VB-26B “Invader”

BY DOUGLAS

The A-26 was a WWII attack bomber used for the bombing, ground strafing and rocket attacks. It made its first flight on July 10, 1942. Production deliveries began in August 1943 and on September 6, 1944, the A-26 went into combat over Europe. Approximately 2,500 “Invaders” had been built when production ended after WWII. Redesignated B-26 in 1948 (thus the everlasting confusion with the Martin B-26 “Marauder”), the Invader served again during the Korean War (1950-53), mainly as a night intruder against North Korean supply lines. It was removed from service in 1958, but in 1961 the USAF recalled some A-26s for use as a tactical bomber in Southeast Asia. By 1964, combat duty and 20 years of wear had taken their toll and the Invaders were again removed from service. The USAF, however, ordered 40 Invaders to be rebuilt and highly modified with more powerful engines and increased structural strength. Initially designated B-26Ks, they were renamed “Counter Invader.” Sent to SEA in 1966, and redesignated A-26As.

The A-26B on display was delivered to the USAAF on 6 August 1945. It served at various air bases to include Turner AFB, GA and arrived for conversion to a TA-26B at Warner Robins Air Material Center, Robins AFB, GA in November 1946. It then served with various Air National Guard units until being transferred to Headquarters Air National Guard, Andrews AFB, MD as a VB-26B and flew with HQ ANG until October 1972.  As the last B-26 in USAF service, it was retired and transferred to the National Air & Space Museum for preservation. In May 2017 it was transferred to the Museum of Aviation for display.

SPECIFICATIONS:
Span: 70 ft.
Length: 51 ft. 3 in.
Height: 18 ft. 3 in.
Weight Loaded: 35,000 lbs.
Crew: 3
Armament: Two forward firing .50-cal. machine guns, two turrets with two .50-cal. machine guns each & up to 4,000 lbs. of bombs
Serial Number: 44-34610

PERFORMANCE:
Engines: Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines of 2,000 hp.
Maximum speed: 373 mph.
Cruising speed: 284 mph.
Range: 1,400 miles
Service ceiling: 28,000 ft.