Model Airplane News
February, 1945

Model Airplane News Cover for February, 1945 by Jo Kotula Douglas A-26 Invader

Douglas A-26 "Invader"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for February, 1945
by Jo Kotula
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The Douglas A-26 Invader () was a United States twin-engined light attack bomber built by the Douglas Aircraft Co. during World War II that also saw service during several of the Cold War's major conflicts. A limited number of highly modified aircraft (designation A-26 restored) served in combat until 1969.

The A-26 was an unusual design for an attack bomber of the early 1940s period, as it was designed as a single-pilot aircraft (sharing this characteristic with the RAF's de Havilland Mosquito, among others). The aircraft was designed by Edward Heinemann, Robert Donovan and Ted R. Smith.

The plane was re-designated from A-26 to B-26 in 1946, and this has led to popular confusion with the Martin B-26; Although both types used the R-2800 engine, they are completely different designs.

 The Douglas A-26 Invader    The Douglas A-26 Invader Design Patent D-128,027     The Douglas A-26 Invader Design Patent D-128,027

Douglas A-26 "Invader"
Design Patent D-128,027
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The Douglas XA-26 prototype first flew in July 1942 at Mines Field, El Segundo, with test pilot Benny Howard at the controls. (Howard was a famous air racer and his "Ike" and "Mike" racing planes are featured on the cover of the April, 1933 Issue of Model Airplane News.

 The Douglas A-26 Invader 8 gun nose    The Douglas A-26 Invader 6 gun nose     The Douglas A-26 Invader Clear nose

Nose Configurations of the Douglas A-26 "Invader"
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The A-26 was originally built in two different configurations. The A-26B had a "solid" nose, which normally housed six (or later eight) .50 caliber machine guns, officially termed the "all-purpose nose", later commonly known as the "six-gun nose" or "eight-gun nose". The A-26C's "glass" nose, officially termed the "Bombardier nose", contained a Norden bombsight for medium altitude precision bombing. After about 1,570 production aircraft, three guns were installed in each wing, coinciding with the introduction of the "eight-gun nose" for A-26Bs, giving some configurations as many as fourteen (14) 50 caliber machine guns

Alongside the pilot in an A-26B, a crew member typically served as navigator and gun loader for the pilot-operated nose guns. In an A-26C, that crew member served as navigator and bombardier, and relocated to the nose section for the bombing phase of an operation. The rear gunner had a separate compartment where he operated the remotely-controlled dorsal and ventral gun turrets.

Here is a video of the Douglas A-26 "Invader" in action:

In addition to the cover of Model Airplane News, this airplane was also featured in the WINGS "Friend or Foe" trading card series of the early 1950s

 Card 008 of the Wings Friend or Foe series  The Douglas A-26 Invader

Trading card representation of the Douglas A-26 "Invader"
Click Here to see all 200 cards in the series
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Click Here for more information about the Douglas A-26 "Invader".

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