Introduced in 1934 The Martin B-10 was regarded as an advanced and sophisticated airplane that could outpace any pursuit (fighter) plane then in squadron service. Unfortunately, right at that time the aviation world was entering a phase of accelerated design and development. Major improvements in engine and airframe technology emerged during the second half of the thirties decade and were incorporated in new, fast fighter designs. And at the outbreak of the pacific war, the Glenn Martin bomber was hopelessly obsolete.
Between 1937 and 1939 the Dutch government procured 122 Glenn Martin model 139 and 166 bombers, the export version of the Martin B-10, to be deployed in the Dutch East-Indies and become the backbone of the ML-KNIL, the colony’s air arm.
The Glenn Martin squadrons saw almost continuous action against the Japanese forces. They were sent to Singapore directly after the outbreak of the Pacific war and remained in action until the final conquest of Java. The 139 and 166 models were no match for their Japanese opponents, notably the Mitsubishi A6M2 “Zero” and the Nakajima Ki-43 “Hayabusa”. But despite this, the crews went out and tried to strike at the Japanese invasion forces. In barely three months of hectic fighting the units were decimated.
I have updated the Glenn Martin page and included tables showing the operational losses the ML-KNIL suffered during the hopless fight against the invaders
I have been able to trace 57 losses; at least 15 Glenn Martins were shot down, 17 were destroyed on the ground and five were written off in various crashes. 17 were captured by the invading Japanese – and one escaped to Australia . Add 7 that had been lost in accidents before hostilities started and my tally reached 65 – out of a 122…
I would be grateful for any corrections and / or additions that will help to clarify this issue.