This, Philip Listemann’s second booklet in the “Allied Wings” series, scrutinises within its 58 pages, the British and American employment of the initial version Martin B-26A medium bomber (easily identified by its shorter-wingspan compared with later marks flown by the USA & France etc.) The B-26A was operated by 14 Sqdn. RAF as the Marauder Mk 1 and by various Stateside based USAAF Bomber Groups and training-units
The first ten pages present the birth of the Martin 179 design with the usual development problems which had to be overcome, leading up to service trials & acceptance of the B-26, and B-26-A, perhaps the most advanced bomber of the USAAF’s arsenal at the time of introduction in 1941 ; along with basic technical specs for the B-26A / Marauder Mk. 1. Thereafter the booklet essentially concentrates on the employment of the Marauder Mk 1 in the Middle East & later Italy by 14 Squadron RAF.
Thirteen pages cover the highlights of the war fought by 14 Squadron, with aircrew from all British & Commonwealth nations, on Marauders between 1942 and late 1944. It becomes obvious that the Squadron was very active, flying bombing, torpedo and reconnaissance missions during long & more often than not solitary patrols over the Mediterranean Sea and that, although heavy losses were suffered, the Marauder proved to be a versatile, fast and rugged aeroplane which could defend itself extremely well, often surviving attacks by such opponents as JU 88s Me109s and FW 190s. The famous combat of W/C Maydwell during 1943 in which a lumbering Me323 was shot down was one of many such belligerent encounters with a great variety of German and Italian aircraft types, which the two page claims list underlines.
A tally of all the 1,468 ops flown by the squadron from October 1942 – September 1944 is clearly presented by list presenting monthly ops, and total hours flown.
The author provides in his accustomed fashion a simple map of the Mediterranean theatre – with all those aerodromes and detachments marked from which the Squadron operated. Six subsequent pages detail 48 aircraft lost by the RAF during operations and due to flying accidents or whilst being ferried. A total register of all B-26A airframes follows – with details of individual a/c allocations and final fates. The list also includes those a/c which were flow by the various USA based bomber-groups and training units – and shows the high (non-operational) attrition rate suffered by the type in the USA – which earned it the title “Widow-Maker”. (The list notes that FK373 was shot down during August 1943 by Ju52s – but other details of what must have been an unusual / unfortunate combat are not given.)
A list presenting sortie totals per a/c flown by 14 Squadron and a Roll of Honour of the 164 RAF aircrew lost on Marauder Mk 1s round off the book’s content. Richly illustrated by over forty b/w period photographs and 6 colour profiles by Malcolm Laird – Allied Wings N° 2 “Martin Marauder Mk. I” costs only 13 €.
The reviewer recommends it heartily to Marauder “enthusiasts” and those interested in the Mediterranean air-war.
50 pages, 17 x 24,5 cm, softcover
Over 40 photographs, 6 colour profiles.
En anglais / In English
Allied Wings collection