( right side )
Isolating the Battlefield
The B-26 Marauder, developed by the Glenn L. Martin Company, was first delivered to the Air Corps in February 1941. Its high landing speed made it the 'hottest' aircraft of its time.
This medium bomber contributed to Allied victories in Europe, North Africa, the Aleutians and the Pacific. The largest number flew in Europe isolating the battlefield prior to and after "D-day."
By D-day 6 June 1944, all major bridges in France scheduled as targets had been destroyed. The B-26's were the primary aircraft used to destroy railroad yards, roads and communication centers as well as bridges, limiting the enemy's mobility. After World War II, Hans Speidel, a respected German general, highlighted the work of medium bombers. "Destruction of railways was making regulated railway supply impossible as early as mid-May 1944 . . . Lack of fuel paralyzed all movement. The Seine bridges below Paris and the Loire bridges below Orleans were destroyed from the air before 6 June 1944."
The first B-26 Group assigned to the 8th Air Support Command, European Theater of Operations, arrived in England in March 1943. All B-26 Groups in the ETO as of 16 October 1943 were assigned to the 9th Air Force:
322nd · 323rd · 344th
· 386th · 387th · 391st · 394th · 397th · Pathfinder Group
Other major B-26 groups included:
12th AF, North African and Mediterranean Theaters:
17th · 319th · 320th
5th AF, Pacific Theater: 22nd
13th AF, So. Pacific Theatre
11th AF, Aleutians 73rd Sqd · 77th Sqd
( left side )
B-26 Martin Marauder
The bombardier in this lead plane of the sixth and final flight of a 36 plane formation centered the cross-hairs of his Norden Bomb Sight on the target. All 24 of this flight's 1000-pound bombs are headed for the remaining span of a six span bridge. The other spans are obscured and probably destroyed by the earlier flights. This pilot is leading his flight home in evasive action to avoid the deadly flak from German 88-mm guns.
Before and after D-day" Marauders destroyed targets to isolate the battlefield and limit the enemy's ability to advance troops and supplies.
The members of the 397th Bombardment Group (M), the 'Bridgebusters," dedicate this memorial to the comrades who gave their lives and to all who supported, maintained and flew the B-26 Martin Marauder, and for their immeasurable
contribution to the Allied victory in World War II.
Dedicated this 4th day of September 1987
397th Bomb Group Association
Its men - their victories
This memorial completed through the generosity of individuals
from all B-26 Marauder Units.
This 23rd day of September 1988