BOMBER B-18 “BOLO”

B-18 Passenger aircraft DC-2 and DC-3, developed by the designers of the American company “Douglas” in the middle 1930s was extremely successful, was built in large numbers and spread throughout the world. But made on the basis of their bombers is not known by the time of the US entry into the Second world war has practically disappeared from combat units. But first they had high hopes…

In 1934 the command of the air corps of the US army announced a competition for a new bomber. He had to carry a bomb load in 908 kg (2000 lb), have a flight range of at least 1640 km (1020 miles), and preferably twice more, and a maximum speed of not less than 322 km/h (200 mph). The prototype was required to show in August 1935.
 
By that time at Wright field, where stationed military testers, delivered three aircraft. It was a PB-1 of the company “Douglas”, “model 146” from “Martin” (the development of a serial bomber b-10) and “model 299” from “Boing”. The first two had two of the motor, the third-four. “Model 299” was the prototype of later famous “Flying fortress”.
The basis for the D-1 took C-39 military transport version of the passenger DC-2. From it used the entire wing, the magnitude of which increased slightly new rounded ending. The unit made according to the type DC-3, Kiel has become higher and wider than the S-39. It’s borrowed a tail wheel on a long rack and power system with two radial engines R-1820-G5 and screw machines. Chassis combined elements from the DC-2, and DC-Z.
 
The fuselage is designed again. Compared to C-39, he was above deep “belly” under the wing, which housed the bomb Bay. The estimated maximum bomb load was 2000 kg, more than twice exceeding the requirements of the job. The location of the wing relative to the fuselage when it was not lower, and middle. The pilot’s cockpit moved back, so she was at the nacelles. Ahead put Bombardier-Navigator, which through the glazing at the bottom could observe the terrain and take aim when bombing.
 
In-18 from the 7th bomber group cause temporary camouflage to participate in the summer exercises of 1938
 
B-18 from the 7th bomber group cause temporary camouflage to participate in the summer exercises, 1938
 
The fuselage of the bomber was quite spacious. The room above the bomb Bay was going to place a folding bed for the rest of the crew during long-term flights. Entrance and exit was provided through the door on the left side behind the wing. For convenience, the inside of the fuselage throw mounted on hinges a small staircase. Usually, however, the crew rose to their jobs through the hatch under the nose of the fuselage. There was another door alarm on the ceiling of the cockpit. The crew of the DB-1 consisted of six people: two pilots, Navigator-Bombardier and three gunners.
 
Defensive armament consisted of three 7.62 mm machine guns. In the nose of the fuselage was placed on top of a shielded installation, rotated manually by means of a chain transmission. The left-to the right of her screen was moving along with the machine gun, and up and down the trunk walked on the cracks in the screen. The top turret was in the tail section of the fuselage, in front of the keel. In the stowed position it is fully retracted into the fuselage, so that its roof is flush with the casing. Raised and lowered the turret and twisted manually. And finally, the last gun was fired through the sunroof down and back.
 
The manufacturing of the prototype of the bomber was completed in April 1935, and to be sent to Wright field managed to carry out production tests. Maximum speed was 375 km/h, service ceiling 7,620 m With a given load of 2000 pounds, the new aircraft could fly 1660 km is quite consistent with the requirements of the job. Significant damage to the machines is not revealed, which was hardly surprising: it used the nodes have brought mass-produced passenger liners.
 
But comparative tests of the bomber company “Boeing” easily blocked all the performance of competitors. He was faster and had a greater service ceiling, excelling at the same time and radius, and armament. But the future of a b-17 during the tests crashed, and the winner announced on DB-1. I believe that a significant role was played by money: “Douglas” was asked in one plane is 55 000 dollars, and “Boing” – about twice as much. But the losers also tried not to offend. Two other firms received a “consolation prize”: “Boeing” still ordered a 13 “fortresses” for military trials, and “Martin” encouraged with the contract for the latest batch of In-10.
 
In January 1936 “Douglas” received an order for 33 production aircraft, named-18 “Bolo”. Production machines differed slightly modified bottom glazed shortened the bow and motors (3-1820-45 with a capacity of 930 HP First copy handed over to the customer on February 23, 1937, After installation on the aircraft a full set of weapons and military equipment, the weight increased, which adversely affected the flight data. The maximum speed fell to 349 km/h and a range with normal bomb load (2000 lb) up to 1370 km. But still it was at that time the best American bomber.
 
In June of 1936 at the company “Douglas” in Santa Monica “a military version of the DC-2” saw the delegation of the Soviet aircraft manufacturers, headed by A. N. Tupolev. But the car was not allowed. However, another group of Soviet specialists headed by the head of Department of logistics of the air force brigade commander Basenowym, in the same year, got acquainted with the prototype In-18 at the airport Wright field.
 
B-18
 
Bomber B-18 “Bolo”
 
Apparently, this bomber has caused some interest. In any case, in a number of domestic documents referred to the plans to build in the Soviet Union on the basis of licenses parallel to the passenger DC-3 and bomber based on it (war machine had to do the factory number 18 in Voronezh), using the American experience and advice of experts “Douglas”. Directly to sell us the documentation for the At-18 was impossible because the plane was in the list of the U.S. war Department. But the “schematic drawings of military arrangements” the Americans agreed. Interest in In-18 in our country has gone after the mass production of domestic long-range bomber DB-3 in 1937.
 
And in America, “Bolo” continued to build, the United States war Department has issued new orders. The factory has a “Douglas” in Santa Monica was built In 131-18.
 
Into their number entered and the prototype brought up to full production standard. The first series had a coke bushings screws, later refused them. 22 cars produced in variant b-18M, intended for use in bombs of large caliber. Bomb racks types-7 and R-3 for small munitions on them dismantled. According to other sources, IN 18M was a training modification even without bomb armament. The last flight from 131 designated DB-2, got a mechanized front turret and a new cabin mate with a larger glass area on the sides. November 8, 1937, he arrived at Wright field for testing. However, the military, novshestva not approved, a bomber modified according to the standard model and in this form passed. But in line units, he did not hit, the machine used for testing of aerial cameras mounted in front of the cabin.
Experienced D-1 also did not remain long in the form of serial 18. In 1939 in its bomb Bay was mounted a 75-mm field gun М1898. Her trunk lay parallel to the axis of the aircraft. The front part of the fuselage was shortened so that it is acted out. After firing on the ground were tested in air over lake Erie and Aberdeen proving ground. The impact caused such severe shaking of the whole structure that firing in the air stopped and put the plane “on a trick”.
 
After the entire order for In-18 the plant started production of modification-18A. She completely redesigned the nose of the fuselage. The reason for this were complaints about overcrowding in front of the cabin. Navigator interfere with the arrow and the gunner / Navigator. On a new modification of the nose shape became like the ship. In its upper part placed Bombardier-Navigator, which had a lovely view through the abundant glazing. On a flat sloping panel stood the bombsight. Infantry unit, on the contrary, moved down, setting the gun in a small hemispherical “Apple”. The top turret was fixed in the extended position and made convex top of the screen.
 
- 18V, exhibited nowadays in the aviation Museum in Pima (USA)
 
In the 18th century, exhibited in our days in the aviation Museum in Pima (USA)
 
The aircraft was fitted with more powerful engines R-1820-53 (1000 HP), nosing and exhaust system which significantly modified. Steel screws are fully flugelheim. In the rear part of the fuselage appeared at three additional Windows on each side (one at the bottom of the front door on the left). The equipment includes radiolucent, ring antenna which was placed above the fuselage behind the cockpit.
 
Air corps ordered a 217-18A. The first of them took to the air April 15, 1938, six weeks later, the bomber was transferred to Wright field. In combat units, these machines began to arrive in June of the same year. 19 bombers released in-18АМ, air armament similar to that IN the-18M. Two aircraft were built without armament as a transport; they received the designation S-58.
 
In 1938, with “Bolo” was visited by representatives of the British air force. They were interested in the opportunity to use it as a Maritime reconnaissance aircraft and petrographically. But the conclusions of the English Commission was negative; flight data unsatisfactory because of low thrust-weight ratio, weapons of the weak. Yes, and have requested Americans with future allies, many; 109, 000 dollars – almost twice the price for her. The command of the Royal air force refused the deal.
 
But in 1939 on the b-18A received an order from Canada. Of the air force of this country has acquired 20 machines. From their “brothers” for the American aircraft they differed only with radios and machine guns English samples. In particular, the guns had a caliber of 7,69 mm. the air force of Canada, these bombers arrived as “Digby” I. the Delivery was carried out from December 1939 and completed in may 1940
 
In September 1939, ten IN-18A was offered to the Soviet Union at 147 000 dollars apiece (nearly one and a half times more expensive than for English). But for the money the firm “Douglas” was willing to modify the car under the Soviet demands or even to prepare a new revision. However, experts from the Department of the air force in January of the same year was estimated AT-18A as obsolete type. The same opinion was expressed by V. K. Kokkinaki and M. Kh. Gordienko, who after the flight to America on a plane “Moscow” made a tour of aviation facilities and airfields in the country. 4 October the chief of the red army air force A. D. Loktionov in writing and reported to the people’s Commissar of defense K. E. Voroshilov that this American bomber “is a deprecated type” and purchase it impractical. From the acquisition of IN-18A our refused, the Americans had to stop its production.
 
Operation-18 combat units in air corps army of the United States began in spring of 1937, Three cars arrived in the 7th bomber group on the basis of Hamilton field in California. Just got three bomber groups: except for the 7th, it was 5 – on the island of Oahu (Hawaiian Islands) and the 19th – at the base March field in California. Each group consisted of four squadrons and the number of cars roughly corresponded to the prewar Soviet regiment. B-18 to fly and three reconnaissance squadrons: the 18th, 21st and 38th. In the summer of 1938-18 participated in large maneuvers, during which received a temporary mottled camouflage washable water-based paints. “Bolo” was applied to conditional strikes on the “enemy” landed on the coast of the United States. The program of exercises included practical bomb bombing in landfills. It is interesting that the ground composition was forced to work in gas masks, giving an introduction about the use of poisonous gases by the enemy. Around the same time, the air corps Park began to fill IN-18A, which is additionally armed with another bomber group, 2nd at the airport of Langley field.
 
B-18
 
In-18 and b-18A had to fly in various conditions – from the cold North to the deep South. They operated on the territory of the United States, and later in Alaska, Hawaii or the Panama canal Zone. Three squadrons were stationed at the canal, one in Trinidad, one on the island of Santa Lucia, one in Suriname.
 
“Bolo” has shown himself to operate very good machines. The use of units of mass well brought the passenger plane as a whole is justified. There were no problems neither with the pilot nor with the service. The bomber was obedient to the pilots, stable and fairly maneuverable. Overall, a very good peacetime bomber. Operation “Bolo” cost is relatively inexpensive. They trained many of the crew of the rapidly burgeoning in those years of military aircraft of the United States.
 
But the “downside” was the fact that In-18 inherited and flight passenger data “Douglas”, quite suitable for civil aviation, but insufficient for the military. Defensive weapons “Bolo” was also weak, which rightly noted English experts. While the U.S. army focused purely on defense of its own territory and actions on the trust territories (in fact, the colonies), it was all arranged. But with the beginning of world war II, American military aviation required a different technique, able to fight on equal terms with the aircraft of potential adversaries. This has led to the displacement of the In-18 from bomber and reconnaissance aircraft in other applications.
 
Almost immediately after the outbreak of the Second world war, American planes began patrolling the Atlantic in search of German submarines. We used sea and land aircraft. “Bolo” had a significant duration of the flight, could carry bombs of various types, numerous the crew was provided with virtually all-round visibility. These aircraft included in the specially formed marine search and attack squadrons.
 
But effective search of submarines with V-18 was only possible by day and in good weather. To correct this deficiency, in the bow under a large semi-circular fairing mounted radar SCR-517. She took the place of the former cockpit of the Bombardier-Navigator, which “moved” down to the place the front of the arrow. “Apple” with a machine gun out. The radar could detect submarines on the surface day and night, in any weather. Search submarines in shallow water was carried out using a magnetometer attached to the place of the tail cone.
 
Since flying was over the open sea, often without sight of land, provided for the modernization of navigation equipment. Externally, this is reflected in the appearance of the antenna of the radio compass in the teardrop-shaped fairing above the fuselage.
 
Anti-submarine version was designated V-18V. It altered the previously released IN-18A; modified 122 instance. Some of them received, in addition to the internal, the external load of bombs.
 
By the end of 1941, the air force of the U.S. army (it was renamed the air corps) had quite a significant number of b-18 and b-18A. The parts that were stationed in America, used them mainly for training purposes. To the front they went after relearning on a more modern technique. Limited participation in hostilities took only aircraft stationed in Hawaii and the Philippines. 23 cars the 5th and 11th groups at the time of the Japanese RAID on pearl Harbor was on the Hikam airfield on the same island of Oahu. A considerable part of them has been sabotaged strikes Japanese carrier-based aircraft. The bombers were in the hangar and on the tarmac. They attacked with bombs from level flight and dive, and then Japanese fighters walked through the lined up at the airport “Bolo” from guns and machine guns. In some machines on the field managed to take the place of hands, which opened fire from the top guns. But it did not save American planes. Some of them flunked the collapsed roof of the hangars, some have burned or got so badly damaged that it was inadequate to repair.
 
Shortly before the outbreak of hostilities in Manila on the decks of ships in the boxes transferred the technique of the 28th bomb squadron. From there, the aircraft moved to the base Nichols field and began to collect. But in the battle of “Bolo” to participate was not possible. Part of the aircraft destroyed on the ground by Japanese pilots, and the survivors were used as transport and training. Four machine gave the 27-th group, awaiting the arrival of dive-bombers And 24.
 
In the course of the fighting in the Philippines In 18 it was carrying ammunition, spare parts and ground composition, flying mostly at night. Three aircraft conducted a flight to Australia, bringing out the cartridges for heavy machine guns. “Bolo” was already pretty worn out, spare parts to them was never enough. Therefore, in the Philippines, and left them.
On the Atlantic coast of the United States IN-18A continued to use to search for submarines. At this time there they flew 80th bomber squadron. However, for the most part, her aircraft were used for freight transport, carrying airfields 45th group depth charges. After replacing the IN-18A b-18B squadron was already full anti.
 
IN anti-18V in 1941 -1942 he has received several squadrons patrolling the Caribbean sea. By this time the US were already at war with Germany and opposed to “Bolo” were the German submarines hunted in this previously quiet neighborhood.
 
At the-18V was carrying depth charges, at least-the so-called “retroboy” reactive braking devices.
 
There were several instances of detecting submarines on the surface and shallow depths, but none of them ended with the sinking of the enemy aircraft. The crew of captain N. Meadowcroft of 90 squadron took off on patrol from the airfield Sandri in Suriname. He got an assignment to investigate reports of a German submarine in a given area of the Caribbean sea. From a height of about 1000 m, the pilots noticed under the water slowly moving shadow. Deciding that this is a German boat, they dropped the four depth charges. Flared but not oil spots and debris, and a large dead whale…
 
Three “Bolo” because of the various problems made a forced landing in the sea. The crew already mentioned Meadowcroft was on a floating aircraft after failure of one engine. People took a Dutch patrol boat. On the fifth day after the incident received a report that a large plane floating in the ocean. Sent a rescue tug, which found a “Bolo” on the water without substantial damage. Bomber on a rope held on to the nearest island. Then it is washed, dried and dismantled for parts.
 
Five days of sailing for the In-18 is not a record. One car of the 80 squadron, launched from Florida, was found on the water a week after a forced landing. She was dragged to the port and lifted onto the shore by the boat ramp for the flying boats of the company “pan American”.
 
The third “Bolo”, also made an emergency landing on water, after the rescue of the crew “lived” long. The sailors felt that it is a hazard to shipping and aircraft shot out of cannons.
 
The last combat sorties IN the-18V made of the Panama canal Zone in August 1943 In a lot of cars were suitable for operation. They were used as training and transport. Several aircraft were equipped with radar bomb sights and taught them scorers. Machines that fly could not have transferred to the technical schools as teaching AIDS.
 
After the war, all the available “Bolo” sold podeshevke small civil airlines. They are mainly transported cargo. In 1958, one b-18A was arrested on US soil by FBI agents before departure to Cuba. They found on Board a cargo of arms and ammunition to the guerrillas of Fidel Castro. The car was confiscated with all its contents.
 
Part of the aircraft in 1940-e years been converted to agricultural devices for spraying chemicals or fire extinguishing systems of the fence and drain the water. During the operation, they got a lot of parts from the C-47. The last of these “Bolo” served until 1971 He was working forests in Idaho from bark beetles, not allowing them to gobble up valuable Oregon pine.
 
In Canada, the U.S. bombers to “Digby” was originally equipped with one squadron of a – 10, considered bombing reconnaissance. During the war they were used for patrol over the North Atlantic until April 1943, In may, this part was replaced four-engine “liberators”, and “Digby” passed with 161 squadron, based at Dartmouth. She continued patrol and antisubmarine tasks. From August of that year part of the aircraft passed to stationed there 167th transport squadron, where weapons are removed and used for transportation of people and goods. Patrol “Digby” was completed in January 1944; they were replaced flying boats “CANSO” (the canadian version of “Catalina”). As transport these machines were operated until September 1945 Just for the war the Canadians lost in accidents and disasters a dozen bombers. After the end of hostilities could fly six aircraft; the last one was written off on 14 November 1946
 
In the second half of 1942, after the announcement by Brazil of the war in Germany, two In-18 lend-lease supplied in this country. Local air force used them for anti-submarine patrol off the coast. Later, the Americans provided one At 18 and one AT-18A. It was assumed that they would serve as non-flying training manuals in the aviation technical school in Sao Paulo. However-18A recognized it is quite suitable for further use and added to the earlier arrivals to the two bombers.
 
During the post-war sale of one aircraft was in Mexico. Later it was bought and placed in one of American museums. All now preserved seven “Bolo” of different modifications, are in different museums in the United States. Fly none of them is capable of.
 
Basic data In-18 “Bolo”
Wing span, m…………………… ………. 27 3
Length, m……………………. Of 17.13
Height, m……………….. 4,6
Empty weight, kg…………….. ………..7145
Takeoff weight, maximum, kg…. 12 287
Maximum speed, km/h. ………….349
Practical ceiling, m…….. ………..7400
Range, km……………….. 3540

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