When the pilot had to abort on takeoff, this fully loaded B-26 went off the runway and flipped on its back. A live bomb is lying on the wing. Fortunately, all three crewmembers survived. (U.S. Air Force photo)
To find the enemy at night, a few B-26s carried experimental infrared detection equipment. The operator viewed a 3-inch screen that crudely indicated high heat sources, such as train engines. Post-war infrared systems later proved to be very effective. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Another method to find the enemy at night used powerful, wing-mounted searchlights. It made the B-26 vulnerable to antiaircraft fire, however, and after the loss of one of these aircraft, the tactic was discontinued. (U.S. Air Force photo)
In Korea, the B-26 light bomber typically hit enemy transportation targets at night. In 1952 and 1953, however, it participated in “air pressure” strikes against strategic targets. (U.S. Air Force photo)
"Dear Sis ... The Commies have .50 caliber machine guns, 20 mm, 40 mm, 85 mm, and 105 mm anti-aircraft guns and some son-of-a-b**** with a rifle shot us down ... I don't reckon you need to tell mom about my hairy story." - Letter written home by Lt. Charles Hinton on Jan. 8, 1952
The World War II-era B-26 Invader was the Air Force's light bomber during the Korean War. Third Bomb Group (Light) and 452nd (later 17th) Bomb Group (Light) aircrews used their B-26s to strike the enemy's storage centers and transportation system. For the first year of the war, they flew these "interdiction" missions during the day, but increased enemy antiaircraft fire and the MiG threat later forced them to fly at night.
Exhibit Case: - B-26 navigator Maj Paul Tkacz of the 95th BS (L) wore this flying suit. He was awarded a Distinguished Flying Cross for a night mission near Oro-Ri, North Korea, on August 21, 1952.
- Lieutenant Colonel Alfred Lettier, 730th Bomb Squadron, 452nd Bomb Wing, wore this World War II vintage cap and jacket from October 1950-May 1952.
- Robert Witham, a B-26 gunner in the 90th Bomb Squadron (Light), 3rd Bomb Wing (Light), carried this lighter on missions as a good luck charm.