Martin AT-23/TB-26 Marauder

Last revised March 14, 2000


During the war, gunnery schools at training facilities in the States were getting feedback from combat theatres that gunners in the field were often unable to fire accurately at enemy aircraft when at high altitudes. This was traced to a lack of adequate training in high-altitude gunnery. At the time, the Air Force had no target tugs that could operate at altitudes above 10,000 feet, and since ballistics are quite different at high altitudes, it was felt that a high altitude target tug was necessary.

To fit this need, 208 B-26Bs were modified as target tugs and general utility aicraft and were redesignated AT-23A. This variant first appeared in August of 1943. It had all armor and armament removed, and the turret openings were covered over with aluminum. Those aircraft intended for target towing were equipped with a C-5 tow target windlass. In addition, 350 B-26C were manufactured as target tugs and were redesignated AT-23B. In the summer of 1944, these AT-23As and Bs were redesignated TB-26B and TB-26C respectively.

225 AT-23Bs were transferred to the US Navy as JM-1s. The JM-1 was used by the Navy for target towing and other general utility duties. It was never used in combat. Many JM-1s were painted with a bright orange-yellow finish, but the USAAF AT-23Bs retained their natural metal finish.

57 of the final production versions of the Marauder were built as TB-26Gs for training and target-towing duties.

Serials of AT-23A/TB-26B, AT-23B/TB-26C, and TB-26G:

41-34998/35172		Martin B-26C-20-MO Marauder
				35071 modified to AT-23B
41-35173/35372		Martin B-26C-25-MO Marauder
				35370/35372 converted to AT-23B
41-35373/35572		Martin B-26C-30-MO Marauder
				35525/35572 converted to AT-23B
41-35573/35772		Martin B-26C-35-MO Marauder
				35598/35620 converted to AT-23B
41/35773/35872		Martin B-26C-40-MO Marauder
				All converted to AT-23B
42-43260/43459		Martin B-26B-40-MA Marauder
				43319/43459 converted to AT-23A
42-95629/95828		Martin B-26B-45-MA Marauder
				95629/95737 converted to AT-23A
42-107471/107496	Martin AT-23B (not sure of this one)
42-107856/107881	Martin AT-23B
44-67805/67954		Martin B-26G-15-MA Marauder
				67945/67954 converted to TB-26G-15-MA
44-68105/68254		Martin B-26G-25-MA Marauder
				68222/68253 converted to TB-26G.

Sources:


  1. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1959.

  2. The Martin Marauder B-26, Victor C. Tannehill, Boomerang Publishers, 1997.

  3. The Martin B-26 Marauder, J. K. Havener, TAB Aero, 1988.

  4. Me & My Gal--The Stormy Combat Romance Between a WW II Bomber Pilot and His Martin B-26, Charles O'Mahony, Wings, December 1994.

  5. The Martin B-26B and C Marauder, Ray Wagner, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1965.

  6. Jane's American Fighting Aircraft of the 20th Century, Michael J.H. Taylor, Mallard Press.

  7. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.