341st Bomb Group - A-26B Specs
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Douglas Aircraft Company
A-26B Invader

color photo of a Douglas A-26B, 'Invader', taxing.
This fully restored aircraft is a very, fine example of the 'strafer-nosed' version of the A-26.


Original text by Joe Baugher jfb@uscbu.ih.att.com

The archive of Mr. Baugher's A-26 Series report is supported at ELEVON, which is maintained by Carl Pettypiece.


 


  A-26 Invader General Information

  | A26B Specifications |

    The A-26B was the solid-nosed attack version of the Invader. The XA-26B-DE (41-19588) was the prototype of this particular version and was fitted with an unglazed nose housing a forward-firing 75-mm cannon. The crew consisted of pilot and gun loader/navigator seated side-by-side in the forward cockpit, and a gunner in the rear position behind the wing trailing edge. The rear gunner was provided with two viewing windows, one in the dorsal position and the other in the ventral position.

    It turned out that the XA-26B was the last Invader to be built at the El Segundo plant. Plans were for the production version of the Invader to be built at newly-constructed Douglas plants in Tulsa, Oklahoma and in Long Beach, California. It was planned that the solid-nosed B would be manufactured side-by-side with the transparent-nosed C at both plants.

    The production of the Invader began first at the Long Beach plant. The solid-nosed B was actually the first off the production line. The first of five A-26B-1-DL Invaders appeared in September of 1943. As compared with the prototype, the A-26B had an increased bomb load (6000 pounds) and higher internal fuel capacity of 1600 US gallons. The powerplants were housed in slightly revised nacelles and drove three-bladed propellers without spinners. The engines were a pair of 2000 hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800-27 radials.

    Fifteen A-26B-5s followed with minor changes and which eliminated the camouflage that had been applied previously to bombers. These versions had one 75-mm cannon in the nose and two 0.50-inch machine guns on the left side.

    A new all-purpose nose was installed beginning with the A-26B-10-DL. Initially, the USAAF was undecided about what armament this version should carry. As originally planned, it was expected that the A-26B would be fitted with a variety of alternate solid nose sections, and that one deemed to be the best would be selected. Options that were tested on early A-26Bs included one 75-mm cannon to starboard and two 0.50-inch machine guns to port; one 75-mm cannon to starboard and one 37-mm cannon to port; two 37-mm cannon with one on each side of the nose; one 37-mm cannon to starboard and two 0.50-inch machine guns to port; four 0.50-inch guns starboard and one 37-mm cannon to port; or four 0.50-inch guns to starboard and two 0.50-in guns to port. Eventually at the end of 1944, the USAAF finally made up its mind and decided that the solid-nosed A-26B would have six machine guns with 400 rounds per gun. The guns in the two turrets had 500 rounds each.

    Beginning with the A-26B-15, the forward-firing armament could be supplemented by eight 0.50-inch guns mounted in four twin packages underneath the outer wing panels.

    Five aircraft from the initial Fiscal Year 1941 A-26 production batch were completed as A-26C-DL bombers with transparent noses and two nose guns. These were destined to be the only A-26Cs to be built at Long Beach, all the remaining A-26Cs being built at Tulsa.

    The first 500 Invaders (up to A-26B-40-DL) were built at Long Beach. A parallel production line was established at Tulsa, Oklahoma for 500 aircraft ordered on March 17, 1943. The first Tulsa-built A-26Bs appeared in January of 1944. Of the Tulsa-built Invaders, 205 were delivered as A-26Bs with the rest being built as A-26Cs with glazed noses. Most of these Tulsa-built A-26Bs were powered by the Ford-built R-2800-71 engine with a revised ignition system.

    Although both the Long Beach and Tulsa plants had started building both Invader versions, it was decided in late 1944 that this was an inefficient arrangement and that it would make better sense for the Long Beach plant to build only A-26Bs and the Tulsa plant to build only A-26Cs. This was indeed done, and the Long Beach plant stopped producing A-26Cs after only five were built.

    During production, a number of improvements were introduced on the line. The oil cooler inlets on the wing leading edge were redesigned. The dorsal turret was modified to eliminate empennage buffeting. Initial combat reports from the field had complained about poor visibility from the cockpit, especially to the side. In order to improve visibility, the original flat-topped cockpit canopy which opened upward on the right side of the cockpit was replaced by a raised canopy opening in clamshell-fashion in two frameless elements around hinges on both sides of the pilot's cockpit. The new canopy enabled the pilot to see over both engine nacelles and towards the tail surfaces as well as to check whether both main landing wheels were down. This new canopy was at first hand-built and fitted to a few early aircraft, but was introduced as standard equipment beginning with the A-26B-30-DL block.

    Beginning with the A-26B-45-DL block, the engines were switched to Ford-built R-2800-79 with water injection, raising the war emergency power to 2350 hp.

    The forward-firing armament of the early A-26B was found to be insufficient, especially in the Pacific theatre. Beginning with the A-26B-50-DL production block, a new eight-gun nose was fitted, and six internally-mounted 0.50-inch guns were mounted in the outer wing panels so that bombs or rockets could be carried underneath the wings. However, the eight-gun nose and the internal wing guns were often retrofitted to earlier A-26B versions, so the mere presence of these features cannot be used as a positive identification feature.

    In aircraft destined for service in the Pacific (-51-DL, -56-DL, -61-DL, and -66-DL), the remotely-controlled ventral turret was replaced by a 125-US gallon auxiliary tank for extra range.

    A total of 1150 A-26Bs were built at Long Beach (A-26B-1-DL to A-26B-66-DL) and an additional 205 were built at Tulsa (A-26B-5-DT to A-26B-25-DT). Production of the A-26B ended at Long Beach in September 1945, when the end of the war resulted in the cancellation of further contracts. Production of the B at Tulsa had ceased at the end of 1944 at Tulsa, when the decision was made that the Oklahoma plant would concentrate solely on the transparent-nosed A-26C version.

    In June of 1948, the A-26B was redesignated B-26B. There was no danger of confusion with the Martin B-26 Marauder, since that aircraft was by that time out of service.

Serials of A-26B:
   41-19588		Douglas XA-26B-DE - c/n 1006
   41-39100/39104	Douglas A-26B-1-DL - c/n 6813/6817
   41-39105/39119	Douglas A-26B-5-DL - c/n 6818/6832
   41-39120/39139	Douglas A-26B-10-DL - c/n 6833/6852
   41-39140/39151	Douglas A-26B-15-DL - c/n 6853/6864
   41-39153/39192	Douglas A-26B-15-DL - c/n 6866/6905
   41-39194		Douglas A-26B-15-DL - c/n 6907
   41-39196/39198	Douglas A-26B-15-DL - c/n 6909/6911
   41-39201/39299	Douglas A-26B-20-DL - c/n 6914/7012
   41-39300/39349	Douglas A-26B-25-DL - c/n 7013/7062
   41-39350/39424	Douglas A-26B-30-DL - c/n 7063/7137
	- 39359 with Planes of Fame Air Museum, Minnesota
   41-39425/39499	Douglas A-26B-35-DL - c/n 7138/7212
   41-39500/39599	Douglas A-26B-40-DL - c/n 7213/7312
   43-22252/22266	Douglas A-26B-5-DT - c/n 18399/18413
   43-22267/22301	Douglas A-26B-10-DT - c/n 18414/18448
   43-22302/22303	Douglas A-26B-16-DT - c/n 18449/18450
   43-22305/22307	Douglas A-26B-15-DT - c/n 18452/18454
   43-22313/22345	Douglas A-26B-15-DT - c/n 18460/18492
   43-22350/22399	Douglas A-26B-15-DT - c/n 18497/18546
   43-22400/22453	Douglas A-26B-20-DT - c/n 18457/18600
   43-22454/22466	Douglas A-26B-25-DT - c/n 18601/18613
   44-34098/34217	Douglas A-26B-45-DL - c/n 27377/27496
		- 34156 at Vance AFB, OK
		- 34165 at Edwards AFB, CA
		- 34217 given to US Navy as XJD-1 (BuNo 57990)
   44-34218/34286	Douglas A-26B-50-DL - c/n 27497/27565
   44-34287		Douglas A-26B-51-DL - c/n 27566
   44-34288/34296	Douglas A-26B-50-DL - c/n 27567/27575
   44-34297/34298	Douglas A-26B-51-DL - c/n 27576/27577
   44-34299/34322	Douglas A-26B-50-DL - c/n 27578/27601
   44-34323		Douglas A-26B-51-DL - c/n 27602
   44-34324/34326	Douglas A-26B-50-DL - c/n 27603/27605
   44-34327		Douglas A-26B-51-DL - c/n 27606
   44-34328/34330	Douglas A-26B-50-DL - c/n 27607/27609
   44-34331		Douglas A-26B-51-DL - c/n 27610
   44-34332		Douglas A-26B-50-DL - c/n 27611 
   44-34333/34334	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27612/27613
   44-34335		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27614
   44-34336/34338	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27615/27617
   44-34339		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27618
   44-34340/34342	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27619/27621
   44-34343		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27622
   44-34344/34346	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27623/27625
   44-34347		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27626
   44-34348/34350	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27627/27629
   44-34351		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27630
   44-34352/34363	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27631/27642
   44-34364		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27643
   44-34365/34367	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27644/27646
   44-34368		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27647	
   44-34369/34371	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27648/27650
   44-34372		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27651
   44-34373/34376	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27652/27655
   44-34377		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27656
   44-34378/34381	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27657/27660
   44-34382		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27661
   44-34383/34386	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27662/27665
   44-34387		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27666
   44-34388/34392	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27667/27671
   44-34393		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27672
   44-34394/34398	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27673/27677
   44-34399		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27678
   44-34400/34404	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27679/27683
   44-34405		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27684
   44-34406/34408	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27685/27687
   44-34409		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27688
   44-34410/34412	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27689/27691
   44-34413		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27692
   44-34414/34416	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27693/27695
   44-34417		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27696
   44-34418/34419	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27697/27698
   44-34420		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27699
   44-34421/34422	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27700/27701
   44-34423		Douglas A-26B-56-DL - c/n 27702
				- at Fairchild AFB, WA
   44-34424/34472	Douglas A-26B-55-DL - c/n 27703/27751
   44-34473/34477	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27752/27756
   44-34478		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27757
   44-34479/34480	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27758/27759
   44-34481		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27760
   44-34482/34483	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27761/27762
   44-34484		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27763
   44-34485/34486	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27764/27765
   44-34487		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27766
   44-34488/34489	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27767/27768
   44-34490		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27769
   44-34491/34492	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27770/27771
   44-34493		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27772
   44-34494/34495	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27773/27774
   44-34496		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27775
   44-34497/34498	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27776/27777
   44-34499		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27778
   44-34500/34501	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27779/27780
   44-34502		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27781
   44-34503/34504	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27782/27783
   44-34505		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27784
   44-34506/34507	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27785/27786
   44-34508		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27787
   44-34509/34510	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27788/27789
   44-34511		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27790
   44-34512/34513	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27791/27792
   44-34514		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27793
   44-34515/34516	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27794/27795
   44-34517		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27796
   44-34518/34519	Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27797/27798
   44-34520		Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27799
   44-34521		Douglas A-26B-60-DL - c/n 27800
   44-34522/34585	Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27801/27864
	- 34559 at Jackson Intl. Airport, MS
   44-34586		Douglas XA-26F-DL - c/n 27665
   44-34587/34617	Douglas A-26B-61-DL - c/n 27866/27896
	- 34610 in Smithsonian collection
   44-34618/34753	Douglas A-26B-66-DL - c/n 27897/28032
	- 34665 at Offutt AFB, NE




Specifications of Douglas A-26B-15-DL Invader:
Powerplant:
Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-27 or -71 air-cooled radials, each rated at 2000 hp for takeoff and 1600 hp at 13,500 feet.
Performance:
Maximum speed 355 mph at 15,000 feet. Cruising speed 284 mph. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 8.1 minutes. Service ceiling 22,100 feet. Normal range 1400 miles, maximum range 3200 miles.
Dimensions:
Wingspan 70 feet 0 inches, length 50 feet 0 inches, height 18 feet 6 inches, wing area 540 square feet.
Weights:
22,370 pounds empty, 27,600 pounds loaded, 35,000 pounds maximum.
Armament:
Six forward-firing 0.50-inch machine guns in nose. Forward-firing armament could be supplemented by eight 0.50-inch guns mounted in four-gun twin packages mounted underneath the outer wing panels. Two 0.50-inch machine guns in remotely-controlled dorsal turret. Two 0.50-inch machine guns in remotely-controlled ventral turret. An internal bomb load of 4000 pounds could be carried. Maximum total bomb load of 6000 pounds.

Specification of Douglas A-26B-60-DL Invader:
Powerplant:
Two Pratt & Whitney R-2800-79 air-cooled radials, each rated at 2000 hp for takeoff, 2350 hp with water injection.
Performance:
Maximum speed 355 mph at 15,000 feet. Cruising speed 284 mph. An altitude of 10,000 feet could be attained in 8.1 minutes. Service ceiling 22,100 feet. Normal range 1400 miles, maximum range 3200 miles.
Dimensions:
Wingspan 70 feet 0 inches, length 50 feet 8 inches, height 18 feet 6 inches, wing area 540 square feet.
Weights:
22,362 pounds empty, 26,000 pounds loaded, 41,800 pounds maximum.
Armament:
Eight forward-firing 0.50-inch machine guns in nose. Three 0.50-inch machine guns mounted in each of the outer wing panels. Two 0.50-inch machine guns in remotely-controlled dorsal turret. Two 0.50-inch machine guns in remotely-controlled ventral turret. An internal bomb load of 4000 pounds could be carried. Maximum total bomb load of 6000 pounds.




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