The Firebombing of Tokyo – Part 2

As fighting on Saipan continued, other units of the Allied forces were busy elsewhere. Mustang Koji’s posts offer an insight from both sides.

Masako and Spam Musubi

Fifi 1 Fifi – the last flying B-29 Superfortress in the world. Taken by me flying over my house on November 13, 2010. Copyright Koji D. Kanemoto

Superfortress.

Or the “Superfort”.

That’s what we called them here in the States; nicknames for the Boeing B-29 bomber.

My aunt called them “地獄からのトンボ” or dragonfly from hell.

______________________________

Development

The development of the B-29 actually started before WWII began for the US – in 1939.  Perhaps there were some shenanigans back then but Boeing had engineered a pressurized cockpit for their B-17 Flying Fortress (from whence the nickname Superfortress hailed from) for the USAAF.  Conveniently, the USAAF put together in 1939 a call for a new bomber capable of 400 mph while carrying a 20,000 pound payload.  The B-29 was born.

frye Destroyed Frye Packing Plant. Boeing archives.

Her development was not smooth.  Indeed, it was the most advanced aircraft design of its time with…

View original post 1,340 more words

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About GP Cox

Everett Smith served with the Headquarters Company, 187th Regiment, 11th A/B Division during WWII. This site is in tribute to my father, "Smitty." GPCox is a member of the 11th Airborne Association. Member # 4511 and extremely proud of that fact!

Posted on October 29, 2016, in Uncategorized, WWII and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 44 Comments.

  1. Excellent and very informative post on the history of the Superfortress gp, great re-post.
    Enjoyed the reading.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. You are most kind, gocox. 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  3. As dogged with problems as the B29 was , the Russians reverse engineered three B29’s that were “stranded ” in Russia late 1944. Because the Lend Lease program did not allow giving the Russians any information on the designs, they copied them piece by piece and built their first long range bombers, the Tupolev Tu-4 , that they used for years into the 60’s. Unfortunately theirs were even more structurally unsound because the Russians did not have or know at the time how to manufacture the American higher strength aluminum alloys that the aircraft required. Very interesting story in itself.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I still contend A Bomb not necessary. Used to intimidate USSR from post war expansion plans. Check out bombing raids history just for 1945. US bombed with impunity with very little fighter or AA opposition. The number of cities hits and casualties inflicted is astonishing. Japan collapsed already by then except for million man force in Manchuria with fuel and resources to fight a year.

    Liked by 1 person

    • FDR had brought the bomb into existence by spending billions (at that time an unheard of amount) without the consent of Congress – it HAD to be dropped to justify the expense. Truman knew that much money couldn’t be kept a secret forever.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Where did he get the money ? How was the expenditure kept secret ? How was the money delivered to contractors ?

        Like

        • Even today with the the internet and Wikileaks, do you really think we hear everything that goes on? Stimson was involved and certain generals and sub-committees. For the US, it all began about 1939 and better researchers than I have volumes on this subject.

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        • Additional info in quote from Frank Duncan, a chemist and Radiation Officer:
          “Congress didn’t vote on an atomic attack at all. No one outside of a VERY few even knew about the program and no one in Congress had been briefed on the existence of the weapon. Congress had voted on Dec 8, 1941 to declare war and had voted for many appropriations bills, but none knew of the existence of an atomic bomb until one was actually dropped.”

          Liked by 1 person

  5. The B-29 was certainly dogged by problems. It’s surprising it ever made it to operational status by the sound of it. But that aside, it is an incredible aircraft.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. How awful about the production problems on the B-29s. It is appalling to think our men had risk their lives simply flying the planes! I could not help but think of the Arthur Miller play “All My Sons”.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Good memory for the song, Anna. Yes, many of the crashes our men had were due to mechanical problems. I’m sure you’ve heard of the mechanics taking pieces from one plane to keep others flying, this was often the reason why.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. I didn’t like incendiary bombs fom personal experience!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Then you can fully understand what Koji is talking about in his articles!!

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      • Yes indeed I’ll never forget the Jerries raining them down on us, being a kid it was a bit of fun as well as a bit frightening.I recall one night in paricular when they missed the houses completely and they landed in a long streal along the street, and everyone was out throwing sand and dirt and whatever else they thought would stop the things bursting ito flame. Soe clowns even tried stomping on them would you believe.
        We got some trough our roof one night and luckily for us we had a big wate tank in the roof and the whole lot fell into that tank, I mightn’t have been here totell you about it otherwise 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  8. Whew, the plane development sure did get off to a rocky start with the crash into the meat packing house. I found it interesting to see what fire-fighting equipment looked like in that era.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Good article of the B29 ant his bombs

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I was born in 1939. So was the war…whew…

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Wow,that was one very interesting article about the B29. I had no idea how man problems the plane had before it was able to do its’ job. Really good article GP!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Hi! I am very interested with your works mostly about the antiquity of the World War II. If you have time, you can also read my works. They are about history of my native land, the Philippines. I will also going to post some brief summary of the history of WWII and how did affect our country from the wreak of war and how did it regain the effects from it, I hope you can read my works :>

    Liked by 1 person

    • I am very interested in your work and will be back to your site shortly (life keeps getting in the way around here lately.)
      With the wars and natural weather devastations, I have learned just how resilient the Filipinos can be!

      Liked by 1 person

  13. An interesting history of this unreliable aircraft, and the bombs that it carried. The Japanese lady gave it the right name indeed, ‘Dragonfly from Hell’. It must have seemed so, to those underneath the rain of explosives and fire-bombs.
    That said, I have often been thankful that the Japanese did not have the same technology at the time. They would surely have made widespread use of such aircraft, including atomic weapons, given the opportunity. When I read criticism of the saturation bombing of Japanese (and German) cities during the war, I am reminded of the old saying. “You reap what you sow”.
    Best wishes, Pete.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Koji’s posts about WWII are among the best.

    Liked by 1 person

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