Talk:Boeing B-29 Superfortress

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'Controversy' section[edit]

the 'controversy' section adds nothing to the main story of the B29. It is clearly some pointless sidelight put in by some interested party. I have removed it. If you're thinking about re-adding it, I suggest adding it as a "see also" link in a seperate article as it has basically zero to do with the acutal aircraft. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 09:19, 14 January 2010 (UTC)

LeMay's orders[edit]

He did not order the removal of all armament from B-29's flying night missions. Ammunition was removed, but for the majority of the Bomb Groups operating out of Guam, Saipan and Tinian, the guns stayed in the aircraft. Except for the 315th and the 505th Composite Group, the remaining bomb groups had their guns up and through the war. Most of the ammunition was removed except for the TG. B29bomber (talk) 20:15, 6 February 2009 (UTC)

You'll need to provide reliable sources for that claim. First- or second-hand knowledge is not verifiable per WP:V and WP:RS policies. - BillCJ (talk) 22:19, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
Then how can you realiably say what you say here? The reference you have to LeMay just reverts to the 315th BW website. No proof there either. The statement should be removed. B29bomber (talk) 22:43, 6 February 2009 (UTC)
The real problem is that much of the entire article lacks proper references, in spite of the extensive bibliography listed below. This entire article needs an overhaul in regards to referencing; I personally have few books on the B-29 so it will be up to those who have written the bulk of the article to go back in and add the information. In the meantime I can see B29bomber's point - why single out his contribution as being "unreferenced" when much of the article follows the same pattern? Dismissing the information of an eyewitness should not be so easily done. I do know that I have read somewhere that Le May's orders were complied with by not loading ammunition, although the weapons, sights and turrets stayed - now I have to find the reference.Minorhistorian (talk) 01:28, 13 February 2009 (UTC)

Was it actually Armor not Armaments that were removed from the B-29s?[edit]

Alex Abella's "Soldiers of Reason: The RAND Corporation and the Rise of the American Empire" talks about LeMay receiving a report recommending removal of armor from the B-29s and says that LeMay wrote that this improved the accuracy of the B-29s. No mention is made of removing armaments. No mention is made of who gave the order.

Oddly the documentary film "The Fog of War" has Robert McNamara saying that LeMay ordered the B-29s to fly low because they were not hitting their targets. He says the pilots knew this meant much greater odds of being shot down. Further MacNamara leaves one with the impression that the mass firebombing of Japanese cities was required because the B-29s couldn't hit their targets unless they struck in a mass formation and carpet bombed.

Abella's footnote to the B-29 discussion is "The Wizards of Armageddon" by Fred M. Kaplan page 43, but this seems to actually about LeMay's realization that he couldn't hit specific targets, just cities. It is actually page 57 that has the Collbohm (later president of the RAND Corporation) report recommending removing armor plating and retaining only the tail gun. Page 57 says this was only done close to the end of the war and only for one wing. It says LeMay reports to HQ that the resulting accuracy was the best. It is not explained how LeMay determined preciseness when firebombing a city in a mass attack. No mention is made of relative casualty and damage rates for the modified B-29's.

It would be good to have the original documents including the actual orders, analysis and reports of LeMay, McNamara, Collobohm etc. Who knows maybe even a RAND analysis? Of course, there is the question of whether you should believe what the reports say, but it is still worth knowing what they do say. 21:55, 16 November 2009 (UTC) —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

====It is my understanding, from various sources, that the reason the B-29's could not hit their targets from a very high alitiude was the jet stream. Remember that these were gravity bombs and although the military meteorologists could predict wind speeds at a certain location, the jet stream flows at very high altitude and moves around. (talk) 03:34, 12 June 2012 (UTC)

No Guns, No Ammo thus Bigger Bomb Loads, but what does the Top Gunner say?[edit]

'"It Made a Lot of Sense to Kill Skilled Workers": The Firebombing of Tokyo in March 1945' by Thomas R. Searle in January 2002 The Journal of Military History (available through JSTOR, if you have JSTOR access has a discussion of the March 9-10 attack and on page 113 cites a book coauthored by LeMay for his changing the B-29 tactics for March 9-10 and his not informing his superiors.

Page 114 credits 25% of the bombs dropped due to removing gunners, guns and ammo. It credits another 25% to flying low and single file. More bombs, because less fuel is needed. His source seems to be a USAF official history ("The Army Air Forces in World War II" editors Wesley Frank Craven and James Lea Cate, USAF Historical Division.)

Roger Sandstedt, a B-29 Top Gunner (and an author of a self-published B-29 book) provides some interesting comments on the above article, in his letter to the editor, in the July 2002 issue of The Journal of Military History p972-974. In particular, he confirms no guns, no ammo and no gunners (except some as rear observers) for March 9-10 and two other raids, but then he says the practice ended. He says that with the availability of Iwo Jima the need to save fuel was gone and the limiting factor was no more incendiary bombs could fit in the bomb bays. Searle provides a response.

No mention of the Collbohm (or Raymond-Collbohm-Wells) report by either of these sources. But then according to Kaplan removing armor was a later and more limited event. No mention of where LeMay got his ideas for March 9-10.

—Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 00:04, 17 November 2009 (UTC)


Does this sentence make sense?

The name "Superfortress" [...] carried on a series of names for Boeing-built bombers followed by the [Superfortress] [and other planes].
  1. The moniker "Superfortress" is left out, because that would have been an apparent contradiction. The sentence' author knows that, that's why it's the only one in the list where in alias for the link is used ([[B-50 Superfortress|B-50]]).
  2. The sentence fragment after "followed" is somewhat unattached.
  3. As for the articles, I'm not completely sure, but the B-50 got one, so the others should too.

So please think about changes to the article (even if you hate IPs) before you want to "revert to bad English" again. Please be constructive and do not damage Wikipedia. -- (talk) 10:54, 29 December 2009 (UTC)

The entire passage is rewritten, see changes. Please keep comments directed to the development of the article. (Remember WP:CIVIL.) FWiW Bzuk (talk) 12:38, 29 December 2009 (UTC).
I think it is relevant to the development of the article if some editors make my work difficult by being disruptive.
FWIW, I don't think your version is better. To call the B-29 a "progenitor of a series" of planes streches it a bit, there are many planes with several variants. -- (talk) 14:11, 29 December 2009 (UTC)
You've missed the point, the new revision does not continue the tenuous logic that the name "superfortress" was continued. The fact that the name "fortress" continued on is superfluous and inaccurate as the moniker does not actually translate to the B-47 Stratojet which did not carry on the name. FwiW, in a lede, the salient points only are to be included and that is that the B-29 did spawn the numerous B-29 variants and led to the development of the B-50. Bzuk (talk) 14:55, 29 December 2009 (UTC).
I agree, I indeed missed this point. Glad you finally made it.
I'm a bit puzzled as to why you included said sections to your version of the lede if you thought them to be wrong. I agree with your reasoning, although again, I would not emphasize the fact that there are variants quite that much (apart from the B-50). Go ahead an change it. -- (talk) 15:03, 29 December 2009 (UTC)


The following:

"A B29 "Overexposed" converted for reconnaissance crashed in the Peak District on Bleaklow Moor in the UK in 1948 killing the 13 crew. The wreckage is spread over an area of approximatey 50 metres and many large components are recognisable, including the four engines and some under carriage. The site is visible on Google Earth. The site is now marked with a memorial stone and a number of poppies and crosses adorn the site. Photographs of this site can be seen here on Flickr"

was removed as not being notable. This decision could of been handled differently. The text can be moved to Talk for discussion. I suggest that noting memorials of aircraft crash sites would be notable. As it takes many volunteers, possible governmental agencies, land owners and surviving family members of the aircraft crew to take upon themselves to erect a memorial for the crew, plus the expenses involved in this endeavor is quite sizable. Whether the aircraft crash site was military, military during a war, commercial, or the crash sites of "9-11" are all notable, as human deaths should not be valued as notable or not notable by one person. Another scenario, there are over 800+ military aircraft crash sites just in Colorado alone, all are identified in a crash site database. Of those 800+ site, I know of 3 known memorials erected or identified in public facility. Known memorials are just as important and notable as the aircraft identified in "aircraft on display" or "survivor" sections.

I recommend we can create a "Memorial" section and describe the memorial with reliable reference(s), possible photograph, if available. Respectfully submitted.LanceBarber (talk) 06:49, 21 February 2010 (UTC)
===> See: Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Aviation/Notability#Memorials for WP level discussion. LanceBarber (talk) 07:04, 21 February 2010 (UTC)

B-29 civilian airline use after WWII?[edit]

I don't know enough to alter the Wiki article for the B-29, but: the 1946 industrial film "Old Chinese Proverb: One Picture is Worth Ten Thousand Words" (viewable at the Prelinger Archive online) has, at the 13:00 mark, brief footage and voice-over of a civilian airline B-29 with "seating for 100" and sleeping berths for 36, with passengers loading at the airport, and interior shots as well (two seats on each side of the aisle). I didn't find any mention of this in the Wiki article...could someone check this all out and update appropriately? (just hoping to be useful) (talk) 02:58, 26 June 2010 (UTC)

As far as I am aware the B-29 has no civilian airline use perhaps some confusion with the Boeing 377 which has some bits similar to the B-29 and B-50. MilborneOne (talk) 09:33, 26 June 2010 (UTC)
The film shows a brief sequence featuring the Boeing 377 Stratocruiser with the narrator saying: "It's the Boeing B-29 transformed for the air age." This is probably where the confusion resulted. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 15:21, 26 June 2010 (UTC).
Agreed, I know of no use for the B-29 as a civilian airliner, post WWII, or any War.B29bomber (talk) 14:52, 1 July 2016 (UTC)
I'd be amazed if any were. The Avro Lancaster was rebuilt as the Avro Lancastrian and developed as the Avro York for applications needing a four-engined long-range transport. However this has two major differences: they were needed in a hurry, so the first were conversions, not builds. Also they were unpressurised.
The B-29 was not used as the basis of a transport for a couple of years. The drive for it was not an urgent need for aircraft to use, but a need for Boeing to make and sell more aircraft from their idle wartime capacity. There would be little gain for Boeing from mere conversions, rather than new builds.
Secondly it was pressurised, and only made sense on long, high-altitude pressurised service (there were cheaper and more reliable Douglas designs to use unpressurised). The B-29 was only partially pressurised, in two compartments. Pressurising the bomb bay / passenger space as well would have been a major re-engineering.
AFAIK, the transport "B-29s", the C-97 Stratofreighter and the 377 Stratocruiser were near simultaneous, although post-war. They had a whole new fuselage design, one reason why they took so long, and had increasingly little B-29 in them, rather than B-50. The fuselage was one of the first "double bubble", as would be seen later on a number of militarised civilian designs, such as the Nimrod. Andy Dingley (talk) 17:10, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

Soviet Captured Aircraft[edit]

Can we get a source for this? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 16:08, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

Yes check.svg Done Named ref placed in relevant spots. Binksternet (talk) 16:21, 20 January 2011 (UTC)

merge proposal [[Boeing KB-29 into Boeing B-29 Superfortress

Please discuss the merge proposal here:- 18:01, November 27, 2011‎ User:Petebutt

I am deleting your merge suggestion on both pages, for lack of interest. Binksternet (talk) 20:49, 24 April 2012 (UTC)

Media links[edit]

I think the ever expanding media links sections could do with removing this is not a directory of external links or a replacement for a google search, any thoughts. MilborneOne (talk) 12:31, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

I've made a (semi)random cull of the Internet archive film links going by the film names trying to remove those that might be very similar. The rest fo the external links is very long and could also do with an axe wielded over them. GraemeLeggett (talk) 13:06, 12 January 2012 (UTC)

Inconsistencies in stated operational ceiling[edit]

The design and development section claims that "[i]n wartime, the B-29 was capable of flight up to 40,000 feet (12,000 m), but the specifications section lists its service ceiling as 33,600 ft (10,200 m). Meanwhile, Boeing's own website gives a ceiling of 31,850 ft, for an altitude discrepancy of a full mile and a half. Can anybody clear this up? Bendx (talk) 21:30, 22 March 2012 (UTC)

IMO, the absolute altitude is often greater than the operational ceiling, based on factors such as loading/weight. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 21:36, 22 March 2012 (UTC).
I understand this much, but I'm skeptical that a maximum altitude of 40,000 ft "in wartime" is accurate. Even if it could reach such a height under a combat payload, could it be maintained for long enough to provide a reasonable defense against enemy fighters, as is stated? This article is also the only mention (reliable or otherwise) I can find anyplace that claims a ceiling anywhere near 40,000 ft. Bendx (talk) 21:45, 22 March 2012 (UTC)
I have added a reference from the Boeing website of 31,850 ft. Bjmullan (talk) 22:12, 22 March 2012 (UTC)


This article is off to a bad start when it begins with, The B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing that was flown primarily by the United States Air Forces in late-World War II

This statement is wrong. There was no United States Air Force until 1947 . before then it was called the army air core. Please correct. Arydberg (talk) 02:07, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

The Air Corps was replaced in 1941 by the "Army Air Forces" AAF. Rjensen (talk) 03:22, 1 May 2012 (UTC)

1n 1926 the Army Air Core was established. In 1941 it became the Amy Air Forces and in 1947 the US Air Force as a separate service was established. The article should be corrected. I would do it but two topic bans are enough. Wikipedia has it's own unique version of the truth. Arydberg (talk) 12:32, 2 May 2012 (UTC)

First B-29 Superfortress combat mission[edit]

Bombing_of_Bangkok_in_World_War_II#First_B-29_Superfortress_combat_mission has been completely re-written, with contemporary sources, and should be incorporated here in lieu of

Forward base in China On 5 June 1944, B-29s raided Bangkok, in what is reported as a test before being deployed against the Japanese home islands. Sources do not report from where they launched, and vary as to the numbers involved — 77, 98, and 114 being claimed. Targets were Bangkok's Memorial Bridge and a major power plant. Bombs fell over two kilometres away, damaged no civilian structures, but downed some tram lines and destroyed both a Japanese military hospital and the Japanese secret police headquarters.

--Pawyilee (talk) 02:00, 11 February 2013 (UTC)

Remote controlled machine guns[edit]

The article says that the Superfortress had remote- controlled machine guns. Does anyone know how this system worked? Were the gun aimed by radar or did they have cameras mounted on them? How was the gunner able to aim the guns at enemy fighters via remote control?OnBeyondZebrax (talk) 23:10, 18 December 2013 (UTC)

Found the answer online at remote-controlled machine guns. There was a system consisting of a control box, a gunsight, and transfer switches. The sights seem to have been computer- controlled. OnBeyondZebrax (talk) 23:45, 18 December 2013 (UTC)
There's an S-1 pedestal sight. A system of selsyns (synchros and resolvers, magic analogue servo motors, see [1]) are used to track the gun barbette so as to follow the sight, wherever the gunner points it.
The gunner has a simple sight that they point directly at the target. There's also a 2CH computer system that corrects the aim point for ballistics (bullets don't fly straight), lead (targets move) and parallax (the sight isn't in the same place as the barbette). This adjusts the position signal between the sight and the barbette, to adjust the aim point (the guns aren't pointing exactly where the sight points). Note that this is different from other reflector sight systems, where the target reticle is projected optically from mirrors controlled by gyroscopes (and magic) so that the gunner no longer aims directly at the target (although it looks to them as if they have), but their reticle has automatically been offset to compensate for lead.
An additional complication to the B-29 is that there are 5 barbettes controlled by gunners at 5 sighting stations. However these sighting stations can also switch to take over other barbettes, so that the gunner with the best sightline can engage. The A-26 Invader had a single sight and gunner controlling one of two barbettes at a time. Andy Dingley (talk) 01:15, 19 December 2013 (UTC)

The atomic bombs[edit]

This section makes the claim that the bombs did little to end the war, as if this was a firm scholarly consensus -- which it is not; the issue is still hotly debated. If nothing else, this is badly unbalanced. --Yaush (talk) 03:40, 22 January 2015 (UTC) And don't forget the names of the cities they bombed- Hiroshima and Nagaski. There were two bombers when the first bomb was dropped-one actually dropped the bomb and the other carried scientists to measure the power and force of the bomb.

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B-29 Defensive Armament Not ordered "removed" by LeMay[edit]

Roger Sandstedt, a B-29 Top Gunner (and an author of a self-published B-29 book) provides some interesting comments on the above article, in his letter to the editor, in the July 2002 issue of The Journal of Military History p972-974. In particular, he confirms no guns, no ammo and no gunners (except some as rear observers) for March 9-10 and two other raids, but then he says the practice ended. He says that with the availability of Iwo Jima the need to save fuel was gone and the limiting factor was no more incendiary bombs could fit in the bomb bays. Searle provides a response.B29bomber (talk) 14:50, 1 July 2016 (UTC)

This sentence should be dragged in the yard and shot.[edit]

In early 1945, Major General Curtis Lemay, commander of XXI Bomber Command, the Marianas-based B-29-equipped bombing force — that resulted in the affected aircraft having as little defensive firepower as the atomic mission-intended Silverplate B-29 airframes — ordered most of the defensive armament and remote-controlled sighting equipment removed from the B-29s under his command so that they could carry greater fuel and bomb loads as a result of the change of role from high-altitude, daylight bombing with high explosive bombs to low-altitude night raids using incendiary bombs.— Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk)

Why? - BilCat (talk) 23:46, 29 July 2016 (UTC)
Because it is incorrect. I have spoken to hundreds of B-29 veterans over the years from various bomb groups throughout the theater.., and the turrets and guns were not removed. Look at the photos of Saipan's Isley Field during the massive sortie of B-29's for the POW Supply Missions.., EVERYONE OF THEM HAS TURRETS AND .50 CALS.B29bomber (talk) 14:13, 12 August 2016 (UTC)
Please provide reliable, published sources for such claims. Your say-so is not sufficient to remove sourced content. - BilCat (talk) 16:37, 16 August 2016 (UTC)

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The B-17 article has a number of examples listed of notable cases were the aircraft received considerable battle-damage yet returned its crew safely.

Is there a reason why this article does not follow the convention established in the B-17 article?

Here are a few examples of B-29s rammed and shot into swiss cheese but ultimately survived to land its crew. Unbreakable World War II aircraft that were shot to hell—and came back, 2001. The B-17’s big brother proved to be no less rugged. On a bombing mission near Tokyo, Japan, a Boeing B-29 Superfortress named Irish Lassie was rammed twice by Japanese aircraft and then riddled with gunfire when it fell out of formation...Irish Lassie flew home and broke apart upon landing when its nose gear collapsed. However, the entire crew survived.

Boundarylayer (talk) 11:01, 30 November 2016 (UTC)