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Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: View of south hangar, such as B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay”, a glimpse of the Air France Concorde, and many others
Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated propeller-driven bomber of World War II and the first bomber to residence its crew in pressurized compartments. Though made to fight in the European theater, the B-29 located its niche on the other side of the globe. In the Pacific, B-29s delivered a selection of aerial weapons: conventional bombs, incendiary bombs, mines, and two nuclear weapons.
On August 6, 1945, this Martin-constructed B-29-45-MO dropped the 1st atomic weapon utilised in combat on Hiroshima, Japan. 3 days later, Bockscar (on show at the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio) dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Enola Gay flew as the advance weather reconnaissance aircraft that day. A third B-29, The Great Artiste, flew as an observation aircraft on each missions.
Transferred from the United States Air Force.
Country of Origin:
United States of America
Overall: 900 x 3020cm, 32580kg, 4300cm (29ft six 5/16in. x 99ft 1in., 71825.9lb., 141ft 15/16in.)
Polished general aluminum finish
Four-engine heavy bomber with semi-monoqoque fuselage and high-aspect ratio wings. Polished aluminum finish all round, normal late-Globe War II Army Air Forces insignia on wings and aft fuselage and serial number on vertical fin 509th Composite Group markings painted in black "Enola Gay" in black, block letters on decrease left nose.
Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center: B-29 Superfortress “Enola Gay” caption
Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated propeller-driven bomber of World War II and the initial bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments. Although developed to fight in the European theater, the B-29 identified its niche on the other side of the globe. In the Pacific, B-29s delivered a selection of aerial weapons: conventional bombs, incendiary bombs, mines, and two nuclear weapons.
On August 6, 1945, this Martin-constructed B-29-45-MO dropped the very first atomic weapon employed in combat on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later, Bockscar (on display at the U.S. Air Force Museum near Dayton, Ohio) dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Enola Gay flew as the advance weather reconnaissance aircraft that day. A third B-29, The Wonderful Artiste, flew as an observation aircraft on both missions.
Transferred from the United States Air Force.
Nation of Origin:
United States of America
General: 900 x 3020cm, 32580kg, 4300cm (29ft six five/16in. x 99ft 1in., 71825.9lb., 141ft 15/16in.)
Polished overall aluminum finish
Four-engine heavy bomber with semi-monoqoque fuselage and higher-aspect ratio wings. Polished aluminum finish general, normal late-Globe War II Army Air Forces insignia on wings and aft fuselage and serial quantity on vertical fin 509th Composite Group markings painted in black "Enola Gay" in black, block letters on decrease left nose.
Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress was the most sophisticated, propeller-driven, bomber to fly during World War II, and the first bomber to house its crew in pressurized compartments. Boeing installed extremely advanced armament, propulsion, and avionics systems into the Superfortress. During the war in the Pacific Theater, the B-29 delivered the very first nuclear weapons utilised in combat. On August 6, 1945, Colonel Paul W. Tibbets, Jr., in command of the Superfortress Enola Gay, dropped a hugely enriched uranium, explosion-sort, "gun-fired," atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. 3 days later, Key Charles W. Sweeney piloted the B-29 Bockscar and dropped a hugely enriched plutonium, implosion-sort atomic bomb on Nagasaki, Japan. Enola Gay flew as the advance climate reconnaissance aircraft that day. On August 14, 1945, the Japanese accepted Allied terms for unconditional surrender.
In the late 1930s, U. S. Army Air Corps leaders recognized the need for very lengthy-range bombers that exceeded the efficiency of the B-17 Flying Fortress. Numerous years of preliminary research paralleled a continuous fight against these who saw limited utility in building such an expensive and unproven aircraft but the Air Corps issued a requirement for the new bomber in February 1940. It described an airplane that could carry a maximum bomb load of 909 kg (two,000 lb) at a speed of 644 kph (400 mph) a distance of at least eight,050 km (five,000 miles). Boeing, Consolidated, Douglas, and Lockheed responded with design and style proposals. The Army was impressed with the Boeing style and issued a contract for two flyable prototypes in September 1940. In April 1941, the Army issued another contract for 250 aircraft plus spare components equivalent to an additional 25 bombers, eight months prior to Pearl Harbor and nearly a year-and-a-half just before the 1st Superfortress would fly.
Amongst the design’s innovations was a lengthy, narrow, high-aspect ratio wing equipped with big Fowler-type flaps. This wing design allowed the B-29 to fly really quick at higher altitudes but maintained comfortable handling characteristics in the course of takeoff and landing. Far more revolutionary was the size and sophistication of the pressurized sections of the fuselage: the flight deck forward of the wing, the gunner’s compartment aft of the wing, and the tail gunner’s station. For the crew, flying at intense altitudes became much more comfortable as stress and temperature could be regulated. To shield the Superfortress, Boeing made a remote-controlled, defensive weapons technique. Engineers placed 5 gun turrets on the fuselage: a turret above and behind the cockpit that housed two .50 caliber machine guns (four guns in later versions), and yet another turret aft near the vertical tail equipped with two machine guns plus two much more turrets beneath the fuselage, every equipped with two .50 caliber guns. One of these turrets fired from behind the nose gear and the other hung further back near the tail. One more two .50 caliber machine guns and a 20-mm cannon (in early versions of the B-29) had been fitted in the tail beneath the rudder. Gunners operated these turrets by remote handle–a correct innovation. They aimed the guns making use of computerized sights, and every gunner could take handle of two or far more turrets to concentrate firepower on a single target.
Boeing also equipped the B-29 with advanced radar gear and avionics. Based on the kind of mission, a B-29 carried the AN/APQ-13 or AN/APQ-7 Eagle radar method to aid bombing and navigation. These systems have been accurate adequate to permit bombing by way of cloud layers that completely obscured the target. The B-29B was equipped with the AN/APG-15B airborne radar gun sighting program mounted in the tail, insuring precise defense against enemy fighters attacking at night. B-29s also routinely carried as several as twenty diverse varieties of radios and navigation devices.
The initial XB-29 took off at Boeing Field in Seattle on September 21, 1942. By the end of the year the second aircraft was ready for flight. Fourteen service-test YB-29s followed as production began to accelerate. Creating this sophisticated bomber essential huge logistics. Boeing constructed new B-29 plants at Renton, Washington, and Wichita, Kansas, even though Bell constructed a new plant at Marietta, Georgia, and Martin constructed one in Omaha, Nebraska. Each Curtiss-Wright and the Dodge automobile organization vastly expanded their manufacturing capacity to create the bomber’s strong and complicated Curtiss-Wright R-3350 turbo supercharged engines. The system needed thousands of sub-contractors but with extraordinary work, it all came together, in spite of main teething difficulties. By April 1944, the 1st operational B-29s of the newly formed 20th Air Force started to touch down on dusty airfields in India. By Could, 130 B-29s have been operational. In June, 1944, significantly less than two years after the initial flight of the XB-29, the U. S. Army Air Forces (AAF) flew its first B-29 combat mission against targets in Bangkok, Thailand. This mission (longest of the war to date) called for one hundred B-29s but only 80 reached the target location. The AAF lost no aircraft to enemy action but bombing final results have been mediocre. The 1st bombing mission against the Japanese major islands because Lt. Col. "Jimmy" Doolittle’s raid against Tokyo in April 1942, occurred on June 15, once more with poor outcomes. This was also the 1st mission launched from airbases in China.
With the fall of Saipan, Tinian, and Guam in the Mariana Islands chain in August 1944, the AAF acquired airbases that lay many hundred miles closer to mainland Japan. Late in 1944, the AAF moved the XXI Bomber Command, flying B-29s, to the Marianas and the unit began bombing Japan in December. Nevertheless, they employed high-altitude, precision, bombing tactics that yielded poor results. The higher altitude winds had been so robust that bombing computer systems could not compensate and the climate was so poor that rarely was visual target acquisition attainable at higher altitudes. In March 1945, Major Basic Curtis E. LeMay ordered the group to abandon these tactics and strike alternatively at night, from low altitude, making use of incendiary bombs. These firebombing raids, carried out by hundreds of B-29s, devastated considerably of Japan’s industrial and financial infrastructure. However Japan fought on. Late in 1944, AAF leaders selected the Martin assembly line to produce a squadron of B-29s codenamed SILVERPLATE. Martin modified these Superfortresses by removing all gun turrets except for the tail position, removing armor plate, installing Curtiss electric propellers, and modifying the bomb bay to accommodate either the "Fat Man" or "Little Boy" versions of the atomic bomb. The AAF assigned 15 Silverplate ships to the 509th Composite Group commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets. As the Group Commander, Tibbets had no specific aircraft assigned to him as did the mission pilots. He was entitled to fly any aircraft at any time. He named the B-29 that he flew on six August Enola Gay soon after his mother. In the early morning hours, just prior to the August 6th mission, Tibbets had a young Army Air Forces upkeep man, Private Nelson Miller, paint the name just below the pilot’s window.
Enola Gay is a model B-29-45-MO, serial number 44-86292. The AAF accepted this aircraft on June 14, 1945, from the Martin plant at Omaha (Located at what is nowadays Offut AFB close to Bellevue), Nebraska. After the war, Army Air Forces crews flew the airplane in the course of the Operation Crossroads atomic test plan in the Pacific, even though it dropped no nuclear devices during these tests, and then delivered it to Davis-Monthan Army Airfield, Arizona, for storage. Later, the U. S. Air Force flew the bomber to Park Ridge, Illinois, then transferred it to the Smithsonian Institution on July 4, 1949. Despite the fact that in Smithsonian custody, the aircraft remained stored at Pyote Air Force Base, Texas, in between January 1952 and December 1953. The airplane’s last flight ended on December two when the Enola Gay touched down at Andrews Air Force Base, Maryland. The bomber remained at Andrews in outside storage till August 1960. By then, concerned about the bomber deteriorating outdoors, the Smithsonian sent collections employees to disassemble the Superfortress and move it indoors to the Paul E. Garber Facility in Suitland, Maryland.
The staff at Garber started working to preserve and restore Enola Gay in December 1984. This was the largest restoration project ever undertaken at the National Air and Space Museum and the specialists anticipated the perform would call for from seven to nine years to comprehensive. The project really lasted practically two decades and, when completed, had taken roughly 300,000 function-hours to comprehensive. The B-29 is now displayed at the National Air and Space Museum, Steven F. Udvar-Hazy Center.
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