National Museum of the USAF   Right Corner Banner
Join the Air Force

Home > Fact Sheets > Douglas B-18 Bolo


Posted 11/4/2014 Printable Fact Sheet
Previous ImageNext Image
Douglas B-18
DAYTON, Ohio -- Douglas B-18 Bolo at the National Museum of the United States Air Force. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Download HiRes

The Douglas Aircraft Co. developed the B-18 to replace the Martin B-10 as the U.S. Army Air Corps' standard bomber. Based on the Douglas DC-2 commercial transport, the prototype B-18 competed with the Martin 146 (an improved B-10) and the four-engine Boeing 299, forerunner of the B-17, at the Air Corps bombing trials at Wright Field in 1935. Although many Air Corps officers judged the Boeing design superior, the Army General Staff preferred the less costly Bolo (along with 13 operational test YB-17s). The Air Corps later ordered 217 more as B-18As with the bombardier's position extended forward over the nose gunner's station. 

Though equipped with inadequate defensive armament and underpowered, the Bolo remained the Air Corps' primary bomber into 1941, and the Japanese destroyed some B-18s during the surprise attacks on Dec. 7. By early 1942, improved bombers like the B-17 replaced the Bolo as first-line bombardment aircraft. Many B-18s were then used as transports, or modified as B-18Bs for anti-submarine duty.

Stationed at Wright Field from 1939 to 1942, the B-18A on display was acquired and restored by the museum in 1971. It is painted as a B-18A serving with the 38th Reconnaissance Squadron in 1939.

Armament: Three .30-cal. guns (in nose, ventral and dorsal positions), plus 4,500 lbs. of bombs carried internally
Engines: Two Wright R-1820-53s of 1,000 hp each
Crew: Six
Maximum speed: 215 mph at 15,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 167 mph
Range: 2,100 miles
Ceiling: 23,900 ft.
Span: 89 ft. 6 in.
Length: 57 ft. 10 in.
Height: 15 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 27,000 lbs. loaded
Serial number: 37-0469

Click here to return to the World War II Gallery.

Find Out More
Blue line
Related Fact Sheets
Martin B-10
Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress
Day of Infamy: The Pearl Harbor Attack
Wright R-1820 Cyclone Engine
Blue line
Note: The appearance of hyperlinks does not constitute endorsement by the National Museum of the USAF, the U.S. Air Force, or the Department of Defense, of the external website, or the information, products or services contained therein.

 Inside the Museum

ima cornerSearch

ima cornerAircraft


tabRelated Links

Museum Virtual TourMuseum Facebook PageMuseum Twitter PageMuseum Instagram
Museum Google Plus PageMuseum Pinterest PageMuseum YouTube ChannelMuseum Flickr Page
Museum PodcastsMuseum E-newsletter Sign-upMuseum RSS Feeds

Site Map      Contact Us     Questions     Security and Privacy notice     E-publishing  
Suicide Prevention    SAPR   IG   EEO   Accessibility/Section 508   No FEAR Act