Model Airplane News
August, 1948

Model Airplane News Cover for August, 1948 by Jo Kotula Martin AM-1 Mauler

Martin AM-1 "Mauler"
Model Airplane News Cover Art for August, 1948
by Jo Kotula
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The Martin AM Mauler (originally BTM) was a shipboard attack aircraft of the United States Navy. It was esigned during World War II but did not enter production until well after the war. A total of 151 aircraft were built, but they did not remain long in Navy service; the smaller and simpler Douglas AD Skyraider proved to be a superior aircraft. Active duty squadrons abandoned the Mauler in 1950, and it lasted through 1953 in reserve units.

The Martin AM-1 Mauler      The Martin AM-1 Mauler

Martin AM-1 "Mauler"
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Before World War II, the Navy differentiated between two types of carrier-borne bomber: the torpedo bomber and the dive bomber. In 1943, this distinction was abandoned, and the US Navy invited proposals for a new multi-purpose bomber. Unlike previous aircraft, this was to be a single-seater; no separate bombardier or radio operator was deemed necessary, and the aircraft was intended to be as fast as fighters and thus not need a rear gunner.

In 1944, Martin was instructed to create an "unexperimental" design that would be a reliable platform for the Pratt & Whitney four-row "corncob" radial engine, the largest piston engine ever to see aircraft service. The engine was so powerful that its torque made the aircraft difficult to fly, with a tendency to turn the aircraft. Martin solved the problem by offsetting the R-4360 two degrees to the right. The aircraft was so large that direct controls were not feasible; instead, a complex system of hydraulic servos were used in indirect power controls. The aircraft, originally ordered to assist in the invasion of Japan, was not ready until 1947. The first XBTM-1 few in August of 1944, and eventually 18 pre-production BTM Maulers were in the test unit. In 1946, the aircraft designation was changed to AM-1. Initial testing proved unsatisfactory, leading to the cancellation of a production series, although the test group were placed in operational service in 1948. They could carry enormous bombloads; a Martin test pilot flew one hauling three 2,200 lb torpedoes, 12 500 lb bombs, and a full load of ammunition a total payload of 12,648 lb, a record at the time for a single-engine aircraft. The aircraft gained a mostly-deserved reputation for being hard to land on carrier decks, leading to the nickname of "Awful Monsters". Pilots more favorably impressed by the bombload interpreted AM as "Able Mable".

Here is a video of a large scale model of the Martin AM-1 "Mauler":

In addition to the cover of Model Airplane News, this airplane was also featured in the WINGS "Friend or Foe" trading card series of the early 1950s

 Card 024 of the Wings Friend or Foe series  The Martin AM-1 Mauler

Trading card representation of the Martin AM-1 "Mauler"
Click Here to see all 200 cards in the series
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Click Here for more information about the Martin AM-1 "Mauler".

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