Surviving Artifacts

from

Kingman Army Air Field

& Sales-Storage Depot No.41

Planes:

 

 

 

Don't know what it is about the Kingman Marauders, but never have I looked at a picture of them without thinking "My god, how could anyone destroy something so beautiful?"

But, destroy them they did. After having been stripped

of her engines, nose plexiglas and nearly all internal equipment, this gruesome sequence shows the

blade being dropped on a Kingman Marauder:

...Still painful to look at, even after being involved with
the subject for over 35 years.

JUNKYARD DOG

Most of the aircraft stored at Kingman were battle-scarred combat vets, while many were high-hour trainers and a few were even factory fresh, yet nearly all of them appear to have been properly maintained by their crews... then there was

RB-26B #41-18214

According to its Aircraft Record Card, this Martin Marauder was received by the USAAF on 1-25-43 and had several base assignments during WWII, including: 450th Base Unit @ Hammer Field, Fresno, CA; 3318th Base Unit @ Barksdale, LA; 465th Base Unit @ Paine Field, Washington, 432nd Base Unit @ Portland Air Base when she was re-classified as a TB-26; 444th Base Unit @ Daggett, CA and the 146th Base Unit @ Selfridge Field, MI, then re-classified as an RB-26.
Final entry was 10-19-45, RFC Kingman.

Bill Larkins' 1947 b&w shot above it was the basis for my son Brian's 1:48 scale rendition in plastic and since a color shot of F83 has yet to surface, this scheme is but one in the realm of possibilities - another is the B-26 button he also made of this ship in the column at left.

1947 Photo observations:

- Wavy line over the bomb bay doors indicates she was originally covered in the standard, early-War olive drab & gray paint scheme.

- Shiny silver patch ahead of the verticle stabilizer indicates her Martin Upper Turret was removed and faired over, sometime between date of delivery and assignment to one of the training bases.

- Contrasting band ahead of the waist windows, partially covering the aforementioned patch may have been the same hue as the rudder and was most likely a particular Squadron's color.

- And the white in the waist (but not the wing) insignia has been painted out by SALES-STORAGE DEPOT 41 workers... a sporadic practice at best, for only a small percentage of the thousands of planes at Kingman were given this treatment.

Now, why she ended her career as this gross patchwork of bare aluminum, varying shades of factory and Army Air Force-applied paint - some well worn and some appearing to have been slopped on with a brush - is an intriguing mystery. During three years of the war she was all over the country, so perhaps it's due to the massive climate changes of those base assignments, but in any event, this Marauder squadron's insignia has been jokingly referred to as being a beer keg!

RECENT UPDATE !

On February 6, 2011, totally unplanned, but precisely

64 years to the day from when he captured his famous and historic series of Kingman photographs in 1947, William T. Larkins autographed the wing of the replica RB-26B above (built by my son Brian), the original of which was among the Sales-Storage Depot No. 41 planes Bill recorded on film:

Bill is seen here using a paint pen on the model while Brian's holding

a photo of that very Marauder Bill shot in 1947


The Aircraft Type's minimal wing area, requiring an unusually-high landing speed, made its Wing Flaps extremely critical components, and the last time this 70+ year old, 30 pound, 28" Hydraulic Actuator Assembly performed under pressure, it cycled those Wing Flaps of a

B-26 Marauder coming into Kingman for its final landing:

This 35 year 'labor of love' hasn't only been

repetitive, dirty, greasy, time-consuming and very expensive...

oftentimes it can be quite entertaining,

such as when another civilian subcontractor enlisted

to produce war materiél is discovered:

Close-up of the Actuator's nomenclature plate shows this device was built by

THE MAYTAG COMPANY

...and B26 stamped at the upper right, plus several Martin and/or government inspector's markings also adorn the center portion of this marvelous artifact, a very special part of the

Depot 41 Museum Collection.

Now, one can provide images & text, but try as I might,

I'm unable to share the wonderful aroma of its 65+ year

old hydraulic fluid!


In this B&W period image, one can see several Marauder Engine Mounts and Oil Tanks piled up next to a KAAF hangar during it's post-War salvage operation:

This Assembly and several other B-26 Marauder Oil Tanks currently reside in the Depot 41 Museum Collection

After visiting the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and seeing the B-26 FLAK BAIT's tail section, complete with an

ASH TRAY under a seat ...
... I thought viewers might get a kick out seeing an ASH TRAY removed from a Kingman Bomber ...
... complete with 70 year old butts!

 

 

photo credits this page:

Peter M. Bowers,

3rd generation copy from

the missing Grounds' Home Movies,

William T. Larkins,

Jaime Montenegro,

Depot 41 Photo Archive

Last revision to Page: 1/2015

 

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