operated across the Pacific, unleashed over 4,000 cannon shells during the retaking of the Marshall and Caroline Islands alone. Almost a quarter of all B-25Hs built (248) were operated by the USMC as PBJ-1Hs which were fitted with an AN/APS-2 or APS-3 search radar in a pod under the starboard wing. A cross between a B-25C and a B-25H, the final mass-produced variant of the successful Mitchell family was the B-25J. The variant achieved great success against the Japanese in the Pacific theatre

and also with the RAF’s Tactical Air Force during the final push through Europe. Closely resembling the B-25H, the ‘J’ was not fitted with the cumbersome 75mm cannon but instead could be fitted with two different types of nose containing different packs of machine-guns. A standard glass nose contained a single flexible mounted and two fixed 0.5in Brownings while the second version was for strafing. The latter contained an impressive eight 0.5in machineguns, making it one of the most lethal groundattack medium bombers ever built. The new longer nose gave the B-25J the same overall length as the earlier B-25C/D and the strafer version could easily have been retro-fitted to any mark of Mitchell. Other modifications included the co-pilots position being returned which gave the B-25J a six-man crew. More power was also provided by a pair of uprated R-2600-29 engines.

B-25H-5-NA, 43-4550, armed to the teeth with a single 75mm cannon, four 0.5in machine guns in the nose and four more, either side of the fuselage, in cheek packs. The repositioned upper turret could also be brought to bear during strafing attacks. Via editor

The first B-25J made its maiden flight in December 1943, the first of 4,390 built all at the Kansas City plant making the ‘J’ the most prolific of all Mitchells built by far. 255 B-25Js were transferred to the USMC to become PBJ-1Js, all of which were fitted with a variety of radars. Ten USMC machines were further modified to carry an under-fuselage pack which contained a pair of 11.5in ‘Tiny Tim’ unguided rocket projectiles. The ‘J’ also saw extensive service with the RAF where it was redesignated the Mitchell III. An unknown number were also sent to the Soviet Union as well. Many B-25Js were also involved in a host of flight test trials, including testing the AN/APQ-7 Eagle Eye radar contained within a wing which was fitted below the lower rear fuselage. This airborne radar system was later fitted to the B-29 and was used for operations against Japan.



B-25G Mitchell, 42-64842 ‘Shady Lady’ of the 279th BS, 310th BG operating out of Oran, Algeria during August and September 1943. Andy Hay/

North American B-25H Mitchell

North American B-25H Mitchell, 43-4501 ‘Norma Sue’ of the 57th BW, 12th Air Force.

North American B-25H Mitchell

North American B-25H Mitchell, 43-4501 ‘Norma Sue’ of the 57th BW, 12th Air Force.

Martin B-26C Marauder

Martin B-26C Marauder

58 North American Mitchell Mk II, FL185 ‘EV-R’ of 180 Squadron which survived its operational tour of duty only to be SOC on June 5, 1947. Key Archive

NORTH AMERICAN B-25J MITCHELL FIRST FLIGHT: (NA-40) January 1939 ENGINE: Two 1,700hp Wright R-2600-92 Cyclone radials SPAN: 67ft 7in LENGTH: 51ft 11in MAX SPEED: 272mph at 13,000ft SERVICE CEILING: 25,000ft ARMAMENT: Twelve 0.5in machine guns as standard, plus eight 5in RPs and up to 3,000lb in bombs



Martin B-26 Marauder B-26 CUTAWAY KEY 1 Flexible 0.50in (12.7mm) nose gun 2 Fixed 0.50in (12.7mm) nose gun 3 Optically flat bombsight window 4 Bomb door 5 Nose cone warm-air/ demist 6 Bomb sights 7 Cartridge collector bag 8 Ring sight 9 Plexiglass nose cone 10 Circular nose frame 11 Bomb selector-switch panel 12 Ammunition box 13 Bombardier’s station armour plating 14 Nose compartment/ flight deck access 15 Bombardier’s station 16 Nose wheel pivot 17 Pitothead 18 Nosewheel oleo 19 Channel-section torque scissors 20 Fully-steerable rearward-retracting nosewheel 21 Nosewheel doors 22 Fuselage lower frames/ flight-deck floor support 23 Underfloor control runs 24 Control column side mounting 25 Pilot’s rudder pedals 26 Location of external cockpit armour plating 27 Instrument panel 28 Ring sight (pilot’s fixed nose gun) 29 Whip aerial 30 Windscreen panels 31 Pilot’s escape hatch (hinged upper canopy sections) 32 Aileron and rudder trim controls

33 Co-pilot’s seat 34 Instrument panel shroud 35 Clear-vision panel 36 Pilot’s seat 37 Oxygen cylinder 38 Pilot’s back armour 39 Armoured-glass side window panel 40 Radio equipment racks 41 Radio-operator’s station 42 Package guns ammunition boxes and feeds 43 Two 0.50in (12.7mm) gun package 44 Ventral whip aerial 45 D/F loop bullet 46 Bulkhead (front/midfuselage construction join) 47 Access door 48 Radio operator’s side window 49 Radio operator’s seat 50 Cable runs 51 Navigator’s seat 52 Navigator’s chart table 53 Dorsal decking 54 Aerial mast 55 Life-raft stowage 56 Navigator’s astro-hatch (emergency escape) 57 Control runs 58 Hinged leading-edge inboard section 59 Engine exhaust fairing 60 Firewall/bulkhead 61 Engine accessories 62 Pratt & Whitney R-280043 eighteen-cylinder double-row radial engine 63 Reduction gear casing 64 Oil cooler intake 65 Four-blade hollow steel Curtiss Electric constantspeed propeller 66 Propeller cuffs 67 Propeller boss 68 Carburettor intakes

Martin Marauder Mk II (B-26C-5) FB436 during trials with the A&AEE at Boscombe Down. One of 123 Mk IIs (only 99 actually received) ordered by the RAF, FB436 never saw active service and instead was allocated to Cunliffe-Owen Aircraft until it was SOC on November 23, 1944. Via editor

69 Carburettor duct filter 70 Engine oil tank 71 Engine exhaust louvres 72 Starboard outer Martin Mareng wing self-sealing fuel cell (100 US gal) 73 Wing box upper corrugation 74 Starboard landing lamp 75 Flush-rivetted stressed wing skinning 76 Pitothead 77 Starboard front navigation light 78 Starboard rear navigation light cluster 79 Fabric-covered aileron 80 Aileron control quadrant 81 Aileron control cables 82 Aileron trim tab 83 Tab control (push-pull rod/ irreversible screw) 84 Slotted flap outboard section 85 Fuel lines 86 Starboard inner Martin Mareng wing self-sealing fuel cells (3 x 100 US gal) 87 Wing rear spar 88 Slotted flap inboard section 89 Wing/fuselage centresection assembly 90 Wing corrugated skin 91 Centre-section splice/ dorsal former 92 Starboard bomb stowage (2 x 1,000lb demolition bombs) 93 Bomb release slips 94 Vertical (canted) bomb support rails 95 Port bomb stowage (2 x 1,000lb demolition bombs) 96 Central catwalk between bomb rails

97 Two-part (centrallyhinged) port forward bomb-bay doors 98 Forward bomb-bay doors actuating cylinder 99 Bulkhead lower section 100 Aft bomb-bay 101 Bomb-bay doors emergency actuating cylinder (1,800 psi compressed-air) 102 Inter bomb-bay access 103 Integral multiple aileron quadrant 104 Flap actuation restrictor relief valve 105 Wing flap actuating cylinder 106 Oxygen cylinder 107 Tail-turret ammunition box 108 Ammunition feed 109 Circular-section allmetal monocoque fuselage structure 110 Bulkhead (mid/aftfuselage construction join) 111 Waist-gunner’s folding seat 112 Dorsal turret actuating mechanism 113 Ammunition boxes (within turret armourplating) 114 Martin 250CE electrically-operated two-gun 0.50in (12.7mm) dorsal turret 115 Waist gun ammunition box and feed 116 Tailfin front spar/ fuselage attachment 117 Tailfin structure 118 Metal skinning 119 Starboard tailplane 120 Aerial 121 Elevator outer hinge 122 Starboard elevator

123 Aerial attachment 124 Tail navigation light 125 Rudder upper hinge 126 Fabric-covered rudder 127 Rudder trim tab 128 Starboard elevator trim tab control 129 Rudder tab linkage 130 Dihedrally-set elevator torque-tubes 131 Rudder control quadrant 132 Tail-gunner’s armoured glass screen 133 Plexiglass hatch (upward hinged for gun access) 134 Martin-Bell poweroperated two-gun 0.50in (12.7mm) tail turret 135 Port elevator trim tab 136 Fabric-covered elevator 137 Port tailplane 138 Tail-gunner’s entry door 139 Tail-gunner’s seat 140 Tailplane front spar/ fuselage attachment 141 Fuselage aft frame 142 Circular vision/ observation port 143 Martin remote-feed ammunition tracks (to tail turret) 144 Camera pedestal 145 Starboard waist hatch 146 Two flexible-mounted 0.50in (12.7mm) waist guns 147 Port waist hatch 148 Wind deflector plate 149 Aft fuselage catwalk/ floor section 150 Slotted flap inboard section 151 Nacelle aft fairing 152 Wing flap control runs 153 Wing rear spar 154 Engine exhaust louvres 155 Engine bearer support frame 156 Firewall/bulkhead

157 Engine bearer 158 Carburettor air intakes 159 Four-blade hollow steel Curtiss Electric constantspeed propeller 160 Propeller boss 161 Oil cooler intake 162 Nacelle lower-section controllable gills 163 Engine exhaust fairing 164 Forward-retracting port mainwheel (47in diameter) 165 Dual brakes 166 Fork mounting 167 Mainwheel oleo 168 Brake cables 169 Mainwheel well 170 Main gear auxiliary drag struts 171 Retraction jacks 172 ‘W’-strut main gear mounting 173 Mainwheel door actuating rods 174 Mainwheel doors 175 Corrugated-box wing structure 176 Flap actuating linkage 177 Slotted flap outboard section 178 Landing/taxiing lamps 179 Leading-edge construction 180 Wing ribs 181 Wing front spar 182 Aileron tab control linkage (push-pull rod/ irreversible screw) 183 Port aileron trim tab 184 Aileron metal frame 185 Aileron control (push-pull rod) 186 Wing outer section structure 187 Port rear navigation light cluster 188 Port wing tip 189 Port front navigation light


Martin’s much maligned Madame Over the years, there have been many military aircraft that have been criticized both through the benefit of hindsight and following the creation of a few myths. The B-26 Marauder bucked the trend slightly by suffering a great deal of criticism from the start. Some of it was justified, while some negative comments were about its very advanced design, mainly because traditional rules were being broken and pushed to the limit of known technology. The pressure of an impending world war certainly aggravated the situation and, if development had taken place in peacetime, many of the Marauder’s early foibles would have been ironed out

months, if not years, before the type actually entered frontline service. The challenging handling of the aircraft, especially in inexperienced hands, resulted in many early casualties and this was especially true of the early models during flight training with the 21st BG (Bombardment Group) at MacDill Field, Tampa in Florida. It was not long before the first of many unflattering and unjustified labels were attached to the B-26. These included the exaggeration ‘a Marauder a day in Tampa Bay’, the equally unflattering ‘Martin Murderer’ and the ‘Widow Maker’. The main cause of these early losses was a lack of primary twin-engined trainers,

which resulted in ‘green’ crews being unleashed on one of the world’s most advanced bombers. The lack of wing area was also quickly noted and it was claimed to be displaying ‘no visible means of support’ which brought about the nicknames of the ‘Baltimore Whore’ and the ‘Flying Prostitute’. Despite these early problems, which almost saw the USAAF abandon the B-26 in favour of the vicefree B-25, the Marauder went on to become a success story and rewarded those crews that showed the ‘Maligned Madame’ the most respect. The B-26 not only proved to be one of the most reliable in its class but also achieved one of the lowest loss rates of a USAAF bomber during World War II.


test aircraft (40-1361 to 40-1561); (B-26A) 139 aircraft built at Baltimore; R-2800-9 or -39 engines (41-7345 to 7483) (Marauder Mk I) 52 B-26A-1 to RAF (FK109 to FK160); (B-26B) 1,883 aircraft built at Baltimore; first 791 had -5 engines, remainder with -41 or -43 engines; B-26B-4 introduced lengthened nose wheel leg and ventral gun; B-5 introduced slotted flaps; B-10 introduced 71ft (21.64m) span wings. (41-17544 to -18334; 41-31573 to -32072; 42-43260 to -43357; 42-43360 and -43361; 42-43459; 42-95738 to -96228); (Marauder Mk IA) 19 short-span and 104 long-span B-26C-5 aircraft purchased by UK as Marauder IA. (FK362 to FK380) Two crashed before delivery; the remainder going on to serve with 14 Squadron; (AT23A (later TB-23B)); 208 target tug/trainers; stripped version of B-26B (42-43358 to -43359; 42-43362 to -43458; 42-95629 to -95737; large number served with USN and USMC as JM-1); (B-26C) 1,214 aircraft built at Omaha, Na, similar to B-26B. (41-34673 to -35560); (Marauder Mk II) 123 B-26C-5 purchased by UK as

Marauder II (FB400 to FB522); (AT-23B) 371 (21 aircraft built at Omaha) target/tug trainers, stripped version of B-26C. (41-35371, -35373, -35516, -35539; 41-35541 to -35547; -35552; 41-35561 to -35871; 42-107471 to -107496; 42-107497 to -107855); (XB-26D) One aircraft converted to trial anti-icing systems; (B-26E) Planned lightweight version; never built; (B-26F) 300 Baltimore-built aircraft with increased wing incidence; R-2800-43 engines (42-96229 to 96528); (Marauder Mk III) 200 B-26F-2 and -6 purchased by Marauder III (HD402 to HD601); (B-26G) 898 Baltimore-built aircraft with minor equipment changes from B-26F (43-34115 to 34614; 44-67805 to -67944; 44-67970 to -68221; 44-68254); (Marauder Mk III) 74 B-26G-11 and 84 B-26G-21 purchased by UK as Marauder III (G-11; HD602 to HD676 & G-21; HD677 to HD751); (TB-26G) 57 target tug/trainers; stripped version of B-26G. (4467945 to -67969; 44-68222 to –68253; 32 to USN and USMC as JM-2); (XB-26H) One aircraft with zero track tandem undercarriage. (44-28221).

First flight: (B-26) November 25, 1940 Engine: Two 2,000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-43 Double Wasp radials Span: 71ft Length: 58ft 3in Max Speed: 287mph at 5,000ft Initial climb rate: 1,500ft/min Armament: Eleven 0.5in machine guns, plus up to 8,000lb in bombs


(B-26) 201 aircraft built by Martin at Baltimore, Maryland; R-2800-5 engines; mostly training and



‘Ken’ Ebel gently eases back on the control column to lift the first production B-26 40-1361 into the air on November 25, 1940. Ebel, who was 41 years of age, was a talented aeronautical engineer as well as a test pilot. Via editor

Martin B-26B-50-MA Marauder, 42-95857 ‘Shootin in’, of the 556th BS, 387th BG. Andy Hay/

The ‘first production’ B-26 taxies out for another test flight from Middle Rover, Baltimore, on November 28, 1940. Note the aerodynamic cleanness of the fuselage which earned it the early nickname of the ‘Flying Torpedo’. Less flattering nicknames would follow. Via editor

66 USAAF photographers posing in front of B-26B-25-MA, 41-31802 ‘Pappys Pram’ of the 450th BS, 322nd BG. The airmen have all flown 50 missions since the war began, from left to right: Sgt James Hinkle, Sgt Robert Hammerberg, Sgt Frank Udovich, Sgt Charles Smith and Sgt Wilbur DeGroff. USAF via editor



68 Ex-Free French Air Force B-26G-25-MA 44-68188 Gaston le Morvan at Vilgénis in 1961. This aircraft was delivered direct to the FFAF in May 1945 going on to serve with GBM 1/34 and GBM 2/63 before being retired in April following an accident. It then went on to serve with the Air France training school well into the 1960s, giving hundreds of students their first taste of a real aircraft. Via editor



the three to complete its tour of duty with Imperial Airways which came to an end in 1938 when the aircraft was scrapped at Hythe.


Martin 187 Baltimore American bomber, British specification While the Maryland was designed to a USAAC specification, its sister bomber, the Martin 187, was produced to a British specification. A development of the Maryland, the 187 was fitted with more powerful engines and was re-designed with a much deeper fuselage which improved crew communication. While the latter was an improvement over the Maryland, the fuselage was still narrow and if a crew member was injured it was impossible to change positions in flight. Named the Baltimore by the RAF, 400 aircraft was ordered in May 1940 and with the arrival of

MARTIN BALTIMORE MK IV FIRST FLIGHT: (Mk I) June 14, 1941 ENGINE: Two 1,660hp Wright R-260019 Cyclone 14 radials SPAN: 61ft 4in LENGTH: 48ft 5¾in MAX SPEED: 305mph at 11,500ft INITIAL CLIMB RATE: 1,500ft/min ARMAMENT: Four .303in wingmounted machine guns, two/four

the Lend Lease scheme, this was raised to two batches of 575 and 600 aircraft were ordered in June and July 1941 making a total of 1,575 machines. The latter figure was destined not to be achieved as a number of Mk IIIs and Mk IIIAs were lost during transit across the Atlantic. The first Baltimores were delivered to the RAF in late 1941 and these early examples were allocated to OTUs in the Middle East before they were re-equipped with Mk IIs of 55 and 223 Squadron which were also operating in the Middle East. The type was used exclusively

by the RAF in the Middle East and proved to be particularly effective in the day and night bombing role. The Baltimore served operationally with the RAF into 1944 and the last was not delivered until May 1944. A few continued to serve during the immediate post-war period, the last of which was withdrawn in 1949. In addition to serving with the RAF, the Baltimore also saw service with the RAAF, RCAF, Free French Air Force, Royal Hellenic Air Force, Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force, SAAF and the Turkish Air Force.

.303in machine guns and two .30in machine guns in ventral position, plus up to 8,000lb in bombs

more powerful variant thanks to a pair of Wright R-2600-19 engines and a Boulton Paul hydraulically-powered dorsal turret fitted with four .303in machine guns, 250 built; (Baltimore Mk IIIA) The initial Lend Lease variant which was procured by the USAAF as the A-30, similar to Mk III but fitted with a Martin electricallyactuated dorsal turret installed with apair of .50in Browning machine guns, 281 built; (Baltimore Mk IV) Detail differences from Mk IIIA, procured by the USAAF as the A-30A, 294 built; (Baltimore Mk V) The final production version, similar to Mk IV but fitted with 1,700hp R-2600-29 engines, procured by USAAF as the A-30A, 600 built.


(Baltimore Mk I) Original production variant powered by a pair of 1,600hp Wright GR2600-A5B engines and only a single Vickers ‘K’ machine gun in the dorsal turret, 50 built; (Baltimore Mk II) Similar to Mk II but with twin Vickers ‘K’ machine guns in dorsal turret, 100 built; (Baltimore Mk III) Improved and

Designated by the USAAC as the A-30, no examples were ever delivered and this machine was employed for trials from Langley AFB. Via editor



A few of the 1,575 Martin Baltimores that were supplied to the RAF await delivery in the USA to the North African theatre. Via editor


Right: Baltimore Mk IIIA, FA353 ‘X’, of 69 Squadron being serviced in one of Luqa’s many revetments. Via editor

Left: Baltimore Mk IV, FA504 ‘M’ of 52 Squadron at Bo Rizzo, Sicily, on February 18, 1944. The aircraft survived the war and was transferred to the Italian Air Force in 1945. Via editor

The Baltimore gave the RAF good service across five different variants and with the following squadrons, 13, 14, 52, 55, 69, 162, 203, 223, 249, 454, 459, 500 and 680. Via editor



Martin Baltimore Mk V, FW880 ‘T’ of 500 (County of Kent) Squadron. Andy Hay/

the three to complete its tour of duty with Imperial Airways which came to an end in 1938 when the aircraft was scrapped at Hythe.


Douglas A-26/B-26 Invader A formidable ground attack aircraft One of the few military aircraft to have been built entirely as a result of the Second World War from its conception through to combat operations from late 1944 onwards. The concept of the A-26 Invader and the medium attack bomber was shelved as soon as VJ-Day arrived, Douglas then placing all focus on jet-powered machines. With no plans in place for development, no effort was being made by Douglas to retain the Invader design team and with no further interest being shown by the USAAF, the Invader appeared to be finished. However, the day of the pistonpowered bomber was not yet over as Korea and later Vietnam would prove and, even as late as 1963, the production lines were re-established as demand increased. Designed by Ed Heinemann, the Invader was the natural replacement for the DB-7, making use of the 2,000hp R-2800 Double Wasp radial engine. The USAAC placed an order for three prototypes in May 1941, one of them fitted with 75mm gun,

A-26s of the 553rd BS, 386th BG which received the type whilst operating from Great Dunmow in September 1944. The rest of the unit converted from the B-26 Marauder to the A-26 Invader from January 1945 and continued the war from Beaumont-sur-Oise in France and St Trond in Belgium. Via editor

another with four 20mm fixed forward-firing cannon, an upper turret with four 0.5in machine guns and a radar in the nose while the third aircraft was produced as an attack bomber with an optical sighting station and a pair of turrets as defensive armament. The bomber was the first variant to be ordered and the aircraft was designated as the A-26B. Considerably faster than other tactical bombers in service at the time (apart from the Mosquito), the A-26B was manufactured 700lbs lighter than planned and was more than capable of carrying twice the bomb load of the required of the original specification. The Invader was the first bomber to be fitted with a NACA laminar-flow, have double-slotted flaps and remotely-controlled turrets of a similar design to those fitted to the B-29 Superfortress. The Invader began combat operations with the 9th Air Force on November 19, 1944 and, by VEDay, the aircraft had dropped an impressive 18,000 tons of bombs on a variety of tactical targets

throughout Northern Europe. 1,355 A-26Bs were delivered to the USAAF, 535 of them were installed with the R-2800-79 engine with water-injection. The first of 1,091 A-26Cs entered service in January 1945, this variant having a transparent nose, ‘leadship’ navigation equipment and a large number were also installed with H2S panoramic radar. From 1948, with the withdrawal of the B-26 Marauder from USAF service, the Invader took over the B-26 designation, much to the chagrin of many Marauder crews who felt that their trusty medium bomber had been written out of history. 450 B-26 Invaders were still in service when war broke out in Korea and, during the Vietnam War, the aircraft was one of the most popular aircraft for night operations along the Ho Chi Minh trail. The A-26A (designation given to re-built B-26Ks) was a potent attack aircraft capable of 350mph, able to carry up to 11,000lbs of bombs and loiter over the target for up to two hours.

DOUGLAS A-26/B-26 INVADER DOUGLAS B-26B First flight: July 10, 1942 Engine: Two 2,000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-27 or -79 Double Wasp radials Span: 70ft Length: 50ft Max Speed: 355mph at 15,000ft Climb rate: 1,250ft/min Armament: Ten 0.5in machine guns and up 4,000lb of bombs


(XA-26) One prototype with dummy armament; (XA-26A) One night fighter prototype; (XA-26B) One solid nose attack prototype fitted with a single 75mm forward-firing cannon; (A-26B) Main production attack bomber fitted with six or eight 0.5in machine guns, 1,355 built; (TB-26B) Unarmed trainer;

(VB-26B) Unarmed communications aircraft; (XA-26C) Planned version with four 20mm cannon in nose but idea abandoned, ‘C’ suffix later applied to the version with transparent nose; (A-26C) Main production attack bomber, 1,091 built; (RB-26C (later FA-62C)) Photographic-reconnaissance fitted with cameras and flash flares; (TB26C) Unarmed trainer; (XA-26D) One prototype powered by a pair of 2,100hp Chevrolet-built R-2800-83 radials. The planned A-26D production was cancelled after VJ Day; (XA-26E) One prototype powered by two 2,100hp R-2800-83 radials for planned A-26E production which was cancelled after VJ Day; (XA26F) One prototype powered by a pair of 2,100hp R-2800-83AM3 engines and a 1,600hp General Electric J31 turbojet in the tail. Maximum speed was 435mph at 15,000ft which was not higher enough to warrant production; (A-26Z) Proposed designation by Douglas which would have been built post-war as the A-26G and A-26H with solid nose, raised pilot’s canopy and drop tanks on the wingtips; (B-26N) French Air Force operated B-26s were unofficially

designated as the B-26N; (Invader Mk I) The RAF received 144 A-26Cs under the Lend Lease scheme in 1944; (JD-1) A-26B & A-26C for US Navy as target tugs, drone directors and general communications aircraft, 150 aircraft; (On Mark Marketeer) Unpressurised version of the Marksman C; (On Mark Marksman) Pressurised executive transport built by On Mark Engineering powered by a pair of 2,100hp R-280083AM3 engines; (On Mark Marksman B) Fitted with wingtip tanks and powered by two R-2800-83AM4A radials; (RB-26L) A pair of RB-26Cs converted for night photographic work; (Smith Biscayne 26) Developed by L B Smith & Co., this variant was a high-speed transport able to seat up to 15 passengers; (Smith Super 26) Fitted with wingtip tanks and an executive interior;(Smith Tempo I) Unpressurised executive powered by R-2800 B-series engines; (Smith Tempo II) Pressurised executive conversion with a 9ft 7½in fuselage extension for seating 13 passengers.



Corporal J C Lovelace reloads the eight .50in Browning machine guns in the nose of this B-26 Invader, during the Korean War on September 13, 1950.

98 A-26s of various marks remain extant across the globe and, of this number, an incredible 23 remain airworthy. This example, A-26B, 44-34602 (N167B) ‘Sugarland Express’ is operated by Nordic Warbirds and is based at Västerås, Sweden. Key Archive



Douglas A-26B-15-DT, 43-22343 of the 553rd BS, 386th BG. Later converted into a TB-26C, the aircraft was destroyed on January 9, 1955 when it crashed 2 miles from Tachikawa Air Base, Japan after attempting a go-around. Andy Hay/

A B-26K Invader of the 609th Special Operations Squadron on patrol over Laos, the Panhandle and the Ho Chi Minh Trail. Via editor

Originally built as an A-26C (44-25251) by Douglas and then converted to a B-26K Counter Invader, 64-17672 by On Mark, this aircraft was operated by the 603rd ACS (Air Control Squadron) during the Vietnam War. Whilst attached to the 606th ACS, the aircraft was shot down by anti-aircraft fire near the Thai/Laos border on December 14, 1944. The pilot managed to keep flying for a further 20 miles, enabling his three crew to bail out safely. For his efforts, the pilot was awarded the Mackay Trophy for airmanship and courage. Editor’s collection

Douglas A-26B Invader

Douglas A-26B Invader

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

78 Air woman Bettye Krieter poses next to a 14th Air Force A-26 Invader while its pilot looks on. Via editor



A USAAF armourer inserts fuses into 500lb bombs in the cavernous bomb-bay of a B-29 Superfortress in China in June 1944. Via editor

Boeing B-29 Superfortress Very long-range, very heavy bomber

84 The story of the B-29 Superfortress began in March 1938 from a design study for a new bomber with a pressurised cabin and a tricycle undercarriage. Boeing’s design evolved into the Model 345 and in August 1940, money was allocated for the production of a pair of prototypes. By January 1942, the USAAF placed an order for 14 YB-29s and 500 production aircraft many months before the first prototype took to the air. From February 1942, plans were already in place regarding how large production would be handled for such a large and complex aircraft and an organisation involving

BOEING B-29A SUPERFORTRESS FIRST FLIGHT: September 21, 1942 ENGINE: Four 2,200hp Wright R-335023-23A/-41 Cyclone 18 turbo-charged radials SPAN: 141ft 3in LENGTH: 99ft MAX SPEED: 358mph at 25,000ft CLIMB RATE: 900ft/min ARMAMENT: Two 0.5in machine guns in four remotely-controlled poweroperated turrets and three 0.5in

Boeing, Bell, North American and Fisher (General Motors) was established. Martin also later joined this group and by VJ-Day, 3,000 B-29s had been built. This was a phenomenal achievement considering the complexity of the B-29 and this set a whole new standard for bomber aircraft due to its powerful Cyclone engines, high gross weight, wing loading, pressurisation, advanced armament, new airborne systems - even the basic structure of the bomber was unlike any other that had been built before. The B-29 flew its first combat operations with the 58th Bomb Wing on June 5, 1944 and by

the end of the war, the USAAF could put up 20 Groups from the Marianas Islands, comprising on average 500 bombers against targets at will across Japan. A wide range of B-29 variants were produced, including the Washington B Mk I, which filled a strategic bomber gap from 1950 to 1958. Three B-29s made forced landings in Soviet territory and after they were reverse engineered by Tupolev, they re-emerged as the Tu-4 and later Tu-7- transport, the former giving the USSR its first serious nuclear-capable bomber.

or two 0.5in guns and one 20mm cannon in the rear turret, and a bomb load of up to 20,000lb

low-level operations, armed with just three .50in M2/ AN and a single 20mm M2 cannon, 311 built; (B-29D (XB-44)) Improved variant powered by four 3,500hp Pratt & Whitney R-4360-35 engines; (KB-29M, MR & P) Tanker variants, 282 aircraft converted; (EB-29) Parasite fighter test aircraft for the XF-85; (RB-29J) Photographic reconnaissance variants originally known as F-13 and F-13A with three K-17B, a pair of K-22s and a single K-18 camera. Re-designated as the FB-29J in 1948 and RB-29 and RB-29A; (SB29) ASR variant nicknamed the ‘Super Dumbo’; (TB-29) Trainer, target tug and later radar target aircraft; (WB-29) Weather observation aircraft and radioactive debris collector; (P2B-1) Conversion for the US Navy of four B-29s into long-range patrol aircraft; (XB-39) One YB-29 installed with Allison V-3420-7 engines; (Tu-4) Soviet-built version given the NATO name ‘Bull’, 847 built; (Washington B Mk I) 88 B-29As supplied to the RAF.


(XB-29) The model 345 prototype, of which three examples were ordered in August and December 1940; (YB-29) 14 aircraft were ordered for service testing from the summer of 1943, fitted with uprated Wright R-3350-21 engines driving fourblade propellers; (B-29) Original production variant, 2,513 built, 1,620 by Boeing, 357 by Bell and 536 by Martin; (B-29A) Improved B-29 which included new wing design and defensive armament, 1,119 built all by Boeing; (B-29B) Lighter variant designed for



The most famous B-29 of all was 44-86291, more familiarly known as ‘Enola Gay’, the first aircraft in the world to deliver an atomic weapon. The Martin-Omaha-built bomber was one of 14 ‘Silverplate’ aircraft which were specifically modified to drop an atomic bomb. Andy Hay/

A shaky yet rare colour image of two of the 14 YB-29s built, complete with full camouflage which was dispensed with from the original production B-29 onwards. Flight tested during the summer of the 1943, the YB-29s introduced a wide range of modifications, including R-3350-21 engines, four-blade propellers and were also used to trial a number of different defensive armament configurations. Via editor




The Superfortress lived on post-war with the B-50 family, this example, B-50A-5-BO, 46-6 was employed to carrier the Bell X-1, one of many of the breed which were used as ‘Mother Ships’. Both aircraft were destroyed on November 9, 1951, after landing, following a captive flight test. Whilst X-1, 46-064, was being de-fuelled, a gasket failed in the fuel tank causing an explosion. Via editor

88 The world’s only airworthy B-29 is operated by Commemorative Air Force. Serialled 44-62070, the aircraft is actually a rebuild of three different aircraft and operates with the civilian registration N529B. Named ‘Fifi’, the aircraft is a huge hit with airshow fans across the USA. Commemorative Air Force






The Boeing Washington B Mk I was the first American-built bomber to serve the RAF during the post-war period. The aircraft entered service with 115 Squadron at RAF Marham under an American military aid programme for Europe which was prompted by the beginning of the Cold War. 88 Washingtons which were all ex-USAF B-29s and B-29As were taken out of storage and served the RAF until 1958 with 15, 35, 44, 57, 90, 115, 149, 192 and 207 Squadrons. Key Archive

the three to complete its tour of duty with Imperial Airways which came to an end in 1938 when the aircraft was scrapped at Hythe.


Consolidated (Convair) B-32 Dominator The last Allied aircraft in combat during WW2 In June 1940, the USAAC approached the Consolidated Aircraft Company and asked them to produce a heavy bomber to the same specification as the Boeing B-29 which had been under development since the middle of 1938. Consolidated presented the Model 33, which was based on the B-24, and on September 6, 1940, a pair of prototypes, designated XB-32 (Model 33) were ordered, more as an insurance policy against the B-29 of which a pair of prototypes were ordered the same day. Powered by the same 2,200hp Wright R-3350 engines as the B-29, the XB-32 was pressurised and was armed with remotely controlled turrets which sported 14 .50in machine guns between them. The first XB-32-CO prototype, serialled 41-141, made its maiden flight from Tarrant Field on September 7, 1942, a fortnight before the XB-29. There would actually be three prototypes built, the second and third of which flew on July 2 and November 9, 1943 respectively, each of them differing in several major areas. The first prototype featured a rounded nose and similar twin fins and rudders to the B-24 while the second retained the same tail unit but had a modified forward fuselage complete with a stepped windscreen for the cockpit. The third prototype retained the second prototype’s

The second XB-32 prototype, 41-142 pictured on February 28, 1944. The prototype featured a stepped nose and was first flown on July 2, 1943. Via editor

nose but introduced the single large fin (19½ft high) which would become the basic configuration for the production aircraft (Model 34). The XB-32s experienced a number of problems, many of which were shared with the B-29 in regard to the engines but this did not prevent the USAAF from placing an order for 1,500 aircraft. The first production aircraft was not delivered until September 19, 1944, by which the time the B-29 had already established itself and was operational from bases in China. From late 1945, 40 aircraft were delivered as TB-32-CF trainers without armament being installed and with a redesigned entrance door for the bombardier. It was not until May 1945 that three B-32 Dominators were allocated as test aircraft to the 386th BS, 312th BG, with whom they flew the first of four missions against a Japanese supply depot at Antatet, Philippines on the 29th of the month. Further trial operations to bomb an alcohol plant at Heito, Formosa on June 22 and a final mission to attack bridges near Kiirun, Taiwan on June 25 proved the aircraft worthy of full operational duty. In July 1945, the 386th BS fully re-equipped with the B-32 and carried out six missions before the end of the war. From August 13, the 386th BS moved to Yontan, Okinawa, from where a number

of photographic reconnaissance operations were flown, all of which were intended to make sure that Japan was maintaining the ceasefire. During one recce, on August 17, three out of four B-32s were attacked by Japanese fighters in an engagement that lasted for two hours which only caused minor damage to the American aircraft. The following day, another four B-32s set out to complete the previous day’s operation but this time were confronted with 17 Japanese fighters. One B-32, named ‘Hobo Queen II’, claimed a pair of A6M Zeros destroyed and a probable N1K2-J Shiden-Kai. One lower flying B-32 was seriously damaged by multiple fighter attacks, one of its crew was wounded and a second was killed; photographers’ assistant Sgt A Marchione had become the last American to be killed in aerial operations during the Second World War. The B-32 flew its final photographic reconnaissance mission of the Second World War on August 28, 1945 and, two days later, the 386th BS was stood down. The production order for the B-32 was cancelled on September 8, by which time only 118 aircraft had been delivered. A number of these were flown direct from the factory to the reclamation yard and it is a shame that today no examples of this bomber exist.



CONSOLIDATED (CONVAIR) B-32 DOMINATOR FIRST FLIGHT: (XB-32) July 2, 1943 ENGINE: Four 2,200hp Wright R-3350-23 Cyclone radials SPAN: 135ft LENGTH: 83ft 1in MAX SPEED: 357mph at 25,000ft SERVICE CEILING: 35,000ft ARMAMENT: Two 20mm cannon, four .50in machines guns and a bomb load of up to 20,000lb.

Another view of 41-142 which shows off the redesigned forward fuselage; the first prototype had similar lines to the B-29’s forward fuselage. Via editor


Above: Following the revisions being applied to the prototypes, the B-32 became known as the Model 34 and orders were increased to over 1500 aircraft, including a third contract for 500 aircraft to be manufactured in the San Diego plant. San Diego was to produce fuselage parts for Fort Worth and the latter was to build wings for incorporation into the complete aircraft at San Diego. Powerplant auxiliary packages were to be built at Downey, and the rudder and the engines were to come from the Chicago plant of General Motors. Via editor Below: Beginning on January 27, 1945, 40 aircraft (serialled 42-10845 to 42-108524) were delivered to the USAAF with turrets or bombing equipment and were designated as the TB-32. Ballast was carried to compensate for weight of the equipment removed. B-32 pilots carried out 50 hours of flying training while co-pilots carried out 25 hours of flying training and 25 hours of observer training.This aircraft is TB-32-15-CF, 42-108522. Via editor


Above: At the time of cancellation, Fort Worth had produced 74 B-32s and 40 TB-32s and San Diego had built only one. The last six fully-equipped Dominators (42-108579 to 42108584) were flown from the production line directly into storage at Davis-Monthan and Kingman, Arizona. Twelve additional aircraft in shop-assembled status at San Diego and Fort Worth were declared “terminal inventory” and were also flown directly to disposal sites. At least 37 partially-assembled machines were stripped of all their governmentfurnished equipment and engines and were scrapped on site by the contractor. Those Dominators that were already in service were flown to the nearest disposal centre, and all the non-flyable examples were scrapped in place. By 1947, most of B-32s that had been sent to the disposal centres had been scrapped. Via editor



Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer Long-range, maritime patrol bomber A clear derivative of the B-24 Liberator, the Privateer, came about in May 1943, when the US Navy placed a contract with Convair (Consolidated Vultee Aircraft) for a new long-range patrol bomber. Three B-24Ds were removed from the San Diego production line for conversion into prototypes. Virtually rebuilt, the fuselage was extended by 7ft, the interior layout was changed and the defensive armament was completely re-arranged. The airframes received a number of changes, including a new hot-air de-icing system, while the engine cowlings were still oval-shaped, as per the B-24, but were re-positioned in the vertical rather than the horizontal. A huge single

Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer, 59533, of VP-HL-3 (Heavy Patrol Squadron (Landplane)) pictured in 1946. Via editor

vertical fin, taller than the B-24N, replaced the twin-tail arrangement, in a similar style to the Liberator transport variants. The US Navy ordered 739 examples of the PB4Y-2 Privateer, of which 286 were received in 1944 and the remaining 453 in 1945. The Privateer entered service in late 1944, initially with VPB-118 and VPB-119, the former began operations from the Marianas in early January 1945. Performance of the aircraft was inferior to the B-24, despite its equal power which was attributed to a larger and heavier airframe and the extra equipment that it carried. Post-war, VP-119 became involved in typhoon and hurricane investigation work and the

Privateer was also heavily employed during the Korean War. Re-designated as the P4Y-2 in 1952, as the Privateer became increasingly involved in clandestine operations and was suitably equipped with the latest radar and countermeasures. At least one aircraft was lost during a clandestine operation; ‘Turbulent Turtle’ of VP-26 strayed over Russian territory on April 8, 1950 and was shot down by Soviet fighters. All USN examples were withdrawn by 1954, although a few PB4Y-2Gs served on the USCG until 1958. The type also served with in Canada, China, France and Honduras in a military capacity into the 1960s.

CONSOLIDATED PB4Y-2 PRIVATEER CONSOLIDATED PB4Y PRIVATEER FIRST FLIGHT: (XPB4Y-2) September 20, 1943 ENGINE: Four 1,200hp Pratt & Whitney R-1830-94 Twin Wasp 14 radials SPAN: 110ft LENGTH: 74ft MAX SPEED: 247mph

INITIAL CLIMB RATE: 800ft/min ARMAMENT: Two Consolidated turrets in the nose and tail, two Martin dorsal turrets and a pair of Erco blister-type turrets in the waist positions, each armed with a pair of 0.5in Browning machine guns. Internal bomb bay capable of carrying up to 6,000lb of bombs, depth charges or various other stores. PB4Y-2B capable of carrying a pair of ASM-N-2 ‘Bat’ air-to-surface missiles.


CONSOLIDATED PB4Y VARIANTS (YPB4Y-2) Three prototypes created from B-24Ds; (PB4Y-2) The main production variant, 736 built; (PB4Y-2B (re-designated P4Y-2B in 1951)) A variant modified to carry the ASM-N-2 ‘Bat’ air-to-surface missile; (PB4Y-2M (re-designated P4Y-2M in 1951)) Weather reconnaissance variant; (PB4Y-2S (redesignated P4Y-2S in 1951)) Installed with antisubmarine radar; (PB4Y-2G (re-designated P4Y-2G in 1951)) Operated by the USCG, ASR capable and weather reconnaissance capable; (PB4Y-2K (redesignated P4Y-2K in 1951 and again to QP-4B in 1962)) Target drone conversion.

Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateer 59525 ‘Our Baby’ sporting the standard ‘NonSpecular Sea Blue, Intermediate Blue and White’ scheme which was worn by the majority of Privateers during the later stages of the Second World War. Andy Hay/




Aeroplane magazine is dedicated to offering the most in-depth and entertaining read on all historical aircraft. With a distinct emphasis on military aircraft from the 1930s to the 1960s, the magazine features such icons as the Spitfire, Hurricane, Lancaster and many more. However, Aeroplane also regularly includes articles on historic civil light aircraft and other types that are scarcely covered elsewhere – making it the most balanced historic aviation monthly on the market.


FlyPast is internationally regarded as the magazine for aviation history and heritage. Each issue is packed with news and features on warbird preservation and restoration, museums, and the airshow scene. Subjects regularly profiled include British and American aircraft type histories, as well as those of squadrons and units from World War One to the Cold War.

As Britain’s longest established monthly aviation journal, Aviation News is renowned for providing the best coverage of every branch of aviation. Now incorporating Classic Aircraft, each issue features latest news and in-depth features, plus firsthand accounts from pilots putting you in the cockpit. Covering both modern military and civil aircraft as well as classic types from yesteryear, Aviation News covers subjects from World War Two, through the Cold War years to present day. A L SO AVA I L A B L E DI GI TA L LY: PC, Mac & Windows 8


Available on PC, Mac, Blackberr y and Windows 8 from 827 /14



(UK) 01780 480404 (Overseas) +44 1780 480404


© Copyright 2013 - 2019 AZDOC.PL All rights reserved.