(Glenn-)Martin B.10 (139/166)
In the mid thirties of the twentieth century several ideas were circulating about the defence and the rather young air force. One of these ideas was that an attack with bombers was the best way to defend.
The staff of the NEIAF supported this idea and asked several aircraft factories for an offer.
Fokker offered the Fokker T-V, which was still in development at that time. The American Martin company offered model 139, a version of the all metal Martin B-10. The B-10 was faster than the fighters in operational use at that time.
Finally the Martin 139 was selected and a series of 13 examples was ordered under the designation WH-1 as a replacement of the old Fokker C.V. [WH means Wright-Holland]
The planning foresaw the delivery of 39 aircraft, to be built under license in the Netherlands. Due to shortage of building capabilities it was decided to have the aircraft being built by the Martin aircraft factory. March 1937 a second series of 26 aircraft under the designation WH-2 was ordered.
The first WH-1, registered M-501, c/n 656, was handed over to the NEIAF on September 2, 1936. M-501 and M-502 arrived in December in the Dutch East Indies. M-502 made its first flight in January 1937 from air base Andir.
The second series was improved in several ways: more powerful Wright Cyclone G-3 engines rated 875 hp each., the Hamilton Standard–propeller with two positions was replaced with a Curtiss Electric ‘constant speed’ propeller. Furthermore the cowling was improved and more streamlined, a NSF VR-34B radio and also an auto-pilot was added.
The maximum speed was about 40 km/hr higher, the range was enlarged with about 10 % and the bomb load was about 20 % larger.
The first WH-2, serial M-514, construction nr. 717 was handed over in December 1937. All WH-2's were delivered in October 1938, so three divisions each with thirteen bombers (two spare, two in maintenance and nine operational) were operational.
The Martin 139 was developed to the Martin 166. This model had one single canopy, the cross section of the fuselage was enlarged, so more bombs could carried. The wings were slightly oblique backwards and the engines were replaced with the more powerful Wright Cyclone GR-1820-G5 rated 1000 hp each. For commercial reasons this model was called Glenn Martin 139 WH-3.
By the end of December 1937 a third contract for the delivery of 39 WH-3 was signed. The acceptance of the first WH-3, registered M-540, construction nr. 775, was may 1938.
November the same year a fourth contract was singed for the delivery of 40 Wh-3A’s. This type was identical to the WH-3, except that it was equipped with two Wright Cyclone R1820-G102 engines rated 1200 pk each.
The first WH-3A, serial M-579, construction nr. 837 was handed over in December 1938. April 1939 the third and last bomber division, VlG-III was operational at air base Tjililitan.
By the end of 1939 seven Martins were lost, 2 WH-1, 2 WH-2 and 3 WH-3’s.
When the Japanese attacked the Dutch East Indies the following units were operational:
|Andir:||1-VlG-I and 2-VlG-I 9 Wh3/Wh-3A’s each plus 2 spare aircraft|
|Singorasi||1-VlG II with 3 Wh2’s; 9 Wh-3/Wh-3A’s plus two spare aircraft|
|Tjililitan||1-VlG II and 3-VlG III each 9 Wh3/Wh-3A’s plus 2 spare aircraft|
|Kalidjati||7e division with 1 HW-1, 2 Wh-3 and 6 Wh-3A|
|WH-1-patrouille with 3 WH-1 plus one spare aircraft|
At the end of November 1941 so still operational:
- three examples of the WH-1 plus one reserve;
- Thirteen examples WH-2 plus 2 reserve;
- Thirty-five examples of the WH-3 / WH-3A plus 5 reserve.
- Not operationally deployable by maintenance or used for instruction, were 4 examples WH-1; six WH-2 and two WH-3 and three WH-3A.
DUTCH AIR FORCE IN BURMA - 1942; Kallang Airfield, Singapore 1941
So at the end of November 1941 operational were 3 WH-1's plus 1 spare; 13 WH-2's plus 2 spare; 35 WH-3/WH-3A plus 5 spare. Further, because of maintenance or training 4 WH-1s ; 6 WH-2s and 2 WH-3s and 3 WH-3As were not in operational use.
The first actions with the Martins were in the Borneo area. The Japanese were eager to conquer the oil fields. Soon the day light attacks were very hazardous. Alas the crews were hardly trained in night attacks.
During the three months of war many aircraft were lost in action.
(Via P. Guit) B.Guit flew with pilot officer Yland on Martin M-611. This aircraft was shot down on January 24, 1942 during the landing on Samarinda II together with two other aircraft. They came from Singosari (Singorasi as mentioned is not correct spelled). On January 25, 1942 they were evacuated in a Lodestar with a total of 30 men to Java , because not enough aircraft were available at Samarinda II.
By the end of February one succeeded to fly with the only Martin, M-585, left to Broome, Australia. The Martin was handed over to the USAF, which used it registered 42-68358.
The other aircraft probably eighteen examples were captured by the Japanese. Fifteen aircraft could be repaired to airworthy condition and several were handed over to Thailand. Thailand had bought six Martin 139’s in 1937. After the war about five Martins were left, which were in use until 1949.
[Enclosed photo from BeeldBank NIMH. Click on photo for ordering information]