Crucial to the early stages of Operation Overlord on 6th June 1944, the B-26 Marauders of the 386th Bomb Group, 553rd Bomb Squadron, carried out low level bombing runs on the German defenses to pave the way for the Allied landings along the beaches of northern France and thereafter provided vital air support as the invasion gathered momentum. 131576 AN-Z, now on display at the Utah Beach Museum, is depicted here as a tribute to the brave crews of the 386th.
Item Code : DHM6222
Pure Dynamite by Ivan Berryman. - Editions Available
6th June, 1944 – D-Day – and Martin B.26 Marauders of the 386th Bomb Group, 553rd Bomb Squadron are among the first aircraft to bomb the beaches in readiness for the Normandy landings on that momentous day. Shown softening up the enemy gun emplacements on a low level run over Utah Beach is 131576 AN-Z, now on display at the Utah Beach Museum.
Item Code : DHM6202
Dinah Might by Ivan Berryman. - Editions Available
B26 Marauders of the 386th Bomb Group 9th Air Force, returning from a strike against VI, rocket sites in the Pas de Calais, January 1944. The 9th Air Force became one of the most effective forces in the destruction of VI rocket sites, railroad yards, bridges and other enemy position in northern France and by May 1944, was despatching more than one thousand aircraft a day against targets in Normandy and the Pas de Calais.
Item Code : DHM2072
Marauder Mission by Robert Taylor - Editions Available
Dawn Chorus - Tribute to the men of the 553rd Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group by Ivan Berryman.
Martin B.26 Marauders of the 553rd Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group are depicted approaching the Normandy coast early on 6th June 1944. These aircraft were among the first to bomb the enemy gun emplacements and reinforcements situated along the beaches in order to help clear the way for the Allied landings that were just hours away at the start of Operation Overlord. These B.26s carried out low level bombing sorties over Utah Beach, their low altitude being the key to their high level of success and accuracy. Nearest aircraft is 131576 AN-Z 'Dinah Might ' now on display at the Utah Beach Museum.
Item Code : DHM6302
Dawn Chorus - Tribute to the men of the 553rd Bomb Squadron, 386th Bomb Group by Ivan Berryman. - Editions Available
Tasked with low level bombing operations at the start of Operation Overlord on 6th June 1944, the B-26 Marauders of the 386th Bomb Group, 553rd Bomb Squadron, carried out their missions with great success, softening up the German defenses to pave the way for the Allied landings along the beaches of northern France. Shown here is one such aircraft, 131576 AN-Z, now on display at the Utah Beach Museum.
Item Code : DHM6273
'Dinah Might' Homeward Bound by Ivan Berryman. - Editions Available
The B-26 Marauder, dubbed the widow maker by its detractors, was developed by the Glen L. Martin Company beginning in 1939. The first B-26 was completed in November of 1940. The early models had very high wing loading, and were tricky to fly. Added armament increased weight even further leading to an alarming rate of accidents during training. Increasing engine power, wingspan and rudder height solved many of the problems. The B-26 was capable of speeds in excess of 320-MPH, and with a normal crew compliment of six and a bomb load of 4,000 pounds the aircraft, had a range in excess of 1100 miles. Despite the controversy surrounding the B-26, the aircraft served admirably during WW II, and in fact had the lowest loss ratio of any American aircraft. The 386th Bomb Group was organized on December 1, 1942 under the command of Lt. Col. Lester J. Maitland. The 386th, known as The Crusaders, trained at MacDill Field near Tampa Florida. The accident rate during training of earlier B-26 units.........
Joining the USAAF in October 1942, Earl was posted to Europe flying the new B-26F Marauder, assigned to the 386th Bomb Group based at Great Dunmow, in Essex. He flew combat operations in the build up to D-Day, later moving to Beaumont, France in October 1944. Promoted flight leader, Earl converted to the A-26 Invader in February 1945, completing 62 combat missions.
Ashley Woolridge was involved in training and combat with the B-26 Marauder continuously for three years. Assigned to the 319th Bomb Group he arrived in North Africa at the time of the invasion there, beginning low-level combat missions in November 1942. Flying over 100 missions in the B-26, Woolridge became one of the leading exponents of the Marauder, and was responsible for devising the logistics of the 6-ship abreast take-off - a procedure that extended range by reducing join-up time. The technique was used extensively in North Africa, without accident. By November 1944, Woolridge was appointed Commanding Officer of the 320th Bomb Group, a position held until the wars end. His many decorations include two Croix de Guerre, one awarded by General de Gaulle, the other by General Pleven. Ashley Woolridge passed away on 3rd May 2004.
Navigator Dick Denison's first combat missions were flown during the D-Day invasion, flying C47s towing gliders into the Normandy bridgehead, and making casualty evacuations. He transferred to the 552nd Squadron, 386th Bomb Group flying the Martin B26 Marauder, before converting over to the Douglas A26 Invader. Dick completed a total of 40 combat missions during his tour.
Roland Scott joined the Service in 1933, trained as a pilot in 1941 and arrived in England in March 1943. Flying with the 450th Squadron 322nd Bomb Group, Scott was to lead a 12 ship formation on May 14th, 1943, to bomb the power plant at Ijunuiden, Holland - the first combat mission flown in Europe by the B-26 in World War Two. The orders were to go in at zero feet. Coming in over the Dutch coast they were met with ground fire, and several aircraft were hit. Scott somehow got through the intense wall of tracer and flak, and laid his bombs on the target, but a 20mm shell exploded in the cockpit, blinding him in one eye; however with the aid of his crew managed to get his B-26 back to his base. In spite of the loss of an eye Roland Scott checked out on a large number of World War Two American and British combat aircraft. Roland Scott passed away on 21st November 2002.
After gaining his wings in 1943, John Moench was checked out on the B-26 Marauder, and arrived in England in early 1944 joining the 323rd Bomb Group, based at Earls Coln. His first combat mission was on May 7th, and by the end of the month he had racked up 13 missions. The following month he was made flight leader of a six ship formation, and by the wars end he had flown lead aircraft on 17 of his 62 B-26 Marauder missions. John Moenchs last mission with the 323rd was to bomb Erding Aerodrome, near Munich on April 25th, 1945. In spite of a determined attack by Me262s every aircraft got home without a single man lost or wounded - a testimony to the level of skill of the B-26 pilots by the wars end, and to the quality of the Marauder as a fine medium range combat aircraft.
Carl Oates joined the 386th Bomb Group at Great Dunmow, England in September 1944. Piloting first the B-26 and later the A-26, he flew 22 combat missions from England, and later from bases in France and Belgium. Carl was appointed Operations Officer of the 554th Squadron during the last six months of World War II.
David M. Jones was born December 18th, 1913, at Marshfield, Oregon, attended high school in Tucson and graduated from the University of Arizona in 1932. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the U.S. Cavalry arm of the Arizona Army National Guard and transferred to the Army Air Corps for pilot training which he completed in June 1938. In February 1942, he volunteered as a pilot for the secret project organized by Lt. Col. James H. "Jimmy" Doolittle which became the attack by 16 Army Air Force bombers launched from the Navy Carrier USS Hornet on April 18, 1942. Jones was Captain and pilot of B-25 plane #5, attacked the waterfront of Tokyo. The bombers attacked Tokyo and four other Japanese cities in retaliation for the infamous surprise attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941 by Japanese naval forces. Jones had to bail out over China after the mission. After the raid he flew Martin B-26s in North Africa before being shot down over Bizerte on his fifth mission and taken prisoner. David Jones spent the next one and a half years in a German prison in Stalag Luft III. He was selected as a member of the "escape committee" by his fellow prisoners to review escape plans and participated in digging one of three tunnels labeled Tom, Dick and Harry. He was liberated in April 1945. In the years following, Jones attended three major Armed Forces schools followed by assignments in research and development. He was director of the B-58 Test Force and at one time had more super-sonic flying time in that aircraft than any other USAF pilot. In 1961, he was named vice commander of the Aeronautical Systems Division at Wright-Patterson AFB and deputy commander for the GAM-87 air launched ballistic missile. After this project was cancelled, he was named deputy chief of staff for systems at the Air Force Systems Command and in 1964 he became deputy associate for Manned Space Flight with NASA. In 1967, he was appointed commander of the Air Force Eastern Test Range at Cape Kennedy, Florida for Manned Space Flight. He retired as a major general on May 31, 1973. Sadly Major General David M. Jones passed away on November 25th, 2008, at his home in Tucson, Arizona
Bill Norris was born in Chattanooga, Tennessee on May 7, 1918. After a typical childhood which included hunting with both bow and arrow and guns, Norris joined the Clyde Beatty Circus in 1938 as an aerial trapeze performer. While working in the circus Bill met Pete LaFramboise, and they became good friends. LaFramboise left the circus in 1939 to join the RAF. Bill planned to go with him, but at the last minute he changed his mind. Norris took some flying lessons in 1939 and 1940 in an old Luscombe. Following the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Uncle Sam requested Bill's services in the United States Army. Bill completed infantry training, but he requested a transfer to the USAAF. He was sent to FT. Myers, Florida for Gunnery School training. Following graduation from Gunnery School Bill was sent to Tampa where he was assigned to the 386th Bomb Group, which was being formed to fly the B26 Marauder. Bill accidently ran into his old friend Pete LaFramboise in Tampa., and it turns out that Pete had left the RAF and was now a B-26 Marauder pilot with the 386th. Pete suggested that Norris transfer to Pete's squadron, and join his crew. With the completion of their training the 386th deployed to England. Bill and Pete flew 54 combat missions together, including the one depicted in Stan Stokes painting entitled Mauled by a Marauder, during which Bill Norris downed three German fighters and a probable fourth. Norris flew a total of 57 missions, and downed another German Bf-109 on another mission. Bill Norris left the Army following the War. He became a roofing contractor in Southern California, locating there because it was the home of his first wife who he had married shortly before shipping out for combat. Bill also worked part time as a Hollywood stunt man. He doubled for Donald O'connor in a number of movies, and also performed some of the stunts for Burt Lancaster in the classic movie Trapeze. Norris had known Lancaster from their time working in the circus prior to the War. Bill has a son by his first wife and a daughter by his second. He is an avid restorer of mid-50 Chevy classics, and currently enjoys the good life in Southern California. Bill has four grandchildren. His military awards and decorations include the Silver Star, the DFC with oak cluster, the Air Medal with ten oak leaf clusters, the Purple Heart with oak leaf cluster, and the British Distinguished Flying Medal. With his four confirmed aerial victories Bill has the unique distinction of nearly becoming an ace, quite an unusual fete for a tail gunner.
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