B-26 “Flak Bait”

“Flak Bait” by Sir Hamilton

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Poster print price $14.95. Shipping $6.00 anywhere in the world.

Martin B-26 Marauder “Flak Bait”

Research by: Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette

Some of the artwork below is by other artist.

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B-26 Story

The Martin B-26 was rushed in its development from concept to creation. The Marauder was on the drawing board un-built, un-flown and untested in 1939 when the first order from Washington for the medium bomber arrived.

The Marauder’s first flight was in November 1940. The design was radical with a streamlined fuselage resembling a torpedo with two large engines, stubby wings and a big tail. With its fast speed and short stubby wings the B-26’s instability quickly gave the Marauder the nick name “The Widow Maker”. For new pilots the fast take off’s and landings caused much concern. After redesigning the wing area the stability of the Marauder was greatly improved and the true potential of the aircraft emerged.

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The speed of the Marauder was perfect with the Army Air Corp need for an aircraft to get to the target quickly and evade enemy aircraft with pure speed. The Marauder could fly up to 300mph after dropping its bomb load giving the B-26 an edge with FW-190’s and Bf 109’s trying to catch up.

The Marauder saw combat for the first time in April 1942 against the Japanese at Rabaul. The Marauder also saw combat at the “Battle of Midway” in attacking the Japanese fleet with torpedoes that were jury-rigged onto the aircraft for the attack. Two of the Marauders that attacked the Japanese fleet were lost.

The Marauder was introduced into the European theatre at the end of 1942. The heavy armament, speed and long range gave the Army Air Corp a heavy duty medium bomber that could deliver bombs on target and get the crews home.

The Marauder above is the most famous of the surviving B-26’s of World War II. “Flak Bait” flew with the 322nd Bombardment Group of the 9th Air Force. “Flak Bait” was damaged in battle over 1000 times while flying an amazing 202 combat missions.

During a mission on railway yards at Amiens, France “Flak Bait” was hit by a 20mm anti aircraft shell that blew out the instrument panel severely wounding the pilot. Despite the pain, loss of blood and loss of his flying instruments the pilot was able to bring “Flak Bait” home with the rest of the crew safe.

Showing the newly painted invasion stripes on the rear spine of the fuselage and dominating the upper and lower wings, “Flak Bait” flew its 101st and 102nd missions in support of the “D-Day” invasion of France.

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This is a great photo.

When the war ended the Air Corp realized that the Flak Bait had the highest mission record of any other Marauder. This B-26 was labeled “Special” in that the Air Corp wanted to preserve the Marauder for historical proposes. The officers that were put in charge of getting Flak Bait back to the U.S. safely had Army personal take the wings off the Marauder and trucked it all the way back to the French coast where it was then shipped back to the U.S. I was able to get this story by chance by a ex-G.I. from the war who was one of the men that was there and assigned to perform the task.

I met the gentlemen at a military show where I was displaying and selling my art. When he saw the print of Flak Bait he came over and introduced himself. He told me the story in-between me working with other customers. It took him on an off an hour to tell the story but it was well worth it. I had just wished that I got his name so I could thank him here.

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He told me that the first part of the journey was on the auto bond. He told me that there were a couple of over passes that they had to cross which they were glad that the bridge held the weight. He told me also that there were several over passes that had been bombed and they had to do some major engineering to make a road around the destroyed area to continue. Yes there were a couple of bridges they had to cross which they had to have the engineers that were working with them inspect to see if they could cross it. A bridges few they had to wait while the bridge was reinforced.

They were using maps of the German and French country side where they were under the impression that a bridge would be only to find the bridge destroyed. This caused much grief because they would then have to back-track and find a road and bridge that was intact.

The trip took a month of very hard labor and many hours of sitting and waiting. It must have cost tens of thousands of dollars of man hours and the use of equipment to accomplish this task. This just goes to show how stupid many of the people at the top of our military are. The bomber could have been flow to Britten in five hours from the air base it last landed on.

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This is my painting of “Flak Bait.” This painting is available to the right investor. This painting stole my heart. I enjoyed painting this bomber. I will add the name of the bomber and the unit the bomber flew with on the bottom under the bomber. I may add a Messerschmitt in pursuit as well. I do want to add two more small B-26’s to show they flew in a formation.

This painting has been autographed by one of the crew members and is available for sale.

If you are interested in buying any of my original paintings then contact me below at my E-Mail link.

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