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Published: Thursday, May 23, 2013, 12:01 a.m.

A vivid example of why some warbirds are rare

  • A Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber in Germany is dynamited into “bite-sized” pieces for the scrapper's smelter.

    Courtesy of Flying Heritage Collection

    A Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber in Germany is dynamited into “bite-sized” pieces for the scrapper's smelter.

This photo tells a little bit about why some warbirds are so rare. We have all seen the images of post-WWII boneyards in Arizona, Alabama, and New Mexico, but many veteran combat aircraft didn't even make it that far after the fighting. This scene shows a Martin B-26 Marauder medium bomber in Germany, being dynamited into "bite-sized" pieces for the scrapper's smelter. You see, the military made choices about what to keep and what to dispose of. B-26s or B-25s? Keep the 25s. Hellcats or Corsairs? Corsairs. B-24s or B-17s? Let's keep more B-17s. You can still see the effect in the roles of the warbird community today. For example, P-40s and P-38s are much rarer than the highly-valued P-51. And there are about 17 A-26s still out there in the world for every surviving A-20 or B-26.

Story tags » Military aviation

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