|This page is about the American strike aircraft A-26B-50. For other uses, see A-26 (Family).|
- 1 Description
- 2 General info
- 3 Armaments
- 4 Usage in battles
- 5 History
- 6 Media
- 7 See also
- 8 External links
The A-26B-50 is a rank IV American strike aircraft with a battle rating of 5.3 (AB/RB) and 5.7 (SB). It was introduced in Update 1.67 "Assault".
The A-26B-50 "Invader" is an excellent ground attack aircraft, with an impressive armament of 14 forward-facing M2 Browning .50 cal machine guns, as well as a potential secondary armament of up to 4,000 lbs worth of bombs (4 x 1,000 lbs) or 14 HVAR rockets. The Invader also boasts two dual-M2 Browning machine gun turrets, remote controlled by a gunner located in the rear section of the aircraft.
The Invader's strength over many similar dual-engine aircraft is its powerful armament. The A-26B-50, compared to the A-26C-45DT, has an additional 8 M2 Browning .50 cal machine guns mounted in the nose, making it a terrifying opponent to anything unfortunate enough to end up in front of it's nose.
|Characteristics|| Max Speed
(km/h at 4,573 m)
| Max altitude
| Turn time
| Rate of climb
| Take-off run|
|Combat flaps||Take-off flaps||Landing flaps||Air brakes||Arrestor gear|
|Wings (km/h)||Gear (km/h)||Flaps (km/h)||Max Static G|
|Optimal velocities (km/h)|
|< 390||< 375||< 460||> 350|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|1,310 m||2,000 hp||2,440 hp|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|4,572 m||1,600 hp||1,952 hp|
Survivability and armour
- 12.7 mm Steel - Nose plate
- 8 mm Steel - Under engine armor plate (each nacelle)
- 12.7 mm Steel - Fore/aft nacelle fuel protection plates x 2 (each nacelle)
- 12.7 mm Steel - Fore cockpit armor plate
- 9.5 mm Steel - Cockpit tub
- 9 mm Steel - Pilot/Co-pilot's seat backs
- 12.7 mm Steel - Gunner aft armor plate
- 12.7 mm Steel - Gunner lower armor plate
- 12.7 mm Steel - Aircraft tail armor plate
- 60 mm Bulletproof glass - Pilot
Modifications and economy
Though speed is a factor in survival for the Invader, it should seek to first obtain its diverse payload to allow it to effectively fulfill its intended role. Start off researching the SBC-25, then Fuselage repair. Proceed to research SBC mk.I, the Compressor, and the Radiator. Once you have those three, go for MBC mk.I and Engine. From here-on out, it is personal preference. If you are skilled in using HVAR rockets, research FRC mk.5 at this point, otherwise take Engine injection and Wings repair first. Finally, finish off Airframe and Cover then upgrade your weaponry.
The A-26B-50 is armed with:
- 8 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine gun, nose-mounted (360 rpg = 2,880 total)
- 6 x 12.7 mm Browning M2 machine gun, wing-mounted (300 rpg = 1,800 total)
The A-26B-50 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 16 x 100 lb AN-M30A1 bombs (1,600 lb total)
- 8 x 250 lb AN-M57 bombs (2,000 lb total)
- 6 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs (3,000 lb total)
- 4 x 1,000 lb AN-M65A1 bombs (4,000 lb total)
- 14 x HVAR rockets
The A-26B-50 is defended by:
- 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, dorsal turret (500 rpg = 1,000 total)
- 2 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, ventral turret (500 rpg = 1,000 total)
Usage in battles
Though the Invader will suffer in combat versus more nimble single-engine fighters, it still has some tricks it can employ to eek out a victory in the skies. Due to the incredible 14 M2 Browning machine guns mounted within the nose and on the wings of the aircraft, the A-26B-50 is able to destroy greedy opponents in head-on engagements, even if they are armed with cannons. The A-26B-50 is a very resilient aircraft, similar to other dual-engine aircraft like the Beaufighter Mk 21. Because of this, the pilot of the Invader can allow his opponent to land some hits in exchange for coming in view of either the A-26's forward facing armaments, or of its two rear-facing turrets. Though M2 Brownings lack the stopping power of cannons such as the 23 mm NS-23 cannon, they are still capable of inflicting immense damage to enemy aircraft, lighting up fuel tanks and disabling key components like control surfaces. This can buy the pilot some breathing room, by forcing enemy fighters to return to base after coming under fire from the Invader's guns.
As a ground attack aircraft, the pilot should seek to employ the A-26B-50's varied payload to full use to ensure his team's victory on the ground. On maps such as Ruhr or Krymsk, the pilot can choose to take out 8 250 lb bombs, or 6 500 lb bombs to take out enemy Light Pillboxes and Pillboxes, and use the numerous M2 Brownings located around the aircraft to strafe AAA emplacements or artillery batteries. When the map lacks ground targets that the Invader can destroy, namely on Norway, the pilot can instead take out the plane's full bomb load of 4 1000 lb bombs, enough to take out bombing targets normally reserved for the team's Heavy Bombers (eg. B17E/L)
The final factor to note is that, whilst it is by no means the fastest at its battle rating, the A-26B-50 is quite fast for an aircraft of the attacker role. Though single-engine fighters will catch up to the Invader, it can delay this process by simply opening the throttle and flying directly away from them. This may buy time for allied aircraft to intervene, a safety that other American attackers like the PBJ-1J before it may not be able to rely on.
Late model aircraft have the ability to intercept the fast A-26B-50, such as the Bf-109 "Gustav" series, the Bf 109 K-4, the Fw 190 A-5, Fw 190 A-8 and any of the Focke Wulf Ta-152s. Any of these aircraft will be able to intercept, and most likely destroy the A-26B, as the majority of them sport the "Minengeschoß" rounds that will tear the aircraft apart.
Manual Engine Control
Auto control available
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Pros and cons
- Impressive forward-facing armament.
- Diverse secondary armament.
- Highly durable.
- Decent climb rate for an attacker.
- Two remote-controlled turrets.
- Decent energy retention.
- Very fast at low altitudes
- Not very maneuverable.
- Is not mounted with any cannons.
- High repair cost for its battle rating.
- Large silhouette
- Gunner is easily knocked out
- Gunner controls both dorsal and ventral turret. Having him knocked out will result in losing control of both defensive turrets.
- Usually explodes pretty soon after catching fire.
- Lacks bombsight
In the mid 1930s, Douglas Aircraft analysed contemporaries like the Do 17 and Blenheim, making them gamble on a fast, versatile, and manoeuvrable bomber. The resulting world leading DB-7, A-20 attacker/bomber paid off in immediate orders from France and England if not initially from USA. A great start, the pace of aircraft innovation only accelerated and Douglas knew its world leading design would soon be outdated. Work began on a new design.
Master engineer Edward Heinemann reassembled a team of Robert Donovan and Ted R. Smith from the A-20 program. Most important was aerodynamicist Apollo M.O. Smith who chose the innovative NACA 65-215 laminar flow airfoil that promised better top speed. Laminar Flow was still a radical technology at the time, the yet unproven Mustang Mk 1 was the only production aircraft using the technology. To make this high speed wing also fly slowly for safe landing, a double-slotted flaps system was created, the first production aircraft to use what is now common in all modern jet liners. The wing also had a relatively high aspect ratio for long range performance.
Design features from the breakthrough A-20 design were carried into the A-26. It is easy to spot the family resemblance of the nose gear, high wing, straight fuselage, and dihedral wing and tail. The easily replaceable nose unit, either a solid nose unit or the glass bombardier's unit, was also carried over, the latter used a Norden M-9 bombsight. The engines were also upgraded to the much more powerful Pratt & Whitney R-2800-27 Double Wasp fourteen-cylinder, double-row, radial air-cooled engines. Armaments were now standardized as the Colt-Browning AN/M2 .50 cal machine guns offensively mounted in all versions' noses. All models had space in wing for ammo belts feeding up to four dual gun pods mounted underneath the wing. Versatility was a key point and many other armament options were made, including large cannons and wing-mounted bombs and rockets. A-26's could even carry two torpedoes, however there is no evidence it was ever used operationally. Another key feature was the General Electric remote control turret top and bottom of the attacker, both controlled by a single crewman using a periscope sighting system (a year ahead of a similar system created by the Germans).
The ХА-26 prototype made its first flight on July 10, 1942. Mass production began in September 1943. Parallel production lines started in Douglas, Long Beach (code DL) making the solid nose A-26B, and Douglas, Tulsa making the bombardier nose A-26C (but both could be easily swapped in less than an hour). A total of 2,503 were built.
While praised by the pilots at home, its first trial by fire in May 1944 over New Guinea was less enthusiastic mainly due to limited downward view and other issues soured the Pacific crews. Less than 4 months later, missions in Europe received a completely different response where as a low altitude level bomber it excelled at its operation and easily countered defending Luftwaffe with strong defences or high speed. Over this time, upgrades to the design came about, including a new canopy that improved pilot view with the А-26C-30-DT, and integrating six .50 machine guns into the wings starting with the А-26B-50-DL and А-26C-55-DT.
After WW2 ended only the A-26 was kept in active service, its performance securing its usefulness, but the designation changed to B-26 (causing confusion with the name of the retired B-26 Marauder). When the Korean war started in 1950 the underappreciated attacker suddenly became vital again, heavily employed in day and night attacks against North Korean forces. Conflict did not end with Korea, so the B-26 was now needed elsewhere, but quirk of political nuance forced the name back to the original A-26 so they could be sold to Thailand.
In short, with continuing conflicts and numerous upgrades the A-26 was actively used decades after it first flew, with the last known military mission in 1977.
It was not done with "combat" missions then; however, being actively used to fight wildfires that ravaged parts of the US, Canada, and Australia, immortalized by the 1989 film "Always".
- Related development
- Douglas A-20 Havoc
- Aircraft of comparable role, configuration and era
|Douglas Aircraft Company|
|Attackers||A-20G-25 · A-26B-10 · A-26B-50 · AD-2 · AD-4|
|Bombers||A-26C-45 · A-26C-45DT · B-18A · BTD-1 · SBD-3 · TBD-1|
|Jet attackers||A-4B · A-4E Early|
|Export||▄AD-4 · ▄Boston Mk I · ▄DB-7 · ▄Havoc Mk I|
|USA strike aircraft|
|Douglas||A-20G-25 · A-26B-10 · A-26B-50 · A2D-1 · AD-2 · AD-4|
|North American||A-36 · PBJ-1H · PBJ-1J|
|Other||AM-1 · AU-1 · XA-38|