This web page came about after reading a message from Jack Heyn:

While at Hollandia in the summer of '44, we received four of the new Douglas A-26's, the first ones to be checked out in combat. Back in the summer of '42 when I was still in Group Operations at Charters Towers, we had a visit from a Douglas Tech Rep. and he had photographs of the prototype of an improved light bomber to take the place of the A-20. Took them two years to perfect it and get it into production. Our pilots tested them on missions. At first they tried sending them out with the A-20, but the A-20 couldn't keep up with it.

Jack Heyn

 

With this web page, we are attempting to track the A-26 in service with the 3rd BG from the 1944 testing at Nadzab & Hollandia  through the use in Korea with the designation B-26.  As with every other web page associated with the 3rdattackgroup.org, it is the result of the research, photos and information provided by people who were there and the true friends of the 3rd BG. Everything posted can be changed to reflect new information or corrections to the posted material. Keep checking back as more and more  will be added. Veterans - you guys are amazing. We will do our best to GET IT RIGHT.

3rd BG Evaluation of June 1944 

 


#41-39119  crash landed at Nadzab, New Guinea Mar 4, 1945

Pilot- Raymond H. Oatley 455th Service Squadron 8th Service Group.

Via: Jim Roeder


The information in the PDF above shows the transfer of the test aircraft from Douglas - Long Beach to their departure from Oakland on May 6, 1944. They arrived at Finschhafen later that month and were assembled and flown to Nadzab as detailed in the John P. Henebry document below.

Via: Scott Lindley

 

Via: Craig Myhre

Purportedly one of the 4 evaluation A-26s tested by the 3rd BG in 1944. It has the under wing gun pods. The writing on the fuselage could possibly indicate that this is Nadzab where the 4 aircraft returned after the evaluation.

Mindoro - Okinawa - Japan  1945

The color profile shows A-26B-51-DL #44-34323 with 8th Squadron marking. Verification can be found in the Production List provided below on the first page 172. What is interesting is the block of A-26B-DL aircraft shown above this ID. There are 24 aircraft shown in this block. We know that the 3rd BG received 25 aircraft at Mindoro P.I. in June, 1945. At this point, there is no way to say if these were the 24 aircraft that joined the Group at this time.

 

 

 

A-26B-56 #44-34343 and shows the a/c (Tail Letter Z) of the 13th SQ CO, Maj. Donald L. MacLellan.

It was assigned to the 3rd BG in June 1945, and flew during the last two months of the war, surviving into the post-war period. It was holed by AA fire at least once on 8/9/45. Damaged in an accident 5/9/46 at Arari, Japan. 

This image is mistakenly identified as an A-20G. The following 4 identifiers that clarify this discrepancy are:                              1/ Square tail, A-20's are round, 2/ gunners access hatch in starboard side of aircraft 3/it has dual clamshell cockpit access  4/ low profile solid top turret, not raised perspex turret like A-20G's.This a/c was one of the "-56 specials" built for the 3rd with no lower turret but an extra fuel tank in its place.  

USAF Photo via:  A-20 Boston At War 

Information via: Larry Hickey, Mark Harbour & Scott Lindley

 

 

JAPAN  1946-1950 

 

8th Attack Squadron Training Flight over Japan  June 1947

 

 

 

The photo of the 5th Chadwick -- I don't recall a single story building adjacent to the hangars, but after all it has been about 65 years.This photo gives us an excellent shot of all 3 versions of the WW II Invader. There were 2 versions of the hard nose {B} model. In all cases with the 3rd BG, all hard nose 6 gun versions were unpainted aluminum. Also, in all cases all hard nose 8 gun versions were painted OD. I never saw any exception to this rule.  The early glass nose "C" models were unpainted aluminum. At some later point during WW II, the C model was used as unarmed Recon and designated RB-26C and were painted black. That later pretty much became standard paint for all 26 C models. The C model Alpha ID "D" in the photo, was lost at some point and was replaced by a 6 gun hard nose s/n 44-34296 - I was crew chief on it from late '47 until it was lost in a mid-air in April 1948, at which point I became CC on 44-34364.   
The flight line shot with glass nose {unpainted aluminum} "C".  This aircraft has had the vert stab replaced {with whatever parts were available} due to some damage. This was not uncommon as we were moving these planes in and out of hangars built for Japanese fighters and the door height presented a problem. The photo I have attached shows a wooden ramp we used to run the nose wheel up on in order to lower the tail for moving in and out of the hangar - sometimes there were accidents. Take a close look at this photo - you will see the 8th, 13th and 90th BS of the 3rd BG represented.. Look at the extreme left edge and you will see a part of a yellow tail of the 8th, then all the red tails of the 13th, then zoom in and notice the white tails of the 90th in the background. In regards to the questions of the unpainted 6 gun aircraft, they possibly came from the 319th BG  A-26 Invaders based on Okinawa and was deactivated Dec 1945. In addition to the 3rd BG at Yokota AB, the 38th BG was at Itama AB, Osaka, Japan from Oct 1946 - April 1949 when it was inactivated. It is logical to assume the Invaders of the 319th were used as replacement acft for the 3rd BG and the 38th BG as losses occurred in these units.

The 6 gun nose was the early version of the B model - the 8 gun nose was the later version of the B model. The 319th was equipped with the early version B model. This matches with my recollection that all the replacement planes we received were the 6 gun nose B model most likely from the deactivated 319th BG.

(Joe Stroud)

 

Dave Menard Collection  ( Replicainscale)

 

 

Here is picture ostensibly of "Queen", but when you look under the wing (take note of the packet guns) you see the 13th flat top in the background with a glass nose.  The tail ID is not visible but the SN is.  Looking to the right of "Queen" you see off in the distance a glass nosed -26 with two machine guns on the right side of the bombardier station. I'll bet that made a racket inside when they went off.  I think only a very few of the 2 guns noses were built.   

 

While at Iwakuni, Joe Kostohryz took a photo of the same flat top (43-22343)with a the glass nose changed to a 6 gun hardnose so they must have intended in 1951 to use it in combat despite its bail out problems.  I don't know what the tail ID was in the under-the-wing shot by John Harris, but when Kostohryz took the photo the tail ID was not a letter of the alphabet but an exclamation point (known on the flight line as "the Point) 

 

Each B-26 squadron in Korea got a very bright searchlight to hang under a wing so they could see better what they were shooting at.  I have a story about the searchlight on my web site. 13thbombsquadron.org 

Capt. John Walmsley of the 8th Squadron got a Medal of Honor for getting killed using the searchlight and after that the idea was dropped.
Charles Hinton - Information   John W. Harris -
Photos

 

 

B-26B Invader  4434552  "Brown Nose"

When the 452nd BG (709th BS, 729th BS, 730th BS, 731st BS) left the US they flew to Iwakuni AB in Japan arriving November 1950. The 731st BS was immediately re-assigned to the 3rd BG who conducted missions from Iwakuni. On June 25, 1951 the 731st was re-designated 90th Bombardment Squadron (Light Night Intruder). Between November 1950 and June 25, 1951 the 731st BS flew 2,000 sorties requiring over 9,000 flying hours. “Brown Nose” also flew in Vietnam as a B-26K.

 

CLARK FIELD  1953

 


Attached is an interesting bit of trivia: Right after the truce in Korea, USAF sent a number of B-26s to the French in IndoChina. Here is part of the transfer process ongoing. Its at Clark sometime in Fall of 53. You can just make out a French crewman or two in this photo. The B-26  coded BC-372 was returned to USAF control next year. The B-26s you see here (at Clark Field) are primarily B-models and come from at least a couple of different units. All are what you might call well-used, and most have the WW2 gun nose with 6 .50-cals displaced horizontally in pairs of two.

Don Jay

4-35372 (c/n 28651, B-26B) loaned to France Apr 1954 for service in Indochina.
Returned to USAF Jul 1954 and to civil registry as N8028E but NTU.
Stored by
Pima Museum, then sold for parts. Fuselage reported at Gnoss Field, CA

When I was at Clark 58-61, my office was in a large Quonset hut at the north end of the parking ramp. Just off the ramp area was a large grass field where B-26 Invaders were parked - probably 25 to 30 as I recall, looking very much like the ones in this photo. I remember they were black and had different colors on vert stab tips. About mid 1959, a crew of Filipinos showed up one day with saws, cutting torches and anything that could be used to cut metal and began to unceremoniously destroy these planes. After salvaging anything usable they melted the metal over open fires in the field. Within a matter of days there was no evidence these planes had ever been there. Hard to watch because I really loved my time on the Invader ten years earlier.

(Joe Stroud)

 

The image is too small to see the details necessary to identify them, and there can be more than one aircraft with the 3 digit "buzz"   The 13th had a "372" in 1950 with ID on the tail as N, but it had an 8 gun nose (that could have been changed)  Aircraft built with 6 gun noses had upper & lower turrets.   The bird X-ray may be a K-9 airplane because the red on the stabilizer tip is only half red.                                                                                                                                                                                                                            (Charles Hinton)

If the green tail you are speaking of is a "half color": type, that would probably indicate it belonged to the 17th B/W if the photo is 1953 vintage.  The 17th took over for the 452nd (a reserve wing) in May of 1952 and the aircraft remained in place to the end of the war.  As you know the 3rd Wing was based at K-8 Kunsan and the 452nd/17th was at K-9 Pusan. Not being up on such, I do not know the exact squadron conversions, color by color but I suspect some of your other contacts may.  To me it appears the half red tail of the 729th squadron (452nd) became the half red of the 37th squadron (17th).  I know there were half green and half blue tailed birds involved too but haven't made those conversions yet. As best I can tell right now, the colors for the 17th B/W squadrons were: 34th green -- 37th red -- and 95th blue; all with the color on the tail but not rudder (my half-tail description). I'm just doing online checking so get confirmation from someone before we agree it's "fact".  The attached photo is not a 13th bird but one from the 37th of the 17th Wing; hence the half color.

(Scott Lindley)

 

 

Scott Lindley sent this image which shows the placement of the 6 guns in the nose.

XA-26F

 


The XA-26F was a prototype for a high-speed version of the Invader. A single A-26B-61-DL (44-34586) was modified as the XA-26F prototype. It was fitted with a pair of 2100 hp R-2800-83 engines initially driving three-bladed propellers but later fitted with four-bladed units with large spinners. In addition, a 1600 lb.s.t. General Electric J31 turbojet was installed in the rear fuselage, with the exhaust pipe in the tail and fed by an intake above the central portion of the fuselage in place of the usual dorsal turret and gunner position. The eight-gun nose and the six wing 0.50-inch machine guns were retained. With all three engines running at full power, the aircraft achieved a maximum speed of 435 mph at 15,000 feet. However, this was deemed to be an insufficient performance improvement over the proposed A-26D to warrant any production.

 

319TH BOMB GROUP - OKINAWA - JULY 1945

 

 

 

 

After carefully examining both the 319th BG Diaries for January - August 1945 and the Form 5s of 3rd BG veterans of the 89th Squadron from this period, it becomes clear that the 3rd BG flew the A-26 in combat starting on July 12, 1945 & the 319th BG on July 16, 1945. All 319th BG missions in July were at 8-10,000 feet. 319th aircraft strength on July 31, 1945 indicates only 64 aircraft being listed compared to the 96 A-26B & C models on July 5, 1945. On August 14, 1945 a directive was ordered sending 57 A-26s first to Clark Field and then to Dulag awaiting further orders.