9th AF Patch

416th Bombardment Group (L)

A-26 Training and

ETO Combat Evaluation

Aircraft

 

WWII-Medal

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The May 18, 1944 "Memorandum for Deputy Chief of the Air Staff (Brigadier General Timberlake)", "Subject: Introduction of A-26 Aircraft to the European Theatre" document #64 (included in the "Case History of A-26 Airplane") details the request for eighteen (18) A-26's (proportion of 1/3 (6) bombardier (glass) nose (A-26C), 2/3 (12) gun (solid) nose (A-26B)), giving rise to the common belief that only 18 Invaders were used in the ETO Combat Evaluation. However, due to accidents or other reasons which eliminated some A/C from service, 24 Invaders have been identified as being sent overseas for participation in the ETO Combat Evaluation and subsequent Conversion Training.

The following Douglas A-26 Invaders have been identified as being associated with State-side A-26 Training, the European Theatre of Operations (ETO) Combat Evaluation Project and subsequent A-26 Conversion Training of the 416th Bomb Group.
There may be additional A-26s used, but these are aircraft for which there is evidence of involvement.

The first 3 Aircraft listed below were involved in A-26 training accidents in the USA and were not sent overseas; the remaining 24 were sent to the ETO.

Of the 24 Invaders sent to the ETO for the Combat Evaluation Project and/or Conversion Training, 4 were A-26C (bombardier/glass nosed) models (41-39193, 41-39195, 41-39199 and 41-39200), the remaining 20 were A-26B (gun/solid nosed) models. One Invader, 43-22286, was built at the Douglas Tulsa ("DT") plant in Tulsa, Tulsa County, Oklahoma; all others at the Douglas Long Beach ("DL") plant in Long Beach, Los Angeles County, California.

All but 4 of these planes sent overseas departed the USA from Dow Field, Bangor, Maine. The first 4 Invaders sent to England were Aircraft 41-39132 which departed from Wright Field, Dayton, Ohio and Invaders 41-39143, 41-39145 and 41-39146 which departed from Grenier Field, Manchester, New Hampshire. It is likely all the ETO Combat Evaluation Aircraft flew to England via the "Northern Ferry Route" (Canada, Greenland, Iceland and the United Kingdom).



Based on information from the Individual Aircraft Record Cards (IARC), these aircraft did not arrive in England in one large group, but rather over a period of two months.

- 4 Invaders arrived in the ETO in July 1944 -- 41-39132, 41-39145 and 41-39146 on 8-Jul-1944 and 41-39143 arrived 22-Jul-1944 (this plane was the one which led the flight of 9 planes from Nutts Corner to Great Dunmow). It is not certain if these four airplanes were initially assigned at Great Dunmow or other bases.

- Most of the Combat Evaluation A-26s arrived in August 1944 in two groups -- 7 aircraft (41-39183, 41-39185, 41-39190, 41-39191, 41-39194, 41-39198, 41-39199) on August 13th and 14th, and 8 more on 24-Aug-1944 (41-39187, 41-39189, 41-39193, 41-39196, 41-39197, 41-39200, 41-39201, 41-39202) (see landing mishap described above).

- The remaining 5 Invaders arrived in the ETO in September 1944: 41-39206 and 43-22286 on the 8th, 41-39195 on the 13th, 41-39186 and 41-39207 both on 18-Sep-1944; the latter two A/C arriving too late to fly on the Combat Evaluation Missions from Great Dunmow, but were used in A-20 to A-26 conversion training for the 416th Bomb Group.

On most WWII era documents, individual Aircraft are indentifed by a 3-digit "A/C Number" or just "A/C". This number is actually the last 3 digits of the USAAF A/C Serial Number. Both Identifiers are included below.

Aircraft involved in State-side A-26 Training accidents

A/C
Number
A/C
Serial Number
Model Notes
12141-39121A-26B-10-DL27 June 1944 Belly Landing due to a malfunction of the landing gear locking mechanism, AAR 44-6-27-63
25343-22253A-26B-5-DT11 July 1944 Fatal crash landing, AAR 45-7-11-25
25443-22254A-26B-5-DT18 July 1944 Non-Flying accident, Nose gear collapsed, AAR 45-7-18-11




A-26 Aircraft used in ETO Combat Evaluations and/or 416th BG A-20 to A-26 Conversion Training

In his book "US 9th Air Force Bases in Essex 1943-44", Martin W. Bowman notes pn page 116 "One A-26B had crashed fatally at Great Dunmow in August during a brief demonstration flight for the benefit of 2 Group RAF who were considering operating the Invader in British service to replace the Boston and possibly the Mitchell." No Aircraft Accident Report (AAR) has been discovered to date detailing this fatal crash. Scott Thompson's book "Douglas A-26 and B-26 Invader", page 40, shows that one A-26B "was assigned to the RAF for flight evaluations. Though not assigned an RAF serial number, that particular A-26B, s/n 41-39158 (the fifty-ninth productoin aircraft), was flown to the Aeroplane and Armament Experimental Establishment at Boscombe Down, arriving on 11 July. It was evaluated in a test programme for the subsequent six weeks, after which the RAF assigned it to an operational bomber group, 2 Group, for further evaluations. It unfortunately crashed on 4 September, when the upper turret cover left the airframe and struck the vertical tail." It may be possible this is the Aircraft noted by Bowman.

Aircraft Accident Reports that have been identified for the ETO Combat Evaluation A/C are included in the "Notes" column below with a link to the actual AAR report in PDF format.

A/C
Number
A/C
Serial Number
Model Fuselage Code ETO Evaluation
Missions
USA
Departure Date
ETO
Arrival Date
Notes
13241-39132A-26B-10-DLAN-P1 (Abort), 2?, 5, 8-Extra23-Jun-19448-Jul-1944One of the first A-26's in the ETO.
14341-39143A-26B-15-DLNoneNone12-Jul-194422-Jul-1944Per AAR-45-8-24-540: This Aircraft was already in the ETO and led a flight of 9 from Nutts Corner, North Ireland to Great Dunmow, the other 8 A/C having recently arrived at Nutts Corner from the USA. This A/C landed First, slid off the end of the runway and was subsequently struck by 41-39193 after landing on arrival at 386th BG Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944. This Aircraft was Damaged Beyond Repair as noted by Bauguer ("DBR"), thus did not fly on any of the 8 A-26 ETO Combat Evaluation Missions.
14541-39145A-26B-15-DLNoneNone28-Jun-19448-Jul-1944One of the first A-26's in the ETO. Aug 30, 1944 - AAR 45-8-30-522 - Take-off Accident, Pilot's mission: Local test hop. 553rd BS, 386th BG. Oct 19, 1944 - AAR 45-10-19-528 - "(MSN 6858, 668th BS, 416th BG) in landing accident at Melun Villaroche airfield A-55 Seine-et-Marne, France Oct 19, 1944. All 3 crew survived. Aircraft badly damaged, unknown if repaired." (Baugher).
14641-39146A-26B-15-DLAN-Q ?4, 7?, 828-Jun-19448-Jul-1944One of the first A-26's in the ETO.
18341-39183A-26B-15-DLAN-B1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 84-Aug-194413-Aug-194415-Oct-1944 - AAR 45-10-15-536 - Nose gear collapse.
18541-39185A-26B-15-DLAN-H1, 2, 3, 4,54-Aug-194413-Aug-194412-Sep-1944 - AAR 45-9-12-529 - taxi accident between 41-39185 and 41-39190.
18641-39186A-26B-15-DLAN-WNone14-Aug-194418-Sep-1944This A/C did NOT fly A-26 ETO Combat Evaluation Missions from Great Dunmow in September 1944 (it arrived in the ETO on 18-Sep-1944). Photo shows Fuselage Code "AN-W". This A/C was used in the 416th BG A-20 to A-26 conversion training.
18741-39187A-26B-15-DLAN-O1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 89-Aug-194424-Aug-1944Per AAR-45-8-24-540: One of 8 A/C ferried from USA, last leg from Nutts Corner, North Ireland landing at Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944.
18941-39189A-26B-15-DLAN-N1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7?, 818-Aug-194424-Aug-1944Per AAR-45-8-24-540: One of 8 A/C ferried from USA, last leg from Nutts Corner, North Ireland landing at Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944.
19041-39190A-26B-15-DLAN-A1, 2, 3, 5, 84-Aug-194413-Aug-194412-Sep-1944 - AAR 45-9-12-529 - taxi accident between 41-39185 and 41-39190.
19141-39191A-26B-15-DLAN-G1, 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, 84-Aug-194413-Aug-1944
19341-39193A-26C-2-DLNoneNone14-Aug-194424-Aug-1944Per AAR-45-8-24-540: One of 8 A/C ferried from USA, last leg from Nutts Corner, North Ireland landing at Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944. This A/C landed fourth and crashed into 41-39201 and then crashed into 41-39143 on arrival landing at 386th BG Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944. NOTE, AAR report shows A-26B, but Baugher and Aircraft Record Card show this as an A-26C. This Aircraft was Damaged Beyond Repair as noted by Bauguer ("DBR"), thus did not fly on any of the 8 A-26 ETO Combat Evaluation Missions.
19441-39194A-26B-15-DLAN-C1, 2?, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7?, 87-Aug-194413-Aug-1944
19541-39195A-26C-2-DLAN-T821-Aug-194413-Sep-1944AAR-45-8-24-540 shows A/C 195 safely landing 5th out of 9, but the IARC shows it did not arrive in the ETO until 13-Sep-1944 and it only flew the 8th Combat Evaluation mission on 19-Sep-1944, so AAR number "195" is likely incorrect, and is most likely 197 (41-39197) instead.
19641-39196A-26B-15-DLAN-J1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6-Extra, 7, 812-Aug-194424-Aug-1944Per AAR-45-8-24-540: One of 8 A/C ferried from USA, landing at Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944, Landed second (after 41-39143). Crash 15-Oct-1944 - AAR 45-10-15-533 - Midair collision and crashed near Sezanne, France. Total loss, all 3 crew members perished.
19741-39197A-26B-15-DLAN-M1, 2, 3, 4, 5-Extra, 6, 7, 812-Aug-194424-Aug-1944Per AAR-45-8-24-540: One of 8 A/C ferried from USA, last leg from Nutts Corner, North Ireland landing at Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944, possibly Landing fifth (AAR shows A/C # 195, but 195 is incorrect and is most likely 197 (41-39197)).
19841-39198A-26B-15-DLAN-F1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 77-Aug-194414-Aug-1944
19941-39199A-26C-2-DLAN-D1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 89-Aug-194413-Aug-1944
20041-39200A-26C-2-DLAN-L1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 818-Aug-194424-Aug-1944Per AAR-45-8-24-540: One of 8 A/C ferried from USA, last leg from Nutts Corner, North Ireland landing at Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944.
20141-39201A-26B-20-DLNoneNone14-Aug-194424-Aug-1944Per AAR-45-8-24-540: One of 8 A/C ferried from USA, last leg from Nutts Corner, North Ireland landing at Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944, Landed third (after 41-39196) and slid off the right side of the runway. This A/C was struck by 41-39193 after landing on arrival landing at Great Dunmow and was Damaged Beyond Repair as noted by Bauguer ("DBR"), thus did not fly on any of the 8 A-26 ETO Combat Evaluation Missions.
20241-39202A-26B-20-DLAN-K1, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 817-Aug-194424-Aug-1944Per AAR-45-8-24-540: One of 8 A/C ferried from USA, last leg from Nutts Corner, North Ireland landing at Great Dunmow 24-Aug-1944.
20641-39206A-26B-20-DLAN-R2?, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 827-Aug-19448-Sep-1944IARC ETO Arrival Date is partially cut-off, estimate 8-Sep-1944.
20741-39207A-26B-20-DLAN-VNone21-Aug-194418-Sep-1944This A/C did NOT fly A-26 ETO Combat Evaluation Missions from Great Dunmow in September 1944 (it arrived in the ETO on 18-Sep-1944), but it was used in the 416th BG A-20 to A-26 conversion training. Per Cachat Plane Crashes and AAR 45-10-28-530: Oct 18, 1944 A-26B-20-DL, 41-39207, AN-V Project Squadron (attached to the 386 BG, 553 BS) A/C used for A-20 to A-26 transition training of the 416th. "(669th BS, 416th BG) in taxi accident at Melun Villaroche Airfield A-55 Seine-et-Marne, France. All three crew survived. Aircraft badly damaged, not known if repaired." (Baugher). AAR shows Call Letter is "V".
28643-22286A-26B-10-DTAN-S ?2?, 3, 4, 6, 7?, 826-Aug-19448-Sep-19443-digit AirCraft # "286" is S/N 43-22286, NOT 41-39286. The 41-39286 IARC shows A/C 41-39286 did not arrive in ETO until between 31-Oct-1944 and 27-Dec-1944, so it CANNOT be the S/N flying these missions in September, 1944. NOTE: This A/C (43-22286) arrived in the ETO on 8-Sep-1944 so it was the Aircraft flying on A-26 ETO Combat Evaluation Mission #2 (10-Sep-1944) and later.


Click on a A/C Serial Number hyperlink to view the Individual Aircraft Record Card (IARC) for that Aircraft.
Note, only the first IARC card is included. Some aircraft only have one card, some have multiple cards if the plane was in service for some time after WWII.






The following Accidents and Incidents occurred during the 416th BG A-20 to A-26 Conversion Training

         Date          Report

A/C
Serial #
Type
Mis-
sion
#
Bomb
Sq
Location Personnel (Status when available)
Oct 15, 1944
Sunday
AAR
45-10-15-536


41-39183
A-26B
  670 2 Miles North of Deulair, France Sheley, Stanley Horace (Not injured)
Paladino, Domenic V. (Not injured)
Tharp, Freeland M. (Not injured)
Oct 15, 1944
Sunday
AAR
45-10-15-533


41-39196
A-26B
  670 8 1/2 miles SW of Sezanne, France Leishman, Samuel Payne (Fatal)
Siracusa, Joseph F. (Fatal)
Shempren, Eugene H. (Fatal)
Oct 16, 1944
Monday
AAR
45-10-16-517
41-3380
A-20B
  670 RAF Airfield, Southend, England Jackson, Chester Ronald (Not injured)
Maltby, Alfred H. (Not injured)
Burns, Donald E. (Not injured)
Wark, LaMoine NMI (Not injured)
Oct 18, 1944
Wednesday
AAR
45-10-28-530


41-39207
A-26B
  669 AAF Station A-55 Stebbins, Barton D. (Not injured)
Winn, Alonzo J. P. (Not injured)
Davis, Warren G. Jr. (Not injured)
Oct 19, 1944
Thursday
AAR
45-10-19-528


41-39145
A-26B
  668 AAF Station A-55 Ames, William H. (Not injured)
Fessler, Herman S. (Not injured)
Brown, Robert J. (Not injured)
Oct 22, 1944
Sunday
No_Report   Unknown
A-26
  671 R.A.F. field East of London Henderson, Floyd W. (Not Injured)


To view more information regarding an Incident/Report, click on the Report hyperlink.
( = Entries having actual Reports available for review.   = Entries having additional Images or Photos.)
To view an individual's Memorial page, click on the "Name" hyperlink.






Photos of
A-26 Aircraft used in ETO Combat Evaluations and/or 416th BG A-20 to A-26 Conversion Training


     

A-26B-15-DL, 41-39145, Oct 19, 1944
"(MSN 6858, 668th BS, 416th BG) in landing accident at Melun Villaroche airfield A-55 Seine-et-Marne, France Oct 19, 1944.
All 3 crew survived. Aircraft badly damaged, unknown if repaired." (Baugher).
AAR 45-10-19-528
(Francis Cachat 416th Photo Collection, Plane Crashes)


     

A-26B-15-DL, 41-39183, AN-B, Oct 15, 1944
Project Squadron (attached to the 386 BG, 553 BS) A/C used for A-20 to A-26 transition training of the 416th.
"([416]th BG) nosegear collapsed Oct [15], 1944." (Baugher).
AAR 45-10-15-536
Left photo is also published in "A-26 Invader Units of World War 2" (page 17) by Jim Roeder.
(Francis Cachat 416th Photo Collection, Plane Crashes)


     

A-26B-15-DL, 41-39186, AN-W
Arrived in the ETO 18-Sep-1944 but did not fly A-26 ETO Combat Evaluation Missions from Great Dunmow in September 1944.

Left: Capt. Zean R. Moore was piloting this aircraft at the time this photo was taken by a photographer from the Douglas Aircraft Co.
who was in another A-26 (per Zean R. Moore, Jr., son of Capt. Moore).
Likely this photo was taken in October, 1944 during 416th BG A-20 to A-26 conversion training.
Left photo is also published on page 18 of "A-26 Invader Units of World War 2" by Jim Roeder.
See similar photo in "The Story of the Crusaders, The 386th Bomb Group (M) in World War II" 2nd Ed., p 104.

Right: Oct 14, 1944. While the Tail Number is hidden by the wing, Fuselage Code letter "W" is slightly visible.
Right photo is also published in "A-26 Invader Units of World War 2", page 15.
(Left: AFHRA Capt. Joseph J. Merhar Jr. collection VIRIN: 080306-F-3927A-033.JPG
Right: Francis Cachat 416th Photo Collection, Planes In Flight)





A-26B-15-DL, 41-39187, AN-O, Oct 14, 1944
Project Squadron (attached to the 386 BG, 553 BS) A/C used for A-20 to A-26 transition training of the 416th.
This photo is also published in "A-26 Invader Units of World War 2" (page 13) by Jim Roeder. (Francis Cachat 416th Photo Collection, Plane Stills and Crews)




A-26B-15-DL, 41-39191, AN-G, Oct 14, 1944
Project Squadron (attached to the 386 BG, 553 BS) A/C used for A-20 to A-26 transition training of the 416th.
(Francis Cachat 416th Photo Collection, Planes In Flight)




A-26C-2-DL S/N 41-39193
Rear caption: "This Douglas A-26 was badly damaged when it made a crash Landing at the 386Th Bomb Group base in
Great Dunmow, Essex, England on 26 August 1944." [actually, 24 August]
(NARA ID: 342-FH-3A15463-70021AC)


           

A-26C-2-DL, 41-39199, AN-D
Left: A head view of the Douglas A-26 "B", solid nose version of the Douglas Invader, shows its 70-foot wing span, with underslung engines mounted close to the fuselage.
Middle: A Douglas A-26 Invader touches down after a mission over Germany. With its tricycle landing gear down, the Douglas A-26 comes in at 135 miles per hour, touches at 110 to 115.
Right: Oct 14, 1944 Project Squadron (attached to the 386 BG, 553 BS) A/C used for A-20 to A-26 transition training of the 416th.
( Left: NARA ID: 342-FH-3A16330-113241AC
Middle: NARA ID: 342-FH-3A16380-113242AC
Right: Francis Cachat 416th Photo Collection, Planes In Flight )



     

A-26B-20-DL, 41-39202, AN-K, Oct 14, 1944
A-26 Project Squadron (attached to the 386 BG, 553 BS) A/C used for A-20 to A-26 transition training of the 416th.
(Left: Francis Cachat 416th Photo Collection, Plane Stills and Crews Right: NARA ID: 342-FH-3A16379-113240AC)


     

A-26B-20-DL, 41-39207, AN-V, Oct 18, 1944
Project Squadron (attached to the 386 BG, 553 BS) A/C used for A-20 to A-26 transition training of the 416th.
"(669th BS, 416th BG) in taxi accident at Melun Villaroche Airfield A-55 Seine-et-Marne, France. All three crew survived. Aircraft badly damaged, not known if repaired." (Baugher).
AAR 45-10-28-530
Left photo is also published in "A-26 Invader Units of World War 2" (page 14) by Jim Roeder.
(Francis Cachat 416th Photo Collection, Plane Crashes)




Oct 14, 1944, A-26B Project Squadron (attached to the 386 BG, 553 BS) A/C used for A-20 to A-26 transition training of the 416th. (Unknown S/N)
This photo is also published in "Douglas A-26 and B-26 Invader" (page 55) by Scott Thompson, with the caption: "This view clearly shows how the nose gear roated 90 degrees before retracting aft. This was required because of the limited space between the floor of the cockpit and the bottom of the aircraft. The complicated retraction sequence proved troublesom, however, and the nose gear of the A-26 was considered a weakness of the design. National Archives"
(Francis Cachat 416th Photo Collection, Planes In Flight)




Upon arrival at Great Dunmow, the A-26 aircraft were painted with 386th Bomb Group (M) tail markings
and assigned 553rd Bomb Squadron Fuselage Codes (AN) and Call Letters.
As shown in this photo of 5 planes, aircraft S/N 41-39187 (left of center) does not yet have a Fuselage Code.
41-39200 (center of photo) was assigned as AN-L.
Aircraft 41-39202 (far right) was AN-K and already had the horizontal yellow 386th BG band on the tail.
(Rust, p114)