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Senior Master Sergeant
Read Warpath Across the Pacific, by Larry Hickey and company. Tons of strike photos taken by 345th BG planes.
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Thanks - and you corrected my error - all the guns were 50 cal.Hi, Twinwasp.
The MACR lists the weaponry as 5 fixed and 7 flexible .50 caliber guns.
This was the standard for B-26Cs. #41-34713 was an early B-26C-5, the first production block of the C series, built in Omaha, Nebraska. The guns were mounted as follows: one fixed and one flexible gun in the nose compartment, four fixed "package" guns attached to the sides of the fuselage below the navigator's compartment, two in the deck turret in the rear fuselage, two flexible guns in the waist windows (one left, one right), two flexible guns in a manually aimed twin mount in the tail.
View attachment 507003
Here is a photo from the National Museum of the Air Force showing a B-26C-5 from the same block. The flexible nose gun is visible, but the fixed gun has not been installed. It would appear protruding from the lower right side of the nose cone. Also, both bomb bays are open, and the torpedo mounting brackets are visible on the keel below the main bay. The turret is obscured by the wing, but would be just forward of the waist windows, on the top of the fuselage. The manual tail gun position is visible at the rear. This aircraft lacks the package guns normally attached to the fuselage sides. This is a training aircraft practicing skip bombing in Florida.
I want to learn more about the low level attacks, especially the Battle of the Bismark Sea. After 10 months of unsuccessful high and medium bombing attacks, the USAAF witjh B-25's, along with A-20's and Aussie Beaufighters attacked a IJN convoy coming down the Slot. To the utter astonishment of the IJN the air attacks sank every single transport ship as well as the convoy commander's destroyer. A couple of weeks later a B-17 did a low altitude attack on an IJN cruiser and left it dead in the water. And the IJN knew the jig was up. There is no place they would be safe. Then the USAAF shot down and killed Adm Yamamoto. After Kicking A and taking names in the Solomans the IJN left, its tail between its legs and its head down.
It was not true skip bombing but low altitude bombing. It was taught at my home town, Columbia SC, using nearby Lake Murray as a bombing range. I recently bought a book about the man who thought up that method of attack, entitled, "Indestructible."
In Alaska, the problem of forward firepower was dealt with in a different way. At least one, and possibly more, had the bombardier's position removed and a pair of .50 caliber machine guns and a pair of 20mm cannon were installed through the nose cone. The additional weapons were scavenged from wrecked P-38s or P-39s. This conversion is believed to have taken place after the 73rd Bomb Squadron moved to Adak, in the fall of 1942.
View attachment 354547
Captain John Pletcher, 73rd Bomb Squadron, 28th Composite Group, flew this plane (or one like it) while leading an attack against the 4000 ton Japanese transport Cheribon Maru, on 26 November, 1942, sinking the vessel in Holtz Bay, Attu
Add #40-1555 to list of modified B-26 strafers. Both 40-1447 and 40-1555 were damaged in landing accidents on 27 Aug 1942 at Elmendorf Field while testing the installation of the nose guns.I have now identified at least three Alaska based aircraft with this modification. 40-1558, 40-1506 (Pletcher's plane) and 40-1447.
It turns out this modification was done at Elmendorf Field as early as August 1942. However, I have not found evidence of combat use except for Pletcher's Thankgiving Day attack on Cheribon Maru.