USA: Warplanes of the Second World War preserved: Douglas B-18 Bolo

Douglas B-18 Bolo

(USAAC Photo)

Douglas B-18 of the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron.

The Douglas B-18 Bolo is an American heavy bomber which served with the United States Army Air Corps and the Royal Canadian Air Force (as the Digby) during the late 1930s and early 1940s. The Bolo was developed by the Douglas Aircraft Company from their DC-2 as a replacement for the Martin B-10.By 1940 standards, it was slow, had an inadequate defensive armament, and carried too small a bomb load. By 1942, surviving B-18s were relegated to antisubmarine, training and transport duties. A B-18 was one of the first USAAF aircraft to sink a German U-boat, U-654 on 22 August 1942 in the Caribbean. (Wikipedia)

Variants:

DB- 1 Manufacturer's designation for prototype, first of B-18 production run, 1 built.

B-18 Initial production version, 131 or 133 built.

B-18M Trainer B-18 with bomb gear removed.

DB-2 Manufacturer's designation for prototype with powered nose turret; last of B-18 production run, 1 built.

B-18A B-18 with more powerful Wright R-1820-53 engines and relocated bombardier's station, 217 built. Manufacturer's designation was DB-4.

B-18AM Trainer B-18A with bomb gear removed.

B-18B Antisubmarine conversion, 122 converted by adding a radar and magnetic anomaly detector.

B-18C Antisubmarine conversion, 2 converted. Fixed forward-firing .50 in (12.700 mm) machine gun, starboard side of the fuselage near lower nose glazing.

XB-22 Improved B-18 with 1,600 hp (1,200 kW) Wright R-2600-3 radial engines. Not built, due to better designs being available.

C-58 Transport conversion.

Digby Mk. I Royal Canadian Air Force modification of B-18A. Named for RAF Digby.

(USAAC Photo)

Douglas B-18 of the 88th Reconnaissance Squadron.

(USAAC Photo)

Douglas B-18B Bolo (Serial No. 37-530), originally a B-18A, with the MAD tail boom.

(NMUSAF Photo)

Douglas B-18B Bolo with power nose turret.

Survivors:

Six B-18s are known to exist, five of them preserved or under restoration in museums in the United States, and one is a wreck still located at its crash site.

Douglas B-18 Bolo (Serial No. 36-446), 81, 50R, currently on the Kohala Mountains, Hawaii.  This aircraft crash-landed due to engine failure on 25 Feb 1941.  The crew was rescued and the aircraft was abandoned; it remains in a gulch on private land.  The Air Force later recovered the nose turret for (Serial No. 37-029) and the dorsal turret for (Serial No. 37-469).  There have been plans to recover the aircraft for the Pacific Air Museum in Honolulu, Hawaii.

(Alexander Migl Photo)

Douglas B-18 Bolo (Serial No. 37-029), Castle Air Museum, Atwater, California.

(Alan Wilson Photo)

Douglas B-18 Bolo (Serial No. 37-029), Castle Air Museum, Atwater, California.

(ZLEA Photo)

Douglas B-18A Bolo (Serial No. 37-0469), R33, c/n 2469, National Museum of the United States Air Force, Dayton, Ohio.

(Author Photo)

Douglas B-18A Bolo (Serial No. 39-025), painted as (Serial No. 39-52), Wing Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, Denver, Colorado.

(Lance Barber Photo)

Douglas B-18A Bolo (Serial No. 39-025), painted as (Serial No. 39-52), Wing Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum, Denver, Colorado.

(Articseahorse Photo)

Douglas B-18B Bolo (Serial No. 37-505), McChord Air Museum, McChord AFB, Washington.

(Thornfield Hall Photo)

Douglas B-18B Bolo (Serial No. 37-505), McChord Air Museum, McChord AFB, Washington.

(aeroprints.com Photo)

Douglas B-18B Bolo (Serial No. 38-593), Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona.

(dabarkey Photo)

Douglas B-18B Bolo (Serial No. 38-593), Pima Air and Space Museum, Tucson, Arizona.

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