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By the mid-30s, the main types of US bombers were B-10 and B-12. Both are different modifications of the same basic Martin 139 aircraft. If you look at it, then you can’t say that this machine was once considered the fastest bomber in the world. Speed is associated with elongated, "licked" forms. And this one is compact, "pot-bellied", similar either to a tadpole, or to a pregnant guppy fish. And yet, “Martin” once overtook fighters. Moreover, to some extent, it can be considered the ancestor of high-speed bombers.
The then fighters - biplanes had no chance of intercepting such a machine. For the creation of a new bomber, Martin was awarded the Copier Cup for Achievement in Aviation. On January 17, 1933, an order for 48 aircraft was approved.
The first bomber of American design that took part in the hostilities of World War II, even as part of the air force of another state, was the B-10 aircraft. By the beginning of the Second World War, this machine was already somewhat outdated. She was the first American large-scale all-metal bomber with remote-controlled machine-gun turrets. In total, the American Air Force was armed with 151 aircraft of the B-10 and B-12 types, the vast majority of them had already been decommissioned by the beginning of the war, but several aircraft still managed to take part in the hostilities.
Although the machines of the "Martin 139" family were the leaders of the world aircraft construction at their appearance, they very quickly lost their leading positions: not because they were bad, but because the technology was developing rapidly at that time. Already in 1934, the command of the Air Corps formed requirements for a new bomber, which was supposed to replace the B-10 and B-12. The number of engines was not specified, so Douglas proposed a twin-engine DB-1, Boeing - a four-engined model 299, Martin presented a new Martin-146 bomber, which was an improvement on model 139. The aircraft became slightly longer and heavier , to compensate for which the wing area was increased.
However, "Martin" was soon out of the game. The order was received by the Douglas company, its DB-1 was launched in series as the B-18. The Boeing 299 entered service a little later, becoming the famous Flying Fortress.
Combat aircraft "Model 139" were exported to Argentina, China, Thailand and Turkey (35, 9, 26, and 20 aircraft, respectively). The Japanese met in battle with Chinese aircraft of this type in the late 30s, and with 120 Model 139W and Model 166 aircraft of the Dutch East Indies in the early 40s.
Now in the world there is only one plane of this once widespread bomber. This is "Martin 139WN" shipped to the USA from Argentina. Until the mid-60s, he stood there for the naval pilot school as a teaching aid. The "Martin" was restored at one of the Texas air bases. It now stands at the Air Force Museum in Daytona, Ohio.
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