List of B-29 Superfortress operators: Wikis

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B-29 Superfortress

The List of B-29 Superfortress operators is a list of nations, their air forces, and the unit assignments that used the B-29 during World War II, Korean War, and post war periods, including variants and other historical information:

Contents

B-29 Operators

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 Australia

Two ex-RAF Washingtons entered Australian service in the Aeronautical Research and Development Unit of the Royal Australian Air Force in late 1952 and conducted trials for the United Kingdom's Ministry of Supply. Both aircraft were retired in 1956 and sold for scrap in 1957.[1]

Royal Australian Air Force

United Kingdom

After retirement of Avro Lincoln bombers, the Royal Air Force urgently needed interim aircraft for their bomber squadrons. Formal agreement with the USA was signed on January 27th, 1950 and the USAF loaned the RAF seventy B-29 bombers serialed WF434-WF448, WF490-WF-514 and WF545-WF574. Later another 18 were delivered under serials WW342-WW356 and WZ966-WZ968[2]. All aircraft served as the Boeing Washington B.1 with RAF Bomber Command from 1950 as a longer-range nuclear-capable bomber, pending the introduction of the English Electric Canberra in quantity.

The first 4 aircraft were delivered to the Washington Conversion Unit at RAF Marham on March 22nd, 1950. All B-29s for the RAF were ferried by the crews of the 307th Bomb Wing USAF. The first unit converted to Washingtons was No. 115 Squadron RAF which flown from USA in June 1950[2].

Squadrons based at RAF Coningsby were converted to English Electric Canberra bombers in 1953. Squadrons from RAF Marham were converted a year later[2]. Most Washingtons had been returned by 1955 although some (two or three?) remained in the UK as gunnery targets. Two RAF Washingtons took part in the SAC bombing competition in 1951 alongside USAF B-29s.

Royal Air Force

 United States

United States Army Air Forces

The USAAF was the principal user of the B-29. USAAF designations included B-29, B-29A, F-13 (photographic reconnaissance, later redesignated RB-29/29A, KB-29P aerial refuelling tanker and various experimental aircraft under the designation EB-29.

XX Bomber Command

Based on Kharagpur, India and was commanded by Lt. Gen. Kenneth Wolfe between November 1943 and July 1944, then by Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay between August 1944 and January 1945[3]

  • 58th Bombardment Wing - Kharagpur, India (April-October 1944), West Field, Tinian (March-November 1945)
    • 40th Bombardment Group
      • 25th Bomb Squadron
      • 44th Bomb Squadron
      • 45th Bomb Squadron
      • 395th Bomb Squadron (inactivated October 1944)
    • 444th Bombardment Group
      • 676th Bomb Squadron
      • 677th Bomb Squadron
      • 678th Bomb Squadron 'Flying Cobras'
      • 679th Bomb Squadron (inactivated October 1944)
    • 462d Bombardment Group 'Hellbirds'
    • 468th Bombardment Group
      • 792d Bomb Squadron
      • 793d Bomb Squadron
      • 794th Bomb Squadron (inactivated October 1944)
      • 795th Bomb Squadron (renamed 794th Bomb Squadron in October 1944)
    • 472d Bomb Group - training unit based in USA, disbanded in April 1944
  • 315th Bombardment Wing - Northwest Field, Guam
    • 16th Bomb Group
      • 15th Bomb Squadron
      • 16th Bomb Squadron
      • 17th Bomb Squadron
    • 331st Bomb Group
      • 355th Bomb Squadron
      • 356th Bomb Squadron
      • 357th Bomb Squadron
    • 501st Bomb Group
      • 21st Bomb Squadron
      • 41st Bomb Squadron
      • 485th Bomb Squadron
    • 502d Bomb Group
      • 402d Bomb Squadron
      • 411th Bomb Squadron
      • 430th Bomb Squadron
  • 3d Photo Reconnaissance Squadron operated F-13A Superfortress
XXI Bomber Command

Based on Saipan, Marianas and Guam. Commanded by Maj. Gen. Haywood Hansell between August 1944 and January 1945. Later commanded by Maj. Gen. Curtis LeMay between January and August 1945[4].

  • 73d Bombardment Wing - Isely Field, Saipan, Marianas
    • 497th Bomb Group
    • 498th Bomb Group
    • 499th Bomb Group
    • 500th Bomb Group

United States Air Force

The USAF was the principal user of the B-29. USAF designations included B-29, B-29A, F-13 (photographic reconnaissance, later redesignated RB-29/RB-29A), WB-29 weather reconnaissance aircraft, KB-29P aerial refuelling tanker and various experimental aircraft under the designation EB-29.

Strategic Air Command

Strategic Air Command operated B-29 Superfortresses in different variants (B-29, ERB-29, KB-29, RB-29(F-13), TB-29, TRB-29 and WB-29) in service from 1946 through 1953. Several EB-29 aircraft were modified with the intention of carrying the McDonnell XF-85 Goblin parasite fighter.

Air Weather Service (Military Air Transport Service)

Air Weather Service (part of Military Air Transport Service) received their first B-29s in various versions (B-29, RB-29, TB-29, WB-29) in 1946 and used it during Berlin Airlift and Korean War until 1960. Weather reconnaissance duties required special variant of the B-29. Armament and related equipment was removed and in place of upper forward turret astrodome was installed. Additional radio and specialized meteorological equipment was installed and such refitted aircraft was redesignated WB-29.

308th Reconnaissance Group (Weather)
WB-29A of the 53 Weather Reconnaissance Squadron in 1954

Activated at Morrison Field, Florida, on October 17, 1946 [5].

  • 53rd Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) - Grenier Field, New Hampshire (on July 1, 1947 relocated to Kindley Field, Bermuda). On October 15, 1947 inactivated and reactivated as the 373rd Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) next day. Inactivated on February 20, 1951 and activated day later as 53rd Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Medium, Weather. On November 7, 1953 relocated to Burtonwood, England and on February 15, 1954 inactivated once again. Reactivated the next day as the 53rd Weather Reconnaissance Squadron[6].
  • 54th Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) - moved to North Field, Guam on June 11, 1947. On October 15, 1947 inactivated and reactivated as the 514th Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) next day[7].
  • 55th Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) - moved to Fairfield-Suisun, California on June 11, 1947. On October 15, 1947 inactivated and reactivated as the 374th Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) next day[7].
  • 59th Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) - Castle Field, California (on May 7, 1947 relocated to Ladd Field, Alaska). On October 15, 1947 inactivated and reactivated as the 375th Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) next day. On March 6, 1949 moved to Eielson AFB, Alaska, inactivated on February 20, 1951 and activated day later as 58th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron, Medium, Weather[7].
2143rd Air Weather Wing
  • 56th Strategic Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) activated at Misawa Air Base, Japan on February 21, 1951[7].
  • 512th Reconnaissance Squadron VLR (Weather) activated at Gravelly Point, Virginia on October 15, 1947 and assigned to 308th RG. Reassigned to 2143rd AWW on February 13, 1949 and on January 27, 1950 deployed to Yokota Air Base, Japan [7].

United States Navy

The United States Navy received four B-29s in April 14, 1947 and redesignated as P2B. Two of these aircraft were in standard configuration (P2B-1S), two another were equipped with test radar and additional fuel tank in bomb bay (P2B-2S) [8].

  • P2B-1S BuNo 84028 (B-29-95-BW 45-21789)
  • P2B-1S BuNo 84029 (B-29-95-BW 45-21787)
  • P2B-2S BuNo 84030 (B-29-95-BW 45-21791)
  • P2B-2S BuNo 84031 (B-29-90-BW 44-87766)

Naval B-29s were used as test beds and as mother ships in various programs. One P2B-1S was extensively modified to carry the Douglas D-558-II Skyrocket supersonic rocket-powered research aircraft. The first Skyrocket launch took place on September 8, 1950. The Skyrocket exceeded Mach 2 for the first time on November 20, 1953 (piloted by Scott Crossfield). The last Skyrocket flight took place in December 1956. P2B-1S BuNo 84029 was later transferred to NACA for continuation of high-speed flight tests and was redesignated as NACA-137[8].

Tu-4 Operators

 People's Republic of China

People's Liberation Army Air Force

A number of ex-Soviet Tu-4[9] aircraft was operated by PLAAF until the late 1960s[10]. In 1967 China attempted to develop its first airborne early warning aircraft, based on the Tu-4 airframe. The project was named KJ-1 and mounted a Type 843 rotordome on top of the aircraft. However, the radar and equipment was too heavy, and the KJ-1 did not meet PLAAF's requirements. The project was canceled in 1971.[11]

 Soviet Union

Soviet Air Force

The Soviet Air Force operated Tu-4 bombers between 1948 and early 1960[12]. They were initially used as long range bombers. In 1954 the Soviets began phasing out the Tu-4; units upgraded to Tupolev Tu-16 bombers and, beginning in 1956, to Tupolev Tu-95 bombers. Tu-4s withdrawn from front line units were used for transport duties[13].

References

Notes

  1. ^ A76 Boeing Washington RAAF Museum. Accessed on 14 August 2007.
  2. ^ a b c d e Nowicki, B-29 Superfortress, p.16
  3. ^ Dorr, B-29 Superfortress Units, p.82-83
  4. ^ Dorr, B-29 Superfortress Units, p.82
  5. ^ Lloyd, B-29 Superfortress. Part 2, p.54
  6. ^ Lloyd, B-29 Superfortress. Part 2, p.57
  7. ^ a b c d e Lloyd, B-29 Superfortress. Part 2, p.55
  8. ^ a b Lloyd, B-29 Superfortress. Part 2, p.68
  9. ^ Nowicki, B-29 Superfortress, p.18
  10. ^ Rigmant, B-29, Tу-4, p.59
  11. ^ Chinese Airborne Early Warning (AEW)
  12. ^ Nowicki, B-29 Superfortress, p.17
  13. ^ Rigmant, B-29, Tу-4, p.66

Bibliography

  • Birdsall, Steve. B-29 Superfortress in Action (Aircraft in Action 31). Carrolton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, Inc., 1977. ISBN 0-89747-030-3.
  • Davis, Larry. B-29 Superfortress in Action (Aircraft in Action 165). Carrolton, Texas: Squadron/Signal Publications, 1997. ISBN 0-89747-370-1.
  • Dorr, Robert F. B-29 Superfortress Units in World War Two (Combat Aircraft 33). Botley, Oxford, UK: Osprey Publishing, 2002. ISBN 1-84176-285-7.
  • Fopp, Michael A. The Washington File. Tonbridge, kent, UK: Air-Britain (Historians) Ltd., 1983.
  • Lloyd, Alwyn T. B-29 Superfortress. Part 1. Production Versions (Detail & Scale 10). Fallbrook, CA/London: Aero Publishers/Arms & Armour Press, Ltd., 1983. ISBN 0-8168-5019-4 (USA). ISBN 0-85368-527-4 (UK).
  • Lloyd, Alwyn T. B-29 Superfortress. Part 2. Derivatives (Detail & Scale 25). Blue Ridge Summit, PA/London: TAB Books/Arms & Armour Press, Ltd., 1987. ISBN 0-8306-8035-7 (USA). ISBN 0-85368-839-7 (UK).
  • Mayborn, Mitch. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress (aircraft in Profile 101). Windsor, Berkshire, UK: Profile Publications Ltd., 1971 (reprint).
  • Nowicki, Jacek. B-29 Superfortress (Monografie Lotnicze 13) (in Polish). Gdańsk, Poland: AJ-Press, 1994. ISBN 83-86208-09-0.
  • Pimlott, John. 'B-29 Superfortress. London: Bison Books Ltd., 1980. ISBN 0-89009-319-9.
  • Rigmant, Vladimir. B-29, Tу-4 - стратегические близнецы - как это было (Авиация и космонавтика 17 (Крылья 4)). Moscow, Russia, 1996.

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