AAF B-26 medium bombers in England became operational in the spring of 1943. Not having the long range of the B-17 and B-24, B-26s were used almost exclusively for missions to Holland, Belgium and northwestern France where they bombed airfields, transportation and lines of communication. Originally, it was planned for B-26s to operate at minimum altitude but a mission against targets in Holland on May 17 resulted in a change of tactics.
Eleven planes took off on the mission, one of which turned back. The remaining 10 continued to their target and were shot down -- not one returned to base. From that time, B-26s bombed from medium altitudes of 10,000-15,000 feet, where they suffered relatively light losses from antiaircraft fire compared to heavy bombers. With German fighter forces concentrating on the heavy bombers, AAF medium bombers seldom met appreciable aerial opposition.
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