15 B-29 Superfortress Fast Facts You May Not Know

B-29.

Quickfire, 15 B-29 Superfortress facts that you may not know!

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.

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Air crew preparing a B-29 Superfortress bomber for a mission, Saipan, Mariana Islands, 1944-1945; note another B-29 in flight overhead.

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.

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A 307th Bomb Group B-29 bombing a target in Korea, c. 1951.

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.

Interior photo of the rear pressurized cabin of the B-29 Superfortress, June 1944.
Interior photo of the rear pressurized cabin of the B-29 Superfortress, June 1944.

Joris Nieuwint

Joris Nieuwint is a battlefield guide for the Operation Market Garden area. His primary focus is on the Allied operations from September 17th, 1944 onwards. Having lived in the Market Garden area for 25 years, he has been studying the events for nearly as long. He has a deep understanding of the history and a passion for sharing the stories of the men who are no longer with us.

@joris1944 facebook.com/joris.nieuwint