21.09.

1942: The First Flight of the Prototype of B-29 Superfortress Bomber

1942: The First Flight of the Prototype of B-29 Superfortress Bomber
Photo Credit To Wikipedia Commons

Story Highlights

  • Historical event:
  • 21 September 1942
  • It’s well-known that the B-29 Superfortress bomber was used to drop atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The first prototype of the B-29 Superfortress bomber flew for the first time on this day in 1942.

The development of this American heavy bomber had started before World War II, but the U.S. Army started to use it during the war. The mentioned flight of this prototype was performed in 1942, when the course of the war was changing in favor of the Allies.  The B-29 was officially introduced in May in 1944.

It’s well-known that the B-29 Superfortress bomber was used to drop atomic bombs on the Japanese cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. For this, special versions of the B-29 (the so-called B-29 Superfortress bombers in Silverplate configuration) were used, and the bombers which carried the atomic bombs were named “Enola Gay” (Hiroshima), and “Bockscar” (Nagasaki).

This is one of the few examples in history when people still remember the names of some bombers. It is interesting to note that the previous bombers didn’t have enough space for their crews, and their crew members were very exhausted.

The B-29 had 11 crew members (for example, B-2 Spirit bombers, which are still used, have two crew members). Four of these 11 people manned the machine guns, and they were responsible for the defense of the aircraft. The B-29 had eight heavy machine guns (later 10).

It is interesting to note that these were remotely operated machine guns. Despite the mentioned machine guns, the main defense of the B-29 aircraft was a high altitude, because fighter and anti-air defense found it difficult to reach them there.

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