Dutch Glenn Martins – The Balance

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.


A 1937 “LIFE”magazine photograph showing a Glenn Martin 139WH 1 under construction at the Baltimore factory

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.








About Kingsleyr

Thank you for visiting my blog! The posts you find here are a direct result of my research into aviation and military history. I use the information I gather as a foundation and background for my books. You may call the genre historical fiction, a story woven into a background of solid and verifiable historical facts. However, the period and region I have chosen to write about (late 1930's - 1950's in South-East Asia) are jam-packed with interesting information and anecdotes. If I'd used them all I would swamp the stories. So this blog is the next best thing. It is an "overflow area" in which I can publish whatever I think will interest you. And from the reactions I get, I deduce I am on the right track. A lot will be about aviation in the former Dutch East Indies. This, because my series of books ("The Java Gold") follows a young Dutch pilot in his struggle to survive the Pacific War and its aftermath. But there's more in the world and you'll find descriptions of cities, naval operations and what not published on this blog. Something about myself; I am a Dutch-Canadian author, living in, and working out of the magical city of Amsterdam. My lifelong interest in history and aviation, especially WW2, has led me to write articles and books on these subjects. I hope you'll enjoy them!
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6 Responses to Dutch Glenn Martins – The Balance

  1. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Your tag should be glenn not glen.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Pierre Lagacé says:

    Impressive bomber in the mid 30s.


  3. Pierre Lagacé says:

    How little we know about the early part of the Pacific War.


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