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.
About the Author
Mark Styling has previously written Aircraft of the Aces 8 - Corsair Aces of World War 2. He has been researching the B-26 Marauder for more than 15 years, and in that time has unearthed a wealth of new information and photographs. Styling has illustrated many titles for Osprey including the Aircraft of the Aces, Combat Aircraft and Elite Units series since 1994. Now based in Bridport, Dorset, he creates accurate illustrations of any chosen aircraft type. He produces some of the best artwork available to Osprey. The author lives in Dorset, UK.
"Author Mark Styling has put together a superb book that covers the story of Marauder operations, from its early operations with the 319th BG in Algeria (where just 17 of 57 aircraft that left the US arrived in full operational condition) to the overwhelming numbers that helped end the war from bases in Southern France and Northern Italy. The amount of research done by the author is exceptional and just about every B-26 of note is mentioned by both subtype, serial and aircraft name." -Scott Van Aken, modelingmadness.com (December 2008)