There were 3,970 B-29s produced between 1943 and 1946. That’s an average of over 2.7 aircraft built per day.
The fuselage was designed as a cylinder to handle the pressurization.
The B-29 was one of the first military aircraft to have a pressurized cabin.
B-29 Superfortresses were only used in the Pacific Theater of WWII.
The Superfortress was initially designed as a high altitude bomber, but after poor results, it was primarily used in night time low-altitude bombing missions.
The B-29 had a ‘Central Fire System’ that included 4 remotely controlled guns turrets, each armed with two .50 caliber machine guns.
The guns were aimed electronically from the nose, tail, and mid-fuselage.
The gun system also used analog computers to help operators aim, compensating for airspeed, gravity, temperature and humidity.
The B-29 was capable of reaching 31,000 feet, which put it out of range of most Japanese fighter aircraft.
When the B-29’s role of high-altitude bomber was changed to low-altitude night bomber, Curtis LeMay reportedly ordered the removal of most of the sighting and defensive equipment, so it could carry more fuel and bombs.
During WWII, B-29s dropped over 180,000 tons of bombs, and shot down 27 enemy aircraft.
The most famous B-29s were the ‘Silverplate’ series, which were modified to drop atomic bombs.
On August 6th, 1945, the ‘Enola Gay’ dropped the first atomic bomb in combat on Hiroshima, Japan.
Three days later, on August 9th ‘Bockscar’ dropped the second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. To this day, they are the only two atomic weapons used in combat.
During WWII, four B-29s made emergency landings in the Soviet Union after making bombing runs over Japan. The US asked the Soviets to return the aircraft, but they refused.
Three of the B-29s, which were repairable, were flown to the Tupelov design bureau in Moscow. The bombers were then reverse-engineered and turned into the Tu-4. 847 Tu-4s were produced by the Soviet Union.
Following the surrender of Japan, B-29s were used to drop food and supplies into POW camps.
The B-29 was produced for another year after the end of WWII, but it was eventually made obsolete with the development of fighter jets, as well as the delivery of the much larger Convair B-36.