Boeing B-29B Superfortress

Last revised March 4, 2002

The B-29B was a lightened version on the Superfortress that was built exclusively by Bell-Atlanta. It had all but the tail defensive armament removed, since experience had shown that by that stage in the war the only significant enemy fighter attacks were coming from the rear.

The tail gun was aimed and fired automatically by the new AN/APG-15B radar fire control system that detected the approaching enemy plane and made all the necessary calculations.

The elimination of the turrets and the associated General Electric computerized gun system increased the top speed of the Superfortress to 364 mph at 25,000 feet and made the B-29B suitable for fast, unescorted hit-and-run bombing raids and photographic missions. Most of the weight saved by stripping off the defensive armament was devoted to additional bomb capacity. The right and left side gunners were not carried and the central fire control gunner occasionally acted as an observer and the bombardier's duties could often be performed by the radar operator. The plane could operate with a crew of seven to eight, since fewer gunners were now required. However it often carried up to ten (commander, pilot, navigator, radar operator, bombardier, radio opperator, flight engineer, tail gunner, and two scanners). The scanners were supposed to look out for other planes, both friendly and enemy.

The B-29Bs were not ordered in a single large batch, but were ordered in small batches (sometimes singly) from B-29-BA production lines. It is often difficult to distinguish B-29Bs from "ordinary" B-29s which had been stripped of their machine gun turrets to save weight during General LeMay's fire bombing campaign against Japan during 1945. However, they could be distinguished from B-29s by their serial numbers and by the presence of the external radar antenna in the extreme tail.

A total of 311 B-29Bs were built between January and September of 1945. Most of the B-29Bs were issued to the 315th Bombardment Wing in the Marianas in 1945.

After the war, a special B-29B named Pacusan Dreamboat (44-84061) was converted for long-range flights. It was fitted with modified "Andy Gump" nacelles originally intended for late-model B-29As, R-3350-CA-2 fuel injection engines and specially-designed three-bladed paddle-type propellers. It made several record-breaking long-distance flights, including a nonstop distance record of 7916 miles from Guam to Washington, D. C. in November of 1945.

Serials of B-29B Superfortress:

42-63581/63621 		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-30-BA Superfortress
42-63622/63691 		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-35-BA Superfortress
42-63692/63736 		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-40-BA Superfortress
42-63738/63743 		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-40-BA Superfortress
42-63745/63749 		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-40-BA Superfortress
42-63751 			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-40-BA Superfortress
44-83890/83893		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-40-BA Superfortress
44-83895			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-40-BA Superfortress
44-83896/83899		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83901/83903		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83905/83907		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83909/83910		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83912/83913		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83915/83916		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83918/83919		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83921/83922		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83924/83925		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83927			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83929			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83931			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83933			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83935			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83937			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83939			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83941/83944		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83946			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83948			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83950			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83952			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83954			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83956			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83958/83959		Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83961			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-45-BA Superfortress
44-83963			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83965			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83967			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83969			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83971			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83973			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83975			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83977			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83979			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83981			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83983			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83985			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83987			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83989			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83991			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83993			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83995			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83997			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-83999			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-84001			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-84003			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-84005			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-84007			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-50-BA Superfortress
44-84009			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84011			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84013			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84015			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84017			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84019			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84021			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84023			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84025			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84027			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84029			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84031			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84033			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84035			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84037			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84039			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84041			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84043			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
				converted to XB-29G jet engine test bed.
44-84045			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84047			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84049			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84051			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84053			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84055			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-55-BA Superfortress
44-84057			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84059			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84061			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84063			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84065			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84067			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84069			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84071			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84073			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84075			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84077			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84079			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84081			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84083			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84085			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84087			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84089			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84091			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84093			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84095			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84097			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84099			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84101			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84103			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-60-BA Superfortress
44-84105			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84107			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84109			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84111			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84113			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84115			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84117			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84119			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84121			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84123			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84125			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84127			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84129			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84131			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84133			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84135			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84137			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84139			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84141			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84143			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84145			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84147			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84149			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84151			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress
44-84153			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress - cancelled
44-84155			Bell-Atlanta B-29B-65-BA Superfortress

Specification of Boeing B-29B Superfortress:

Engines: Four Wright R-3350-41 Duplex Cyclone eighteen-cylinder air-cooled radial engines each with two General Electric turbosuperchargers, delivering 2200 hp for takeoff with a war emergency rating of 2300 hp at 25,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed: 364 mph at 25,000 feet Normal cruising speed: 210-225 mph Maximum range: 4200 miles at 10,000 feet with full fuel load and 18,000-pound bombload. Practical operational radius 1800 miles. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be attained in 33 minutes at 110,000 pounds gross weight. Fuel capacity: 6988 US gallons, the bomb bay tanks were not standard fit. Weights: 69,000 pounds empty, 137,000 pounds loaded with 18,000 pounds of bombs. Dimensions: wingspan 141 feet 3 inches, length 99 feet 0 inches, height 27 feet 9 inches, wing area 1736 square feet. Armament: two 0.50-inch machine guns in the tail, with provision for two 0.50-inch guns in the mid-fuselage pressurized area. Bombload was typically 20,000 pounds, although with a mix of high explosive and incendiaries, this could be increased to 22,800 pounds.


  1. Warbird History--B-29 Superfortress, Chester Marshall, Motorbooks International, 1993.

  2. The Boeing B-29 Superfortress, Mich Mayborn, Aircraft in Profile, Doubleday, 1969.

  3. B-29 Superfortress, John Pimlott, Gallery Books, 1980.

  4. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, William Green, Doubleday, 1960.

  5. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, Military Press, 1989.

  6. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

  7. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian Institution Press, 1989.

  8. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Bill Gunston, Military Press, 1989.

  9. American Combat Planes, Third Enlarged Edition, Ray Wagner, Doubleday, 1982.

  10. E-mail from Erwin Ziner on crew positions on B-29B.