The B26 Martin Marauder was an American medium-sized bomber in World War Two. After overcoming initial problems, the B26 Martin Marauder had a successful record in combat by the end of World War Two in 1945.
The B26 Martin Marauder was designed by Peyton M Magruder and produced by the Glenn Martin Company in Baltimore. The medium-sized bomber was powered by two powerful Pratt and Whitney supercharged radial engines that gave the bomber a top speed of 315 mph. The B26 had a crew of five and it carried twelve 0.50 calibre machine guns and a bomb load of 4,000 lb.
The B26 made its maiden flight in November 1940 and it was produced throughout the war. The B26 gained a reputation for being a difficult plane for novice pilots to control as it had a high take-off and landing speed (130 mph) and in its early days a number of planes and crew were lost in crashes. As a result the B26 got the nickname 'Widow Maker'. Changes to the design, including a wider wingspan, and a more thorough training programme for pilots led to major improvements.
Over 5,150 B26 Martin Marauder's were built during World War Two. Once the initial problems were resolved, the bomber gained a reputation for reliability and performance. The operational loss rate for the B26 throughout the war was less than 0.5%; many of the B26 bombers flew in over 100 missions while one plane completed 202 missions.