The Martin B-26 Marauder Flak-Bait aircraft holds the record within the United States Army Air Forces for the number of bombing missions that survived during World War II.
B-26 ‘Flak Bait,’ survived two years of the most intense aerial combat of World War II, taking every punch German gunners and fighter pilots threw at it. Though bullets and shell fragments riddled the aircraft, ground crews repeatedly put the B-26 back in the air. By V-E Day, Flak-Bait had racked up more missions than any other U.S. aircraft.
B-26 Marauder is going through a restoration phase. There are only 3 airworthy B-26s in the world as of this writing, with only 3 other ones at various museums. Once this one is done, it’ll be on display at the National Air and Space Museum in Virginia.
You can see a quick yet informational clip of this aircraft below.
Not only is this aircraft type rare, but this particular aircraft is also almost legendary. Built late in World War II in 1943, this airframe was assigned to the 449th Bombardment Squadron, 322nd Bombardment Group and flew a stunning 207 missions in just under two years.
As you can see in some of the pictures, the side of Flak Bait (which will be preserved) shows a long string of red bombs. Unlike any other aircraft, each of these tallies represents 5 missions, not 1, as there were just too many to fit. Also, if you look closely, you’ll see a Swastika on the side as well as the crew managed to shoot down a Germany fighter on one of their missions.
Flak-Bait represents the fleet of 5,157 B-26 medium bombers produced by the Glenn L. Martin Company from 1940 through 1945.
Martin designer Peyton Magruder’s powerful, twin-engine design won a 1939 Army Air Corps competition for a fast machine capable of carrying 4,000 pounds of bombs at more than 300 mph over a range of 2,000 miles.
The B-26 fleet was retired in favour of the Douglas A-26 Invader.