Another freshman attack - The Marauder

A group of four Martin B-26 Marauders on their way to New Guinea had been diverted to Midway during the build up to the battle. These were led by Captain James Collins. In this group was the B-26 "Susie Q" (Bu.No. 40-1391) so named after the pilots wife's nick name. The pilot was First Lieutenant Jim Muri. He and his crew had no combat experience and no training for torpedo launching. Still, at 6:00 in the morning of June 4 they left Midway equipped with a 2,000-pound torpedo to attack the Japanese carrier force. They took off right after the six Avengers (see 5. Baptism of fire - The Avenger).

They had just sighted the Japanese fleet and Muri was just in the process of lighting a cigarette when the Zeroes struck the formation. He immediately focused on following Collins who was manoeuvring to avoid the fighters and at the same time finding a god angle for attack on the carriers. Finally they dived down to sea level and took aim at one of the carriers. By then Muri had lost track of the other two B-26's as he was focusing on his leader. At about 800 yards Collins let go of his torpedo and banked right.

Muri's co-pilot Lieutenant Pete More was ready to launch the torpedo and Muri shouted out the order. Moore turned the plug to release the torpedo but there was no indication whether it launched or not. Muri kept shouting "Is it away?" until Moore finally answered "How the hell do I know?". By now they were up close to the carrier constantly hit by AA and fighter fire. In a desperate move to avoid the fire Muri banked hard and flew straight down the carriers deck. Their bombardier Lieutenant Russ Johnson grabbed the nose gun and strafed the carrier killing two seamen and temporarily disabling an AA-gun. As they pulled out of their attack they could see one of the other B-26's narrowly missing the bridge of the carrier and then plunge into the sea.

The torpedo had actually launched but missed it's target which turned out to be the Akagi. After clearing the deck they were again attacked by Zeroes. Corporal Frank L. Mello jr., the waist turret gunner crawled to the cockpit to report that the plane was on fire. Moore left his seat to find the fire and put it out. He proceeded to quickly tend the wounded and then man the gun turret. Finally the Japanese fighters had to turn back to their fleet and Muri managed to find Captain Collins equally battered B-26 still in the air.

Back at Midway Muri managed to land his plane with the left tyre shot off, all propeller blades damaged and more than 500 bullet holes in Susie-Q. The three gunners was wounded but the entire crew survived. Two of the B-26's however was lost and the group did not manage to score any torpedo hits. Susie-Q was scrapped but Muri was allowed to cut out it's name from the fuselage.

The kit is from ESCI in scale 1/48 (see here). To be meticulous it's the wrong model, I've tried to change some features but the rear gun placement is wrong. Anyhow I've written a review of the kit here.  

Read more (sources)

James Muri Wikipedia

Pacific Wrecks - B-26 "Susie-Q" Serial Number 40-1391 

The Charge Of The B-26 Midway Marauders

The Midway Marauders

Miracle at Midway – Gordon W. Prange, Donald M. Goldstein, Katherine V. Dillon (Amazon)

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