Martin MB


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Martin MB

The Glenn L. Martin Company was organised during World War I and produced the first successful twin-engined aeroplane of American design, as the W. F. Night Bomber or "Seven Ton" bomber. As it is generally accepted that the first bomber built for the USAAS was the MB-1 (first flown on 15 April 1918), the view can be taken that the W.F. and MB-1 are one and the same. Contemporary reports state that the W.F. was converted into the passenger and cargo-carrying Commercial type. Again it is known that one of the ten MB-1 was so converted, although a drawing of the Commercial made in 1921 shows a rounded-nose aircraft with folding outer-wing sections, single-wheel landing-gear units and open cockpit for the pilots, while the MB-1-type Commercial was actually produced with an enclosed cockpit. Nevertheless as features of the Commercial were subsequently to be found on the improved MB-2 bombers, including the revised single- instead of double-wheel landing gear units, it can be taken that the W.F. Commercial and MB-1-type Commercial or T-1 were the same aircraft. All but one of the remaining MB-1 were produced as bombers or observation aircraft, followed by four more military MB-1 for US Government air mail services. A further two were produced as torpedo bombers for the US Navy, which designated them MTB-1.

As an interim stage between the MB-1 and the later MB-2, Martin produced the MT-1 extended-wing torpedo bomber, eight of which were operated by the US Marine Corps. The MB-2 itself was powered by 313kW instead of 298kW Liberty engines and had the wing span of the MT-1 and the landing gear of the Commercial. One hundred and thirty were produced by four manufacturers, a large number as short-range NBS-1 night bombers. Bombs were carried in racks in a compartment in the fuselage, or, in the case of large bombs, on special racks or chocks directly under the fuselage. Interestingly one MB-2, fitted with super-chargers, attained an altitude of about 8,077m while carrying a pilot and three observers. A contemporary report states that, had it not been for the extreme cold and lack of fuel, a still greater altitude could have been reached. MB/NBS-1 bombers were eventually replaced in service by Keystone types.

The MB-2 is best remembered as the aircraft with which Brig-Gen William "Billy" Mitchell demonstrated the effectiveness of the bomber by sinking the stationary ex-German warship Ostfriesland. During the same demonstrations on 21 July 1921, other MB bombers and flying-boats destroyed a submarine, cruiser and destroyer.

Martin MB

 ENGINE2 x Liberty, 295kW
  Take-off weight5477 kg12075 lb
  Empty weight3322 kg7324 lb
  Wingspan21.8 m72 ft 6 in
  Length14.1 m46 ft 3 in
  Height4.3 m14 ft 1 in
  Wing area99.4 m21069.93 sq ft
  Max. speed172 km/h107 mph
  Range w/max.fuel2400 km1491 miles
  Range w/max payload772 km480 miles
 ARMAMENT4-5 machine-guns, 750kg of bombs or torpedos

Anonymous, 16.06.2022 17:32

One of the major issues with the manner in which the Army Air Service was run at that time was that, even if a company's design was accepted, there was no guarantee that the company which produced it would be contracted to manufacture it. The Air Service considered that, once they accepted a design, they owned it, and were free to have it manufactured by whatever company they chose. Consequently, even though Martin created this bomber, there was no guarantee that Martin would end up manufacturing it. That actually happened to Thomas-Morse, which created the MB-3 fighter, which actually ended up being manufactured for the Air Service by Boeing.


Phil Pearce, e-mail, 14.06.2013 21:13

I think I own a prop from this aircraft. I have had it for years and now it is for sale. Accepting queries at my e-mail or phone 480-641-0015. Regards, P. Pearce


Bob, 23.03.2011 16:53

hi thank you because i needed this info for a porject great site keep it up


R. Borowiak, e-mail, 28.04.2009 13:25

Hello! I have bought a kit MB-2; he has as number "AS.S5195;
is the number true? I don't find in my doc. Many tks in antic .


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