The distinctive, gull-winged Martin PBM Mariner flying boat was designed to replace the Consolidated PBY Catalina as the US Navy's first true open-ocean, extremely long range sub hunter and patrol bomber. PBM Mariners saw extensive service both in WWII and Korea.
Never let it be said shanghaiing was not practiced by the U.S. Navy in the 1950s! My only personal involvement with this practice began on Oct. 1,1953. I was in Crew 5 of Patrol Squadron 50 deployed to NAS Iwakuni, Japan. We mustered as usual at 0800 in the hanger area down by the seaplane ramp. Following muster we were treated to the monthly payday and I recall taking out about $110 in military payment script. More about my money later.
VP-50 had 12 PBM Martin Mariner flying boats and 12 flight crews. These aircraft were getting a little long in the tooth, the type having performed all through WWII after being first flown in 1939. Very few aircraft flew operationally both during WWII and a couple of years past the Korean War. Our planes were pure flying boats, meaning no landing gear, so we had to operate strictly from water. The PBM only had two engines but they were R-2800S rated at 2100 hp each. Their 118-foot wingspan was greater than its contemporaries, the famous...
The Martin PBM Mariner was a seaplane first deployed in 1941 during the Battle of the Atlantic, and became a mainstay of the Naval Air Transport Service as the first aircraft to provide a link between Hawaii and the South Pacific. Hoffman, a former PBM pilot, examines the PBM's contributions to WWII
The Martin PBM Flying boat was a real work-horse during World War II. PBMs were in squadron Service before Pearl Harbor was attacked, and were already at sea, deployed and fighting Nazi U-boat wolfpacks in 1942. PBM-3Rs (Naval Air Transports) were given delivery priority in 1943 to fly much of the critically needed NATS cargo and passengers. The PBM-1, PBM-3C and PBM-3S had sunk ten U-boats by the fall of 1943. Sixteen PBM Mariner squadrons were operating in the Atlantic when PBM-3Ds began to deploy to the Pacific in January of 1944. PBM-3Ds were used in the Pacific throughout 1944, until they began to be replaced by PBM-5S during the spring of 1945. By January of 1945 more patrol squadrons were equipped with Mariners than any other aircraft. The PBM's record of rescuing twice as many men from the open seas during the Okinawa assault than were rescued by any other Naval source, was a great tribute to the rugged Mariner, which would remain in production until 1949.