4 June, 1942 at 0710 hours – America attacks the Japanese fleet
Four Army B-26 bombers armed with torpedoes made the first attack on the Japanese fleet during the Battle of Midway. The crew shown below was one of two crews that returned from that mission.
Pilot 1st Lieutenant Jim Muri (front row, second from the left) dropped his torpedo, then flew his plane down the deck of the carrier Akagi in a gesture of defiance. His nose gunner Lieutenant Russ Johnson (top right) strafed the decks.
Their plane had more than 500 bullet holes when it landed at Midway. This photo was taken after the battle. It does not show the tail gunner, who was still in the hospital at the time.
U.S. Air Force Photograph #: USAF 22850 AC.
The Martin B-26 Marauder was a twin-engine medium bomber. It was built by the Glenn L. Martin Company between 1941 and 1945. It was used in the Pacific Theater, in the Mediterranean Theater, and in Western Europe.
Early in its service, the B-26 Marauder was called the “widowmaker.” This was because of its high accident rate during takeoffs and landings. Whenever the pilot of a Marauder tried flying at speeds lower than the prescribed 150 mph, the aircraft stalled and crashed.
The B-26 became much safer after designers modified its aerodynamics. In the end, the aircraft was praised as “the chief bombardment weapon on the Western Front.” A total of 5,288 B-26s were produced. Of these, 522 were flown by England’s Royal Air Force and the South African Air Force.
By the time the U.S. Air Force became a separate military service in 1947, the Martin B-26 had been retired from U.S. service.