The sign accompanying the B-18. It reads
Boeing B-18A "Bolo"
The Douglas Aircraft Company developed the b-18 to replace the Martin B-10 as
the US Army Air Corps' standard bomber. Based on the DC-2 commercial
transport, the prototype B-18 competed with the Martin 146 (an improved B-10)
and the four engine Boeing 299, the forerunner of the B-17, at the Air Corps bomber trials at wright
field in 1935. Although many Air Corps officers judged the Boeing design
superior, the Army General Staff preferred the less costly Bolo. In January
1936, the Air Corps ordered 133 B-18s (along with 13 operational test YB-17s).
The Air Corps later ordered 217 more as B-18As with the bombardier's position
extended forward over the nose gunner's station.
Though equipped with inadequate defensive armament and underpowered, the Bolo
remained the Air Corps' primary bomber into 1941, and the Japanese destroyed
some B-18s during the surprise attack on December 7. By early 1942, improved
bombers like the B-17 replaced the Bolo as first-line bombardment aircraft.
Many B-18s were then used as transports, or modified as B-17Bs for
anti-submarine duty. Stationed at Wright Field from 1939 to 1942, the B-18a on
display was acquired and restored by the Museum in 1971. It is painted as a
B-18A serving with the 38th
Reconnaissance Squadron in 1939.
||27,000 lbs loaded
Three .30 cal guns (in nose, ventral, and dorsal positions, plus 4,500 lbs
of bombs carried internally