Quoted TextQuoted TextRuss is it the Douglas B-18 Bolo?
Darrell-- Bingo! That's the one. With 340 in service before WWII, but can you name two things it's famous for?
The sinking of a German U-boat, U-654 on 22 August 1942 in the Caribbean and the sinking of the German submarine U-512 north of Cayenne, French Guiana.
Darrell yes-- those are two of the B-18s accomplishments, so over to you, but first, here's some additional information and some other "firsts" accomplished by this much maligned aircraft:
1) A B- 18 was the first US aircraft to sink a German U-Boat. On top of that, Canadian Digby's (the RCAF version of the B-18) also sank two U-boats. All together, four German Uboats were sunk by US and Canadian B-18s (2 US and 2 RCAF) and two additional U-boats were damaged. This much maligned bomber never got the credit it deserved, being over shadowed by its larger competitor, the B-17 during WWII.
2) The B-18 was in direct competition against the Boeing 299- the prototype of the B-17, and the B-18 won the competition based on cost, while the prototype 299 crashed during the competition. As a result, the USAAC submitted contracts for a total of 340 B-18s, and by 1941, it was the most numerous US bomber aircraft type available at the start of WWII. It was also comparable to the HE 111 in defensive armament, and could carry a heavier bomb load. Unfortunately, the B-18 was underpowered.
3) Contrary to popular belief, the B-18 it was not based on the Douglas DC-2, but it shared a similar design, it was actually based on the Douglas DB-1 bomber, which was intended to replace the Martin B-10.
4) It was the first US aircraft to be successfully fitted with a version of the U.K.s ASV-10 radar used for ASW (three Export B-30s- the British version of the B-24 actually were fitted first, purchased back from lend-lease stocks, and employed by the US) but the B-18 saw the first dedicated ASW use. It was also the first US aircraft to employ a MAD stinger extending outside the aircraft. By 1942, it was the primary US ASW aircraft-- and was solely flown by the USAAC, designated as the B-18B. The radars were developed and improved by MIT.
5) The first radar equipped B18A was successfully flown on a rescue mission to recover the crew of a USN aircraft that had been engaged in ASW patrol off the east coast and was missing in action-the civilian MIT technician training the B-18 crew in radar operations flew as the radar operator. This is the first time a radar equipped USAAC aircraft engaged in successful search and rescue operations of a USN aircraft.
6) The B-18 was practically watertight-- making ditching at sea relatively safe for the crew, and many B-18 and at least one Digby crew made it safely ashore after ditching at sea-- some without even getting their feet wet!
7)The B-18 was actually easy to fly, beloved by its crews, had space for six crew members including bunks for long flights. It wasn't until the 1960s that the aircraft became ridiculed in the press. In fact the name "Bolo" was only pegged in 1942, when allied aircraft started to be named-- and the B-18 was originally named after the S. American Bolo.
This information comes from Hagedorn's excellent book-- "The B-18 and B-23, America's Forsaken Warriors". It's a well researched read on the history and development of Douglas' two early bombers (the B-23 really was a failure though).
Over to you!