Boeing B-29 Superfortress: Dauntless Dottie

Boeing B-29 Superfortress: Dauntless Dottie

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B-29 Superfortress Units of World War 2, Robert F Dorr. Despite the title, this book actually looks at the development and service career of the B-29 Superfortress, from the pre-war call for a heavy bomber to its heyday in 1945 when fleets of the massive silver bomber devastated the cities of Japan. [see more]

Dauntless Dottie

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Notable individual aircraft [ edit | edit source ]

B-29 44-27297 Bockscar at the USAF Museum

Bockscar, serial number 44-27297, was a "Silverplate" (atomic bomb carrier) conversion with the 393d Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group. On 9 August 1945 it dropped the "Fat Man" plutonium atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Bocks Car was stored for many years and then was finally flown on 26 September 1961 to the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base near Dayton, Ohio. It is the featured exhibit upon entry into the Museum's Air Power gallery. Β]

Serial number 44-69972 served in the Korean War as a radar trainer. It was later sent to the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake for use as a ballistic missile target. The airframe was acquired by the United States Aviation Museum for restoration to flight status. After a great deal of work at the Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas where it was originally built, the aircraft was moved in March 2007 to the Kansas Aviation Museum. In February 2013, the aircraft was acquired by the non-profit organization "Doc's Friends," and the restoration to flight status is still underway.

B-29 44-86292 Enola Gay at the NASM

Enola Gay, serial number 44-86292, was another "Silverplate" conversion for the 393rd Bomb Squadron, 509th Composite Group. On 6 August 1945 it dropped the "Little Boy" uranium atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. For many years it was in storage at Paul Garber facility at National Air and Space Museum (NASM), Washington, D.C. It was recently re-assembled after a lengthy restoration and is currently displayed at the Smithsonian's Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Dulles International Airport.

P2B-1S 84029 Fertile Myrtle's forward fuselage now on display at Fantasy of Flight

Bureau number 84029 (Navy P2B-1S), formerly a USAF B-29 45-21787, was later used to carry the Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket research aircraft. It was donated to an aviation museum in Oakland, California in 1984, and then later sold to Kermit Weeks' Fantasy of Flight museum in Polk City, Florida. It is on the US Civil register as N29KW. It was used in the flying sequences of the 1980 Walt Disney movie The Last Flight of Noah's Ark. The forward fuselage has been restored and is on static display at Fantasy of Flight along with the remainder of the unrestored fuselage on the attraction's new storage facility tour.

B-29 44-62070 Fifi of the Commemorative Air Force

Fifi, serial number 44-62070, belongs to the Commemorative Air Force and is the only airworthy B-29 in the world at present. Fifi was grounded in 2006 because of problems with all four engines. In 2008, the Commemorative Air Force and the Cavanaugh Flight Museum announced that Fifi would be re-engined, Γ] and returned to flight status. On 15 July 2010 talks with the FAA to sign Fifi's Airworthiness Certificate were completed. Fifi took flight in early August 2010 with its new engines and was flown in the CAF AIRSHO air show in October 2010 and is currently available for rides at select airshows. Δ] Ε] Ζ]

Serial number 44-86408 was delivered to USAAF the day the Enola Gay dropped the first atomic weapon on Hiroshima, Japan. It was later used to collect radioactive samples during postwar atomic tests, and is now on display at Hill Air Force Base Museum, Utah.

Serial number 44-70113 flew with the 883rd Bomb Squadron of the 500th Bomb Group in the 73rd Bomb Wing of the 20th Air Force, and flew 27 bombing missions before the end of World War II. This B-29 is credited with shooting down a confirmed 3 japanese fighter planes, with 3 more probable fighter kills. After the end of the war, this B-29 was renamed Hoof Hearted, and served over in Great Britain before it was decommissioned in 1956 and sent to the Aberdeen Proving Grounds in Maryland. In 1973, the B-29 was recovered by the now defunct Florence Air & Missile Museum in Florence, South Carolina for restoration. In 1994, the Marietta B-29 Association sponsored restoration and put it on display at Dobbins ARB, Georgia as Sweet Eloise.

B-29A 44-62022 Peachy at the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum

Serial number 44-62022 is currently on display inside the Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum and is named in honor of all the crews who fought in the Pacific Theater. A B-29 by that name was piloted by a native of Pueblo, Lt. Robert T. Haver, who gave it his pet name for a younger sister. The original Peachy flew 35 combat missions into enemy territory from Tinian Island in the Marianas islands chain in the central Pacific. This aircraft was donated to the museum in 1976 by the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake, CA and in 2005 it was moved indoors.

Serial number 44-70016 originally flew with the 330th Bomb Group, 20th Air Force from Guam, now displayed inside Hangar 4 at the Pima Air & Space Museum in Tucson, Arizona.

Serial number 44-69729 (No. 54) was assigned to the 875th Bomb Squadron, 498th Bomb Group, 73d Bomb Wing and completed 37 bombing missions before it was converted to a KB-29 aerial refueling tanker in June 1949. In 1986 it was removed from the Naval Air Weapons Station China Lake and transported to the Lowry Heritage Museum at Lowry Air Force Base Η] now Wings Over the Rockies Air and Space Museum. No. 54 went through its initial level of restoration in 1987 with museum volunteers and was readied for Lowry AFB's 50th anniversary and the 40th anniversary of the USAF on 2 October 1987. It was restored to its 1944 markings with the "T Square 54" on its vertical stabilizer. In 1995 the USAF Museum transferred T-Sq-54 to the Museum of Flight in Seattle, Washington. After another level of restoration and change in its markings, it was displayed again 1996.

B-29A 44-61671, a former "Super Dumbo", painted as The Great Artiste for static display at Whiteman Air Force Base

World War Photos

Early B-29 December USA 1943 B-29 over Osaka 1945 Formation of B-29 prepare for Tokyo Raid 5 December 1944 Saipan B-29 42-6242 in flight November 1943
B-29 Thumper 42-24623 of the 497th Bomb Group 870th Squadron USA 1945 B-29 raid on Nakajima Factory Ota Japan 1945 Ordinance Officer sets fuses of B-29 bombs B-29 of the 40th Bomb Group over China 1944
B-29 of the 331st Bomb Group B-29 Up N’ Comin’ nose art B-29 44-69741 City of Columbus aka Ten Under Parr of the 459th BS, 330th BG Guam B-29 42-6399 “The Agitator” of the 444th Bomb Group, 678th Bomb Squadron 1944
Crewman crawling thru padded fuselage tunnel of B-29 B-29 of the 6th Bombardment Group B-29 Lucky B-29 of the 497th Bomb Group dropping bombs on Japan
B-29 42-24779 “Satan’s Lady” of the 504th BG, 412st BS B-29 of the 499th Bomb Group Saipan B-29 of the 509th Bomb Group crashed in ditch B-29 bombers of the 501st Bomb Group
B-29 cockpit YB-29 Superfortress 41-36957 2 Crew of B-29 July 1945 B-29 of the 9th BG, color photo
Aerial View of B-29 Bombers B-29 with black underside for night raids over Japan 1945 Prototype XB-29 41-18335 “Gremlin Hotel” 1943 2,000,000th ton of explosives loaded on B-29 “Goin Jessie”
B-29 Enola Gay 1945 loading blockbuster bomb on B-29 42-63693 Marianas B-29 of the 16th Bomb Group Aircrew posed with B-29 “City of Alhambra” October 1945
B-29 42-24593 American Maid of the 497th BG, 869th BS Saipan, December 1944 B-29 bombers of the 40th and 462nd Bomb Group Tinian B-29 44-61670 “Lady Frances” of the 444th BG, 676th BS M2 High Speed Tractor towing B-29 K-106 of 40th BG China September 1944
YB-29 41-36957 B-29 42-24505 of the 462nd BG over Formosa October 1944 B-29 bombers of the 29th BG B-29 42-6226 of the 462nd BG Prescott Isle, Maine, 9 April 1944
B-29 42-24615 497BG 869BS Coral Queen Saipan B-29 of the 498th BG in flight B-29 “High eh Doc” of the 505th BG, 483rd BS Tinian 1945 B-29 42-24797 K-349 of the 505th BG, 484th BS
B-29 42-6454 “Totin to Tokyo” of the 468th BG, 793rd Bomb Squadron 1944 B-29s of XXth BC attack Singapore Naval Base 1945 B-29 takes off India June 1944 B-29 42-63454 Thunder Bird of the 462nd BG, 770th Bomb Squadron
B-29s of the 462nd BG Hellbirds bombing Kure Naval Base 1945 B-29 of the 509th Composite Group Bikini Tests 1946 B-29s of the 505th BG 19 April 1945 21st BC B-29 and P-51D burns after crash landing on Iwo Jima 1945
B-29 42-24626 “Jokers Wild” of the 497th BG, 871st BS 1944 B-29 of the 330th BG landing after a mission 1945 B-29 42-63462 of the 40th BG, 44th BS Tinian, May 1945 B-29 of the 499th BG, 878th BS take off from Isely Field Saipan 1945
Crew working on B-29 21st BC at Marianas Base 1945 B-29 44-69986 “City of Vincennes” of the 39th BG, 60th Bomb Squadron B-29 Superfortress landing on Saipan 44 B-29 Enola Gay Tinian August 1945
B-29 of 468th BG on a 14th AF airfield in China 1944 B-29 44-69959 of the 19th Bomb Group Tail section of B-29 42-24607 “Forbidden Fruit” from 498th BG, 875th Bomb Squadron Crashed B-29 42-6253 “Windy City” of 468th BG, 794th BS, Pengshan China August 1944
B-29 of the 98th BW Yokota Japan September 1951 B-29 44-87775 1945 B-29 44-61556 of the 40th BG Ground Crew loads 4000 lb bombs on B-29s of 73rd BW on Saipan 1945
Crashed 509th Bomb Group B-29 1945 B-29 42-65241 “The Life Of Riley” of the 504th BG, 398th Bomb Squadron B-29 of the 19th BG dropping bombs over Japan 1945 Bombs falling from B-29s on Port of Kobe 1945
XB-29 41-18335 3rd prototype 1942 B-29 “Dinah Might” of the 9th BG, 1st BS after emergency landing at Motoyama airfield, 4 March 1945 29th BG B-29s leave Guam for raid on Japan 1945 B-29 42-6323 “Eileen” China
B-29 K-272 of the 499th BG B-29 of the 19th BG Guam Aviation Engineers man bulldozer by burning B-29 on Saipan December 1944 B-29 42-24598 Waddy’s Wagon of the 497th Bomb Group, 886th BS, Saipan, Isley Field November 1944
497th BG 869th BS B-29 Dauntless Dotty 42-24592 Saipan Unveiling of B-29 44-70118 Ernie Pyle 1945 B-29 44-70005 “The Herd of Bald Goats” of 482nd BS, 505th BG Burning B-29 of 73rd BW following Japanese attack on Isley Field 1944
B-29 42-24612 in flight B-29 42-24591 “Lucky Lynn” of the 497th BG, 869th BS Saipan 15 December 1944 9th Bomb Group B-29 B-29 remote controlled bottom rear turret
Ground crew poses beside B-29 “Goin’ Jessie” 42-24856 of the 9th BG, 5th Bomb Squadron Tinian 1945 Capt Young’s crew Saipan December 1944 XB-29 41-002 “The Flying Guinea Pig” 1942 Flak-Riddled B-29 of 21st BC after raid on Tokyo 1945
B-29 42-6275 “Snafuper Bomber” of 45th Bomb Squadron, 40th Bomb Group China 1944 B-29 42-24691 “Fast Company” of the 792nd Bombardment Squadron, 468th Bomb Group B-29 42-65210 “Fay” of the 498th BG, 874th BS Saipan 1944 Ground crews watch 1st B-29 leave Saipan for attack on Tokyo 44
B-29 of the 19th Bomb Group in flight Group of mechanics of a B-29 engine at a 314th BW base Guam B-29 of 468th BG over Yawata during August 20, 1944 raid XB-29 41-18335 third prototype in flight
Burning B-29 Iwo Jima July 1945 B-29 42-93836 in flight B-29 tail gunner with remote control gun sight B-29 of the 509th Composite Group Bikini A-Bomb Tests 1946
B-29 “Dottie” take off from Chungking 3 December 1944 Ki-46 after attack on B-29 Crewmen dine from food tray galley aboard B-29 Crewmembers relax on bunks in crew compartment of B-29
B-29 tail gunner B-29 42-24668 “The Cannuck” of the 500th BG, 882nd Bomb Squadron Guam B-29 42-63414 “The Jumping Stud” of the 497th BG, 871st BS B-29 42-24780 “Doc’s Deadly Dose” of the 504th BG, 398th Bomb Squadron
B-29 42-24623 “Thumper” of the 497th Bomb Group 870th BS USA 1945 Crashed B-29 “Ramblin Roscoe” 42-24664 of the 500th BG, 882nd BS, Iwo Jima 15 April 1945 Bulldozer and B-29 44-69762 of 29th Bomb Group Marianas 1945 B-29 42-24779 “Satan’s Lady” of the 504th BG, 412st BS Tinian March 1945
B-29 K-336 of the 504th Bomb Group Crew of 497th Bomb Group, 886th BS B-29 42-24598 Waddy’s Wagon, Saipan November 1944 B-29 Iwo Jima Grounf crew with B-29 Thumper of 504th BG 21 February 1945
60th Bomb Squadron, 39th Bomb Group Crew and B-29, 29 April 1945 B-29 44-61639 “Hellbird” of the 462nd BG, 768 BS in flight Seabee on tractor and B-29s arriving at North Field on Tinian 1945 B-29 wings on assembly line at Renton Plant
B-29 42-24620 “Sleepy Time Gal” of the 40th BG, 44th BS Interior view of B-29 rear cabin B-29 of the 500th BG B-29 of 19th BG over Japan 1945
Burning B-29 of the 504th BG after emergency landing on Iwo Jima B-29 44-61679 of the 6th BG 468th BG, 792nd BS B-29 42-24494 “Mary Ann” attacking Hatto Formosa 18 October 1944 B-29A 42-93844 in flight with bomb door open
497th BG, 871st BS B-29 42-65231 “Gonna Mak’er” takes off from Saipan 1944 B-29 of the 444th BG over Hump 21 November 1944 Crew loading M69 bombs on B-29s on Saipan 1945 B-29 42-24625 “Lady Mary Anna” of the 498th Bomb Group
YB-29 Superfortress 41-36957 3 YB-29 41-38690 in flight B-29 42-24595 “Pacific Union” of the 497th BG, 869th BS, 5 December 1944 Saipan 2,000,000th ton of explosives loaded on B-29 Goin Jessie 2
B-29 Dream Girl Lone B-29 over base at Tinian Island B-29 42-6211 tail section, USA December 1943 Crew gasses up B-29 K-75 in China for bombing of Yawata June 1944
B-29 5 of the 499th BG B-29 42-24427 1944 B-29 42-63455 “Genie” of the 40th BG, 25th Bomb Squadron 1945 F-13 42-24621 Yokohama Yo-Yo of the 3rd Photographic Reconnaissance Squadron, 11th Photographic Reconnaissance Group
YB-29 41-36960 in flight Ground crew turning over B-29 propellers at Roswell AB 1945 B-29 Saipan 1944 B-29 15 of the 19th Bomb Group
Burning B-29 Iwo Jima Sergeant Krantz, a waist gunner hangs out of the window B-29 take off Pair of B-29 bombers in flight 42-24558 and 24554
Decoy B-29 bomber painted on the Tien Ho Airfield in China Unveiling of B-29 44-70118 “The Ernie Pyle” Tail guns of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress Bombardier amid Instruments in nose of B-29
YB-29 escort conversion 1943 B-29 42-24628 “Special Delivery” of the 497th BG, 870th BS 1944 B-29 55 of the 9th BG B-29 of the 500th Bomb Group
B-29 42-24731 K-297 444th BG, 677th Bomb Squadron Burma B-29 42-24616 “Haley’s Comet” of the 870th Bomb Squadron, 497th Bomb Group Medals Awarded to B-29 “Tokyo Rose” of 3rd PRS Crew Saipan 1944 B-29 44-61679 of the 6th BG 2
B-29 42-24904 Ramp Tramp II of the 768th Bomb Squadron, 462nd Bomb Group 1945 B-29 42-24596 “Little Gem” of the 497th BG, 869th BS Saipan, 22 March 1945. Crew of Lt Seitz B-29 42-63355 “Bella Bortion” of the 468th BG, 793rd BS YB-29 Superfortress 41-36957
B-29 42-63455 “Genie” of the 40th BG, 25th Bomb Squadron Tinian 1945

Boeing B-29 Superfortress photo gallery part 2.

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Following World War II, the USAF embarked on a modernization program to enhance the B-29 and correct many of the problems that had plagued the aircraft. The "improved" B-29 was designated the B-50 and entered service in 1947. That same year, a Soviet version of the aircraft, the Tu-4, began production. Based on reverse-engineered American aircraft downed during the war, it stayed in use until the 1960s. In 1955, the B-29/50 was withdrawn from service as an atomic bomber. It continued in use until the mid-1960s as an experimental testbed aircraft as well as an aerial tanker. All told, 3,900 B-29s were built.

Dauntless Dottie

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Boeing B-29 Superfortress in WWII and Korea

Col. Paul Tibbets, Jr.

In wartime, the B-29 was capable of flight up to 31,850 feet at speeds of 350 mph. Designed as a high-altitude daytime bomber, the B-29 flew more low-altitude nighttime incendiary bombing missions.

In December 1943 U.S. Army Air Forces leadership committed the Superfortress to Asia, where its great range made it particularly suited for the long over-water flights against the Japanese homeland from bases in China.

The first B-29s arrived at Allied airfields in India and China in April 1944. Flying from India, B-29s first saw combat on June 5, 1944, when 98 planes struck Bangkok. A month later, B-29s flying from Chengdu, China struck Yawata, Japan in the first raid on the Japanese home islands since the Doolittle Raid in 1942.

During the last two months of 1944, B-29s began operating against Japan from the islands of Saipan, Guam and Tinian. As many as 1,000 Superfortresses at a time bombed Tokyo, destroying large parts of the city.

Enola Gay and Bockscar

The B-29 is most often remembered by many for two missions that occurred in August of 1945, over the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki that lead to a quick end of World War II.

Colonel Paul Tibbets, Jr. was born February 23, 1915, son of Enola Gay and Paul Warfield Tibbets.

An experienced pilot in World War II, he reported to Colorado Springs in September, 1944, for a top secret assignment - to organize a bombardment group to deliver the atomic bomb.

The B-29 hangar at Wendover Air Field
Photo by Planes Of The Past

Tibbets' force, the 509th Composite Group, included 15 B-29's with special "Silverplate" modifications, and 1,800 men. The Silverplate B-29s had modifications necessary to deliver atomic weapons, which included an extensively modified bomb bay with pneumatic doors, special propellers, modified engines and the deletion of protective armor and gun turrets.

The 509th settled on Wendover Air Field on the Utah-Nevada border as their base due to its remote location. Special facilities were built to accommodate the B-29s, including a hangar which is being restored today (see photo to the right).

Colonel Tibbets piloted the B-29 "Enola Gay" (Serial Number 44-86292) on August 6, 1945, and dropped the "Little Boy" atomic bomb over Hiroshima, Japan. He had named the plane after his mother, Enola Gay Tibbets. The plane had been built at the Glenn Martin plant in Omaha, Nebraska.

Three days later the "Fat Man" atomic bomb was dropped on Nagasaki, Japan by the B-29 "Bockscar".

Boeing B-29 "Enola Gay" during World War II

On November 6, 1945, the "Enola Gay" was flown back to the 509th's new base at Roswell Army Air Field, New Mexico. The decision was made to preserve the aircraft, and on July 24, 1946, the aircraft was flown to Davis-Monthan Air Force Base, Arizona, in preparation for storage.

The following month the title to the aircraft was transferred to the Smithsonian Institution and the B-29 was removed from the USAAF inventory. From 1946 to 1961, the Enola Gay was put into temporary storage at a number of locations across the country.

Today, "Enola Gay" is on display at the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Smithsonian at Dulles Airport in Washington, D.C.

"Bockscar" is on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Dayton, Ohio.

The B-29 Superfortress in the Post-WWII Era and the Korean War

The crew of B-29 "Enola Gay" at Wendover Field
Pilot Col. Paul Tibbets in center

The end of World War II caused production of the B-29 to be ended, with the last B-29 built at Boeing's Renton, Washington, factory on May 28, 1946.

Many of the aircraft were sent for storage, and ultimately scrapping at aircraft storage and dismantling facilities around the U.S. The remaining B-29s helped build the initial bomber inventory of the Strategic Air Command when it was formed in March of 1946.

The B-29 saw military service again in Korea between 1950 and 1953, battling new adversaries: jet fighters and electronic weapons.

In Korea, B-29s flew 20,000 sorties, and B-29 gunners were credited with shooting down 27 enemy aircraft.

With the arrival of the Convair B-36 in the Air Force inventory, the B-29 was reclassified as a medium bomber.

The last B-29 in squadron use retired from service in September 1960.

Rush Order: One Story of Thousands in World War II

B-29 Superfortress "Rush Order" S/N 42-63393, of the 58th BW, 462nd BG, 768th BS

The Boeing-designed B-29-10-BA Superfortress Serial Number 42-63393 was built by the Bell Aircraft Company in Marietta, Georgia. It was delivered to the Army Air Corp on May 30, 1944, and assigned to the 768th Bombardment Squadron, 462nd Bombardment Group.

The aircraft was initially assigned to Major John Stewart Slack, Jr. and his crew, and began combat missions only 15 days after the plane was delivered. The name "Rush Order" was given to the plane and appropriate art painted on the nose.

Major Slack was born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1915, and later graduated from LSU. He entered service in 1940 with the Army Air Corp, and after training in the U.S. departed on April 13, 1944 and arrived at his assigned base in Piaradoba, India, in early June. He later also flew from Kiumglai, China. His first mission was on June 5, 1944, to bomb Bangkok.

Major John Slack and the crew of B-29 "Rush Order"

On January 6, 1945 the 58th Bomb Wing launched an air attack against Japan consisting of forty-nine B-29s. That day Major Slack was piloting another B-29, S/N 42-65254, and leading a group of six planes on a bombing mission against the Omura Aircraft Factory on the island of Kyushu Japan.

The mission was attacked by enemy fighters and Major Slack's bomber was heavily damaged, losing two engines. Slack was able to keep the plane in the air for more than 35 minutes, but finally had to ditch in the ocean. Rescue planes and submarines were unable to locate the crew. On that mission, one B-29 was lost, Rush Order. Major Slack, aged only 29, and ten other crewmen lost their lives.

Slack received the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster and the Purple Heart.

I was most fortunate to enjoy a long friendship with Major Slack's son, John Stewart Slack III, for many years. He was proud of his dad's service. Stewart was a fine man, and good friend, and is missed!

"Rush Order" survived the war, and was later reclaimed at Keesler Field in Gulfport, Mississippi, on March 20, 1946.

B-29s Become the Ultimate Weapons

The B-29 Superfortress was a war ahead of other bombers. It could carry 20,000 pounds of bombs—about double the B-17’s load—to targets more than 2,000 miles away. Flying at 30,000 feet, it was as fast as most fighters. Its long, cylindrical fuselage contained pressurized stations for the flight crew, with a narrow tunnel connecting fore and aft cabins across the unpressurized double bomb bay. Former crewmen say the tunnel crawl favored the agile and non-claustrophobic. Instead of conventional gun turrets, the B-29’s weapons poked from sealed blisters on the fuselage, linked through a remote-control system that was a marvel in the 1940s. The weapons could be fired either by the command gunner or by individual gunners in the waist and tail.

By the time B-29s entered the war, in May 1944, an earlier generation of heavy bombers had leveled much of Germany. The Superforts deployed to Tinian, in the Marianas Islands, where legions of Seabees had built the war’s largest and busiest airfield. Tokyo was about 1,500 miles north, well within the bomber’s radius.

To everyone’s surprise, when the bombers flew over Japan, they encountered light opposition. Given the thin defenses and the generally poor results of high-altitude bombing, the bombers’ commander, Curtis LeMay, changed strategies. Daylight missions gave way to intensive, nighttime firebombing over Tokyo and other cities built largely of paper and bamboo. Years later, B-29 tail gunners would remember seeing, as they turned for home, Japanese cities reduced to beds of glowing embers.

The only aircraft then capable of delivering the world’s first nuclear bombs, newly modified Superforts joined their standard comrades on Tinian in the late summer of 1945. On August 6, the B-29 Enola Gay dropped a uranium bomb on the Japanese city of Hiroshima three days later, Bockscar destroyed Nagasaki with a plutonium bomb. Before the Japanese surrender on August 14, another 800 B-29s bombed Japan with conventional explosives, but the Atomic Age had begun.

About Carl A. Posey

Novelist and award-winning science writer Carl A. Posey was the author of seven published novels, a number of non-fiction books, and dozens of magazine articles. He was a licensed pilot and an Air & Space magazine contributor for more than 30 years, beginning with its second issue in 1986. Posey died on February 9, 2018.



The Superfortress was first envisaged in the late 1930s, when US military thinking turned to the possibility of an Axis invasion of the Americas, followed by enemy air attack against the industrial centres of the United States of America. This concept, known as 'hemisphere defence', called for the production of a variety of long range bomber types with operational radius of action ranging between 1,500 and 4,000 miles, although the true starting point of the B-29 was the 2,000 mile radius demanded of the bomber specified by the Kilner board in 1938, by which time Boeing's design team had undertaken a series of design studies in this area, such as the XB-15 derived model 316, which included pressurisation as an essential requirement. Α]

In March 1938, Chief of Staff Oscar Westover requested proposals for a new strategic bomber with a pressure cabin, [N 2] to allow it to fly faster and higher than the B-17 Flying Fortress. Β]

Following a series of studies featuring either Alison V-1710s (Model 333/333A), Wright R-1800s (Model 333B) or Pratt & Whitney R-2180s (Model 334) buried in the wing, Boeing proposed the Model 334A, which featured a 135ft span high aspect ratio wing with conventionally mounted Wright R-3350s. The 334A design displayed sufficient promise for Boeing to construct a mock-up of the aircraft in December 1939, at its own expense. Γ]

Boeing also prepared a modified design, which had been initiated in August 1939, known as the Model 341, which used a high aspect ratio wing based on a new high lift aerofoil developed by the Boeing Aerodynamics Unit. The new wing, which spanned 124ft 7in and mounter four 2,000hp Pratt and Whitney R-2800 engines, offered the 341 a speed of at least 405mph at 25,000ft, and the ability to fly 7,000 miles with one ton of bombs, or carry heavier loads over shorter distances. On November 10, 1939 General H. H. Arnold, Chief of the Air Corps, asked for permission from the War Department to issue a specification for a 'Super bomber' to replace the B-17 Flying Fortress and B-24 Liberator, receiving the necessary authority on December 2nd. The specification, known as Data R-40B, was circulated to Boeing, Consolidated, Douglas and Lockheed on January 28 1940, and called for a bomber with a speed of 400mph and the ability to deliver a 2,000lb load over a range of 5,333miles. The specification was almost immediately modified, in light of combat experience in Europe, to incorporate extra armour, enhanced armament and self-sealing fuel tanks. Boeing responded by scaling up the 341 and replacing the R-2800s with Wright R-3350s, submitting the Model 345 to Wright Field on May 11 1940. This had a wingspan of 141ft 3in, a maximum bomb load of 16,000lb, defensive armament of 10 0.5in machine guns and a single 20mm cannon, and estimated max speed of 382mph. Evaluation of the primary designs placed Boeing first in order of preference, ahead of the Lockheed, Douglas and Consolidated entries, and led to the issuing of contracts on June 27 1940 for preliminary engineering data for each design, which were designated XB-29 (Boeing), XB-30

Large scale production had actually been authorised on May 17 1941, when the USAAF announced they had placed an order for 250 machines with the Government owned factory at Wichita factory, under the terms of a contract signed in September, which was doubled in January 1942. In February 1942 the USAAF announced that Bell Aircraft, North American Aviation and the Fisher Body Division of General motors would also build the B-29, resulting in tooling for orders for at least 1,664 aircraft was well advanced by the first flight. Δ]

The already clean design was further refined, with the nose contours rounded off, and extension of the forward fuselage resulting in the length increasing from 93ft to 98ft 2in. The rear sections of the inner nacelles were extended aft of the trailing edge, and the vertical tail received a dorsal extension to improve asymmetric handling. Internal amendments led to the bomb bay being modified to permit carriage of a large number of smaller bombs, while maximum capacity was increased to 20,000lb. Final armament modifications resulted in the Sperry remotely controlled gun turrets becoming permanently external - despite this, drag was greater than that for the smaller and lighter B-17. Following these modifications, maximum range with one ton of bombs was reduced to 5,333 miles. Despite concern regarding the high wing loading, the finalised aircraft met with complete approval by the USAAF. A suggestion by service engineers to reduce wing loading by increasing the wing area was rejected, as this would reduce performance. Instead, the B-29 was fitted with Flowler flaps which increased wing area by 20% during take off an landing, thus reducing wing loading and increasing lift coefficient. Δ]

From April 7 1941, a full scale wooden mock-up was made available for USAAF inspection, with the first engineering drawings for prototype production being released a month later. Production engineering for 14 YB-29s for service evaluation, and 250 B-29s for operational service, began on 16 June 1941, with the first 25 service aircraft required by February 1943. Ε]

As the existing Boeing plants were occupied with orders for the B-17, a new factory was built for production of the B-29 at Wichita. After the attack against Pearl Harbor, the obvious need for further facilities resulted in production beginning at a new Boeing factory at Renton, a Bell Aircraft factory to be built at Georgia and a Glenn Martin factory at Omaha. [N 3]

As much of the Superfortress's equipment had not been perfected, or even tested in many cases, it was decided to bring aircraft leaving the production line to modification centres, so that they could be brought up to combat ready standard, without stopping the assembly lines to introduce modifications and equipment by delaying production. This programme was itself delayed by the need to work in the open air in inclement weather, due to the B-29's size, problems in obtaining sufficient tools and support equipment, and the A.A.F's limited experience with the aircraft. This prompted the drafting in of Boeing personnel from the factories at Wichita and Seattle, who assisted with the modifications from March 10th to April 15th 1944, a period which became known as the Battle of Kansas. Ζ]

By late 1943, production examples were being produced by the Bell-Marietta and Boeing-Renton plants. These were powered by R-3350-23, -23A or -41 engines. Ζ]

Operational Use

The first USAAF B-29 unit was the 58th Bombardment Wing (VH), which was activated at Marietta, near Bell's Superfortress plant, on June 1st 1943, and transferred to Salina, Kansas on September 15th 1943, This comprised five groups - the 40th, 444th, 462nd, 468th and 472nd Bombardment Groups (VH), with the 472nd remaining at Smoky hill, Selina as an Operational Training Unit. Ζ]

On 27 November 1943 XX Bomber Command was formed to take overall control of all B-29 units, which now included the 73rd Heavy Bomber Wing, comprising four more groups intended to use the next batch of 150 Superfortress aircraft. However, initial training had to be conducted on B-26s and B-17s because of the limited number of available B-29, due to the delay in AAF approval of the B-29's flight characteristics, which was finally granted on 7 October. Ζ]

Examples belonging to XX Command were eventually dispatched to bases in China, traveling via India, during early 1944, with one of the first examples to leave the United States being flown to Great Britain for demonstration to the Eighth Air Force, before it proceeded to Calcutta. [N 4]

Following the decision to concentrate all B-29 operations against Japan from the Marianas island group, B-29s were initially dispatched to Saipan, with the first aircraft, named Joltin Josie, arriving there on 12 October 1944. ⎗] The first attack against the Japanese homeland by Marianas-based B-29s took place on 24 November 1944, with eighty eight aircraft carrying out a high altitude daylight raid against Tokyo, Η] similar to those executed by the 8th Air Force against Germany. The difficulties resulting from this approach led Maj-Gen. Curtiss E LeMay, the new B-29 force commander, to switch the B-29s to night attacks with incendiaries. These increased the available bomb load and decreased the vulnerability of the aircraft, due to the lack of Japanese night defences, with the first such raid being launched against Tokyo on 9 March 1945. Over the following few days, four more major cities were attacked, resulting in the devastation of thirty-two square miles of land. The alomost complete lack of aerial opposition led to the B-29's defensive armament being reduced to a pair of 0.5in machine guns in the tail turret, which allowed the aircraft to carry it's maximum bombload. [N 5]

Three examples made emergency landings in Soviet territory during 1945, ⎙] including the 'General Arnold Special' [N 6] resulting in the Soviet Union operating several hundred unlicensed copies as the Tu-4. Produced between 1946 and 1949, the Tu-4 mainly differed from the B-29 by using ASh-90 engines and NR-23 cannon. ⎛]

Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Book Design by Ian Robertson. Cover Artwork by Steve Ferguson, Colorado Springs, CO Copyright © 1997 by John M. Campbell Library of Congress Catalog Number: 97-66913 All rights reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or used in any forms or by any means - graphic, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying or information storage and retrieval systems - without written permission from the copyright holder. Printed in China. ISBN: 0-7643-0272-8 We are interested in hearing from authors with book ideas on related topics.

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ACKNOWLEDGMENTS During my long years of collecting and gathering military aircraft photographs, I've had the honor of meeting many very wonderful people. This seems to always be the case when aviation is the topic of conversation. The success of these "projects" as I choose to call them, is totally and completely the result of these fine people. There were Groups that assisted, Manufacturers which assisted, AND veterans and enthusiasts who forwarded their much more than two cents worth, Then there is also the other historians, photographers, buffs, and affectionados. This work of love would never have come to be if not for their assistance and Vigilance. John M. Campbell At this time I'd like to convey my personal thanks, and well done to these special people.·58th Bomb Wing Archives via Tom Britton, Chester Marshall of Global Twentieth fame John Aldrich and Mr. Bob Mann for his years of toil and sweat in gathering and creating an accurate listing of over 5,000 names and Serial nos. of B-29s and B-50s. Mr. Mann, along with the help of Tom Britton, really did a bang-up job. They still are gathering even more information as you read this. Mr. Tom Lubbesmeyer and the Boeing Aircraft Co. Archives in Seattle for the early production line photos and the detailed interior images Dr. Hiroya Sugano, and the "Zero Fighters" admirers assn. Hickham AFB, Hawaii and Leatrice Akagi, Chief ofthe Office of History for the information on Pearl Harbor. National Archives, Los Alamos Scientific Laboratories for information and assistance on The Manhattan Project. Robert Hunt Library, UASF Historical Research Center, and Dr. James Kitchens III, Wright-Patterson AFB and the Air Force Museum. The DAVA film library, the Oklahoma Air & Space Hall of Fame and Museum. The Glen Martin Museum. The Air & Space Museum/Smithsonian and Paul Garberfacilities. Robert Mikesh, the Naval Aviation Museum in Pensacola, Fla. Fred Johnsen, Cheryl Gumm, Dr. Young, and the Edwards AFB Flight Test Center. Brigadier Gen. Charles "Chuck" Yeager, Mr. John "Socks" Heyer, Gary James, Garry R. Pape, Steve Link, Jack Lambert, Arnold Fort, Wayne Watts, Wayne Walrond, the Bell Aircraft Company, Mr. Jim Root, Mr. Jack c. Moses, Mr. Mark Copeland, Russ Stoffer, Mr. Fred Johnsen. Ron Witt, Paul Swendrowski, the Kansas Aeronautical Historical Society and Boeing, Wichita. Mr. Robert Pickett, Tinker AFB/OCAMA Office of History, Dr. James Crowder PhD, and Dan M. Schill. Steve Birdsall, Dr. Donald Klinko, Hill AFB Office of History, Mr. Ron Willis and Mr. Thomas Carmichael, Mr. Ron McKay, Thomas William McGarry, Walter W. Beam,

Richard M. Keenan, AI Lloyd, Jim Pattillo, Denny Pidhayny, Dr. Henry Zimmerman, Mr. "Mad" Mike Hill for his hours of assistance, Larry Davis, Nick Veronico, Mr. William Davis, Steve Pace, Mr. Bob Snodgrass and his collection from Amarillo Army Air Field, Kevin Herbert, Mr. Mitch Mayborne, Capt. Prentiss "Mick"" Burkett, James V. Crow, Herman Hetzel, Glenn Horton, Arden Accord, Mark Bacon, Marty Isham, E. VanHouten, Robert Esposito, H. W. Rued, Col. R. Uppstrom, Col. B Butcher, W. J. Balough, Sr., J. Hillard, W. Duncan, G. Michaels, Mr. Walter Scheffe, Pilot of Yokohama Yo Yo, Col. Barry Miller, Martin Caiden, Larry Steward USMC, Mark Curren, Tony "Two Guns" Stevenson, USMC, Jessie Jacobs, Mark Elms, Terry Brewer, Cheryl Sweeney, Teresa Gieroba, H.G. Martin, CPL. Terry L. Thompson, USMC, Rob!. Pickett, Mr. Raymond Loberg, Mark Turner, USN, Billy Thompson, Michael Haseltine, Darby Perrin, Tony Kastel, Randy Stromski, Garry Brum, Steve Bryan, and Tony Wiens, Richard McAbee, and "Butch' Maurey. The Reverend Theodore Morgan, Randall Kenyon, John Szabo, Charles C. Worman, Wesley Henry, Don Finch, Stewart Howard, Lt. Col. Kenny Wilkerson, Tinker FIt. Test, Mr. Peter M. Bowers, Col. Mike Moffett, Vyron DeHass, Garland Leonard, Jay Reid, Fenton Morrison and the 73rd BIW Assn, T. Barnes, Lt. Col. R.Elam,497th B/G assn. A. Anderton, 79th BIW. Edward G. Longacre, Maj. Gen. Donald L. Marks, Maj. Woodrow P. Swancutt, Maj. Gen. Walter C. Sweeney, Will Rushing, Carla Livingston, Ralph Barrier, Yvonne Gordon, Maj. Gen. Roger S. Ramey, Cdr. 8th Air Force in 1949. Maj. James Gallagher, Joel Levine, Robin Pierce, Jon Maguire, Stanley Sommers, Glenn E. McClure, Wayne McClellan, Mr. Mike Merryman. Maj. S. D. Huff, Mike Conners of the Hobby Shop Crossroads Mall, OKC, named for "Operation Crossroads", Stan Piet, Mr. Paul Frederich, 19th BIW assn, Artist Steve Furgeson, Mr. Bob Vanderveen, Kee Bird, Mr. Allen Griffith for the Tu-4 info and images. Mr. Steve Wilson, Mr Richard Long, Kathy Long, and Mr. Dan Stroud. I'd also like to personally thank Rollie & LaDonna Fansler for their assistance with the computer glitches, "That always haunt a writer" the Fisher family-Dolores, Terry, Michael, Donald, Linda, Ryan, and of course, Little Jesse Cindy, Joshua, & Raina Brechbiel and Pete & Nancy Schiffer, Bob Biondi, and the Editorial Staff at Schiffer Publishing, L.T.D., for their patience & attention to quality. I want to thank my Mother and Father, Ruth and F. D. Campbell, for their assistance, their love, and their understanding throughout all my projects. I would also like to thank all of the Men & women who helped to build, fly, and save the greatness of the B-29 Superfortress. Bless Them All, John M. Campbell

"I heard about (Pearl Harbor) & I knew right then I had to go. It was surprising how many people made that decision, the decision either to stay or to go" Fay D. Campbell Dec.5,1995 Capt. FAY D.CAMPBELL, U.S.ARMY AIR CORPS 14TH AIR FORCE CHINA, BURMA, INDIA, THEATRE OF OPERATIONS WORLD WAR II

Dedicated . To the memory of those men who gave their lives. whose brave acts and deeds have written the history.

Watch the video: World War 2 Color Film: B-29 Superfortress Dauntless Dotty on Iwo Jima (June 2022).


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