BT-32, Bellanca 77-140, 139-WR
The Curtiss-Wright BT-32 was a bomber version of the Condor transport armed with five .30-caliber guns and up to 3,940 pounds of bombs. The last large biplane built in the U.S., the BT-32 had two R-1820-F2 Cyclones, retractable wheels, and a fabric-covered steel tube structure. The pilots sat in the nose of the cabin with a dome for a top gunner before the wings and behind them were guns in another top dome, at side windows, and a bottom hatch for the rear gunner. The bomb bay could hold two 1,130, three 600, or six 300-pound bombs, and up to fourteen 120-pound bombs could be added on racks under the wings
Completed on February 9, 1934, the demonstration aircraft went to China and was sold to Chiang Kai-shek. Three Condors delivered in June 1934 with twin floats became the first bombers sold to Colombia. Four more, built for Bolivia before a trade embargo, became transports in Peru. Most of the 45 Condors built in St. Louis were passenger or cargo planes that were soon displaced by faster Douglas monoplanes.
Colombia was the only buyer of the Bellanca 77-140, a bulky fabric-covered, high-wing monoplane with R-1820-F3 Cyclones, externally-braced, squared-off wings, and fixed landing gear at the intersection of stub wings and struts. Armament included 2,500 pounds of bombs and five .30-caliber guns located in the nose pit, and at top, bottom, and side openings in the cabin. Unlike the Martin, there was room inside the cabin for cargo or a dozen people along with the four-man crew. The first example had wheels and a nose gunner's turret in September 1934. Three with twin floats and open gunner's pit flew to Colombia by March 1935, fire destroyed another.
Glenn L. Martin was finally allowed to offer an export version of the B-10 and the first was a single Model 139WR (X16706) sold to Russia in November 1935 for $116,718. Finished in August 1936 and shipped in September, it had GR-1820-F53 Cyclones of 730 hp at 9,600 feet and Hamilton propellers.
Ramon Franco, a famous Spanish pilot, had favorably recommended the Martin after visiting America, and in January 1936 his government was negotiating a contract for 50 bombers, the first eight to be completed by Martin and the rest in Spain. Approval of this deal in Spain was delayed by the Popular Front's election victory, and the revolt led by Franco's brother, Francisco, began in July. On August 11, 1936, the U.S. State Department blocked the sale, so the Spanish Republicans had to match the rebel's German and Italian aircraft with those from the Soviet Union. Tupolev SB bombers used in the Spanish Civil War were often incorrectly described as Martins, although they are quite different aircraft.
Martin was willing to forget the Spanish order because others were arriving, beginning with 13 ordered by the Netherlands on February 27, 1936. Orders from China and Siam followed that summer.
A demonstrator (NR 15563) with R-1820-G2 Cyclones (850 hp at 5,800 feet) was first flown August 28, 1936, by E.D. Shannon, who flew this aircraft to Argentina in September to compete against the Junkers Ju 86 and Savoia SM-79B. The Martin won, Argentina buying 13 bombers for the Navy on December 24, 1936.
[ B- 24 / Home ]
[Back] [Continue to next page]
Want information on other Combat Planes? Search the rest of our site.
© Copyright 2010 AmericanCombatPlanes.com All rights