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Douglas A-26 Invader against Japan
Although the Douglas A-26 Invader made its combat debut in the Pacific it only played a small part in the war against Japan. In July 1944 four early A-26s were sent to the Fifth Air Force for evaluation. The Third Bomb Group, based on New Guinea, flew them on a number of low-level operations, and was not impressed with the new aircraft.
Their A-26s were early models, with a cockpit canopy that was flush with the top of the fuselage. Visibility was poor, as the pilot was level with the front of the engine nacelles. This made low-level formation flight difficult, and also made it difficult to spot targets in the jungle environment. The 3rd Bombardment Group crews also removed the under-wing gun pods, which they felt reduced the aircraft's speed too much, leaving only the six fixed forward firing guns. They then complained about the aircraft's lack of firepower. After these early tests General George Kenney, the commander of the Fifth Air Force, stated that 'We do not want the A-26 under any circumstances as a replacement for anything'.
Somewhat ironically Kenney was only able to stick to this policy because a significant number of Ninth Air Force A-20s became available when they were replaced by the A-26. By the time this source of aircraft ran out Kenney was happy with the modified A-26, and in July 1945 it was officially decided that the A-26 would replace all other medium bombers in the Pacific, although the war ended before this decision could be implemented.
Douglas responded to these criticisms in two ways. The under-wing gun pods were removed and three .50in guns were built into each wing. More importantly a new raised canopy was installed, which gave the pilot a rather better view. When the commander of the Third Bomb Group tested the modified A-26 in the autumn of 1944 he declared it suitable for operations in the South West Pacific. In June 1945 the 3rd Bombardment Group finally began to convert to the A-26, and flew a small number of missions with the new aircraft. The group used the A-26 on five missions against Formosa, and then moved to Okinawa and used its A-26s alongside its A-20s in a handful of missions against Japan (including one on the day that the bomb was dropped on Nagasaki).
In February 1944 the Joint Chief of Staffs had approved a plan to have thirteen A-26 groups operating from China by January 1945. Production delays and the changing situation in China meant that this ambitious plan never came close to being fulfilled. At the end of July 1945 the Tenth Air Force had 38 A-26s and the Fourteen Air Force had 22, but the only unit to have received the aircraft was the 12th Bombardment Group of the Tenth Air Force, which was still converting to the new type when the war ended.
The only unit to use the A-26 in anger on a large scale in the Pacific was the 319th Bombardment Group, of the Seventh Air Force, the last VII Bomber Command unit to reach Okinawa. This group served in Italy during 1944, before returning to the United States in January 1945 to convert to the A-26 (making it the only unit to be withdraw, re-equipped with the new aircraft and then returned to combat). Between April and July 1945 it moved to Okinawa, and on 16 July it flew its first combat mission with its new aircraft, attacking targets in Japan, normally in the company of other aircraft from the Seventh Air Force.
PBY Catalina, A-26 Invaders, P-51 Mustangs: CIA Rebel Air Force Attacking Indonesia, 1958
A misleading name that might give you the impression that this CAT Corp. was a decent airline operator, where you could book a flight for yourself or cargo hauling. That was correct at the front door operation of the company, but there was also a dark side, where you would be very unwelcome for any reservation.
Allegedly, CAT was the covert air support operations agency of the CIA and hence involved in all of the more or less stealthy revolts, guerilla’s support, uproars, and other activities directed against the advancing Communist influence in SE Asia in the 1940’s-1950’s. The CAT Corp. soon had a certain reputation: where their aircraft arrived in ‘sterile’ markings, things went awry, turmoil and insurgent uprising were imminent!
CAT was created in 1946 by the legendary Claire Chennault and used mainly WWII surplus aircraft such as the Douglas C-47/ Dakota and the Curtiss C-46 Commando for supplying foods and medicaments into war-ravaged China. CAT soon turned into a support/ supply machine for Chiang Kai-Shek who fought a civil war against the Communists under Mao Zedong right after WWII.
Aircraft crews were selected primarily from the AVG (American Volunteer Group) veterans of Chennault’s WWII combat group, aka The Flying Tigers.
Photo above: Sorry , not a High-Quality photo, but a very rare one, with CIA pilot Allen Pope in front of the Douglas A-26 Invader that would bring him Fame & Shame. He is standing here with the Colonels who had started the revolt against President Sukarno of Indonesia with a combined uprising on Sumatra and Sulawesi. Note the 8 machine guns Killer nose on this A-26 (renamed B-26 in 1948).
By 1950, CAT followed the withdrawal of Chiang’s forces to Taiwan. As that meant the end of business for CAT, the CIA stepped in by creating a subsidiary under the same name, but with a distinctly different mission. CAT maintained a civilian appearance by flying scheduled passenger flights ( and still is in operation under that name) while simultaneously using other aircraft in its fleet to fly covert missions.
From the early 1950’s. CAT pilots were involved in covert missions in North Korea, China, and Indo-China. They flew the C-47 and Curtiss Commando C-46 as the mainstay of their fleet, but also C-119s Flying Boxcars during the siege of Dien Bien Phu, Vietnam in May 1954.
That epic battle was lost by the French, heralding the end of French Colonial Rule in SE Asia and that would lead eventually to the intervention of the US Military in the Vietnam War that lasted from 1960-1975.
Photo above depicts the PBY-5A Catalina, owned by Civil Air Transport (CAT). It flew for the PERMESTA rebels against Sukarno on Sulawesi, Indonesia, as part of the AUREV (Revolutionary Air Force). On May 13, 1958, this Catalina was destroyed by AURI B-25s and P-51s as they finally made an air raid that started from Halmahera Island to the Rebel AF Base Mapanget near Manado. This photo was most probably taken on Clark AF Base Philippines, note the aircraft in the background, another PBY-5A Catalina at left, a Curtiss Commando C-46 right behind the black Cat and a Douglas C-47 at right. Photo above: The 1956-1957 edition of Jane’s All The World’s Aircraft lists the CAT fleet: 2 Douglas DC-4, 22 Curtiss Commando C-46, 2 Douglas DC-3, 3 Douglas C-47, and 2 Convair Catalinas. But soon there would arrive another hefty fleet extension, in the shape of 15 Douglas A-26 Invaders, heavily armed with the legendary Killer Nose with 8 machine guns, bombs, external fuel tanks and underwing racks. Not much to do with scheduled passenger flights, so they probably never appeared on Jane’s list under the CAT name.
All of these aircraft had a stealthy mission to fly against the Indonesian State. In 1958, the CIA under President Eisenhower had its own way of dealing with the Communist Threat that had taken China, the northern part of Korea and Vietnam. On top, Commies were involved in guerrilla wars in Malaysia and Laos and slowly penetrated deeper into the Indonesian Government via a growing political power of the Communist Party.
Indonesian President Sukarno let it all happen or could no longer handle the situation. The US presumed the approaching fall of the huge SW Pacific Archipelago into the hands of the Chinese Geo-Political sphere with a Communist regime in Jakarta. That must have been a horror scenario for the US Government. In their vision, the Free World’s existence was at stake in SE Asia and all means to stop that fateful development were allowed. Toppling President Sukarno became the CIA’s covert mission.
It simply meant that the US were maybe not initiating but surely staging and financing counter actions in cooperation with insurgent populations, even against a friendly nation. In Indonesia with hundreds of Islands, a mixed population of almost 80 million people with a dozen of languages, cultures, religions and dominated by the Javanese elite, there was always a tribe, town or island to find that had a minor or major problem with the Status Quo.
Evidently, it defended the interests of the existing Upper Class in the Government and in the Army. Oddly enough, back in 1955, the US Government grumbled at the way the Dutch “Colonial Ruler” had stubbornly rejected to hand over Western Papua/ Dutch New Guinea (now Irian Jaja) to Indonesia’s then”beloved” President Sukarno. But only three years later, that same US Government felt the urge to support an insurgent movement against that “infamous” Sukarno!
Same character, he went from ‘Hero’ to ‘Zero’ in only three years time! But it is correct to say that the Geo-Political situation in SE Asia had changed dramatically, China’s influence was growing at an alarming pace. ( Some pessimists might notice a parallel with the current situation).
Photo above depicts the PBY-5A Catalina that was flown by the Mercenaries on behalf of the Permesta Rebels (AUREV). With no opposition in the airspace above Sulawesi, Kalimantan, and the Maluku Islands, even this slow flying Catalina was able to take part in the revolt with an active role as an observation platform. The islands of Halmahera and Morotai were invaded with an amphibious assault by the Rebel Force , in which this Catalina played an instrumental role.
In 1958, CAT supplied 20 Aircraft (a PBY Catalina, 15 Douglas A-26 Invaders, and P-51 Mustangs) to a totally unknown insurgent movement PRRI/ Permesta in Northern Indonesia, led by a group of Army Officers who revolted against the Central Government in Jakarta. They had managed to conquer Mapanget AF Base near Manado on the Indonesian Ait Force (AURA), on the northernmost peninsula of the island of Sulawesi (aka Celebes) and were soon the CIA’s favorite party to help wipe out Sukarno from Power.
How naive that decision actually was, would soon turn out. As happened many times before and after this “Indonesian Crisis,” CIA agents were grossly under-informed by their biased local “partners in revolt” about the real socio-political situation. The Indonesian Air Force was not in shambles, rather a slow but still threatening factor to handle, be it without Jets. Also, not all island populations were against the Central Government so, a massive uprise of most islands against Jakarta was not really imminent.
Sure, it was promised in the Permesta Rebel Force Promotion folder, with tons of wishful thinking written as a lure to drag the US into this adventure. Following the same old song: “Please give us aircraft and pilots, let them do a number of air raids on the surrounding Harbours and Army camps, and that will simply do the trick for an all-out popular revolt against the Dictator”. Amazingly, CIA was so eager to topple Sukarno that they desperately believed all those partly idealistic and partly false promises.
We have heard that Fairy Tale so many times, yet, it simply (almost) never worked like that, not in SE Asia, not in Cuba (Bay of Pigs), Central/ South America ( Guatemala and many other countries), only once in Africa they were successful. (see my Dakota Hunter Blog JFK Mobutu DC-3 present).
With the advantage of hindsight, one could say that at best the CIA’s intentions were good, the influence of the PKI ( Communist Party) on Sukarno went awry with the nationalization of Western Companies properties and a Communist takeover/revolution seemed imminent.
But CIA’s preparations, execution, and choice of ‘partners” were all too often sloppy, while efficient and objective local socio-political info and feel for virtual “Situational Awareness” was non-existent or “biased” at best. Curious to know how it ended up here? Well, just read on in this Dakota Hunter Blog.
Photo above. A very rare photo of a Rebel Air Force P-51D Mustang (AUREV). Stationed at Manado, the 20 aircraft donated by CIA came with pilots, mechanics, and tons of ammo, av-gas, tooling, rigs, and spare parts for keeping that fighting fleet operational, must have been quite an operation! The majority had come from Taiwan by ship via the Philippines waters to the Northern part of Sulawesi. Pilots were flown in via Clark AFB, Philippines. This same airfield came finally under attack of the Indonesian AF (AURA) and they managed to damage this Mustang and destroy the Rebel’s PBY Catalina.
Enter two legendary Rogue pilots, American citizens William H. Beale Jr. and Allen L. Pope. Both ‘mercenaries’ had a long career with CAT, engaged in covert operations in Vietnam and other hot spots in Asia. In April 1958, a group of CAT pilots and mechanics arrived from Clark AFB in the nearby Philippines, in order to fly the 20 donated aircraft for the “Revolutionary Air Force” AUREV in Manado/ Sulawesi. In that same month, especially Pope was a most active raider.
On April 27, he attacked in his A-26 Invader the Island of Morotai, hours before the Island was conquered by a Permesta amphibious force. That was a very bold assault, targeting the “Ambon” Islands of Halmahera and Morotai. Well chosen as on those islands the revolutionary support against Jakarta was strongest. As far as I remember from my own kid years in Borneo, Ambonese people have always had an awkward relation with the Javanese Rulers, so here they found fertile grounds for the start of their planned Eastern Indonesian Revolution.
But soon, CIA instructions to Pope took his activities into a new direction. Merchant Shipping on the islands of Sulawesi and Borneo came under attack of his Killer A-26 Machine Guns. Pope attacked and sank three ships in one single day, no bad result, but with a little snag: The boats were Italian (SS Aquila), Greek (SS Armonia) and Panamese (SS Flying Lark).
Had he gone Bananas, by sinking “friendly” ships? Bananas galore in Indonesia, so Pope had found his Star role in this Mickey Mouse War Theatre with what sometimes seemed a one-man Air Force Show. He attacked the City of Palu, shot 20 trucks to pieces on Ambon Island, bombed the AFB at Kendari, strafed Navy Patrol Boats, shot bridges and Military depots and that all in a matter of days!
It was a Shooting Fest with surplus WWII veteran aircraft, and would not be the last of such Old School Aerial Wars. The very last one would take place in 1969, see my Dakota Hunter Blog Last of the All Piston Prop Dog Fights 1969)
Photo above shows a row of AURI P-51D Mustangs by the mid-1950’s. Mechanics galore and time left for painting a Shark Mouth Nose Art. But with their lack of spare parts, serviceability of the Fighters was becoming a nightmare. While Pope popped up as a Mary Poppins in the Sky almost every day, it took the Indonesian AF weeks before they were able to intercept that Sting Bee who had challenged and damaged the defensive capacity of the Air Force so hard.
On April 28, Pope’s friend Beale made a very remarkable attack on ‘my’ old hometown Balikpapan/ Eastern Kalimantan( aka Borneo), where I had lived with my family until 1957. My Dad was employed by Shell that owned the largest Oil refinery in Indonesia. Beale flew in his A-26 over the Bay and bombed the Royal Dutch Shell refineries and terminal, sinking the British tanker MV San Flaviano.
It must have been very clear for all Military and Political spectators that in those spectacular air raids, the CIA was at work: who else could have staged such long distance attacks with American Vintage Military Aircraft in peacetime? Shell and the UK were not amused, and the US Ambassador in London had the embarrassing task to apologize for this wild Cowboy assault.
Mr. Ambassador must have asked himself, “Who the Hell is this Wild Bunch?” Even the US Embassy in Jakarta secretly sent out a message of protest to the US State Department with a single question:”Could you please call your mad dogs back?”. Well, they could but did nothing!
Actually, the Mad Dogs felt as free birds in the sky, with no predators around. On May 1, 1958, while attacking the Maluku Islands, during a strafing run, Pope’s A-26 starboard engine suffered an explosion. He aborted the assault and with all of his luck, he managed to limp his aircraft home on one engine.
On May 7, he strafed a Douglas C-47 and a P-51 Mustang, and while returning one day later, he destroyed a PBY Catalina and the runway of Liang AFB. On May 15, the pro-active raider was back in Business and attacked merchant ships and harbor installations, but when he returned, he found his Home/ Rebel Air Base being attacked while he was out.
The Rebel’s only Catalina was smoldering in ashes, and their P-51 Mustang was badly damaged. Pope’s luck was about to run out, while the Indonesian Air Force showed first signs of a resurrection after a long period of “Dolce Far Niente” (Sweetly doing nothing).
Photo above. In Balikpapan, Eastern Kalimantan (Borneo) was the largest oil refinery of Indonesia, owned by Shell/ BPM. April 28, 1958, the Douglas A-26 flown by Beale made a surprise attack on the Harbor facilities of the Refinery. The British Tanker San Flaviano was hit and sunk. That was not a very smart idea and the Big Machine of political pressure on CIA for stopping the Revolutionary “Wrecking Team” was about to be fired up. Photo above shows the typical show of Third World Armies in their first years of Independence. Jeep with whitewall tires is most likely about the only machine that is serviceable in this photo. The P-51 Mustangs depicted on the ground are “suspect” being`out of service´. The few that could fly were used for the “Low fly pass” show. But I noticed that phenomenon in Madagascar even still in 2008, almost 50 years after their Independence. Their Army Tanks and Transports were always “temporarily out of service”, but the whitewalls were kept in a shiny state!
On May 18, Pope went out to attack the Ambon harbor again with his A-26, and he spotted an Invasion fleet of Transport ships with troops on board. He started a bombing run but was not aware of the fact that the Indonesian AF had finally managed to scramble their single operational P-51 Mustang against him.
While during four weeks, Pope had the Northern Indonesian Airspace as his exclusive Playstation, where he could do bombing and strafing assaults at will, the Indonesian Air Force was not capable intercepting that nasty Cowboy of the Sky. But now, finally, they had it all organized (wow!) and that airborne fighter must have arrived as a total surprise for Pope and his navigator who were very busy in their cramped cockpit to plan a new bomb run.
Out of the blue, the AURA Mustang jumped on their back, and the Navy boats shot their AA guns. Whatever hit him first, the starboard engine of the A-26 exploded, and the wing was soon engulfed in flames. They decided to bail out and in the process, Pope’s escape was hindered by the dive of his plane in agony.
His leg was fractured by the tail fin but he could manage to parachute and land on a nearby small island. In the stress of the imminent capture by the soldiers, he made a capital blunder and forgot to clear his pockets. They found a flight plan of his last eight flights, delicate documents, and his CAT ID Card! Pope’s capture with these documents immediately exposed the level of CIA support for the Permesta rebellion.
For the Eisenhower Administration, it became a very embarrassing situation, in which there was no more room for denial of engagement of the USA. The CIA had to drop the total plan and support of the Rebel Force Permesta was skipped overnight, the Revolutionary Movement Permesta soldiered on until 1961 when their agony came to a bitter end.
Pope was brought into a Military Court in 1960 and sentenced to Death. Amazingly, his ordeal was used as a bargaining chip in Indonesian negotiations with the United States for arms supply. In February 1962, under JFK’s Administration, US Attorney General Robert Kennedy paid President Sukarno a goodwill visit and pleaded for Pope’s release.
July 2, 1962, Pope was discreetly released and brought over to his homeland by a US Government plane. Would the CIA have learned from this “mishap”?
Photo above Allen Pope captured and recovering in a hotel. After his escape from the crippled A-26, Pope baled out but fractured his right leg, hit by the tail fin. Pope was held not in prison but under house arrest and treated very well as being an American Citizen/ Prisoner that could be traded against US Goodies. But for raising his price, in April 1960 they first court-martialed him, found him guilty of killing 17 members of Indonesia’s armed forces and six civilians and sentenced him to death. It was finally Robert Kennedy who in 1962 bailed him out in exchange for an arms deal with the Indonesian Army.
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Douglas A-26 Invader against Japan - History
Courtesy of the City of Bridgeport, Connecticut
The A-26 was developed by Douglas Aircraft as a replacement for their A-20 &ldquoHavoc&rdquo to fulfill a requirement for a multi-role aircraft for both low-level ground attack and medium-altitude precision bombing. First test flown in 1942, it exceeded every stipulated design specification. With its twin 2000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines, the &ldquoInvader&rdquo was faster, had better performance and could carry more of a bomb load that either of the two primary medium bombers at the time, the North American B-25 &ldquoMitchell&rdquo and Martin B-26 &ldquoMarauder.&rdquo
Two variants of the A-26 were produced the &ldquoB&rdquowith a solid nose that could be configured with a combination of machine guns and cannons, and the &ldquoC&rdquowith a glass nose which held a bomb sight. The glass nose section of a &ldquoC&rdquo could be exchanged for a solid nose in only a few hours based on operational roles. Its devastating firepower made for a formidable weapon when it entered combat in 1944. It was the last U.S. Army Air Force ground attack and tactical bomber introduced in World War II.
Re-designated the B-26 in 1948, the plane served in the Korean Conflict and flew day and night interdiction missions against the communist ground forces. It returned to action for a third time in Southeast Asia from 1960 to 1969. The craft also served with the Tactical Air Command through the late 1960's and also saw service with Air National Guard units up to 1972.
The Museum's A-26C was delivered to the USAAF in November, 1944 and was assigned to the 416th Bomb Group (Light), 671st Bomb Squadron stationed at Melun, France.
After the aircraft removed from the Air Force inventory in 1957, ownership passed to the National Metals Corporation of Phoenix, Arizona in June, 1958. After eight years of civilian service, ownership transferred to its final civilian owner, Consolidated Aircraft Sales of Fairfield, New Jersey. Consolidated Aircraft Sales eventually abandoned the aircraft at the Sikorsky airport in Stratford, CT in 1969. In 1971, the Museum took ownership of the aircraft from the City of Bridgeport who had authority over the airport.
The restoration began in November, 2003 and the plane was moved from the Restoration Hangar to the Military Hangar in the middle 0f 2012.
Send in this Contact Reference Form if you have any information or comments on the Douglas A-26C &ldquoInvader&rdquo.
Oldest Flying A-26 Invader Is Still Pulling In Big Crowds
When it comes to late WWII-era planes the A-26 Invader is hard to top in terms of looks. The Douglas A-26 Invader served as a bomber and ground attack aircraft in Europe and the Pacific Theater of War. There were many invaders fighting against the Axis Powers but few are as iconic as The Lady Liberty.
Of the surviving A-26 still in existence, Lady Liberty is the oldest, it was the 130th built out of over 2,400. The Commemorative Air Force still takes her around the country so the world can know her rich history.
“The 410th was initially assigned 4 A-26’s. Each squadron was given one aircraft. They were painted completely black and initially used as night interdiction aircraft ranging all over Germany. We still have patches in the tail that were attributed to encounters with German night fighters.”
She has undergone some restorations and modifications over the years but this Liberator still holds up strong. The Lady Liberty made an appearance WWII air shows across the United States where she still pulls in the crowds. Check out this film of her crew readying the Lady Liberty to stun the crowds.
SOLD – 1945 Douglas A-26C Invader #44-34313, N4313
1945-50- Initially delivered to Hunter AAF, Savannah, Georgia then to storage at McClellan AAF, Sacramento, California.
1951 – To Douglas Aircraft, Long Beach to receive latest factory mods/upgrades.
- To Hill AFB, Ogden, Utah for further modification prior to being deployed to Korea. Invader 313 converted to a glass nose “C” model. Both .50 cal turrets were removed along with the aft gunners periscope/hardware and replaced with a SHORAN receiver-transmitter and navigator’s station hardware.
- Ferried to Miho, Japan June to join 452nd Bomb Wing 730th (Long Beach) Bomb Squadron “Rebels.” Tech. Sgt. Bill Dawson and Byron “Curly Davis were assigned as 313’s crew chiefs and then based at Pusan East, (K-9) South Korea.
- 313 became the personal aircraft of the Squadron Commander and named “SweetEloise II” after his wife. Later was named “Junio” (Spanish for its June arrival month?) by Squadron Commander Nevling who had replaced the squadron’s original Commander.
- December 27, 1951- Invader 313 took a direct 40 mm hit to its fully loaded bombay badly injuring 1st Lt. Raymond Koch (USAF #AO2065993) seated at the navigator’s station- table in the aft compartment. Fire, hydraulic failure, partial control (cable) failure forced the crew to divert to K-46, the nearest AFB. 313 was later ferried to Miho, Japan for repairs. Returned to K-9 with a new black paint job to make the ship less visible.
1952 – February 1952- Invader 313 took a 40mm flak hit to its glass nose which destroyed its Norden bombsight and shattered the co-pilots canopy as well.
- The 452nd Bomb Wing timed out in 1952 and was decommissioned. In May Invader 313 was reassigned to the 17th Bomb Wing, 95th Bomb Squadron “Kicking Mules.” It became the Squadron spare aircraft but nobody wanted to fly “The Magnet” due to its notorious reputation for attracting flak and bullets according to 1st Lt. Fox who flew his 50th and final mission in 313.
1953 – July 27, 1953, 313 flew a SHORAN mission over North Korea on this the last official day of the Korean conflict. Invader 313 had accumulated app. 1900 combat hours in two years.
1953-57 – To storage at McClellan AFB, Sacramento.
CIVILIAN/AIR TANKER HISTORY
1957 – Invader 313 was sold at a government surplus auction for $1,776.00 and received its FAA civil registry of N5457V.
1958 – Modified for cloud seeding, Watsonville, California.
1959 – Sold to Aero Atlas, Red Bluff, California.
1960 – Invader 313 became the first B-26 Invader of its type to be modified as a “Borate Bomber” for firefighting operations. Became Tanker 27.
1961-65 – Sold to Wilson Aviation Industries, Lewiston, Idaho DBA. Hillcrest Aircraft. Invader 54V operated as Tanker 20 after being fitted with a hard “B model” nose.
1965-74 – Sold to Butler Aircraft, Redmond, Oregon. Became Tanker 16 and fitted with STOL wingtips.
1974-87 – Sold to ConAir, Abbotsford, BC (registered as C-GHLK) and became Tanker 23. Invader 313 accumulated app. 2000 total hours of fire fighting operations prior to being retired in 1986.
1987- 88 Invader 313 was donated by ConAir to the Reynolds Aviation Museum, Wetaskiwin, Alberta.
1988-90 C-GHLK was sold to Don Crowe, Victoria, BC. (causing high drama at ConAir who donated the aircraft.) Invader 313 was repainted in the WWII livery of the 319th Bomb Group A-26 Invaders based at Okinawa, Japan in 1945 with #13 on tail. It was also refitted with a “C model” glass nose.
1990-99 Sold to Dennis Hamilton/Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum, Mt. Hope, Ontario and Invader 313 was occasionally operated in the air show circuit on the East coast.
1999-2011 – Sold to David Lane, Poway, California. 313 flew with the San Diego Wing of the CAF at various Southern California air shows and then later displayed at the San Diego Air and Space Museum, Gillespie Field. Number “19” repainted on the tail.
2011- Present – Invader 313 was sold to Steve Penning and Phil Gattuso (Black Crow Aviation, LLC), Santa Rosa, CA in July 2011. Flown to Santa Rosa on July 26, 2011 after 8 years of being on the ground in El Cajon, CA
Airframe total time: 4045.0 Hours
Right engine since overhaul: 250 Hours
Left engine since overhaul: 650 Hours
Right and left prop since overhaul: 90.0 Hours (AD complied with July 2012).
Aircraft is going thru an in-depth IRAN right now, including recovering all flight controls, Repainting airframe to Korean War scheme, All new hoses, New tires, Annual inspection, etc.. plus much more.
第二次世界大戦だけでなく、第一次インドシナ戦争や朝鮮戦争にも攻撃機として投入された。その後、B-26B、B-26Kがベトナム戦争に投入された。もちろん、オリジナルそのままではなく、1963年にはCOIN機としてエンジンの換装（R-2800-52W、離昇出力2,500馬力）。電子装備の追加。旋回機銃塔の廃止。主翼を再設計して構造を強化し、翼下に計4,000lbs (1,820kg) までの兵装を懸架するハードポイントの新設。翼端に燃料槽（チップタンク。増槽ではなく切り離せない）の増設などの改修が随時施されている。全面改修を受けた機体は新たにB-26K型と呼ばれたが、1967年に前述の理由から改称されてA-26Aとされた。ややこしいが75mm砲を備えた初期のA-26Aと同一番号なものの、全くの別機である。
- 乗員: 3名
- 全長: 15.24m （50ft）
- 全高: 5.64m （18ft 3in）
- 翼幅: 21.34m（70ft）
- 翼面積: 50.62m 2 （540ft 2 ）
- 空虚重量: 10,365kg （22,850lb）
- 運用時重量: 12,519kg （27,600lb）
- 最大離陸重量: 15,900kg （35,000lb）
- 最大速度: 575km/h=M0.47 （308kt） 355mph
- 巡航速度: 457km/h=M0.29
- 航続距離: 2,300km （1,200海里） 1,400mi
- 実用上昇限度: 6,700m （22,000ft）
- 上昇率: 6.4m/s （1,250ft/s）
- 翼面荷重: 250kg/m 2 （51lb/ft 2 ）
- 機首固定 12.7mm機銃 8丁
- 翼内固定 12.7mm機銃 6丁
- 背面銃座 12.7mm機銃 2丁（遠隔操作）
- 下部銃座 12.7mm機銃 2丁（遠隔操作）
- 4,000-6,000lbs (1,814-2,722kg)
- 翼下 2,000lbs (907kg)
|機体名||B-26B ||B-26C |
|全長||50.8ft (15.48m)||51.3ft (15.67m)|
|翼面積||541ft 2 (50.26m 2 )|
|エンジン||Pratt & Whitney R-2800-79 (2,000Bhp 最大：2,350Bhp) ×2|
|空虚重量||22,362lbs (10,143kg)||22,690lbs (10,292kg)|
|ミッション||BOMBER 爆弾搭載量：4,000lbs (1,814kg)|
|総重量||離陸重量：40,015lbs (18,150kg) |
|離陸重量：37,740lbs (17,119kg) |
|燃料 ||1,360gal (5,148ℓ)||1,235gal (4,671ℓ)|
|最高速度||322kn/10,000ft (596km/h 高度3,048m)||323kn/10,000ft (598km/h 高度3,048m)|
|上昇能力||2,515ft/m S.L. (12.78m/s 海面高度)||2,800ft/m S.L. (14.22m/s 海面高度)|
|実用上昇限度 ||21,800ft (6,645m)||23,400ft (7,132m)|
|航続距離||― ||1,510n.mile (2,797km)|
|戦闘行動半径||839n.mile (1,554km)||790n.mile (1,463km)|
|武装||AN/M2 12.7mm機関銃×16 (弾数計5,600発)||AN/M2 12.7mm機関銃×12 (弾数計4,600発)|
エグゼクティヴ / マーケティアー 民間での運用の前には、主に武装など軍事機能の撤去、爆弾倉扉の閉鎖、爆弾倉への乗客用階段の設置、6〜8人分の客席の設置など最小限の改造が加えられた。この最小限の改造が加えられたのが「エグゼクティヴ」と呼ばれた要人輸送機型である。1956年から、ガルフストリームIなどのターボプロップ機が出回るようになった1960年代初頭まで、かなりの数が改造を受けた  。また、1957年には更に高性能化したマーケティアーも発売された。 エアタンカー（消防機） 1950年代半ばにはA-26が森林や荒野の火災消防のためのエアタンカーとして試験され、各所で使用された。一時的にホウ酸塩（Borate）が元となる消火剤を使用したため、非公式に「ボレートボマーズ (Borate Bombers)」とも呼ばれた。ホウ酸塩は生態学的に悪影響があることがわかったために間もなく使用が中止され、水・粘土・肥料・赤色染料などの混合消火剤に置き換えられた。1973年頃になるとカナダからの購入の申し出が増加したため、農務省との契約によるA-26の使用は主要な地域で中止され他機種に転換された。 モナーク26 次に最も重要な民間型はロックアイランド社のモナーク26である。民間のためのわずかな改修は、ウォルド・エンジニアリング社、LBスミス・エアクラフト社、RGルトゥーノー社、ロードスベリー社、ロッキード・エアクラフト・サーヴィス社によって行われた。また、ギャレット・アイリサーチ社は、タービンエンジンのテストベッドとして2機のA-26を使用し、片方はモナーク26であるがもう1機はXA-26Fである。 ストール26 リンチ航空タンカー社（Lynch Air Tankers Inc）による、主翼などへの短距離離着陸改造を受けた機体。 マークスマン 民間用の高速輸送機。1961年に初飛行し売り出された。高速化を図るため機首は延長され尖った形状となっている。8機製造 
Douglas A-26 Invader against Japan - History
The A-26 against Germany
- Eighteen A-26s were received by the 553rd Bomb Squadron in Great Dunmow, England.
- The first mission of the A-26s was on November 9, 1944, with the 9th Air Froce.
- 11,567 missions were flown and 18,054 tons / 18,344 tonnes bombs dropped.
- One aircraft was credited with a probable kill of a Me 262 jet fighter.
The Douglas A-26 Invader saw most combat during the Second World War against the Germans, serving in significant numbers with the Ninth Air Force. The aircraft's combat debut in the Pacific had been unimpressive – four early B-26s with the original flush canopy and their under-wing gun pods removed to improve their performance had been tested by the 13th Bombardment Squadron of the 3rd Bombardment Group on New Guinea, and had made a very bad impression, mostly because of the poor visibility from the cockpit.
Douglas needed better results from the Invader's second combat test, which was to be carried out by the 553rd Bombardment Squadron of the 386th Bombardment Group, part of the Ninth Air Force, which by the late summer of 1944 was heavily involved in the campaign in north-western Europe. Eighteen A-26s were sent to Britain, and between 6 and 19 September took part in eight medium level bombing missions, starting with an attack on Brest.
The Ninth Air Force report was overwhelmingly positive. The A-26 could carry more bombs than the A-20 , and had a larger combat radius, better single engine performance, flying characteristics and manoeuvrability than either the A-20 or the B-26 . No aircraft were lost on the eight test missions, and the Ninth Air Force announced that it was happy to replace all of it’s A-20s and B-26s with the A-26 Invader.
The Ninth Air Force became the main wartime user of the A-26, and eventually five bombardment groups saw some action against the Germans. The first to enter combat were the 409th and 416th Bombardment Groups, which received their A-26s in time to use them against German communications during the battle of the Bulge. The 386th Bombardment Group entered combat soon after the end of the battle, and in April the 391st became the last group to convert entirely to the A-26, using against them against the German transport network. The 410th Bombardment Group was in the process of converting to the A-26 when the war ended, although it did receive a small number in January which it used as pathfinders to guide the group's A-20s and B-26 Marauders to their targets.
In Italy the Twelfth Air Force's 47th Bomb Group also received the A-26, starting in January 1945. Once again they were used against German transport links, but also for direct support and interdiction against tanks and troop concentrations in the Po valley in the final campaigns in Italy.
Finally the 492nd Bomb Group received a small number of A-26s, which it used on carpetbagger missions behind German lines, dropping agents and supplies to support clandestine operations and resistance groups,
Douglas A-26 / B-26 Invader
The USAAF issued a requirement for an attack aircraft in 1940, before it had information on World War II combat operations in Europe. Consequently, three prototypes were ordered in differing configurations: the Douglas XA-26 attack bomber with a bomb-aimer's position the XA-26A heavily-armed night-fighter and the XA-26B attack aircraft with a 75mm cannon. After flight testing and careful examination of reports from Europe and the Pacific, the A-26B Invader was ordered into production, and initial deliveries of the 1,355 built were made in April 1944.
The A-26B had six 12.7mm machine-guns in the nose, remotely controlled dorsal and ventral turrets each with two 12.7mm guns, and up to 10 more 12.7mm guns in underwing and underfuselage packs. Heavily armoured, and able to carry up to 1814kg of bombs, the A-26B was potentially a formidable weapon. Moreover, its two, 1491kW Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines conferred a maximum speed of 571km/h, making the A-26 the fastest US bomber of World War II. Invaders'remained in USAF service until well into the 1970s.
Missions with the 9th Air Force in Europe began in November 1944, and at the same time the type became operational in the Pacific. The A-26C with a bomb-aimer's position and only two guns in the nose entered service in 1945, but saw only limited use before World War II ended. A-26C production totalled 1,091. With little employment ahead of them, so far as anyone could see, one A-26B and one A-26C were converted to XJD-1 configuration, this pair being followed by 150 A-26Cs converted as target tugs for the US Navy with the designation JD-1 some were converted later to launch and control missile test vehicles and drones, under the designation JD-1D. These designations became UB-26J and DB-26J in 1962.
USAF A-26B and A-26C aircraft became B-26B and B-26C in 1948, and retained this designation until 1962. Both versions saw extensive service in the Korean War, and were again used in a counter-insurgency role in Vietnam. A special COIN version with very heavy armament and extra power was developed by On Mark Engineering in 1963, a prototype being designated YB-26K and named Counter Invader. Subsequently about 70 B-26s were converted to B-26K standard, 40 later being redesignated A-26A. Some were deployed in Vietnam, and others were supplied to friendly nations under the Military Assistance Program. B-26s were used also for training (TB-26B and TB-26C), transport (CB-26B freighter and VB-26B staff transport), RPV control (DB-26C), night reconnaissance. (FA-26C, from 1948 redesignated RB-26C) and missile guidance research (EB-26C). After the war, many A-26s were converted to executive, survey, photographic and even fire-fighting aircraft. Brief details of the two semi-production marks are given in the variants list.
At this plane, they use to called, " the widowmaker" i guess why?
I was a tow reel operator on B-26's during 1951 to 1953.
I was in the 4th tow target squadron based at Georgge AFB in Victorville
Califotnia and also flew at our remote base,Larson AFB, in Moses Lake
Washington. We towed both banner and sleeve targets for the sixth army
On the west coast.it was always an exciting aircraft and very versatile.
I crewed the B26 then A26s at England AFB supporting the training of what would become the Nimrods in Thailand. I truly regret not getting to go to Thailand with a great plane and a great bunch of guys. Tail #641 is in Tucson at the Pima Air Museum and I crewed that aircraft.
I was an instructor navigator in the A-26A flying out of England AFB, LA, '68-69 for aircrews heading for NKP, Thailand. It was the best and most challenging job a nav could have. As a right seater, you were actually a co-pilot controlling mixtures, armament switches, coordinating with the pilot on almost everything. Some navs with more time in the aircraft than I did actually did take-offs and landings. I did get lots of stick time in the air. One of our aircraft is on display at Hurlburt Field, FL. Every time I see it I get homesick.
I was a plane captain on a Invader with 800 hrs flying in one from 52-55. It was for towing for the navy at Gitmo VU-10. Navy bought 150 from the AF for this type mission. The A-26c was renamed navy JD-1. A good airplane, would always take you and bring you back.
Hi Folks , Trying to find A-26 pictures during the fifties at Newark Airport New jersey Air National Guard. Thanks
stationed in NKP Non Khom Phanom Thiland 1965-66 saw some at work there. Sweet.
Stumbled onto the site and what great stories. I currently crew on an Invader on the airshow circuit repping the 13th B /S during the Korean War and have done so for 10 years. To those of you who have either flown or turned wrenches on these beautiful birds, we also honor your experiences and efforts. To be around an Invader is to be smitten, something we all share whether it be 'then' or now.
Always enjoy hearing from Invader folks. Regards.
FLEW THE B-26 AT K-9 IN KOREA. FANTASTIC AIRCRAFT. FLEW THE F-84 AND B-57 LATER. NOTHING COMPETES WITH THE B-26 FOR A REAL FLYING MACHINE. SOMETIMES WE WOULD DOG FIGHT WITH THE ROK F-51s FROM THE OTHER FIELD AT PUSAN AND WE WOULD WIN EVERY TIME BELOW 10,000 FT. ABOVE THAT IT WAS NO CONTEST.
Our squadron had 2 B-26's which had been modified to towtarget aircraft. I was a tow target operator for 3596 Training Squadron(Combat Crew) which was formed at the beginning of the Korean War, June 1950, at Nellis AFB, Nevada.
We towed 6x9 flag(banner) targets for aerial gunnery at 12000, or 20000 ft. We started with F-51's, converted to F-80's, and then to F-86's. We even tried to tow a series of canard winged gliders, with not much success. Hundreds of hours in the B-26, both in aerial gunnery missions, and also we flew cross country to retrieve any live ammunition from some of our aircraft which didn't make it back from cross-country trips. I was also an instructor at the Armament School at Lowry Field, Denver Co. Was sent TDY to Nellis for the USAF gunner meet in March-April 1950, and then was reassigned to Nellis at the start of the Korean War.
+I WAS A PILOT WITH THE 391ST BG IN EUROPE WHEN THEY PHASED OUT THE B-26. I RECALL WHEN THEY DELIVERED THE FIRST A-26 TO OUR GROUP--A REAL FINE AIRCRAFT. THE GROUP AND SQUADRON LEADERS FLEW WITH THE NAVIGATOR IN THE PLEXIGLAS NOSE--ALL OTHERS CARRIED JUST A CREW OF TWO- THE PILOT AND THE GUNNER. ---WE FLEW MISSIONS INTO THE ALPS--ALSO WAS ATTACKED BY EARLY GERMAN JET AIRCRFT--THEY WOULD MAKE JUST ONE PASS---OUR GUNNERS USING THE REMOTELY CONTROLLED GUNS FOUND IT ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE TO TRACK THE JETS..WE DID SOME BOMBING OF RAIL JUNCTIONS AND BRIDGES. EXCELLENT BOMBING RESULTS. WONDERFUL AIRPLANE --CARRIED HEAVY BOMB LOAD . AFTER THE WAR ENDED IN EUROPE, WE TRAINED FOR LOW LEVEL FLYING BEFORE BEING ASSIGNED TO THE PACIFIC VIA THE AFRICA TO SOUTH AMERICA ROUTE OVER THE ATLANTIC. LARGE FUEL TANKS INSTALLED IN THE BOMB BAY..READY TO GO WHEN THE WAR IN THE PACIFIC ENDED--LEFT OUT PLANES IN HOLLAND AND SAILED HOME ON A LIBERTY SHIP.
STILL HAVE FOND MEMORIES OF THOSE B-26 AIRPLANES.
The first time I saw this aircraft, only the big square rudder and fin were sticking up above a hangar as I was a million miles away, marching in formation as an aviation cadet at Maxwell field Alabama.
Troop Carrier Command saw me in C-47's & later C-46's in England and France. After WW-2 it was Reserve flying in C-46's again, and later, navigating Douglas DC-4's with Alaska Airlines on the Anchorage-Tokyo run.
In January 1952 I saw the B-26 again at Kimpo airfield, Korea. I flew 41 missions as navigator in RB-26 aircrafts during Korean war-----12th Tactical Recon Squadron. Although I was not at all new to flying, but the more I flew in that Douglas creation the more I admired the Douglas aircraft designers. Rugged and reliable, you could depend upon it to get you out of a tight situation FAST, when you badly needed it. A truly impressive aircraft.
The only fault I had with it was it was a terrificly NOISY aircraft---every cylinder of those beautiful Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines, exhausting directly out into the atmosphere--and against the crew's eardrums.
But good 'Ol Uncle Sam has issued me excellent hearing aids, and at age 86 I'm still navigating a new pair of skis, and also bicycling and hiking. I'm not complaining at all, and what a splendid batch of memories I have!
My father, Carl Lindberg (a B-25 pilot from WWII), flew B-26s in 24 night intruder combat missions as a member of the 37th Bomb Squadron in Korea. He was awarded his second DFC and his fifth, sixth and seventh Air Medal for various actions during this inherently hazardous night flying during the period from 03DEC52 to 07NOV53. Dad was proud of his Korean War service, grew to like the B-26 almost as much as the B-25, but was unhappy that this war was forgotteen by many or just called a "Police Action".
Dad retired in 1969 as a LTC and died in February, 2005.
I was an aircraft electrician and had just got stationed at Itazuke AB,Japan and I got sent to Bien Hoa, Vietnam TDY to the 1st Air Commando outfit and when I walked on to the flight line it was like I went back in history as the front line bomber we had was the Douglas B-26. Let me tell you this little aircraft was a jewel in my eyes. We had two glass nose, then we had a mixture of 26's with 6 and 8 guns in the nose and all of them had the 3 in each wing. I was with them for 6 months and enjoyed every day. The only thing I regret is that I never got a flight in one.
I was an aircraft electrician and had just got stationed at Itazuke AB,Japan and I got sent to Bien Hoa, Vietnam TDY in January 1963to the 1st Air Commando outfit and when I walked on to the flight line it was like I went back in history as the front line bomber we had was the Douglas B-26. Let me tell you this little aircraft was a jewel in my eyes. We had two glass nose, then we had a mixture of 26's with 6 and 8 guns in the nose and all of them had the 3 in each wing. I was with them for 6 months and enjoyed every day. The only thing I regret is that I never got a flight in one.
I flew 156 combat missions during 1968 and 1969 in the A-26A (B-26K). A great airplane for he mission we had. 609th Special Operation Sq. In late 1969 Air Force retired the A-26's and replaced them with AC-130 gunships.
A follow up:
Hopefully this information helps.
34th Squadron, 17th Bomb Group.
I flew as a gunner on B-26's at K-8, Korea in 1952-53 for 50+ combat missions. I then returned to Langley AFB and flew B-26's there until the aircraft was replaced by B-57's in 1955. A great aircraft and a great experience.
One of the most responsive and fun to fly airplanes around. We had them in Korea and the 1st Tow Target Squadron, towing for the Army at Ft. Bliss, El Psao, Texas. It had power to spare and had excellent armorment.
My father was working at Douglas Long Beach during WW II when he first was assigned to the B-26B engineering department. He and his co-workers drew the full size drawings for production of the B-26B. He worked on all the drawings for the cockpit, oil cooler intakes, and wing guns. These guns originally had "visor" or "eyelid" movable covers over them but this approach was dropped before production. He took our family to the Douglas plant for an open-house where a test pilot flew a B-26B that took off from a runway next to the viewing stand after locking the brakes and getting up to max power before letting off the brakes. The nose came up immediately and it was several hundred feet off the ground when it passed in front of the crowd. What an airplane! It had a laminar flow wing section that had to be so smooth he had to wear soft leather "booties" when on the wing taking measurements.
Douglas A-26 Invader against Japan - History
Douglas A-26 Invader / B-26 Invader
Designed as a sucessor to the A-20 Havoc and B-25 and B-26 medium bombers. Invaders saw action at the end of the war. Because of production delays, a night-fighter variant was never implimented, as the P-61 Black Widow reached production first.
World War II Pacfic Usage
Douglas began delivery of A-26B Invaders to the U. S. Army Air Force during August 1943. First combat usage was June 23, 1944 in the South West Pacific Area (SWPA), Far East Air Force (FEAF), 5th Air Force, 3rd Bombardment Group on a four plane low level strike against Manokwari. Afterwards, General George Kenney, commander of the Far East Air Forces (FEAF) stated that, "We do not want the A-26 under any circumstances as a replacement for anything." Regardless, A-26 were used in the last months of the war.
Until changes could be made, the 3rd Bomb Group continued to request additional A-20 Havocs, although both types were used in composite flights. The 319th Bomb Group worked up on the A-26 in March 1945, joining the initial 3rd BG, with the 319th flying until August 12, 1945. The A-26 operations wound down in middle of August 1945 with only a few dozen missions flown. Several of the A-20 and B-25 AAF units in the Pacific received limited quantities of A-26s for trials.
Korean War Usage
After the formation of the U. S. Air Force (USAF), redesigned the B-26 Invader (not to be confused with the Martin B-26 Marauder). During the Korean War, used by the 3rd Bombardment Group on their first missions from Japan against Korea. On June 29, 1950 B-26s bombed an airfield outside Pyongyang, the first USAF bombing mission against North Korea.
On August 10, 1950, the Air Force Reserve 452d Bombardment Wing was activated for Korean service. It flew its first missions in November 1950 from Itazuke Air Base providing daylight support, with the 3rd Bomb Wing, consisting of the 8th, 13th and 90th Bomb Squadrons, flying night missions. Because of the Chinese intervention, it was forced to find another base and moved to Miho Air Base on the west coast of Honshū. In early 1951 it moved to Pusan East (K-9) and continued its daylight as well as night intruder missions. In June 1951, it joined the 3rd Bomb Wing (Kunsan K-8) in night activity only, dividing the target areas, with the 452nd taking the eastern half and the 3rd the western. For its efforts in the Korean War, it was awarded two unit citations and the Korean Presidential Citation. It also received credit for eight campaign operations. In May 1952 it was inactivated and all of its aircraft and equipment along with its regular air force personnel were absorbed by the 17th Bomb Wing. During its time as an active unit, the 452nd flew 15,000 sorties (including 7,000 at night) with a loss of 85 airmen.
B-26s were credited with the destruction of 38,500 vehicles, 406 locomotives, 3,700 railway trucks, and seven enemy aircraft on the ground. On 14 September 1951, Captain John S. Walmsley, Jr. attacked a supply train. When his guns jammed, he illuminated the target with his searchlight to enable his wingmen to destroy the train. Walmsley was shot down and posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. Invaders carried out the last USAF bombing mission of the war 24 minutes before the Armistice Agreement was signed on 27 June 1953.
In addition to the standard attack versions of the B-26 which flew night interdiction missions, a small number of modified WB-26s and RB-26s of the 67th Tactical Reconnaissance Wing flew critical weather observation and reconnaissance missions in supporting roles.
Role in Indonesia
Concerned about Indonesian President Sukarno's communist leanings, the CIA started Operation Haik in 1958 to overthrow his Guided Democracy in Indonesia regime. The covert op committed at least a dozen B-26 Invaders in support of rebel forces. On 18 May 1958, American contract pilot Allen Pope's blacked-out B-26 was initially hit by anti-aircraft ground fire and then brought down by a North American P-51 Mustang flown by Capt. Ignatius Dewanto (the only known air-to-air kill in the history of the Indonesian Air Force). The capture and trial of Lieutenant Pope brought a quick end to Operation Haik, but the capabilities of the Invader were not lost on the Indonesian government. In 1959, the government purchased six aircraft from the U. S. Government that were in storage at Davis-Monthan AFB and ferried to Indonesia in the middle of 1960. Utilized in a number of actions against rebels in various areas. The last operational flights of three Invaders was during 1976, supporting the Indonesian invasion of East Timor. In 1977, the last two flying aircraft were retired.
Douglas A-26 Invader
Douglas A-26 Invader, the last aircraft designated as an “attack bomber,” was designed to replace the Douglas A-20 Havoc/Boston. It incorporated many improvements over the earlier Douglas designs. The first three XA-26 prototypes first flew in July 1942, and each was configured differently: Number One as a daylight bomber with a glass nose, Number Two as a gun-laden night-fighter, and Number Three as a ground-attack platform, with a 75-millimeter cannon in the nose. This final variant, eventually called the A-26B, was chosen for production.
Upon its delivery to the 9th Air Force in Europe in November 1944 (and the Pacific Theater shortly thereafter), the Douglas A-26 became the fastest US bomber of WWII. The A-26C, with slightly-modified armament, was introduced in 1945. The Douglas A-26 Invader combat career was cut short by the end of the war, and because no other use could be found for them, many A-26 Invaders were converted to JD-1 target tugs for the US Navy.
A strange aircraft-designation swap occurred in 1948, when the Martin B-26 Marauder was deactivated and the Douglas A-26 Invader was re-designated the B-26. (It kept this designation until 1962.) B-26 Invaders went on to serve extensively in both the Korean and Vietnam wars. In Vietnam, they were commonly used in the Counter-Insurgency (COIN) role, with very heavy armament and extra power. This version, the B-26K, was based in Thailand and was, to confuse things further, called the A-26 for political reasons. B-26s were also used for training, VIP transport, cargo, night reconnaissance, missile guidance and tracking, and as drone-control platforms.