Z SQUARE 7, A B-29 TRUE STORY

Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - A26 Invader

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Frank Farr Poetry "November 2, 1944", "Old Men And The War", " Merseburg"
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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Pages Introduction
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Crew Index
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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B29 Superfortress
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B26 Marauder
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B25 Mitchell
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - B24 Liberator
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Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - C87 Liberator Express
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - PBM-5 Mariner
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - A20 Havoc Attack Bomber
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - C47 Transport
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - P61 Black Widow
Zachary Taylor Nat'l Cemetery Memorial Page - A26 Invader
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Ivan Fail's "The Tuskegee Airmen"
Airmen Medal Of Honor Memorial
Memorial Page #1
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Memorial Page #5
Memorial Page #6
The Navajo Code Talkers & Native American Medals Of Honor
Ivan Fail's "D Day, The Normandy Invasion"
B-29 Crew Positions & Specifications
About The Book
C. Clayton Thompson Bookseller
Ivan Fail's "When The Mustangs Came"
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Ivan Fail "The Eighteen Wheeler's Hymn"
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Lompoc Veterans Memorial Building with photo album
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Ford Tolbert by Sallyann
Ford Tolbert Pictures
A Tribute to Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Lt Raymond "Hap" Halloran
Colonel Gregory "Pappy" Boyington, USMC, The Black Sheep Squadron
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Omori POW Camp
Ivan Fail's "A Salute To Lt. Holguin"/ "Shoo Shoo Baby"
Great Bend, Kansas B-29 Memorial
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THE GENERAL AND MRS CURTIS LEMAY FOUNDATION
March 9 and 10, 1945 Over Tokyo
Lt "Hap" Halloran on March 10, 1945
General Earl Johnson
General Earl Johnson Biography
313th Bomb Wing Mining Missions
Lt Robert Copeland, copilot, Z Square 8
Pyote Bomber Base With A Photo Album
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History of "FIFI" With A Photo Album
"Hap" Halloran induction Combat Airman Hall of Fame
Blackie Blackburn with a photo album
Hap's Memorable Flight On FIFI
C. Douglas Caffey, A WW2 Veteran, Book Of Poetry
C. Douglas Caffey Collection Of Poetry
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C. Douglas Caffey on Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
C. Douglas Caffey With More on PTSD
C. Douglas Caffey Memorial Day Flying The Flag
C. Douglas Caffey Saying Goodbye To America
OUR VETERANS NEED WORK!
Pearl Harbor with Photo Album
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Cpl Ira Hayes, USMC
Battle of Okinawa
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Japanese Surrender
Navy Ships At Surrender Ceremonies
Ivan Fail's "The Saga Of The Superfortress"
Ivan Fail's "The Silent Sentries"
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A26 Invader

Douglas A-26 Invader

One of the longest-serving aircraft in American military history has to be the Douglas A–26 Invader. It is a twin-engined light attack bomber that saw service beginning in 1942 and was not retired until 1972.

 

The first Invaders saw action with the Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific theater when they bombed Japanese-held islands near Manokwari.

 

The A–26 began arriving in Europe in late September of 1944 for assignment to the Ninth Air Force. These aircraft flew their first mission on September 6, 1944.

 

A-26 Invaders of the Third Bombardment Group, operating from bases in southern Japan, were some of the first USAF aircraft engaged in the Korean War, as they carried out missions over South Korea before carrying out a bombing mission in North Korea on June 29, 1950.

 

The A–26 Invaders– or B–26s -  destroyed 38,000 vehicles, 406 locomotives, 3700 railway trucks, and seven enemy aircraft on the ground during the Korean War. Invaders carried out the last USAF bombing mission of the war 24 min. before the Korean cease-fire was signed on June 27, 1953.

 

Twenty B–26Bs were “sanitized” in early 1961 at Duke Field for use in the Bahy of Pigs Invasion.. Cuban exile aircrews were trained to fly them. Affter the 20 aircraft were transferred to Nicaragua in early 1961, they were painted in the markings of the Air Force of the Cuban government. Eight B–26 is crewed by Cuban exiles attacked three Cuban airfields in an attempt to destroy Cuban cimbat aircraft on the ground. Also, on April 17, 1961, B–26s supported the Bay of Pigs invasion of Cuba. This conflict ended on April 19 after the loss of nine B–26s, 10 Cuban exiles and four American airmen.

 

In December of 1960, the first B–26 is to arrive in Southeast Asia were deployed in Thailand. They were unmarked and operated under the auspices of the United States CIA. Because of repercussions from the Invaders participation in the Bay of Pigs invasion, no combat missions are known to have been flown. The aircraft were subsequently operated in South Vietnam under project “farm gate.” The only other deployment of B–26 aircraft to Laos was the deployment of two RB–25 C aircraft, specifically modified for night reconnaissance mission.

 

While not thought of as one of America’s top bombers, the A-26 Invader – or B-26 -can boast of 30 years of workmanlike service to the United States Air Force as one of America’s longest-lived and most verstatile aircraft.

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A26 Invader

The Douglas A-26 Invader (B-26 between 1948–1965) was a United States twin-engined light attack bomber built by the Douglas Aircraft Co. during World War II that also saw service during several of the Cold War's major conflicts. A limited number of highly modified aircraft (designation A-26 restored) served in combat until 1969.

The redesignation of the type from A-26 to B-26 has led to popular confusion with the Martin B-26. Although both types used the R-2800 engine, they are completely different designs.

The last A-26 in active US service was assigned to the Air National Guard; that aircraft was retired from military service in 1972 by the US Air Force and the National Guard Bureau and donated to the National Air and Space Museum.

Design and development

The A-26 was an unusual design for an attack bomber of the early 1940s period, as it was designed as a single-pilot aircraft (sharing this characteristic with the RAF's de Havilland Mosquito, among others). The aircraft was designed by Edward Heinemann, Robert Donovan, and Ted R. Smith.

 

The Douglas XA-26 prototype (41-19504) first flew on 10 July 1942 at Mines Field, El Segundo, with test pilot Benny Howard at the controls. Flight tests revealed excellent performance and handling, but there were problems with engine cooling which led to cowling changes and omission of the propeller spinners on production aircraft, plus modification of the nose landing gear after repeated collapses during testing.

The A-26 was originally built in two different configurations. The A-26B had a "solid" nose, which originally could be equipped with a combination of anything from .50 caliber machine guns, 37mm auto cannon, 20mm or even a 75mm pack howitzer, but normally the solid nose version housed six (or later eight) .50 caliber machine guns, officially termed the "all-purpose nose", later commonly known as the "six-gun nose" or "eight-gun nose". The A-26C's "glass" nose, officially termed the "Bombardier nose", contained a Norden bombsight for medium altitude precision bombing. The A-26C nose section included two fixed M-2 guns, later replaced by underwing gun packs or internal guns in the wings.

 

After about 1,570 production aircraft, three guns were installed in each wing, coinciding with the introduction of the "eight-gun nose" for A-26Bs, giving some configurations as many as 14 .50 in (12.7 mm) machine guns in a fixed forward mount. An A-26C nose section could be exchanged for an A-26B nose section, or vice versa, in a few man-hours, thus physically (and officially) changing the designation and operational role. The "flat-topped" canopy was changed in late 1944 after about 820 production aircraft, to a clamshell style with greatly improved visibility.

 

Alongside the pilot in an A-26B, a crew member typically served as navigator and gun loader for the pilot-operated nose guns. In an A-26C, that crew member served as navigator and bombardier, and relocated to the nose section for the bombing phase of an operation. A small number of A-26Cs were fitted with dual flight controls, some parts of which could be disabled in flight to allow limited access to the nose section. A tractor-style "jump seat" was located behind the "navigator's seat." In most missions, a third crew member in the rear gunner's compartment operated the remotely-controlled dorsal and ventral gun turrets, with access to and from the cockpit only possible via the bomb bay when that was empty.

Operational history

World War II

The Douglas company began delivering the production model A-26B in August 1943 with the new bomber first seeing action with the Fifth Air Force in the Southwest Pacific theater on 23 June 1944, when they bombed Japanese-held islands near Manokwari. The pilots in the 3rd Bomb Group's 13th Squadron, "The Grim Reapers" which received the first four A-26s for evaluation, found the view from the cockpit to be poor for low level attack. General George Kenney, commander of the Far East Air Forces stated that, "We do not want the A-26 under any circumstances as a replacement for anything." Until changes could be made, the 3rd Bomb Group requested 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 12 August 1945. The A-26 operations wound down in mid-August 1945 with only a few dozen missions flown.

 

A-26s began arriving in Europe in late September 1944 for assignment to the Ninth Air Force. The initial deployment involved 18 aircraft and crews assigned to the 553d Squadron of the 386th Bomb Group. This unit flew its first mission on 6 September 1944. The first group to fully convert to the A-26B was 416th Bombardment Group with which it entered combat on 17 November, and the 409th Bombardment Group, whose A-26s became operational in late November. Due to a shortage of A-26C variants, the groups flew a combined A-20/A-26 unit until deliveries of the glass-nose version caught up. Besides bombing and strafing, tactical reconnaissance and night interdiction missions were undertaken successfully. In contrast to the Pacific-based units, the A-26 was well received by pilots and crew alike, and by 1945, the 9th AF had flown 11,567 missions, dropping 18,054 tons of bombs, recording seven confirmed kills while losing 67 aircraft.  

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