Surviving Artifacts

from

Kingman Army Air Field:

& Sales-Storage Depot No.41

Planes:

 

 

From its very beginning,

manned-flight has always had an irresistible

lure for record achievement and as high

performance aircraft became available on the surplus market after WWII, pilots 'chomped

at the bit' to destroy times set

before the War...

One of around two dozen of its type at Kingman, A-26B #44-34759 was built by

Douglas Aircraft Co. in Long Beach and immediately flown straight to

SALES-STORAGE DEPOT No.41

spanking new, never even having been

accepted by the U.S. Army Air Forces...

Purchased specifically for breaking a Howard Hughes record, ball point pen magnate Milton Reynolds aptly named this sleek Invader

REYNOLDS BOMBSHELL and together with

Capt. Bill Odom as pilot and Tex Salee as

copilot, their goal was breaking the

Around the World Speed Record.

The breed had a War reputation as being 'fighter-fast' and this Invader didn't let

anyone down, for visible on her left

engine nacelle is painted:

"AROUND THE WORLD!

78 HRS. 55 MIN. 12 SEC."

...clobbering Hughes' old record

by nearly 13 hours.

While it's believed that every Kingman Invader had the good fortune of being purchased by the post-War Charles Babb Co. & flown away, each bomber no doubt breathing a metallic sigh of

relief as the smoke from the furnaces faded

from view, few, if any, of the loose items

taken out those planes when they first arrived

at SALES-STORAGE DEPOT #41 found their way back into the bombers.

Part of the Depot 41 Museum Collection, this

is the actual Load Adjuster removed from

A-26B-66-DL #44-34759 as she was signed over to the War Assets Administration at Kingman:

(Image secured to prevent fraud)

The Load Adjuster Page

has many more details on these intriguing artifacts

in the Depot 41 Museum Collection...

A-26 Armor Panel

Measuring 31-1/2" wide by 44" tall and weighing 114 pounds, this framed Armor Plate was extracted from one of the Kingman Invaders before it flew out again:

Remnants of painted instructions on the opposite side refer to

"CENTRAL STATION FIRE CONTROL"

plus

"TO STOW TURRETS",

among other subjects.

...This indicates an RCT or Remote Control Turret system, such as those used in Boeing's Superfortress or Douglas' Invader. And while no B-29s were salvaged at Kingman, the Wunderlich operation did destroy several B-24 Liberators from Las Vegas Army Air Field that had been modified as B-29 Gunnery Trainers, fitted with remotely-operated GE Turrets:

HOWEVER, considering just the additional weight & expense, it's highly unlikely superfluous armor would have been installed in these bombers.

Here's a pic from the A-26 E&M that definitely identifies the Armor Plate as coming from a Kingman Invader:

Red indicates steel armor plate and black lines show the angle of protection from incoming rounds.

A rough guesstimate is that there was nearly 1000 pounds of armor in the A-26.

Now, the $64 question remains... did Milton Reynolds buy his Invader from a broker or did he get it directly from

Sales-Storage Depot No. 41 and then have Kingman workers remove this particular Armor to lighten his REYNOLDS BOMBSHELL???

The last I heard, this Invader was sitting on an Iranian airfield...

A-26C #43-22649

Not directly related to Kingman, just the same,

back in my airport rat days and while on lunch break at Chino in 1978, I spotted the mangled remains a recent B-26 Invader crash. For some reason, one of the bomber's propellers went into reverse pitch on approach, the results of which appear in my snapshots below (pilot survived with injuries).

A few bucks changed hands and after the fella spent several minutes cutting it off, I proudly carted away this 4 foot, 55 pound souvenir,

one of the wrecked bomber's curled propeller Blades . . .

Recent information reveals that (while in its original configuration) A-26C #43-22649 once served with the 9th Air Force, 391st Bomb Group during WWII. After the War, the Invader was rebuilt by On Mark as B-26K #64-17657, whereupon she went back to combat in Vietnam.

The cockpit section of this bomber eventually made its way to England and after much time, labor & expense, it's now on impressive display at the Wings Museum.

 

 

photo credits, this page:

Upper image shows

REYNOLDS BOMBSHELL being refueled in

Japan during her record-setting flight.

- courtesy of

Patricia McGinnis / Boeing Archives

Lower A-26 image taken Stateside

sometime after the flight + TB-24 "Z-35" pic courtesy of

William T. Larkins' impeccable photography

- WINGS MUSEUM www.wingsmuseum.co.uk

- DEPOT 41 Museum Collection

Photo Archives

 

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