The Martin B-26 Marauder was the designation given to the first 201 Marauders, ordered straight off the drawing board in 1940 and delivered during 1941.
The B-26 was an elegant aircraft with a streamlined cigar shaped fuselage, and short stubby wings (for the time) dominated by the powerful 1,850hp Double Wasp engines. Despite being a ton heavier than expected the aircraft had a top speed of 315mph, but it also had a high stalling speed and a landing speed of 103mph, which made it difficult for inexperienced pilots to handle.
The B-26 carried two .30in guns and two .50in guns. The .30in guns were carried on flexible mountings in the nose and tail, while the .50in guns were mounted in a Martin 25CE power turret in the dorsal position, making the B-26 the first American bomber to carry a power operated turret. The 22nd Bombardment Group, the first unit to take the B-26 into combat, added an extra .50in gun on a ball mounting in the nose and mountings for extra guns on both waist hatches. Some sources suggest that the B-26 also carried a .30in gun mounted in the floor of the aircraft, but that probably didn't happen until the appearance of the B-26B.
The first unit to receive the B-26 was the 22nd Bombardment Group, and the aircraft almost immediately ran into the first of a series of problems. The aircraft had been delivered without their guns but with ballast to restore the correct centre of gravity. When this was removed the aircraft became nose-heavy and suffered from a series of nose wheel failures which meant that by June 1941 only 21 of the 66 B-26s that had been completed had been delivered. The problem disappeared when the guns were installed, and production of the 201 B-26s was completed by October 1941.
Engine: Pratt & Whitney R-2800-5 Double Wasp radial engines
Power: 1,850hp each
Wing span: 65ft
Empty Weight: 21,375lb
Gross Weight: 30,035lb or 32,000lb
Max Speed: 315mph
Cruising Speed: 265mph
Landing Speed: 130mph
Range: 1,000 miles