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long-range heavy bomber
Boeing submitted the prototype for the B-29 to the U.S. Army in 1939. The first production B-29 flew on September 21, 1942, and by 1946 Boeing had built a total of 2,766 of the giant bombers at its plants in Wichita, Kansas, and Renton, Washington. The Bell Aircraft Company built another 668 of the planes at its plant in Georgia, and the Glenn L. Martin Company built 536 in Nebraska. Production ended in 1946.
Features of the B-29 included: guns that could be fired by remote control; pressurized crew areas connected by a long tube over the bomb bays; and, a separate pressurized area for the tail gunner. The B-29 was the heaviest production plane ever produced to that time because of increases in range, bomb load and defensive requirements.
B-29's were primarily used in the Pacific Theater during World War II. As many as 1,000 B-29's at a time bombed Tokyo. On August 6, 1945, the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Another B-29, the Bockscar, dropped the second atomic bomb, on Nagasaki, on August 9, 1945.
After the war, B-29's were adapted for use in anti-submarine patrol, weather reconnaissance, in-flight refueling, and rescue duty. During the Korean War (1950-1953), B-29's faced jet fighters and electronic weapons. The last B-29 in squadron use retired from service in September 1960.
This page was last updated on 01/22/2017.