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Historic Planes

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"No warranty is made on the performance and specifications information of the planes.
Planes performed differently according to model and mission and equipment."

In 1939 came the Martin B-12 and the Curtis A-18, both twin engined bombers. The B-12 is crewed with a bombardier in the nose turret with a flexible gun, space for a radio operator behind the pilot and a rear gunner with an upper and lower gun. It was not a great plane.

The A-18 was the twin engine light bomber that would be the forerunner of the low level bombers of WW II. The front and rear cockpit is enclosed with sliding canopies and the rear gunner has flight controls. The plane has four fixed .30 cal guns in the nose and provision for additional guns in the wings. Provision is made to carry 20 frag bombs internally and two 100 lb. bombs outboard of each engine on racks. Max speed is 260 mph and with a service ceiling of almost 31,000 ft. Boy, it is cold up there!

In 1940 the Group moved to Hunter Field in Savannah GA and we are now equipped with Douglas A-20As to practice low-level bombing against shipping off the Atlantic coast. We have a tricycle landing gear and try out remoted machine guns mounted in the rear of each engine nacelle, as well as having the gunner in the rear use upper and lower machine guns. Those remoted machine guns were not a good idea so we gave them up. We discontinue calling them Havocs. The A20-A has a max speed of 325 mph and can cruise at 280 mph. Our service ceiling is 25,300.

When WWII began all the ranking officers of the Group were reassigned throughout the country to serve as training cadre to train new air units. The 3rd (now) Bomb Group may have been the only Group in the country to have no officer of higher rank than 1st Lt.

In February 1942 the Group was moved to Chartres Towers, Australia, minus our planes, (they were needed in the US for training other crews) but we are promised new A-20s when we arrive. We find ourselves without aircraft in a remote, dusty, hot plain in North Australia. We learn that not only do we have no aircraft, there are no aircraft en-route to us.

We learn the Dutch have 24 new B-25Cs in Melbourne, but no pilots. We claim ownership of the B-25s. Relying on bureaucratic inertia to prevent it, we steal the aircraft and thus are able to finally enter the war in the Pacific. The B25-Cs have a max speed of 272 mph and a service ceiling of 24,200 ft.

B-25 with guns
"B-25 with guns"
Our Stolen B-25s are without bombsights or guns. Eventually, we go back to Melbourne and talk the warehouseman out of the bombsights. We still have no guns. Working in the field with a tech rep, we do our own gun installation, installing four guns in the lower part of the nose and another gun along each side of the fuselage. We now have a low level strafer.

A-20 with guns
"A-20 with guns"
We eventually are provided with additional aircraft with which we are acquainted. We received A-20s in August 1942, strangely equipped without guns or bomb racks. The Group improvised and equipped the planes with 6 forward firing machine guns salvaged from wrecked fighter planes, placing four guns in the nose and a gun on each side of the fuselage. Bomb racks were installed capable of dropping para-frag bombs from low-level during strafing attacks.

A-26 Flattop
"A-26 Flattop"
The Group received its first three A-26s in the spring of 1944. It was fast and packed a punch but the flat top and long nose made it impractical for low level combat because of obscured visibility. Col. Henebry described it as trying to fly from inside a foxhole.

"Brown Nose"
"Brown Nose"
The modified A-26 with the clamshell cockpit and improved visibility saw action in the closing days of the Philippine campaign and the campaign against the Japanese Islands. We keep the A-26/B-26 through the Korean War and up until January of 1957. During the Korean War the now re-designated A-26 to B-26, (the Martin Marauder B-26 is out of the inventory), has a gross weight of 35,000 lbs., a speed of 355 mph, (a redlined speed of 420 mph), will carry 6000 lbs. of bombs (don't let that information get out), and a variety of guns and/or cannon. There are two versions - the B-26C has a four man crew with a bombardier in the glass nose, and the B-26B - the masculine version - has a 3 man crew and we call it a "hardnose". There are different nose configurations, but the one I like has 8 50 cal. guns in the nose and 3 in each wing and the gunner behind the bomb bay has two turrets - upper and lower - with two 50-cal. guns in each. Some said it would go to 31,300 feet altitude, but who wants to fight up there?

B-57B-57s in action
In January 1956 we enter the jet age with the Martin B-57B Canberra. We have a max speed of 582 MPH at 40,000 feet, and that big wing gives us a service ceiling of 48,000 feet. NOW THAT IS HIGH. Our Night Intruder version has either four 20 mm cannon or eight 12.7mm machine guns and 16 under-wing rockets and 6,000 lbs. of bombs internally. For a while, during the cold war, we stand alert with atomic weapons in Korea. We, and the friendly 8th, take our B-57s to Viet Nam.

Our Vietnam service ends before the war ends and we are a paper squadron for a while and then go out of business completely in September 1973.

B-1B Lancer
"Boeing B-1B Lancer"
On June 14th, 2000, we were reborn at Dyess AFB, Texas with one of the latest of the great bombers -- the B-1B Lancer. Now we are really be in the big league. We have an airplane with a 4-man crew and the capability of Mach 1.2 at sea level (that's 900 plus mph) and we have intercontinental range unrefueled. We can fly really really high and can carry 84 Mark 82 conventional 500-pound iron bombs and 30 CBU-87/89/97 bombs. This hunk of technology costs 200 million plus per copy. The first aircraft assigned was (I am not making this up) the 13th B-1B off the assembly line. Having more B-1s than the budget would allow, we were deactivated June 3rd, 2005

B-2 Spirit
"Northrop Grumman B-2 Spirit"
Oscar returned to active duty on 23 September 2005. Air Combat Command redesignated the 325th Bomb Squadron as the 13th Bomb Squadron at Whiteman AFB, Missouri. The new 13th is now flying the latest bomber in the Air Force arsenal - the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber! In a special ceremony witnessed by Grim Reapers from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, the Cold War and the Global War on Terror, Lt Col Thomas Bussiere took command of the 13th Bomb Squadron. FEAR THE REAPER!

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