Sembach AB
Hahn AB
Bitburg AB
Kadena AB
Osan AB
Tainan AB
Lowry AFB
Wheelus AB
Orlando AFB
Camp Happiness

Missile History I
Missile History II
Missile History III
The MM-1
Home Page

U.S. Air Force
Tactical Missiles 1949-1969
The Pioneers
Book Available Now

Support independent publishing - buy this book on Lulu.

The Martin Matador and
Mace Missiles

Chapter Three

Anatomy of a Tactical Missile

Guidance and Flight Controls
Engine and Airframe
AGE - Aerospace Ground Equipment

Mace 	"A" Outbound from Alamagordo

A TM-76A Outbound at Alamagordo
USAF Photo coutesy of Larry Emerson (

images/divider line

U.S. Air Force Tactical Missiles

Now Available On Line at and!

By the Editors of this Website!

Beyond the Web Page... The only book devoted exclusively to the Matador and Mace Tactical Missiles. The book reveals the story from the initial idea that became the first U.S. pilotless bomber, through the politically troubled development of the ever evolving deployment methods of the Matador and Mace Tactical Missiles. It covers the Units, Groups, Squadrons and Wing that fielded the missiles. From the United States test sites, Europe, Asia and North Africa nothing is omitted. All phases of the application of these two missiles by the U.S. Air Force (and West German Luftwaffe) are included, from the first tentative launches of the XSSM-A-1 Matador in January 1949, to the tense alert duty of the Cuban Missile Crisis, and the final launch of a MQM13A in May of 1977. The maintenance, logistics and launch, the men, equipment and tactics are all there.

Support independent publishing - buy this book on Lulu.

"Bob, George, I finished your book 2 days after I received it. Couldn't put it down. It was incredible reading and incredibly detailed information."

Kent Washburn ( Mace B, Kadena, Okinawa

"George and Bob. I want you both to know how much I enjoyed reading and how much I admire and appreciate what you have accomplished in developing and publishing "The Pioneers". It is truly an outstanding piece of work, reflecting the time and effort required to produce it, but is also a formidable contribution to our military history. I mentioned in some earlier correspondence that I was a little disappointed in the relatively small amount of information regarding the Operating Location/Guidance Sites but you largely made up for it with this magnificent book."

Dale Lake ( 601st Tactical Control Squadron, 38th TMW, Hamm, Germany

"I just finished your book, The Pioneers, et al. Please accept my "job well done!" Not only is it informative, but it's very readable. I'd also like to complement you on how well you footnoted it. You have shown that a scholarly work can be both instructive and enjoyable."

Michael Roof ( SGM USA (Ret.)

USAF Tactical Missiles - Book Cover

ISBN 978-0-557-00029-6

"Very good work with great detail."

Col. Charlie Simpson, USAF, Retired
Executive Director
Association of Air Force Missileers

"George, the book arrived on Tuesday while I was off to France. Of course, I quickly read the chapter about ´Germany's quiet step into the realm of nuclear armament.´ You know, this is still a widely ignored fact over here...
...For me it is fascinating to see what the picture really was in the 1950s and 1960s as opposed to what the official communication of the time wanted people to believe. A fascinating book shedding some light on the early days of tactical nuclear missiles as well as the political background that even today is still largely hidden behind the propaganda of the time. Can´t wait to read the rest of it."

Burkhard Domke
Harsefeld, Germany

Support independent publishing - buy this book on Lulu.

Available Now!, Click Here to Order
"U.S. Tactical Missiles 1949-1969 The Pioneers"

"I have your excellent book on USAF tactical missiles. I actually witnessed the decommissioning of the Maces at Wüscheim back in 1966."

Paul Offen
Talitha, Tye Common Road
Essex CM12 9PX

"I just wanted to drop you a line and tell you how much I enjoyed the book that you and Bob wrote. The history was of particluar interest to me and my brother who was a history Professor at the University of Wisconsin. He also thought the book was well written, and he now knows what his little brother, (me), did while in Germany for three years."

George Joseph Snyder (
71st TMS, Steinborn, Germany

" the way, I read your book, it was great, thanks for writing it."

Hack Hunton ( Mace B, Kadena, Okinawa

US Air Force Tactical Missiles ©2008 - George Mindling and Robert Bolton

Inspired by the 38th TMW Website, George Mindling and Robert Bolton co-authored US Air Force Tactical Missiles 1949 - 1969: The Pioneers ©2008, the story of America's first operational missiles, from the Matador to the Mace, from Taiwan, Korea, and Okinawa to Germany, including Lowry, Orlando, Holloman, Santa Rosa Island at Eglin, and even Camp Happiness!

Dieses Buch ist ein Muss für alle, die im Rahmen ihres Dienstes bei der U.S. Air Force mit den frühen Marschflugkörpern zu tun hatten, aber auch für deutsche Militärarchäologen, die in der Eifel, im Hunsrück oder im Pfälzer Wald schon über rätselhafte Hinterlassenschaften gestolpert sind. Nach mehr als 40 Jahren wird endlich eine Fülle von Fakten, Informationen und Geschichten zu den zwischen 1954 und 1969 in Deutschland stationierten, mit Automwaffen ausgerüsteten amerikanischen Matador und Mace auf den Tisch gelegt. Ausführlich und lebendig erzählen George Mindling und Bob Bolton von den jungen Missilemen, die im März 1954 erstmals in Bitburg ankamen - noch ganz grün im Gesicht, weil auf dem Atlantik schwerer Sturm geherrscht hatte. Von den T-33-Flugzeugen, die aus Übungsgründen so taten, als wären sie Matador-Flugkörper, über die Startstellungen hinweg in Richtung deutsch-deutsche Grenze donnerten und sich von der Gegenseite nur nicht erwischen lassen durften. Oder von der Kuba-Krise, als die US Air Force Europe auf DEFCON 3 ging und an die Mechaniker in Bitburg Munition für ihre Karabiner ausgegeben wurde.

Augenzeugen sagen dazu: "Wir hätten die Vögel auf jeden Fall innerhalb von 15 Minuten in der Luft haben müssen!" Es ist lebendige Militärgeschichte, die nun nicht der Vergessenheit anheimfällt, sondern jedermann zugänglich wird - auch für die ortsansässige Bevölkerung, die heute endlich erfährt, was sich damals in ihrer Nachbarschaft zugetragen hat. Den beiden Autoren gebührt der Dank.

Klaus Stark   (
Berlin, Germany

images/divider line

Manual from Air Force SET School

The student TAC missileer's bible, manual AFM 52-31 from SET school at Lowry AFB, Colorado.

A prototype TM-61 (YB-61) Matador graces the cover.

divider line

Missile Guidance Theory
All Models

Mace and Matador Guidance Theory

The missile knows where it is at all times. It knows this because it knows where it isn't!

By subtracting where it is from where it isn't, or where it isn't from where it is ( whichever is greater), it obtains a difference or deviation.

The guidance system uses deviations to generate corrective commands to drive the missile from a position where it wasn't to where it now is. Consequently, the position where it was is now the position where it isn't.

In the event that the position where it is now is not the position where it wasn't, the system has acquired a variation (variations are caused by external factors, and the discussions of these factors is not considered to be within the scope of this report). The variation being the difference between where the missile is and where the missile wasn't. If variations are considered to be a significant factor, it, too, may be corrected for by the use of another system. However, for this to take place, the missile must know where it was, also.

The "thought process" of the missile is as follows: because a variation has modified some of the information which the missile has obtained, it is not sure where it is. However, it is sure where it isn't! (within reason) and it knows damn sure where it was and also where it wasn't. It now subtracts where it should be from from where it wasn't (or vice versa) and by differentiating this with the algebraic difference between where it shouldn't be and where it was , it is able to obtain the difference between its deviastions and its variations, which is called the ERROR SIGNAL

Speaker Icon
"I have hung on to this for years, ever since I came across it in 1959-60. You may find it appropriate to post somewhere.

Mike Osborne, from Missouri. Classmate in 1958 in 1958 and current neighbor of Garland Frances.
divider line

Mace Missile break down

The Mace Missile Components

Mace Profile - head on

Mace with right spoilers up

Right turn! Right spoilers up causes loss of lift on that wing surface, which drops that wing into a bank. It also causes the nose to drop, causing the Variable Incidence Horizontal Stabilizer to crank trailing edge up and bring the missile nose up level and the turn is accomplished. Left spoilers up returns the missile to level flight. The spoiler extension was mutually exclusive, either one side up or the other, but not both. There are monument-mounted Matadors and Maces that have both sides up. In that case, the control links are disconnected from the yoke.

Pages from the Tech Manual

AFM 52-31, 20 Sep 1957

Having ones hands or fingers in the spoiler slot during systems checkout when the hydraulic system was at the full 1500 PSI was not a smart idea. Neither was standing on the fuselage near the Variable Incidence Horizontal Stabilizer (VIHS) during test.

Spoilers down

Left: Spoilers down, level flight

Right: The Plenum Chamber: How the air got in to feed the J-33-A37 (Matador) or J-33-A41 (Mace) jet engine

The air intake and plenum chamber
divider line

The Mace "A" and "B" Nose Sections

The Mace "A" ATRAN Nose Section
Automated Terrain Recognition And Navigation System

Mace "A" Guidance System Maintenance Mace "A" Guidance System Maintenance

The TM-76 "A" Nose section with the guidance unit closed, and, right, open to show the components on the back of the panel. The Airman with the big wrench is A1C John Miner.    USAF Photos courtesy of Dave Maas (

MACE A Radar Scanners

TM-76A on alert

Operational MGM-13A (TM-76A) Mace of the 822nd Tactical Missile Squadron on Alert at Site I, Mehlingen, Germany, 1965

Photo courtesy of Bill Hughes, Major, USAF (Ret) (

divider line

The JT-33 "Mace A"

Mace Missile Nose JT-33, Sembach AB, Germany Circa 1960

"This plane was flown by a civilian crew from Goodyear Aircraft out of Litchfield Park, Arizona. It flew out of Sembach for about 6 months from January 1960. After that, the crew returned to the states and the plane sat unused. I don't know what finally happened to it. It's official designation was a JT-33 and the serial number was 52-9375. There was a sister ship made also that stayed in Tucson, it's serial number was 52-8919.

I flew one mission in the back seat, the most thrilling ride I ever
had, before or since. It was all very low level and on a heading of due east toward the east German border."
John Donovan (

This image is courtesy of John Donovan, the crew chief of this aircraft. John's feet are seen just below the other side of the aircraft.

Our Thanks to John Donovan and to John Moore and the Sembach Veteran's Home Page (

divider line

The Martin MSB-57B ATRAN

B-57 SN 52-1562 before conversion

Martin B-57 SN52-1562, shown here in a Martin Co. armaments photograph, was later converted to MSB-57B with TM-76A Mace nose.

After it's service as a TM-76A guidance simulator, it was later rebuilt as RB-57F 63-13290

Great Time for a New Nose

Great Time for a new nose...

B-57 s/n 52-1565, after a "hard landing" at Dover on a flight from Warner Robins, required extensive airframe rebuild.  "The aircraft 52-1565 was lost to the 38th Bomb Wing but later repaired. I saw it in North Africa as a "Shanicle" airplane. They had attached a Mace nose to it and it's job was to fly the missile tracks as a missile for test purposes, I suppose."

B-57 pilot John Harris    (

[According to 38th TMW records, 52-1565 was assigned to the 38th TMW as of 31 Dec 1959 to test the Matador Shanicle radio base stations, both in Germany and in Libya. It was later lost in combat in Viet Nam, and was not converted for use as ATRAN MSB-57Bs as were S/N 52-1562 and S/N 52-1539. ]

B-57 52-1562 at SembachMartin Marietta converted B-57B S/N 52-1539 and S/N 52-1562 to adapt the Mace "A" nose section to test and checkout the TM-76A guidance system. Both MSB-57s were assigned to the 38th TMW at Sembach.

The two aircraft were fitted with Mace nose sections incorporating the Automatic Terrain Recognition And Navigation - ATRAN guidance system. The ATRAN system employed a terrain-matching radar guidance system in which the return from a radar scanning antenna was matched with serial frames of 35mm terrain "maps" carried on board the missile.

Photo of MSB-57B SN52-1562 on the ramp at Sembach being serviced by the Guidance Van courtesy of Fred Horky (

B-57B ATRAN 52-1562

MSB-57B 52-1562 at Sembach

Photo courtesy of Fred Horky (

Martin B-57 used as an AC Sparkplug test bed.

"MARTIN-BUILT B57 recently used in research and development tests of a guidance system, serves as back drop at Strawberry Point, Baltimore division for, from left, Don Schacht, AC Spark Plug Co.; Raymond Vogel, site manager, flight Test Support; Tom McDonald, MACE systems group leader, Installation & Test, Electronic Systems and Products; in back, top, Don McCusker, manager, simulated MACE program; on step, John Miller, AC Spark Plug Co."

Martin Mercury - Company Newsletter Vol. 19 No. 8 November 17, 1961

The B-57 was also used as a flying test bed for the inertial guidance system used in the TM-76B, but the Martin aircraft was not assigned to a US Air Force tactical missile unit.

divider line

TM-76B (CGM-13B)

The Mace "B" AC Achiever Inertial Guidance Nose Section

A Mace B nose section sits ready for checkout at a Guidance Systems Checkout (GSC) station in the MSA area at Bitburg. The theodolite, called an Azimuth Alignment Unit, or simply the AAU, was used to reference the IG platform for checkout.

Photo by George Mindling (

Mace "B" Guidance System Checkout

A2c Vic Shoepe checks the theodolite during guidance systems checkout of a TM-76B (CGM-13B) AC Spark Plug inertial guidance nose section at the Missile Support Area near Oberweis, Bitburg Air Base, Germany

The sound proof air conditioner rooms, where the flex hose enters the checkout area, had to be built after it was determined permanent hearing loss would occur if anyone was exposed to the incredible noise levels for an extended period of time, even with the mandatory ear plugs.

Photo courtesy of Vic Shoepe (

Theodolite in use

Students of the 4504th Student Squadron at the TAC Missile Combat Training School in Orlando AFB, reference an inertial guidance system on a TM-76B (CGM-13B) in a school launch bay using the Azimuth Alignment Unit, a K&E Theodolite.

Tear down after shut down

In this USAF photo, S/Sgt Keith Hover and an unidentified A1C dismantle an AC Achiever guidance system in May, 1969, at Bitburg after CGM-13B shutdown. The size of these massive gimbals and the complexity of the heating and cooling system are readily viewable in these photos of disassembly.

divider line

Restored MGM-13A

Take a look at the restoration of 59-4871 at American Aero Services

This first class restoration also includes the restoration of the Translauncher

"The video slide show tells most of the tale. It is now in a temporary storage area at the Air Force base at the Cape awaiting their new display hangar to be completed."

Tom Walker

Web Master and Aircraft Restoration Specialist

American Aero Services

divider line

Thanks to Bob Bolton ( for the original Mace spoiler photos.


This page is in no way sponsored or endorsed by the United States Air Force.
Opinions and views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily those of the Department of the Air Force.

Web Page Design and Development by
George Mindling - Port Charlotte, Florida

©George Mindling - 2003-2006 All Rights Reserved