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Boeing B-29 "Super Fortress"

The design of the Boeing B-29 "Super Fortress" began in 1938. The U.S. Army Air Corps recognized that a long range and heavily laden bomber would be needed to reach destinations that bombers such as the Boeing B-17 were ill equipped to perform satisfactory in such a role. The Boeing B-29 was unlike any other aircraft, designed to operate at a high altitudes, its crew of 11 had a pressurized cabin. The problem of maintaining a pressurized cabin environment while the bomb bay doors were open, was solved by a sealed tunnel connecting the front and rear cabins while the bomb bay area remained unpressurized.
Powered by (4) turbocharged 2,200 hp radial engines, the B-29 had a maximum air speed of 358 mph, altitude ceiling of 32,000 feet and a range of 3,200 miles. Armament included (8) .50 caliber machine guns in remote controlled turrets and (3) .50 caliber machine guns in its tail. The fire control systems for the remote control gun turrets utilized computers. Two massive bomb bay's held up to 20,000 lbs of bombs and utilized a sequential bomb release pattern between the front and rear bays to maintain a center of gravity.
Historically, the B-29 "Enola Gay" is well known for delivery of the first atomic bomb which was dropped on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6, 1945. Again 3 days later, another B-29 "Bock's Car" dropped another atomic bomb onto Nagasaki, Japan ending the war on August 15, 1945. Prior to these two fateful days beginning in November 1944, B-29's operated from airfields on Guam, Saipan and Tinian attacking the Japanese mainland. In June of 1945, a raid on Tokyo with incendiary bombs resulted in a fire storm with catastrophic loses greater than the 75,000 causalities at Hiroshima.

Approximately 3,900 "Super Fortress" were built before production ceased. After WWII, the B-29 continued to serve in the United States Air Force as front line strategic bomber in Korea and were utilized for engineering or scientific testing and converted into in-flight refueling tankers or reconnaissance aircraft.




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Christy Butler **** www.shoeboxphotos.net **** **** butts@bcn.net