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Douglas A-26C 'Invader'
Courtesy of the City of Bridgeport, CT
The A-26 was developed by Douglas Aircraft as a replacement for their A-20 "Havoc" to fulfill a requirement for a multi-role aircraft for both low-level ground attack and medium-altitude precision bombing. First test flown in 1942, it exceeded every stipulated design specification. With its twin 2000hp Pratt & Whitney R-2800 engines, the "Invader" was faster, had better performance and could carry more of a bomb load that either of the two primary medium bombers at the time, the North American B-25 "Mitchell' and Martin B-26 "Marauder."
Two variants of the A-26 were produced; the "B" with a solid nose that could be configured with a combination of machine guns and cannons, and the "C" with a glass nose which held a bomb sight. The glass nose section of a "C" could be exchanged for a solid nose in only a few hours based on operational roles. Its devastating firepower made for a formidable weapon when it entered combat in 1944. It was the last U.S. Army Air Force ground attack and tactical bomber introduced in World War II.
Re-designated the B-26 in 1948, the plane served in the Korean Conflict and flew day and night interdiction missions against the communist ground forces. It returned to action for a third time in Southeast Asia from 1960 to 1969. The craft also served with the Tactical Air Command through the late 1960's and also saw service with Air National Guard units up to 1972.
The Museum's A-26C was delivered to the USAAF in November, 1944 and was assigned to the 416th Bomb Group (Light), 671st Bomb Squadron stationed at Melun, France.