The Douglas A-26 Invader first went into combat in November 1944 and quickly earned a reputation for being a rugged and dependable aircraft. It was built in two versions, the A-26B with six .50 caliber machine guns in the nose and the A-26C with a glass nose and provision for a navigator/bombardier plus two machine guns in the nose. Both versions had two-gun upper and lower power turrets in the aft fuselage. They saw combat with the Ninth Air Force in Europe and in the Pacific Theater. After a reorganization in 1948, the designation of the Invader was changed from A-26 to B-26, but it should not be confused with the Martin aircraft, the Marauder.
The Invader served with distinction during the Korean War as a night attack aircraft. It earned a place in history as being the type of aircraft that dropped the first and last bombs over Korea. In between, the A-26 flew over 60,000 combat sorties with a loss of only 56 aircraft to enemy fire.
The Invader was also used in the early days of the Vietnam Conflict. Many were loaned to the French Air Force for use in Viet Nam. When the U. S. entered the conflict, the USAF also used them, flying ground attack missions against the flow of enemy troops and material that came down the Ho Chi Minh Trail. The last combat mission of the Invader took place in 1969, a full 25 years after it first entered service.
The aircraft on display at Castle Air Museum was delivered to the Army Air Forces in May 1944. It was dropped from the Air Force inventory in August 1957.
By kjfitz @ 2007-03-10 15:56:19