Martin 187 Baltimore
|LIGHT BOMBER||Virtual Aircraft Museum / USA / Martin|
Whereas the Martin Maryland had been designed to meet a US Army Air Corps specification, the Martin 187 was developed from the Maryland to specific British requirements. It differed primarily by having more powerful engines and a deeper fuselage to allow direct communication between crew members; however, like aircraft such as the Maryland, Douglas Boston and Handley Page Hampden, its narrow-section fuselage made it virtually impossible for injured crew members to change positions in flight. An order of 400 of these aircraft, named Baltimaore by the RAF, was placed in May 1940, and following introduction of the US Lend-Lease Act two batches, of 575 and 600, were ordered in June and July 1941 respectively, and the full total of 1,575 aircraft was duly produced for the RAF. It should be noted, however, that this full total was not received, for some Mk III and Mk IIIA aircraft were lost during transatlantic delivery when two cargo ships carrying them were sunk. Initial deliveries of Baltimore Mk Is were made in late 1941, being issued first to Operational Training Units, and were followed by deliveries of Mk IIs in 1942 to Nos 55 and 223 Squadrons operating in the Middle East. All Baltimores were used operationally entirely in the Mediterranean theatre, proving to be effective day and night bombers. In addition to those used by the RAF, Baltimores were allocated by the RAF for service with the Royal Australian Air Force, Free French Air Force, Greek No. 13 (Hellenic) Squadron, Italian Co-Belligerent Air Force, and the South African, and Turkish air forces.