|This page is about the American strike aircraft A-26B-10. For other variants, 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-10 is a rank IV American strike aircraft with a battle rating of 5.0 (AB/RB/SB). It was introduced in Update 1.71 "New E.R.A.".
The A-26 Invader is an excellent ground attack aircraft, boasting 6 nose-mounted M2 Browning .50 cal machine guns, as well as a potential payload of up to 4,000 lbs worth of bombs (4 x 1,000 lbs). The Invader also sports two dual-M2 Browning machine gun turrets, remote controlled by a gunner located in the rear section of the aircraft, that flawlessly track aircraft transitioning in the vertical.
In addition, later upgrades of this particular A-26 model grant the user the ability to use a nose-mounted M4 37 mm cannon, at the expense of two of the .50 cals.
The Invader's strengths over many similar dual-engine aircraft is a surprising punch that it packs, especially when the 37 mm cannon is equipped, which can possibly turn the attacker into a fearsome, yet cumbersome blitzer due to its incredible speed.
|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)|
|< 370||< 375||< 460||> 350|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|1,310 m||2,000 hp||No WEP|
|Optimal altitude||100% Engine power||WEP Engine power|
|4,572 m||1,600 hp||No WEP|
Survivability and armour
- 12.7 mm Steel - Nose plate
- 8 mm Steel - Under engine armour plate (each nacelle)
- 12.7 mm Steel - Fore/aft nacelle fuel protection plates x 2 (each nacelle)
- 12.7 mm Steel - Fore cockpit armour plate
- 9.5 mm Steel - Cockpit tub
- 9 mm Steel - Pilot/Co-pilot's seat backs
- 12.7 mm Steel - Gunner aft armour plate
- 12.7 mm Steel - Gunner lower armour plate
- 12.7 mm Steel - Aircraft tail armour plate
- 60 mm Bulletproof glass - Pilot
With this array of armour, the A-26B-10 is well-protected from any glancing rounds from machine guns.
As mentioned earlier, the A-26B-10 has the option to mount a 37 mm cannon in the nose. That in combination with its speed and additional four .50 cals in the nose will punish any opponent foolish enough to head on this aircraft. In addition, the rear of the aircraft is well defended by the two remote-controlled .50 cal turrets.
Thus, to fight an A-26, the best method of attack is to perform a Boom & Zoom run and aim for the engines. As fast as the A-26 is, it loses a fair deal of speed if one of the engines is out of action and, (if your aim is good enough), you may even snipe the gunner, leaving a massive blind spot from the rear of the Invader. If you find yourself in front of this plane, and there are no alternatives, aim for the cockpit only! This is as a result of the A-26 having both a pilot and a co-pilot, meaning if one is knocked out, the other can still take command of the plane. Nonetheless, the best possible angle to attack an Invader is from the sides, where the gunner cannot traverse the turrets.
Modifications and economy
The A-26B-10 is armed with:
- A choice between three presets:
- 6 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, nose-mounted (400 rpg = 2,400 total)
- 1 x 37 mm M4 cannon, nose-mounted (30 rpg) + 4 x 12.7 mm M2 Browning machine guns, nose-mounted (400 rpg = 1,600 total)
- 2 x 37 mm M4 cannons, nose-mounted (30 rpg = 60 total)
The A-26B-10 can be outfitted with the following ordnance:
- Without load
- 16 x 100 lb AN-M30A1 bombs (1,600 lb total)
- 12 x 250 lb AN-M57 bombs (3,000 lb total)
- 10 x 500 lb AN-M64A1 bombs (5,000 lb total)
- 4 x 1,000 lb AN-M65A1 bombs (4,000 lb total)
The A-26B-10 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 A-26B-10 Invader will suffer in combat versus more nimble single-engine fighters, it still has some tricks it can employ to eke out a victory in the skies. Due to all the offensive weaponry being mounted in the nose of the plane, it creates a rather dense cone of fire, similar to that of most heavy fighters. This enables the Invader to nearly guarantee either to destroy or critically damage any fighter greedy enough to head you on, even if they are armed with cannons. The A-26B-10 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.
While the A-26 Invader is fast for its battle rating, it will still be intercepted by almost any late models of aircraft such as the Bf 109 "Gustav" series, the Bf 109 K-4, almost any later model of the Fw 190, including the Focke-Wulf Ta 152 series. Any of the above-mentioned German aircraft will tear you apart due to all of them sporting the "Minengeschoß" shells.
Due to its versatility the A-26 can play a variety of play styles and once you learn its strengths and weaknesses it is very easy and fun to use:
In air battles
Despite being an attacker designed to perform tactical attacks and close air support, the A-26 is good at air battles and not just ground battles. It can perform a large amount of essential roles such as a bomber or an attacker.
Low altitude bomber
This play style is the easiest to execute even when stock, so it is recommended for players who are new to the plane.
Before you spawn in make sure to load the 10 x 500 lb bombs loadout. Fly towards the enemy bases in a shallow dive, the A-26 is capable of cruising at 500 km/h so you won't need to wait much before you will reach the enemy bases. Check the map. If there are 3 bases, drop 5 bombs (half of your load) per base. If there are 4 bases, drop 10 bombs (your full bombload).
This role can be played both from the start of the battle or after you finished your role as a low altitude bomber. Before the battle, make sure to load all 6 x .50 calibre M2 machine guns since they are more effective overall then the 37 mm cannons. In this role, the bomb loadout does not matter much since it is quite hard and inefficient to bomb ground targets. The only targets worth bombing are light and regular pillboxes, and these can also be destroyed with your main weaponry. After spawning, fly to the ground targets and start firing. If you didn't manage to destroy your target in your first pass, try firing at them with your turrets, if that still didn't destroy your target, move on or return for a second pass.
In ground battles
In ground battles the A-26 gets a chance to do what it was designed to do - provide close air support for troops on the ground. it is recommended to use the 4 x 1,000lb bombs loadout since the 1,000lb bombs provide twice the TNT equivalent and almost twice the destruction radius of the 500lb bombs making them much easier to use. You can also load the 37 mm with ground targets belt and strafe enemy tanks.
Once someone gets behind your tail you are probably not going to out-manoeuvre them, so your only options are to either shoot them down, scare them away or out-run them.
Once they are about 1.6 km away from you start shooting with your defensive turrets, use zoom to aim better and make sure to make slight manoeuvres to dodge their bullets. If they cannot get closer you win, but if they are faster and you couldn't kill them, once they are closer than 800 metres pull hard and try to make them overshoot, after they overshoot try to open as much distance as possible between you and them in order to trap them in the ideal shooting range (1.6-0.8 km). Repeat this until they either get shot down or pull off.
Enemies worth noting:
Against the Russians, any of the La-7s or La-9s can and will be able to catch you. In addition, aircraft such as the Yak-9P or Yak-9UT, which wield both 20 mm and either a 37 mm or 45 mm will tear your plane to bits. While the Russians do not have cannons armed with the same round types as a German fighter does, the multitude of cannons they wield can make short work of you.
The British can also give you a run for your money. The most common adversary that could give you an issue is the Wyvern, due to its blistering speed and four 20 mm Hispano Mk.V cannons. In addition, a Tempest could also make quick work of you due to the same reasoning in firepower. While it is unlikely you will see any of the Griffon Spitfires, earlier models can still inflict a heavy amount of damage to your air frame.
One SPAA to worry about in Ground Realistic Battles is the Chinese ZSD63. Though it is hard to identify specific SPAA vehicles on the ground (especially when they are shooting tracers at the plane), if a ZSD63 can be identified, avoid it at all costs and do not attempt head-ons with it, ever. It can easily snap a wing off by causally putting a short burst in the A-26B-10's flight path. Don't even get close to it unless it is occupied with another friendly or if the A-26B-10 is equipped with a bomb that it can use. Some identifying features of the ZSD63 is its rather boxy and tall hull with a geometric turret sitting at the back, slightly similar to a Wirbelwind's. The firing manner is also distinctive: the sound and green tracers are very rapid, much like a buzz saw, but then it will remain silent for half a minute reloading. Note that an experienced ZSD player will hold its fire or shoot in single salvos with long halts between, making it look like that it's reloading. Armour-piercing belt is recommended since their high penetration can tear through the ZSD's armour with ease and knock out its crews.
Manual Engine Control
Auto control available
Not auto controlled
Not auto controlled
Pros and cons
- Respectable forward-facing armament
- Impressive secondary armament when compared to its counterparts
- Highly durable
- Decent energy retention
- Two remote-controlled turrets
- Respectable climb rate for an attacker
- Can mount up to 2 cannons for either air targets or ground targets
- Pilot and co-pilot: if one is knocked out, the other can take command
- Can deal a significant amount of damage to the enemy team if handled correctly
- Not very manoeuvrable
- As fast as it is, it is slower when compared to single-engine fighters
- Poor roll and rudder performance
- Large silhouette
- Fairly high repair cost
- Only one gunner, if he is knocked out both of the turrets stop working
- Usually explodes soon after catching fire.
- The 37mm M4 cannons aren't very effective, as they are fairly inaccurate and overheat easily
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 the wings 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 defenses or high speed. Over this time, upgrades to the design came about, including a new canopy that improved pilot view with the A-26B-30-DL and 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|