Douglas B-18 Bolo
The Douglas Aircraft Co. developed the B-18 to replace the Martin B-10 as the Army Air
Corps' standard bomber. The Bolo's design was based on the Douglas DC-2 commercial
transport. During Air Corps bomber trials at Wright Field in 1935, the B-18 prototype
competed with the Martin 146 (an improved B-10) and the four engine Boeing 299, forerunner
of the B-17
. Although many Air Corps officers believed the
Boeing design was superior, only 13 YB-17s were initially ordered. Instead, the Army
General Staff selected the less costly Bolo and, in January 1936, ordered 133 as B-18s.
Later, 217 more were built as B-18As with a "shark" nose in which the
bombardier's position was extended forward over the nose gunner's station.
By 1939, underpowered and with inadequate defensive armament, the Bolo was the Air
Corps' primary bomber. Some B-18s were destroyed by the Japanese on December 7, 1941. By
early 1942, improved aircraft replaced the Bolo as a first-line bombardment aircraft. Many
B-18's were then used as transports, or modified as B-18Bs for anti-submarine duty in the
Carribean, with MAD detectors.
|General characteristics B-18A
||Two Wright R-1820-53 engines
||2x 992 HP
||2x 740 kW
||965 sq ft
||89.65 sq m
||3x 7.62mm machine gun; 2,950 kg bombs
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