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Why No B-29s In Europe?

Sat Oct 25, 2003 5:47 am

Hey guys,

Was just watching the History channel and a very simple question that I don't know the answer to popped into my head...

Why didn't the US use B-29s in Europe during WWII?
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RE: Why No B-29s In Europe?

Sat Oct 25, 2003 6:01 am

The B-29's went to the far east because they needed the range to reach Japan. Original missions began out of India, but the airplanes couldn't carry much of a bomb load and still reach Japan, plus the logistics of supplying those bases was difficult.
Once the Mariana Islands were taken, the B-29's could reach Japan with an acceptable bomb load. So most of the B-29 missions were flown out of either Guam or Tinian; both atomic missions were flown from Tinian.
Iwo Jima was taken to provide a forward base for fighters to escort the B-29's and it also became an emergency base for B-29's that couldn't make it back to the Mariana's for any reason.
The severe losses that the Marines received on Iwo Jima paid for the many airmen whose lives were saved once the airfield there became operational.
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RE: Why No B-29s In Europe?

Sat Oct 25, 2003 12:22 pm

I had a paperback book about the B-29 but I haven't read it in a while, so my memory of the history might be a bit faulty. I will go so far as to say that by the time that the B-29 was ready, the air war in Europe was winding down. I don't think I can go as far as saying that the B-29 was designed for Japan missions because at the same time it was proposed, Convair received a request from the Army Air Corps to design a bomber that could hit Germany from the US if England fell. That Bomber wasn't finished until after the war and is known as the B-36.

Europe had priority for bomber production throughout the war until that point, at the time it was introduced the air force was running out of targets there, between what had been hit and what was being overrun.

You also would have been faced with the logistical disadvantage of having to support another bomber type, when the other types all ready in theatre had the support, trained crews and the numbers to do the jobs that where left.

B-29 operations begain in China, from Airfields that had been cut by hand by chinese laborers, who where paid by the yard of material moved. The amount of dirt move was indicated by these little piles of dirt left on the field that indicated where the original ground level was.

The B-29's Air Forces where numbered in the 20 series, to distiginsh them from other units. LeMay was brought over from the 8th Air Force to command. The B-29 got a reputation as a widow maker and a hard to handle aircraft so LeMay had an experience pilot, who had been part of the 1st Air Force Bombing raid over Europe, Paul Tibbitts to do a series of semi-acrobatic demonstration flights for the various units getting B-29's. This is simular to what had been done with the B-26 Marauder when it got a simular reputation. Tibbitts B-29 expertise later earned him command of the Hiroshima mission.

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RE: Why No B-29s In Europe?

Sat Oct 25, 2003 1:39 pm

L-188, your professed lack of knowledge astounds me. What are you thinking? That perhaps you know nothing? I assure you that you are.............Correct in all you wrote.

Getting cold up there yet?  Smile/happy/getting dizzy
The day you stop learning is the day you should die.
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RE: Why No B-29s In Europe?

Sat Oct 25, 2003 6:41 pm

Just covering myself in the event that I get something wrong....Think of it as a disclaimer IMissPiedmont.

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RE: Why No B-29s In Europe?

Sun Oct 26, 2003 2:32 am

Concerning the nuclear missions, did the 2 squadrons of Consolodated B-32 Dominators That were operational in the pacific have the range and bombload to do the missions, or were the B-29s the only ones with the lift and range?

The last of the famous international playboys
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RE: Why No B-29s In Europe?

Sun Oct 26, 2003 12:32 pm

Spacepope, great writeup on the B-32 at this link.

I wasn't aware that the last combat action of World War II occured in a B-32.
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RE: Why No B-29s In Europe?

Wed Oct 29, 2003 5:49 am

The two nulcear missions were perfomed by B-29's; "Enola Gay" delivered the Hiroshima bomb, "Bocks Car" delivered the Nagasaki bomb. I think that there were several more tactical bombing missions into Japan after Nagasaki was hit, but I am not sure. I am not sure what role the B-32 played, but there were only 15 of them in service at the end of the war, with 40 more in training roles.

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