The revolutionary design of the B-26 and its associated flight characteristics initially gained it a reputation as a 'widow maker' receiving nicknames such as 'The Baltimore Whore' and 'The Flying Prostitute' - both a reference to its short wingspan, i.e. no visible means of support! Gradual improvements to the design and the development of effective combat tactics enabled these units to make the B-26 a very effective and safe combat aircraft; it went on to play a major role in the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa, Italy, France and Germany. The bombing accuracy of the B-26s was unrivalled and they were therefore selected to bomb targets such as the Florentine rail network. Lt General Eaker MAAF CO said. 'When we teach the B-17s to bomb like the B-26s we will have accomplished our job'. Hastily trained on an airplane with a bad reputation and rushed into combat in North Africa, the MTO B-26 groups went on to gain an enviable reputation for bombing accuracy and low combat loss rate. Performing the dangerous close support and interdiction roles, the units played a major role in the defeat of Axis forces in North Africa, Italy and Germany. They proved the B-26 to be a highly reliable, effective medium bomber - indeed, an MTO-based B-26 was the first ever USAAF bomber to reach the 100-mission mark. It was the three MTO Bombardment Groups that established the Marauder as one of the USAAF's truly great aircraft of World War 2.
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