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Martin XB-33 Super Marauder (Model 189)

Proposed High-Altitude Medium / Heavy Bomber

United States | 1942

"The Martin XB-33 Super Marauder was an extension of the earlier B-26 Marauder medium bomber series but failed to gain traction during the height of WW2 manufacturing."

Authored By: Staff Writer | Last Edited: 03/07/2023 | Content ©www.MilitaryFactory.com | The following text is exclusive to this site; No A.I. was used in the generation of this content.
Before World War 2 (1939-1945), authorities within the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC) became painfully aware of the limitations inherent in many of their frontline combat aircraft. Specifically, it lacked a high-altitude bomb delivery platform which would use its high-flying capabilities to simply avoid enemy ground-based fire. In 1939, the service put forth a requirement for a new medium-class bomber to fill the void resulting in two competing submissions being entertained - the North American XB-28 "Dragon" (based on its B-25 "Mitchell" design) and the Martin XB-33 (company Model 189). The designs were given prototypes contracts in 1940 (America did not officially enter the war until December of 1941).

The XB-33 was based on a reworked Martin B-26 "Marauder" and therefore came to be known under the name of "Super Marauder". The initial approach - XB-33 - saw a more slightly-refined B-26 form used that relied on a standard twin-engine approach (2 x Wright R-3350 "Duplex-Cyclone" radial engines). Two prototypes of this standard were ordered but never built. Realizing the capabilities needed for high-altitude performance, Martin returned with a four-engined approach (4 x Wright R-2600-15 radial engines - the original Wright R-3350 stock now redirected to Boeing B-29 "Superfortress" production) superseding the twin-engine model and this became the XB-33A. Beyond its four engines (two nacelles per wing), the B-26 airframe and wings were completely enlarged for the role. Before the end, the medium bomber looked - and would function - more the part of heavy bomber as its qualities grew more in line with other high altitude performers of the day, namely the Boeing B-29 Superfortress.

Again the Army ordered two prototypes of this design and a further 400 production models to carry the B-33A designation (to be built at a Martin plant in Nebraska) in January of 1942. However, progress on the B-29 product was of the utmost importance that Martin was given a contract to help in its manufacture, thus derailing the B-33 initiative in whole. The production contract for 400 was rescinded on November 25th, 1942 and neither of the prototypes were completed. The B-29, meanwhile, went down in wartime lore as the aircraft to drop the two atomic bombs on Japan, helping to bring about the end of World War 2.

Dimensions of the B-33 included a wingspan of 134 feet, a length of 79.9 feet, and a height of 24 feet. The four engine configuration was set to provide a maximum speed of 345 miles per hour for the bomber. The crew numbered seven and would have operated in pressurized cabin spaces. The general arrangement of the aircraft was conventional with a stepped cockpit at front, shoulder-mounted wing mainplanes near midships, and a tapered empennage. The tail unit carried a twin-rudder arrangement. Various defensive positions (nose, dorsal turret, ventral turret, and tail) would be armed by way of 8 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns (two guns to a position). The projected bomb load (all ordnance to be held internally) was 10,000 lb.

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Power & Performance
Those special qualities that separate one aircraft design from another. Performance specifications presented assume optimal operating conditions for the Martin XB-33B Proposed High-Altitude Medium / Heavy Bomber.
4 x Wright R-2600-15 radial piston engines developing 1,800 horsepower each and driving three-bladed propellers.
345 mph
555 kph | 300 kts
Max Speed
224 mph
360 kph | 194 kts
Cruise Speed
39,370 ft
12,000 m | 7 miles
Service Ceiling
3,107 miles
5,000 km | 2,700 nm
Operational Range
City-to-City Ranges
Operational range when compared to distances between major cities (in KM).
The nose-to-tail, wingtip-to-wingtip physical qualities of the Martin XB-33B Proposed High-Altitude Medium / Heavy Bomber.
79.1 ft
24.10 m
O/A Length
134.0 ft
(40.84 m)
O/A Width
24.0 ft
(7.31 m)
O/A Height
83,776 lb
(38,000 kg)
Empty Weight
105,822 lb
(48,000 kg)
Design Balance
The three qualities reflected below are altitude, speed, and range. The more full the box, the more balanced the design.
Available supported armament and special-mission equipment featured in the design of the Martin XB-33 Super Marauder (Model 189) Proposed High-Altitude Medium / Heavy Bomber .
2 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns in nose position.
2 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns in dorsal turret.
2 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns in ventral turret.
2 x 0.50 caliber heavy machine guns in tail position.

Up to 10,000lb of internally-held conventional drop stores (drop bombs).
Notable series variants as part of the Martin XB-33 Super Marauder (Model 189) family line.
XB-33 "Super Marauder" - Base Project Designation
XB-33 - Twin-engined proposal fitting Wright R-3350 engines of 1,800 horsepower each; two prototypes cancelled.
XB-33A - Four-engined prototype proposal fitting Wright R-2600-15 engines of 1,800 horsepower each; two prototypes cancelled; dimensionally larger than original XB-33 offering.
B-33A - Production model designation
Global customers who have evaluated and/or operated the Martin XB-33 Super Marauder (Model 189). Nations are displayed by flag, each linked to their respective national aircraft listing.

Total Production: 0 Units

Contractor(s): Glen L. Martin Company - USA
National flag of the United States

[ United States (cancelled) ]
Relative Max Speed
Hi: 400mph
Lo: 200mph
Aircraft Max Listed Speed (345mph).

Graph Average of 300 MPH.
Era Crossover
Pie graph section
Showcasing Aircraft Era Crossover (if any)
Max Alt Visualization
Small airplane graphic
MACH Regime (Sonic)
RANGES (MPH) Subsonic: <614mph | Transonic: 614-921 | Supersonic: 921-3836 | Hypersonic: 3836-7673 | Hi-Hypersonic: 7673-19180 | Reentry: >19030
Aviation Timeline
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Image of the Martin XB-33 Super Marauder (Model 189)
Image from the Public Domain.

Mission Roles
Some designs are single-minded in their approach while others offer a more versatile solution to airborne requirements.
Some designs stand the test of time while others are doomed to never advance beyond the drawing board; let history be their judge.
Going Further...
The Martin XB-33 Super Marauder (Model 189) Proposed High-Altitude Medium / Heavy Bomber appears in the following collections:
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