Invaders for Turkey

Last revised August 26, 2000


At the very beginning of the Cold War, the Soviet Union started putting pressure on Turkey for territorial concessions and for guaranteed control over the Bosphorus and the Dardanelles straits. In early 1947, Turkey turned towards the United States for help. At the same time, the civil war in Greece was of increasing concern to the US government, and on March 12, 1947, President Harry Truman proposed to the Congress that substantial military aid be given to both countries.

Among other aircraft, the Turk Hava Kuvvetleri (Turkish Air Forces) requested 30 A-26 Invaders from the United States. Half were to be A-26Bs, the other half A-26Cs. Deliveries took place in March of 1948. These planes were assigned the THK serials 7401 through 7430. A second batch of 15 Invaders were delivered to the THK during 1949. These were given the serials 7431 through 7445.

The B-26 (as the aircraft was now known) was never considered as being a first-line bomber with the THK, and it was never much more than just a complement to the Mosquitoes already in service with the THK. In 1952 (after Turkey had joined NATO), a British analysis concluded that the THK as it then existed was little more than a mediocre force equipped with obsolescent aircraft, one which would be quickly wiped out if a real conflict were to occur. It was proposed by NATO that a substantial modernization effort be carried out, and that the THK should convert over to jet-powered aircraft as soon as possible.

F-84G Thunderjets began to pour into Turkey beginning in March of 1952. The operational B-26 units were disbanded to make room for the jets, with the Invaders being transferred to training units and to other secondary roles such as target towing.

Attrition had taken its toll over the years, and at least 13 THK Invaders had been lost in accidents up to the end of 1952. From the summer of 1953 only 11-16 THK Invaders were active at any one time.

In 1957, all remaining B-26 aircraft were transferred to target towing duties, and by 1958 they were finally withdrawn from use. The last THK B-26 was struck off charge in August of 1958.

Sources:


  1. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.

  2. McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Since 1920: Volume I, Rene J. Francillon, Naval Institute Press, 1988.

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

  4. Foreign Invaders--The Douglas Invader in Foreign Military and US Clandestine Service, Dan Hagendorn and Leif Hellstrom, Midland Publishing, 1994.