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The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States toward the end of World War II and during the Korean War. It was one of the largest aircraft to have seen service during World War II and a very advanced bomber for its time, with features such as a pressurized cabin, an electronic fire-control system, and a quartet of remote-controlled machine-gun turrets operated by the fire-control system in addition to its defensive tail gun installation. In 1945, B-29s dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in Japan.

B-29 Superfortress in The Hot War[]

The B-29 had been a "world-beater" in 1945, but with the outbreak of the Korean War, the B-29 proved vulnerable to North Korean air defenses.[1] Nonetheless, B-29s were used to drop the first atomic bombs in Manchuria,[2] and remained in use throughout the first months of World War III.[3]

The B-29 also had another weakness: the Soviet Union had reverse-engineered a captured B-29 in the closing days of World War II. The resulting Tu-4 was physically identical to the B-29. The Soviets used this to their advantage throughout the war by painting their Tu-4s to look like B-29s.[4]

B-29 Superfortress in Joe Steele[]

The B-29 was developed and put into production toward the end of World War II. It was used extensively in the Pacific theater especially to bomb the Japanese home islands. The first major raid was the fire-bombing of Tokyo where hundreds of B-29s dropped tons of incendiaries cremating more than ten square miles of the capital.[5] The U.S. continued such raids destroying Japanese cities one at a time.[6] However, Japan hung on until the death of Emperor Hirohito.

When the Japanese War broke out in 1948, the U.S. attempted the same strategy of bombing North Japan cities with B-29s. However, the air defenses of the North had been re-built with Soviet help and new, jet Gurevich 9s proved much more deadly then older propeller fighters. As such, daylight raids were attempted for only a few days but losses were unacceptable so only occasional night raids were continued.[7] On August 6, 1949 a night raid by B-29s brought the war to an effective end when one aircraft dropped an atomic bomb on Sendai, destroying it.[8]


  1. Bombs Away, pg. 8, ebook.
  2. Ibid., pgs. 55-61.
  3. Ibid, generally.
  4. See, e.g, ibid. pgs. 141-150, 427-430.
  5. Joe Steele, pg. 300, HC.
  6. Ibid, pg. 306.
  7. Ibid, pg. 354.
  8. Ibid, pgs. 368-369.