What first drew me to World War II was the aircraft of that war. I've moved on to find other aspects of the war more fascinating (for me now, the most interesting involves the diplomacy of the war), but aviation remains the old passion that every once in a while reignites. This happens when I get to see an aircraft I've read about but never saw before. Yesterday I saw just such a plane, the B-26 Marauder on display at the Utah Beach Museum.
|If you ask nicely, sometimes you don't have to settle for a selfie.|
|The tail gun position. A student with me speculated that it was an electrical gunnery port.|
|A full view from the front, left corner.|
|The waist gun positions. I'm trying to figure out if these were anti-aircraft guns or for land use.|
The B-26 strikes me as a gorgeous plane. It looks somewhat modern to me, more so than the boxier B-25. The B-25 gets a lot more attention as a plane from World War II even though the B-26 flew many, many more sorties in the war. B-26s played an enormous role in the Normandy landings, handling much of the pre-landing bombardments near Utah Beach. It was a somewhat hard plane to handle on take-offs and landings, but its performance in the air was more nimble than most medium bombers.
A trip like this affords me the chance to linger around an artifact like this, and I lingered for quite a while. I anticipated that much of the other artifacts in the museum would be artifacts I had seen before (I was largely correct). I also had the chance to be near this aircraft with one of the students on the trip, Dylan, who knew a great deal about the aircraft. Dylan's fallen hero is an airman who served as a tail gunner on a downed B-26. He died several weeks after D-Day.