B-26 Marauder Units of the MTO
Osprey's examination of the B-26 Marauder Units' participation in World War II (1939-1945). The revolutionary design of the B-26 and its associated flight characteristics initially gained it a reputation as a 'widow maker' receiving nicknames such as 'The Baltimore Whore' and 'The Flying Prostitute' - both a reference to its short wingspan, i.e. no visible means of support! Gradual improvements to the design and the development of effective combat tactics enabled these units to make the B-26 a very effective and safe combat aircraft; it went on to play a major role in the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany. The bombing accuracy of the B-26s was unrivalled and they were therefore selected to bomb targets such as the Florentine rail network. Lt General Eaker MAAF CO said. 'When we teach the B-17s to bomb like the B-26s we will have accomplished our job'.
Hastily trained on an airplane with a bad reputation and rushed into combat in North Africa, the MTO B-26 groups went on to gain an enviable reputation for bombing accuracy and low combat loss rate. Performing the dangerous close support and interdiction roles, the units played a major role in the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa, Italy and Germany. They proved the B-26 to be a highly reliable, effective medium bomber - indeed, an MTO-based B-26 was the first ever USAAF bomber to reach the 100-mission mark. It was the three MTO Bombardment Groups that established the Marauder as one of the USAAF's truly great aircraft of World War II.
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100 missions 17th BG 1Lt John 319th BG attempted 320th BG attacked 320th BG bombed 42nd BW aeroplane aircraft airfield Allied April Arezzo awarded the DFC Axis fighters B-26 groups B-26 MARAUDER baled battle numbers BG hit BG lost BG Marauder BG returned BG’s bomb run bomb-bay bombardier bomber Bruce Kwiatkowski camouflage co-pilot combat Corsica crash-landed crew chief damaged by flak Decimomannu Despite destroyed direct hits Djedeida enemy escorted exploded flak flight flown by 1Lt flown by Capt flying formation Franz Reisdorf German gunner SSgt guns Gustav Line hit by flak Italian Italy January July landing lead ship Louise Hertenstein North Africa nose art November Operation Orvieto parachutes were seen pilot 1Lt Poggibonsi raid railway bridge railway marshalling yards Reisdorf road junction runway Sardinia SHORAN shot Sicily squadron target area three groups TSgt Tunisia Twelfth Air Force USAAF Villacidro weather whilst the 320th wing XII Bomber Command