B-29

Discussion in 'General Military Arms & History Forum' started by Big Mak, Oct 15, 2016.

  1. Jumbo-Indy

    Jumbo-Indy Member

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    My father in law was a bombadier on a B29 in WW2. Was based on Tinian Island. His crew picked up the new B29 (known as the "Big Time Operator") at the factory and flew it to the South Pacific. He was on a ship, heading home when the Enola Gay dropped the bomb. The nose of his plane is all that survives and is being restored inside and out as a display piece. The family donated his hand written mission log and photos of the plane, especially the nose art, to the cause. I think he was 19 when he departed for Tinian.
     
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  2. Twicepop

    Twicepop Well-Known Member

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    I did a walk through on a B-17 fuselage at Wright-Pat back when I was about 14-15. I was probably about 5'9" maybe 5'10" at that time. It was really cramped, no way to stand up.
     
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  3. Racist Infidel

    Racist Infidel Member

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    The shop that build the Norton Bomb Sight was in Avon, CT. I bought electric components from them in the early '90s. I got into a conversation with one of the people there. They have a sight on display in the lobby. Seems that the "cross hairs" for the sight all came from the head of one blond haired woman who worked there. It had the right properties that the engineers wanted and she volunteered it for the war effort.
     
  4. ral357

    ral357 Well-Known Member

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  5. Rothhammer1

    Rothhammer1 Well-Known Member

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    When I ran Sparkletts routes in Northern Arizona one of my favorite customers was Sam Wheeler.
    Sam had been the Flight Engineer of B29 #73, known as 'Strange Cargo.' which had been based on Tinian Island and was 'in rotation' to possibly carry atomic bombs over Japan.

    Strange Cargo flew bombing missions over Nagasaki, Toyoda, Tsuruga and Fukushima.

    I knew Sam and his wife, Charlotte, during their retirement years in Winslow. They were very fine people.
    strange-cargo-b29-autographed-photo-enola-gay_1_e1bc87f071cccb2893e6458e7c4fa4ab.jpg
     
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  6. Big Mak

    Big Mak Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    That's a really cool piece.

    Strange Cargo and it's brethren most likely destroyed more cities/death by dropping incendiary bombs (Lemay's change of warfare doctrine based on "stick" factories and houses in Japan) than the two dropped on Hiroshima.

    Oh, almost forgot, here is the center piece at the Smithonian back in DC. We got a chance to visit last June.
     

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  7. Rothhammer1

    Rothhammer1 Well-Known Member

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    I don't own the photograph (swiped image from the 'net), it never occurred to me to have Sam autograph anything (except checks to Sparkletts). I often wore a contract A2 jacket then, should have had him sign it.

    Sam was glad, in hindsight, that he didn't carry a 'nuke', yet he acknowlwdged the same as you said regarding incindiaries. They did drop the 'Pumpkin Bombs' that were developed by the Manhattan Project to train for the A Bomb drops.

    By the way, Mak, I am also a 'Model of 1960' (56 years old).
     
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  8. Big Mak

    Big Mak Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    1960 was the best year babies were born in Roth! :)

    I met this B-29 pilot when my sons and I were privvy to tour the interior prior to restoration.
    I wish I'd gotten his name. :( He's most likely long past now, 15 years later. Very imformative and gave us details on how the Norton Bombsite worked. Had I had a "Smart phone" then, I would have recorded every word he said. Very passionate about his service and the B-29, he was.
     

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  9. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

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    back in the early 2000's the then, Confederate Air Force brought Fifi to an airshow I was at.
    it was an astonishing aircraft. I've been around 24s and 17s, but nothing like that 29
     
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  10. Big Mak

    Big Mak Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    No? Do tell.
     
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  11. dbcooper

    dbcooper Well-Known Member

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    Public Television did a full documentary on it. You might be able to find it.

    The Kee Bird was stationed in Alaska attached to a recon squadron. It went down on a frozen lake in Greenland and sat there for over 50 years until a retired test pilot got a crew of guys together and spent a couple of summers going there and rebuilding the plane where it sat.

    They had it ready. New engines, tires , fabric the works. They were clearing the snow and making a run way. They fired it up and started to taxi when a gasoline generator caught fire in the rear and the whole thing burned to the ground right there in front of them.
    It was just heart breaking. All of that work and time.

    It still is a good story. You won't regret watching it , I promise

     
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  12. nmckenzie

    nmckenzie Well-Known Member

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    The Kee Bird story was tragic. The fuel tank of the donkey engine in the aft compartment broke loose during an unnecessarily fast run over very rough ice, the spilled fuel blazed and that was the end of the Kee Bird. I've only watched the PBS documentary once and could never bring myself to watch it again.
     
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  13. chaswea

    chaswea Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    I knew that FIFI (B-29) was in town at Addison airport. I got up one Saturday morning and hung out on the north end of the runway knowing she was scheduled to fly out in the morning. I got some video and face full of prop wash



     
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  14. Huffmanite

    Huffmanite Member

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    My father was in a bomber squadron in the Pacific for much of WWII. He was the top sergeant in charge of the arming of their planes with bombs, keeping the machine guns working/loaded. Somewhere I have a pamphlet about the 312th Squadron that Dad received when the unit was de-activated.....Dad and his crew loaded about 1.2 million rounds of 50 cal ammo and sorry, can't recall off the top of my head, the tons of bombs the squadron dropped. They used the A-20 Havoc another version of the better known Boston Bomber. Had an uncle that piloted B24s over Europe in WWII.

    Dad's squadron began receiving a new bomber a couple of months before Japan surrendered.....the B-32 Dominator made by Consolidated. When Boeing had technical problems with its B29 and some doubted its problems would be solved, a contract was given to Consolidated for a heavy four engine bomber, which was the B32. War ended, before the B32's in Dad's squadron could see much action. Sadly, it was on one of their B32s that his unit had the misfortune of having the last American killed in combat in WWII.

    Japan's Emperor had announced via a radio broadcast of the surrender of Japan. A couple of days later a small flight of their B32s were sent over Tokyo on strictly a photo recon mission. Japanese fighters attacked their formation. None of the B-32s were shot down and all were able to return to their air field. But two of the crew members had been killed.
     
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  15. Big Mak

    Big Mak Well-Known Member Supporting Member

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    Regarding the B-32, it was a fallback design in case Boeing couldn't keep up with the orders and development schedule. (Boeing's chief engineering Eddie Allen was killed in the 2nd test flight)
    Ironically it was the B-32 that became seriously behind schedule (With it's own crash) while the B-29 was showing great success in the war and keeping up with schedule.
     
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