The Douglas B-18 was originally designed and built as the DB-1 (Douglas Bomber #1) for the Army Air Corps 1934 requirement for a long range bomber. The DB-1 was based on the Douglas DC-2 and retained many of the latter aircraft's features, including the wing and aft fuselage. The DB-1 was in competition with the Martin Model 146 (an enlarged B-10) and the Boeing Model 299. Although the Boeing entry was clearly superior, the DB-1 was initially favored by the Army General Staff for two reasons. First, the Boeing Model 299 crashed during testing. The crash was the result of pilot error but was technically disqualified from the competition. Second, the DB-1 could be built for about half the cost of the Model 299 (B-17). The General Staff considered the B-17 too expensive and opted for an order for 99 B-18s and only 13 Y1B-17s in 1936.
Thirty-five more B-18s were ordered in 1937, including the last B-18, which had a power nose turret and was designated DB-2 by Douglas. The Army continued to favor the B-18 into the late 1930s when 217 more were ordered as improved B-18As in 1937-1939.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: Three .30-cal. machine guns and 4,400 lbs. of bombs Engines: Two Wright R-1820-45 radials of 930 hp each Maximum speed: 217 mph at 10,000 ft. Cruising speed: 167 mph Service ceiling: 24,200 ft. Range: 1,200 miles with maximum bomb load Span: 89 ft. 6 in. Length: 56 ft. 8 in. Height: 15 ft. 2 in. Weight: 21,130 lbs. gross weight Crew: Six Serial numbers: 36-262 to 36-344; 36-431 to 36-446; 37-1 to 37-34 and 37-51(DB-2)