Aviation of Word War II
Martin 167 was developed by the Glenn L. Martin Company design team led by engineer James S. McDonell. The aircraft was designed for use as a light front-line bomber, reconnaissance aircraft and even an attack aircraft.
Construction. Structurally "Martin 167" was an all-metal cantilever monoplane with smooth duralumin sheathing of all surfaces, except for rudders and ailerons, sheathed with canvas. The fuselage is a semi-monocoque type of oval cross-section. The designers tried to "squeeze" the midship as much as possible in order to reduce aerodynamic drag. For this, they had to abandon the transitions between the cockpits, although this was a clear departure from the American tradition of bomber aircraft. The crew members could communicate with each other only via an intercom.
Two-spar wing of the caisson type. The main landing gear struts are non-flat, with oil-pneumatic shock absorption, they were retracted by turning back into the engine nacelles. The tail wheel is fixed. In general, the aircraft turned out to be very elegant, aerodynamic and light, which provided it with relatively good flight performance.
The crew consisted of a navigator-bombardier (aka commander), who was sitting in a well-glazed bow cockpit, a pilot and a gunner-radio operator. Sometimes the crew included one more person - the navigator. First of all, this concerned the French naval squadrons.
Plane control has been duplicated. In the cockpit of the bombardier navigator there was a second steering wheel and pedals, which he could use for precise aiming at the target or in the event of a pilot's dead.
Powerplant. The first modification of the aircraft was equipped with 14-cylinder two-row radial engines "Pratt-Whitney" R-183SC3G "Twin Wasp" with single-stage superchargers with a capacity of 1050 hp. The propellers are Hamilton-standard three-blade automatic gearboxes with “fan” linings at the hub to improve the cooling of engine cylinders.
Armament. To act as a bomber, a small bomb bay was made in the fuselage, which could hold small and medium-caliber bombs (from 10 to 100 kg). The total bomb load, even by the then standards, was small. The designers planned to install additional outer underwing bomb racks in the future.
In addition to bombs, "Martin" could attack the enemy with machine-gun fire, for which in the center section of the wing were installed four course machine guns "Browning" rifle caliber.
According to the project, the crew for self-defense had three mobile Vickers machine guns. One of them was located in the bow installation (however, it was not installed either on the prototype or on production vehicles), one more - in the upper turret turret, and the third - in the rear lower "dagger" installation. In general, it can be said that both offensive and defensive armament of the aircraft was already clearly weak for that time. The situation was aggravated by the complete lack of passive protection. The developers did not want to make the vehicle heavier with armor and reduce the volume of fuel tanks by protecting them. It was assumed that the aircraft's main protective means would be its high speed. But in practice, this calculation was not justified, since most of the enemy fighters, with which the "Martins" soon had to deal, had an undeniable advantage over them in speed characteristics.
In France, according to the agreement, "Martins" entered without weapons, the French themselves on the spot equipped them with machine guns and bomb throwers, designed for the local nomenclature of ammunition. At the same time, obviously, with the aim of further lightening the machine and increasing flight data, they abandoned bow and dagger machine-gun installations, thereby further worsening the protection of the bomber. In the wing and in the upper turret, they installed machine guns of their own production MAC-34 of 7.5 mm caliber. Sometimes, instead of one machine gun, a twin was mounted in the tower.
"Martin" 167 was in a completely uncertain position until France needed a light bomber/attack aircraft in 1939. The contract was signed for 215 Martins 167F-3 in two lots (F-France).
In connection with the surrender of France in June 1940, Britain agreed to purchase part of the French order (50 vehicles) and placed an order for another 150, which were produced under the designation "Martin" 167В-4 (B-Britain) and equipped with engines "Pratt -Whitney "R-1830-SC3G. They were designated "Maryland" Mk I and "Maryland" Mk II, respectively.
Former French "martins", and now "Marylands" were used mainly for educational purposes. Only a few vehicles were transferred to the 771st division of the RAF, in which in 1940-41 they made reconnaissance flights over the Atlantic and the North Sea, looking for German raiders and submarines. One of these scouts became famous for the discovery of the largest German warship - the battleship Bismarck. After a fierce naval battle and an attack by torpedo bombers, the battleship was sunk by a British squadron.
The most active British and South African "Marylands" fought in North Africa. In May 1942, the 39th RAF battalion was added to the 24th SAAF division, previously transferred from Kenya.
The last Allied air unit to be adopted by the Marylands was the 20th SAAF division, formed in April 1942 in Tanzania. This division did not participate in the battles with the Germans and Italians, but he had a chance to fight with the French after the landing of British and South African troops in Madagascar. French colonial units put up stubborn resistance, and fighting on the island continued from September to November. Then the division returned to Africa and at the beginning of 1943 was re-equipped with new equipment.
This was the end of the American bomber's combat career, which had to fight a lot in different countries and with different emblems, but not with the US identification marks.