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322d Bomb Group B-26 Marauder 41-31773.jpg
Flak-Bait at Andrews Field, England, 1944
Type Martin B-26 Marauder
Manufacturer Glenn L. Martin Company
Serial 41-31173
First flight April, 1943
Owners and operators United States Army Air Force (USAAF)
In service April, 1943 to December 1946
Fate Museum display
Preserved at Under preservation at Smithsonian Institution's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.

Flak-Bait is a Martin B-26 Marauder aircraft that holds the record within the United States Army Air Forces for the number of bombing missions survived during World War II. Manufactured in Baltimore, Maryland as a B-26B-25-MA, by Martin, it was completed in April 1943 and christened Flak-Bait by its first assigned pilot, James J. Farrell, who adapted the nickname of a family dog, "Flea Bait". Flak-Bait was assigned to the 449th Bombardment Squadron, 322d Bombardment Group stationed in eastern England.[1][2]

During the course of its 202 (207 if one includes its five decoy missions[2]) bombing missions over Germany as well as the Netherlands, Belgium, and France, Flak-Bait lived up to its name by being shot with over 1,000 holes, returned twice on one engine (once with the disabled engine on fire), lost its electrical system once and its hydraulic system twice, and participated in bombing missions in support of the Normandy Landings and the Battle of the Bulge.[1][2][3]

On March 18, 1946, Major John Egan and Captain Norman Schloesser flew Flak-Bait one last time, to an air depot at Oberpfaffenhofen in Bavaria. There the famed bomber was disassembled, crated, and shipped, in December 1946, to a Douglas factory in Park Ridge, Illinois.[4]

Flak-Bait undergoing restoration at the Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center, 2014

The aircraft is currently undergoing preservation and conservation at the Smithsonian Institution's National Air and Space Museum.[3]

A series of red-colored bombs are painted on the side of the aircraft, each representing an individual mission (202 bombs in total). White tails painted on the bombs represented every fifth mission. There is one black-colored bomb which represents a night mission. In addition to the bombs, there are also six red ducks painted on the aircraft representing decoy missions. There is also a detailed Nazi Swastika painted above a bomb to represent Flak-Bait's only confirmed kill against a German aircraft.[5]

A closeup photo from May 19, 2021

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Spenser, Jay P., "Flak Bait: Biography of an Intrepid Marauder," Airpower (vol. 8, no. 5, Sept. 1978), pp. 36-57.
  2. ^ a b c Crosby, David (June 12, 2006). "B-26B Marauder: American Bomber in World War II". Historynet. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  3. ^ a b "Martin B-26B-25-MA Marauder "Flak-Bait"". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 28 April 2015.
  4. ^ "207 Flights, Hundreds of Holes".
  5. ^ "A Brief History of "Flak-Bait"". Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum. Retrieved 21 March 2018.

External links[edit]