Quickfire, 15 B-29 Superfortress facts – do you know them?
1) There were 3,970 B-29s produced between 1943 and 1946.
2) The B-29 was one of the first military aircraft to have a pressurized cabin.
3) To handle pressurization, the fuselage was designed as a cylinder.
4) The B-29 was capable of flight at altitudes up to 31,850 feet at speeds of up to 350 mph, out of range of Japanese fighters and anti-aircaft guns.
5) B-29 Superfortresses were only used in the Pacific Theater of WWII.
6) The B-29 ‘Enola Gay’ dropped the first atomic bomb in combat on Hiroshima, Japan on August 6th, 1945.
7) B-29 ‘Bockscar’ dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, on August 9th. To this day, they are the only two atomic weapons used in combat.
8) The B-29 had a ‘Central Fire System’ that included 2 remotely controlled turrets with .50 caliber machine guns each.
9) The guns were aimed electronically from the nose, mid-fuselage, and the tail.
10) The gun system also used 5 analog computers to help operators aim, compensating for airspeed, gravity, temperature and humidity.
11) After making bombing runs over Japan, five B-29s made emergency landings in the Soviet Union . The US asked the Soviets to return the aircraft, but they refused to do so.
12) Three of the five B-29s, which were repairable, were flown to the Tupelov design bureau in Moscow. The bombers were then reverse-engineered and turned into the Tu-4. A total of 847 Tu-4s were produced by the Soviet Union.
13) The B-29 was produced for another year after the end of WWII. The development of fighter jets made B-29 obsolete, and it was replaced by the much larger Convair B-36.
14) The B-29 saw extensive combat in the Korean war and dropped 200.000 tons of bombs in 20,000 sorties.
15) The B-29 was credited with shooting down 27 enemy aircraft during the Korean War.