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Martin B-26 Marauder

Martin B-26 Marauder Book Review

By Kelly Jamison

Date of Review June 2016 Title Martin B-26 Marauder
Author William Wolf Publisher Schiffer Publishing Ltd.
Published 2014 ISBN 978-0-7643-4741-2
Format 640 pages, Hardbound MSRP (USD) $79.95

Review

This is an amazing book on this subject and could be argued that it is the definitive book on the B-26 Marauder. The book is big. Very big and very heavy. You know you have the last word in this subject in your hand when you pick it up. With a page count of 640 pages of high quality and acid free paper, the book is covered in 10 chapters:

  1. Glenn L. Martin and His Company
  2. Design and Procurement
  3. Production
  4. Variants
  5. Major Components and Equipment
  6. OUT-RTU training
  7. Handling, Maintenance, and Inspection
  8. Flying the B-26
  9. B26 in Combat
  10. Postwar Marauders

Many of the photographs are period black and white with many photos that I have never seen before and I have been studying this aircraft for over 20 years. There are color photos of restored aircraft at Fantasy of Flight B-26 and the National Museum of the Air Force. The end of the book covers existing B-26’s that are flying, displayed or under restoration with the current condition of the aircraft where possible. This is a nice piece of icing on the cake after reading the main body of the book.

Chocked full of interesting facts like one of the first trailer parks was made by Martin to house his instant workforce needed during wartime on plant grounds and the ski manufacturing mogul Howard Head developed the techniques used in his revolutionary new skis while working for Martin.

The plane had many unusual problems and over time each one got ironed out but not before the plane got a bad reputation by pilots. When the accident rate started to erode the confidence of the Army Air Corps flying community, General Hap Arnold sent in his big gun, the 5’-4” diminutive Jimmy Doolittle who learned everything he could about the B-26. Doolittle continued to fly the plane and learning its unique characteristics, he reported back to Arnold that there wasn’t anything about the B-26 couldn’t be overcome by proper training.

Even though Doolittle’s confidence building demonstrations at training schools were impressive, it did not actually cover what combat crews were facing. Taking off from makeshift airfields with a full fuel load, bomb load and armored up with the tail gunners positons and other crew stations completely configured for combat action. The plane was in a drastically different configuration than Doolittle’s striped down demo plane but Doolittle, flying alone or with his plane crew chief as copilot to skirt regulations, gave the crews the confidence that they needed to continue to train and believe in their abilities with the aircraft.

In conclusion, Author William Wolf does an excellent job of bringing the story of the B-26 together in one comprehensive work. The flow of the book is excellent. The drawings, photographs and research tables match and enhance the narrative of the individual chapters complimenting each subject matter. Mr. Wolf should be commended for this amazing book. If you have an interest in the B-26 then you need this book. Just put your weight lifting belt on before reading.

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