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Postage Stamp Planes PS5562-2
Martin B-26B Marauder Diecast Model
USAAF 322nd BG, 449th BS, #41-31773 Flak Bait, RAF Andrews Field, England, 1943

1:107 Scale   Length   Width
Martin B-26B Marauder   6.25"   8"

B-26B-25-MA nicknamed "Flak Bait" (AAF serial number 41-31773) survived 207 operational missions over Europe, more than any other American aircraft during World War II (A de Havilland Mosquito B. Mk. IX bomber completed 213 missions but this aircraft was destroyed in a crash at Calgary Airport in Canada, two days after V-E Day, see NASM D. H. 98 Mosquito). Workers at the Baltimore factory completed "Flak Bait" in April 1943 and a crew flew it to England. The AAF assigned it to the 449th Bombardment Squadron, 322nd Bombardment Group (nicknamed the "Annihilators'), and gave the bomber the fuselage identification codes "PN-O." Lt. James J. Farrell of Greenwich, Connecticut, flew more missions in "Flak Bait" than any other pilot. He named the bomber after "Flea Bait," his brother's nickname for the family dog.

This Marauder earned its nickname after just a few missions. Other bombers returned unscathed but "Flak Bait" invariably returned full of holes. "It was hit plenty of times, hit all the time," recalls Farrell. "I guess it was hit more than any other plane in the group. "Flak Bait" completed 100 missions by June 1, 1944, making it the third Marauder based in Britain to hit the century-mission mark. The bomber soaked up 700 metal splinters on mission 180 in March 1945. On September 10, 1943, during a mission to Amiens, France, a Messerschmitt Bf 109 approached unseen with the sun at its back. The German pilot attacked "Flak Bait" and a 20-mm cannon shell penetrated the Plexiglas nose, wounding the bombardier, and exploded against the back of the instrument panel. Despite having his instruments knocked out, and a metal fragment lodged in his leg, Farrell brought "Flak Bait" back to England. "It was the best landing I ever saw the boss make," commented Sgt. Don Tyler, tail gunner. During other missions, "Flak Bait" gunners downed at least three German aircraft but only one was officially credited to the bomber.

"Flak Bait's" hour of glory came on April 17, 1945, when it completed its 200th mission, leading the entire 322nd BG to Magdeburg and back. In its career, this bomber flew from four airfields-two of them on the continent after D-Day-and logged 725 hours of combat time. It returned twice on one engine and once with an engine on fire, suffered complete electrical failure twice and lost the hydraulic system on one mission. The bomber also bombed coastal targets, flew two missions on D-Day and twenty-one missions against V-1 flying bomb launch sites in the Pas de Calais area of France, and attacked targets in Holland, Belgium. The 322nd was the first American bombardment group in the European Theater to bomb in force at night. "Flak Bait" flew three night bombing missions and a black bomb symbol painted on the left fuselage below the cockpit represents one of these night missions.

Few Marauders survive today. One is preserved at the Air Force Museum, Dayton, Ohio, and another can be seen at the Musée de l'Air. Because it has a special history, General Henry H. "Hap" Arnold selected "Flak Bait" to include in a collection of World War II aircraft from different countries that the general set aside for the National Aeronautical Collection. The Air Force transferred the bomber to the National Air Museum in May 1949 but it was not moved to the suburbs of Washington, D. C., until 1960. The original paint is still bright, but more than a thousand patched flak holes bear witness to the fact that this famous Marauder was indeed appropriately named.

Martin B-26B Marauder

Designed to meet a US Army Air Corps specification for a twin-engined medium bomber, the B-26 Marauder was first flown on November 25, 1940. Early in its service career, the B-26 was nicknamed "Widowmaker" because of its high accident statistics, especially during takeoffs and landings, when pilots were required to maintain a much higher than average speed to avoid stalling. Later model B-26Bs underwent a series of aerodynamics modifications, making the aircraft safer to fly. Used in the Pacific, Western European and Mediterranean Theaters, the B-26 eventually became the primary bomber on the Western Front, ending the war with fewer losses than any other USAAF bomber.

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Postage Stamp Planes

The "Postage Stamp Planes" range presents affordable, ready-made diecast models of military and civilian aircraft.

"Postage Stamp Planes" diecast airplanes feature:

  • Diecast metal construction with some plastic components.
  • Realistic panel lines, antennas, access panels and surface details.
  • Pad printed markings and placards that won't fade or peel like decals.
  • Presentation stand to display the aircraft "in flight".
  • Authentic ordnance loads.

© Copyright 2003-2023 The Flying Mule, Inc.    

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