MARTIN 1/9 B26 MARAUDER
He then put his superb talent to work to solve the problem of storing sufficient combat ammunition for the tail turret, near the bomb bay where there was plenty of room and still have it feed automatically to the guns. "Experts" said it could not be done, that guns would not be able to pull belts of ammunition that far. Magruder disagreed, adding that all they needed was the right track to move on. He put the problem to LIONEL, the toy train manufacturing company, and soon reached an agreement for them to furnish the miles of track necessary to equip the Marauder production line. Later, of course, the idea was adapted for other combat aircraft.
Magruder's design and construction team refused to take no for an answer to any proposed improvement that they considered would make the Marauder a more effective fighting machine. Their vision and understanding of what was needed was far ahead of their time, and their ingenuity and perseverance in solving apparently unsolvable problems, under the highest pressure from the time schedule, and with no opportunity for proper testing was a magnificent tribute to their professionalism. The contribution they made to the Allied victory in World War II can never be over-emphasised.
The Marauder production got under way and began to gather immediate momentum. The first aircraft was rolled out of the Martin's Baltimore plant, Number 40-163 1, on November 25th, 1940. On November 29th, William IQ Ebel, the Glenn Martin Test Pilot and Chief Engineer, with Ed Fenimore as Co-Pilot and Al Malewski as Flight Engineer taxied 1631 out, ran the engines up, checked the mags., turned into take-off position, opened the throttles to full bore, brakes off, and roared down the runway for the Marauder's historic maiden flight.
The aircraft performed splendidly, the flight test report was enthusiastic, and the Army immediately ordered that the service test programme be accelerated. Glenn Martin pushed production of the Baltimore plant to the limit, and in March 1941 the order for a new plant to be built at Omaha, Nebraska was placed, to provide additional Marauder production capacity. By December, 1941, production was proceeding apace, and when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbour, fifty-three Marauders were despatched to Australia, as the 22nd Bomb Group and were soon - in action over New Guinea as war in the Pacific moved closer to Australia's Northern Territory. The 22nd's experienced crews threw themselves enthusiastically into operations, and did magnificently, as did their Marauders which performed every bit as well as Glenn Martin and Peyton Magruder had said that they would.
Two Marauders of the 22nd Bomb Group, delayed in Hawaii on their way to Australia, and two belonging to the 38th Bomb Group, recently arrived there, were sent to Midway and on June 4th 1942, in company with six Navy Avenger torpedo aircraft, attacked enemy carriers with their torpedoes in the face of tremendous fighter and anti-aircraft opposition. Two of the Marauders were lost, and the other two were so badly damaged that they never flew again.
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