Unique Plane Paint Schemes…Image #3: A USAAF B-24 Liberator in the markings of an assembly lead aircraft. Bombers such as these were used to help lead and develop the cohesion of the massive bomber formations of the US bombers that carried out daylight raids in Europe during WWII.
More Wings of War at the Movies…Image #3: A North American B-25 Mitchell undergoing service in the 1970 film of Joseph Heller’s novel, ‘Catch-22’
The Martin B-26 Marauder
The last American nominee for the title of Best Allied multi-engined bomber of World War Two, the B-26 had a shaky start in service due to the high demands placed on its crews when landing, especially with engine damage. Nicknamed ‘the Widowmaker’ the B-26 underwent structural changes whilst aircrew were given more specialised training in handling the Marauder’s landing characteristics. Additionally the change in tactics (from low level bombing to medium altitude) saw a drastic reduction in losses until by the war’s end the B-26 Marauder had the lowest loss rate of any US bomber. Used mostly in the ETO, some Marauders were used in the Pacific, whilst lend-lease B-26s of the RAF, SAAF and Free French Air Force flew missions in the Mediterranean and Balkans.
To vote for the B-26 Marauder visit this link here.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress
Arguably the apogee of strategic bomber design from World War II and famous for being the type that delivered the only two atomic bombs ever dropped in war, the B-29 was a unique and revolutionary aircraft. Being able to deliver up to 9,000 kgs of bombs over trans-oceanic or trans-continental sorties, the Superfortress was able to fly with more destructive power over a longer distance than any other aircraft of WWII. Used solely in the bombing offensive over Japan in the last two years of the war, the importance of the B-29 was such that it even formed part of the overall American strategy in its Pacific operations. Used initially in a high altitude precision strategic bombing role, the B-29 was switched to night time incendiary bombing raids with devastating effect (such as the disastrous Tokyo fire storm raids culminating in Operation Meetinghouse). Then with Enola Gay and Bocks Car B-29s dropped the two atom bombs that helped end the Second World War.
Whilst the B-29 was used in combat only by the Americans during WWII in the Pacific, the type saw service long after the war ended, forming the initial backbone of SAC and extensive use in the Korean War. Before the RAF introduced the Canberra the B-29 (as the Boeing Washington) was its long range nuclear bomber whilst the Soviets actually reverse engineered damaged and impounded B-29s to create the Tupolev Tu4.
If you wish to vote for the B-29 go to this link here.
North American B-25 Mitchell
The B-25 is the seventh nominee in the poll to find the best Allied multi-engined bomber of WWII here at Wings of War. Famous for its role in the so-called Doolittle Raid, the B-25 was arguably the most widely used medium bomber built in America during the Second World War. It saw service on all main fronts throughout the war, including RAF tactical bombing missions over occupied Europe, Soviet sorties on the Eastern Front, American, Australian and Dutch use in the Pacific, and RAF/USAAF raids in the Mediterranean from El Alamein till victory in Italy. Sturdy with a capacity to serve as a conventional tactical bomber through other roles to low-level gunship, the Mitchell figured prominently in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea.
You can choose the B-25 by voting at this link here.
The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress
The sixth voting option in the Wings of War December poll, looking to find the best multi-engined bomber of World War II to serve with the Allies is the legendary B-17.
The B-17 is synonymous with the American daylight bombing campaign in Europe, having featured in almost every raid against the European Axis from May 1942. It delivered almost 580,560 metric tonnes of bombs (making it the second heaviest bomb dropping aircraft for the Allies in Europe, behind only the Lancaster), and was famous for being able to survive incredible levels of damage. Iconic thanks to the legendary ‘Memphis Belle’, the B-17 contributed to major raids such as those undertaken during Operation Point Blank, and served through till VE Day in Europe. It’s use in the Pacific was less successful, however it made a valuable contribution in the Battle for the Atlantic serving with the RAF’s Coastal Command.
You can vote for the B-17 (as at least 4 others have) here.
The Consolidated B-24 Liberator
Fifth nominee to consider when voting in the December Wings of War poll to find the best multi-engined bomber to serve with the Allies in WWII is the Consolidated B-24 Liberator.
The B-24 holds the distinction of being the most produced Allied multi-engined bomber during the Second World War, with over 18.400 built by Consolidated and Ford. As part of the American daylight bombing offensive on Germany it contributed about a third of available aircraft and it was able to carry a greater bomb load than the B-17. It’s most famous operation was that undertaken against the Rumanian oil fields at Ploesti (Operation Tidal Wave), and unlike the B-17 the B-24 saw wider service outside Europe (including FEAF use in Burma and Australian use in the South West Pacific). The Liberator in its VLR version was a key weapon in the defeat of the U-Boat menace during the Battle of The Atlantic.
You can cast your vote in favour of the B-24 Liberator here.
Today’s series of images focuses on American experimental and prototype bombers…first up, the North American XB-28 Dragon