Friday, August 11, 2017

Official Boeing photograph comparing the B-17 Flying Fortress bomber and its successor the B-29 Superfortress bomber.


  1. The B-17 was the best bomber of WW2 with thousands built and thousands flown over Europe at a time. They were reliable and tough. Often coming home with damage that should have rendered them unable to fly. The B-29 was the worst heavy bomber of WW2 with thousands built. But the USAAF was never able to put more than a few hundred over any target at any time. They were so poorly designed that they often crashed on take off and could be shot down with ease by Japanese gunners and interceptors, often crashing after damage that wouldn't have even slowed a B-17 down. They saw little service during or after WW2 and were pulled from front line service in Korea when the USAF discovered they had ZERO chance of survival against the Mig-15. All that and they were the most expensive weapons program of WW2. ---Ray

  2. "Miyazaki praised the B-29s, claiming they were well constructed and difficult to bring down." Isamu Miyazaki, IJN ace as told in The Last Zero Fighter by King.

    The B-29 did suffer from early developmental problems and was fielded quickly even before those problems were solved. It was the most advanced bomber of its time and had both the range and the payload to bomb the Japanese home islands from the Mariana Islands. No other plane could accomplish that. B-17s and B-24s flying from bases in China were severely limited in their ability to strike Japan because of the distances and the opposition along the routes they needed to fly. Except for the low altitude night missions ordered by LeMay, the B-29 flew substantially above the ceiling for the majority of Japanese fighters preventing them from making good intercepts.

    In Korea, the B-29 was unsuited for day operations against MiG-15s as were most of American jet powered fighters at the time. They were instrumental in areas not controlled by MiG-15s. The raid Ray references was attacked by a large formation (estimates vary 50-150) of MiGs and the substantial US fighter escort (P-80s, F-84s and F86s) was overwhelmed by the numbers of MiGs. The P-80s and F-84 were not able to effectively engage the MiGs and the F-86s really didn't get into the fight which led to LeMay visiting the fighter base and chewing the F-86 pilots out.

    Did the B-29 have problems? Yes. Were they as bad as Ray stated. No. No other country had anything that could reach out and touch in the same manner as the B-29.


  3. The USSR's Tu-4 could do what a B-29 could.