B-29 bomber of Army Air Field Training Command B-29 Transition School at Maxwell Field flying over the Alabama River in training, Aug 1943-Jan 1947

Caption   B-29 bomber of Army Air Field Training Command B-29 Transition School at Maxwell Field flying over the Alabama River in training, Aug 1943-Jan 1947 ww2dbase
Source    ww2dbaseUnited States Air Force
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B-29 Superfortress   Main article  Photos  
Added By C. Peter Chen
Added Date 11 Apr 2007

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
2 Apr 2011 11:25:21 PM

Another post-war development of the B-29 was the Boeing B-50, it was a 75% new aircraft and kept 25% of the B-29s components it was powered by 4xPratt & Whitney 3500hp Wasp Major engines.
The bomber was armed with 12x.50 caliber machine guns and a 20mm cannon and was able to carry 20,000lb of ordnance the B-50 provided(SAC)Strategic Air Command with a
nuclear deterrent during the early years of the Cold War.

By 1954 both the B-29 and B-50 were replaced by the Boeing B-47 Stratojet powered by six jet engines followed later by the B-52 Stratofortress powered by eight jet engines. The B-50 and B-29 would continue to serve as bombers, KB-50 tankers, crew trainer, and RB-50 reconnaissance aircraft and SB-29 air-sea rescue aircraft.
the last of the B-29s were phased out of USAF service in 1960 and the B-50 in 1965.

DID YOU KNOW...

During World War II the B-29 cost 3 billion dollars, thats 1940s dollars.
In 1950 During the Cold War, the USAF loaned the RAF 88 B-29s, the British called them Washington B-1s the last Washingtons left RAF
service in 1958, being replaced by the RAFs
V-bomber force of Vulcan, Valiant and Victor
jet bombers.
The Royal Australian Air Force was loaned two B-29s, for service trails later returned to the British.

A GIFT FROM GOD!..

During World War II, three USAAF B-29s made emergency landing at Vladivostok after raids on Japanese targets.
The bombers were interned by the Russians the crews later repatriated the B-29s were never returned.
The Russians started to reverse-engineer the B-29 in every detail and was copied, every one of the 105,000 parts down to the rivet-by-rivet pattern,the engineers working under Andrei Tupolev were able to produced the first Tu-4s to fly in 1947.
One Russian General called it dar Bozhii
(A Gift from God!) the Tu-4 changed the balance of power, Stalin had a new Strategic bombing force, and was able to stand up to the United States in the Cold War the US/NATO
code named the Tu-4, the Bull.

The USSR built 847 Tu-4s between 1949-1952.
The Tu-4 weighed 3,100lb more than the
US B-29, due to the thick sheet aluminum used.
The Shvetsov ASh-73 had parts common with the Wright R-3350 but was not identical
The USSR built 20 copies within two years.
Turrets were redesigned to use 23mm cannons The U.S. IFF system was copied and used the Tu-4s were phased out of service in the late 1950s early 1960s.

WHAT HAPENED TO THE THREE USAAF B-29s:

The first was disassembled down to the smallest part, and copied in every detail.
The second was used for flight testing and crew training.
The third was used for engineering cross-reference.

THE COMMUNIST CHINESE TU-4:

China operated a number of ex-Soviet Tu-4s until the late 1960s. The Chinese developed an early airborne radar aircraft, but ran into engineering problems the rotodome atop the fuselage was to heavy, and the project was cancelled.
2. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
31 Jul 2011 06:33:59 PM

CHINESE DEVELOPMENT: AWACS

Tu-4 Kong Jiang Chinese AWACS development of the Russian Tupolev Tu-4 Bull Bomber, that was a copy of the Boeing B-29. During the late 1950s, and 1960s the Russians passed on some Tu-4s, to the Chinese PLAAF.

Experiments were carried out, by the Chinese to develop an eary type of AWACS aircraft, but due to technical problems, the project was put on hold. The aircraft was called the
Kong Jiang 1, fitted with four Shanghai WJ-6
Turboprop engines, that were a Chinese copy of the Russian Ivchenko AI-20K Turboprops.

Aircraft was modified to carry a large type of roating airborne surveillance radar added
horizontal tail surfaces were redesigned w/added tail fins, for lateral stability and to counter the large roating radome.

In the AWACS roll, all armament was removed
The Chinese have continued to develop AWACS
aircraft.
Today the improved model is called the Kong Jiang-2000 and is China's new generation of airborne AWACS systems, the aircraft has been deployed since 2004. Every development
in military technology had its beginnings from WWII research.
Much of today's weapons development and research are results of WWII, that have been passed on to the military and later found its way into everyday civilian products.
3. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
11 Aug 2011 06:21:59 PM

CHINESE NUCLEAR FORCES:

Ten Russian Tu-4 (Bulls) copies of the B-29
propeller-driven bombers were transferred to
Communist China in 1953.
Training continued for long-range night bombing missions and secondary missions the
aircraft were withdrawn from service in the 1970s, aircraft were later used for tests, research, survey work and training.

RUSSIAN REVERSE-ENGINEERING: THE LITTLE HOLE

As the Russians were reverse-engineering the
B-29s they came upon a little hole in the left wing, of the first aircraft.
Aerodynamics, Durability and other experts
didn't have the slightest idea what in hell
it was there for. No tube or electrical lead
was attached to it, and there was on other hole on the right wing.

DRILL EACH LEFT WING WITH THAT LITTLE HOLE:

The opinion of the experts was that the hole had been drilled at the same time the other holes were drilled for rivets, and most likely drilled as a mistake and not repaired
at the factory, as it was too small.
The Chief Engineer was asked his opinion weren't we ordered to make them identical!,so
for that reason a very small hole was drilled
with the thinnest drill, and appeared on the left wing of all Russian Tu-4 bombers.

IF THAT'S THE WAY ITS PAINTED:

The tunnel connecting the cockpit with the rear of the aircraft was painted half green
and the othe half white, and copied down to the same color pattern. The Russian even printed this into the maintenance manuals.

EVEN THE BUGS WERE COPIED:

Everything was copied down to the smallest rivet, including the tendancy for the aircraft to catch fire, bugs in the electric
propeller governor that would runaway! By 1949 most of the bugs were worked out the Russians built 850 bombers the last of the Tu-4s, were retired in the early 1960s.
Over 900 factories and research facilities coordinated in the project.
4. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
12 Aug 2011 03:54:03 PM

DID YOU KNOW:

"Tough guy" movie actor Charles Bronson enlisted in the USAAF during WWII, trained as a truck driver and later as a B-29 tail gunner.
Assigned to the 39th Bombardment Group, 20th Air Force based on Guam, he flew 25 missions and received the Purple Heart for wounds received in battle among other decorations.
5. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
13 Mar 2012 04:20:22 PM

NEVER UNDERESTIMATE YOUR ENEMY:

The U.S. believed it was inconceivable that the USSR could copy the B-29. The Russians were impressed at the quality and technology of the B-29, and started to copy the aircraft. When the USA received intelligence
on the Russian copy known as the Tu-4(Bull)
it started to improve its radar, surface to surface missiles, air defense and fighters.
By 1949 the TU-4 became operational, 850 were built and later phased out of service in the 1960s. Replaced by the Tu-16 "Badger"
and Tu-95 "Bear" bombers.

THE BEAR IS BACK: DOSVEEDANIYA!

The latest model of the Bear is the Tu-95M
it will remain in service until the year 2040. It still is the world's only swept-wing turbo-prop driven bomber. US and NATO
fighters intercept the Bear as it probes
NATO defences...

BACK IN THE USSR:

ALMOST WORKING WITH STICKS & STONES:

Working with slide rules and even abacus the best engineers, technicians, pilots and other specialist worked on the project every
part was copied, Stalin himself demanded the bomber be ready in two years, parts had to be coverted from inches to metric, problems were solved, and others popped up the large fuel tanks in the wings, were difficult to copy, the curved canopy plexiglass had to
much distortion and had to be improved.

POWER TO THE PEOPLE:

The Wright R-3350 engines were disassembled
and copied by Shvetsov as the ASh-73TK they even had the same problems with overheating
the bugs that were in the Boeing B-29 fell into Russian hands the problems had to be
solved, improved or left as is, because that's the way the B-29 was built.

WHAT HAPPENED TO THE THREE US B-29s:

Ramp Tramp and Ding Hao were scrapped, the
Hap Arnold Special was never reassembled and scrapped. One Tu-4 is on display at the Aviation Museum located at the Monino Air Force Museum, Moscow, Russia.
6. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
19 Jan 2013 06:11:33 PM

COPY EVERYTHING:

The Russians copied every componet of the
B-29, all 105,000 parts. It was such a great job of reverse engineering, that even the word Boeing on the pilots rudder pedals were copied.

BURNING THE MIDNIGHT OIL:

Draftsmen and other specialist worked 24/7 around the clock creating the thousands of engineering drawings needed. Teams were set up to work on each area of the B-29.
The Soviets got hold of partial blueprints through its spies at Boeing.

Problems continued the Wright R-3350 engines were complex, and replaced with Shvetsov engines, the .50 caliber browning machine guns were replaced with 23mm cannons.
The complex curves of the B-29 plexiglass cockpit was unsolved, miles of wiring had to be identified, other componets at the time beyond their technology like the landing gear tires each problem was solved in the end, the Tupolev Tu-4 (Bull) weighted more had less range and carried less payload.

FIRST FLIGHT:

First flight was in 1947 testing continued through 1947 to 1949. The Tu-4 became operational in 1949 production ended in 1954
phased out of front-line service in 1960.

WE TOO HAVE A BIG STICK:

The Tupolev Tu-4 was the Soviet answer to American power in the post World War II world
The Kremlin had its long-range strategic bomber.
The Tu-4 could carry 6x2,200lb bombs or other conventional ordnance, 1 x atomic bomb and 1 x anti-ship missile.

RED LADY SHOWING HER AGE: PISTONS TO JETS

By 1954 the Tu-4 was showing its age, unable to defend itself against western jet fighters and air-to-air missiles it was replaced by the Tu-16 Badger and later by the Tu-95 Bear. The Tu-4 was phased out of front-line service by 1960.
7. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
25 Sep 2013 07:58:40 PM

VERSIONS OF THE TU-4(BULL)

Tu-4 Long Range Strategic Bomber that served the
Russian Air Force.

Tu-4 (AWACS) Chinese Modified for Airborne Warning
And Control Systems.

Tu-70 Commercial Passenger Transport, that was never produced.

Tu-75 Proposed Military Cargo Transport, that was never produced.

Tu-85 Another Proposed Bomber Development based
on the Tu-4 two prototypes produced aircraft never entered service.
8. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
20 Oct 2014 05:51:37 PM

ABANDONED OR DIVERTED AIRCRAFT:

Did you know the Russians flew B-17s and B-24
four-engine bombers, these aircraft were not used
through lend-lease. Many USAAF bombers taking part in bombing missions over Nazi Germany flew on to Russian territory after bombing their targets during these so-called shuttle flights.
Due to battle damage or other technical problems
some aircraft were left behind. The Soviets were able to look over the bombers, and make needed repairs aircraft were not used as combat aircraft
but were tested and used as trainers and in familiarization flights. Strange as it may seem
the Soviets requested spare-parts for the bombers and they were shipped to them by the USAAF...

FOR MOTHER RUSSIA:

These bombers were assigned to the 890th Regiment
45th Division some sources list between 17 to 35 aircraft were operated. they were operated from 1944 into the early 1950s and later replaced by the Tu-4.
The B-24 was used as trainers because of its nose wheel landing gear to train crews who would be assigned to the Tupolev Tu-4 (Bull) the Soviet copy of the Boeing B-29 heavy four-engine bomber.

THE SOVIET LANCASTER BOMBERS:

RAF Lancaster bombers attacked the German Battle
ship Tirpitz, following the attack ten Lancaster bombers made emergency landings in Archangel.
Following repairs the Tirpitz was attacked again
after the raid, the survivors returned to England However, six of the damaged Lancaster's were left behind.

LEFT BEHIND: UNDER NEW MANAGEMENT

The Russians inspected the aircraft, they were repaired and pressed into service. One bomber was
used as convoy escort, submarine hunter and for
long range reconnaissance. Later the bomber was used as a training aid at a aviation school.
The other bomber was assigned to a transportation regiment and later crashed and was written off.
Standard RAF markings and codes were painted out and replaced with the red star in six locations.

THE RUSSIANS ARE COMING:

During WWII the Soviets had one heavy four engine bomber the Petlyakov Pe-8 it made hit and run night raids against Berlin and other targets in Germany. The Pe-8 was also used for diplomatic flights to Washington DC carrying mail and a few passengers 93 of the bombers were produced the survivors continued to serve into the early 1950s


9. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
21 Oct 2014 06:35:47 PM

DIPLOMATIC FLIGHTS:

Did you know that the Pe-8 made flights to the
United States during World War II. The aircraft was modified to carry more fuel, VIP passengers
and mail. The 11,000 mile flight started from Moscow to London top off fuel in Scotland another
stop in Iceland on to Canada with its last stop
Washington, D.C.

FOR THE MOTHERLAND:

The USSR was able to build one four-engine heavy bomber before WWII known as the Petlyakov Pe-8 the soviet aircraft industry had experience with large four-engine aircraft during the 1930s and used them in various roles.
The Pe-8 made night attacks against Nazi Germany but these raids were hit and run raids the Pe-8 suffered many losses during the war, it was armed with 2 x 20mm ShVAK cannons located in dorsal and tail turrets, 2 x 7.62mm machine guns, in the nose turret later replaced by 20mm cannons and
2 x 12.7mm machine guns located in the engine nacelles. Bomb load was 8,000lbs, in the bomb bay or 2 x 1,100lbs mounted on external racks.

The Pe-8 was withdrawn from combat service the surviving aircraft were modified into transports and VIP aircraft. After WWII the Pe-8 was used
to test Soviet copies of the German V-1 flying bomb and used as a mother ship to test post-war experimental aircraft powered rocket programs 1948-1949. A stamp was even issued to commemorate
the wartime Petlyakov Pe-8
10. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
24 Oct 2014 05:49:04 PM

Pe-8 LONG RANGE TRANSPORT AIRCRAFT:

Did you know that two Petlyakov Pe-8 four engine
bombers were converted into transport aircraft.
The bomber's bomb bay, was modified to take a pressurized cabin to carry twelve passengers, the lower part of the bomb bay carried luggage and mail.
Four windows were added to each side of the fuselage for the passenger viewing I'm sure that during such long distance flights hot food, tea, coffee and water were carried, I don't know if the aircraft was equipped with a galley and a toilet, but I'm sure the engineers designed and factored them in. The crew for such missions were reduced to five pilot, co-pilot, navigator, radio operator and flight engineer.

THE UNFRIENDLY SKIES: ARE WE THERE YET

During WWII long distance flights must have been
tiring, not like the comfortable high altitude flights enjoyed today on commercial jet aircraft.
Diplomatic flights faced many dangers such as changing weather, turbulence, rain, ice, fog, lightning, head winds, being intercepted by enemy aircraft and passible mechanical problems. Enduring such long hours in the air the flights were successful when one considers the limits of aircraft of the period.

The first diplomatic flight was in April 1942 that carried Soviet Minister of Foreign Affairs Vyacheslav Molotov with his delegation and other diplomats, it must have been a tiring flight...

During WWII Pe-8 bombers were used to transport soviet pilots to pick up lend-lease aircraft.
After WWII surviving Pe-8 bombers were used in various roles. During Arctic exploration missions after WWII, Pe-8s were painted orange and used as transports flying cargo to support scientific stations and personnel.

I thank the editor/ww2db for allowing me to leave
my comments based on my history of WWII...
11. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
25 Oct 2014 07:21:10 PM

CORRECTION #9, 21 OCTOBER 2014

DIPLOMATIC FLIGHT:

Oops! made an error in the Pe-8s flight from Moscow to Washington, D.C., wasn't 11,000 miles
I must have been thinking of something else.

AS THE CROW FLIES:

I don't know the exact route that was flown from Moscow to Washington, D.C. in the Pe-8 in April 1941 but its 6,017 miles or 9,683 kilometers, as the crow flies, wanted to clear that up if I make a mistake I'll correct it. The passenger version of the Pe-8 carried extra fuel tanks for these flights.

TARGET BERLIN!:

August 1941 Petlyakov Pe-8s took off from their
air base to bomb Berlin. The bombers flew along the costlines of Estonia and Latvia across the Baltic to Berlin. Fourteen bombers took part in the raid over the Fatherland.
During the raid aircraft were lost to crashes, shot down by Soviet anti-aircraft fire or made forced landings four of the bombers returned to base. If anyone else has more information about the Petlyakov Pe-8 leave you comment here at ww2db

At the end of WWII in Europe left the USSR a strong land power, but without a strategic bombing force like that of the United States. With three American Boeing B-29s that fell into Soviet hands Tupolev was able to reverse engineer the B-29 and create its own copy, the Tupolev Tu-4

I THANK THE EDITOR/WW2DB FOR ALLOWING ME TO SHARE MY KNOWLEDGE OF HISTORY AND AVIATION IN THE CARE OF WW2DB.
12. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
28 Oct 2014 10:31:09 AM

IVAN WAS HERE:

When the Petlyakov Pe-8 arrived in England and the United States, it received a lot of interest
as a heavy bomber and tail dragger, that is having two main landing gears and tail wheel by the standards of the day it was a large aircraft sitting on the tarmac.
The Pe-8 that took Molotov on his diplomatic mission was the 28th built in 1941 and was a new aircraft its original diesel engines were later replaced with the more reliable AS-35As in 1942.

ROUND TRIP TICKET:

Did you know the Molotov returned to England and the USA in May 1942 for further talks about allied lend-lease equipment and the opening of a second front against Nazi Germany. During these flights did you know that the diplomatic mission flew over German controlled airspace. Later this same aircraft took part in another air raid against the Fatherland in August 1942.

TAKE THE TOUR:

The Pe-8 drew a lot of attention among both the British and the Americans. The aircraft commander
invited their allies an open tour of the bomber freely answering any technical questions about his aircraft. The Official Russian Designation for the Pe-8ON was (Osobovo Naznacheniya) or Special Mission. Da! Some aviation sources have disagreed if the aircraft armament was removed
for these diplomatic flights...

DRESSED TO KILL:

The Pe-8s were camouflaged in standard Black/Green
w/red stars, undersides were light blue later the blue were repainted black for night operations.
During winter operations Pe-8s were camouflaged in white. There is limited information available
about the Pe-8 what info I found, is posted here at ww2db.
13. Commenter identity confirmed Bill says:
29 Oct 2014 05:49:03 PM

CONTINUNING OUR STUDY OF THE Pe-ON


FINAL DESTINATION:

The Pe-8 that took Molotov to England and to the United States later crashed with a different crew
due to an engine fire. Molotov's pilot and crew that flew him on those diplomatic flights, were awarded Heroes of the Soviet Union.

CASUALITIES OF WAR:

Did you know the Molotov had two Pe-8s at his disposal for his diplomatic flights. The one he didn't fly in, crashed killing a number of his staff.

MAKE SURE YOUR SEATS AND TRAYS ARE IN THERE UP RIGHT POSITIONS:

The last two Pe-8s built were converted into VIP transports and were armed with nose and tail guns for self protection. Passengers had comfortable chairs, window curtains, reading lights and over head air vents. The interior was of a light gray
fabric of good quality. About (30) Pe-8s survived
World War II some were passed on to the State Air Line Aeroflot the last one being retired in 1957

ROUND UP THE USUAL SUSPECTS:

Did you know the designer of what would become the Pe-8 was arrested in 1937 during those Stalin purges. Petlyakov was sent to the State Aircraft
Factory (GAZ #156) Special Internal Prison in
Moscow, he was lucky he wasn't sent to the Gulag in Siberia.
In prison he designed aircraft for the Red Air Force, and was later released in 1940 to head his own design team. Following the German Invasion of the USSR on June 22, 1941 Petlyakov was killed in a Pe-2 that crashed flying as a passenger on his way back to Moscow in January 1942.
In honor of Petlyakov his bomber design was changed from TB-7 to Pe-8 his design bureau was transferred to V.M. Myasishchyev who later was to design the Four-Engine Strategic Jet Bomber the M-4 Bison during the Cold War.


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