The B-29 was the progenitor of a series of Boeing-built bombers, transports, tankers, reconnaissance aircraft, and trainers. For example, the re-engined B-50 Superfortress Lucky Lady II became the first aircraft to fly around the world non-stop, during a 94-hour flight in 1949. The Boeing C-97 Stratofreighter airlifter, which was first flown in 1944, was followed in 1947 by its commercial airliner variant, the Boeing Model 377 Stratocruiser. This bomber-to-airliner derivation was similar to the B-17/Model 307 evolution. In 1948, Boeing introduced the KB-29 tanker, followed in 1950 by the Model 377-derivative KC-97. A line of outsized-cargo variants of the Stratocruiser is the Guppy / Mini Guppy / Super Guppy, which remain in service with NASA and other operators. The Soviet Union produced 847 Tupolev Tu-4s, an unlicensed reverse-engineered copy of the B-29. Twenty B-29s remain as static displays, but only two, FIFI and Doc, still fly.
B-29s were primarily used in the Pacific theater during World War II. As many as 1,000 Superfortresses at a time bombed Tokyo, destroying large parts of the city. Finally, on Aug. 6, 1945, the B-29 Enola Gay dropped the world's first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, Japan. Three days later a second B-29, Bockscar, dropped another atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Shortly thereafter, Japan surrendered.
Volume 8 - 1st printing. "Defenses of Pearl Harbor and Oahu 190750!" Written by Terrance McGovern and Glen Williford. Art by John Richards and Chris Taylor. At the beginning of the 20th century, the military importance of the Hawaiian Islands became clear. Oahu in particular was a key bastion in projecting America's military power in the Pacific. The island was turned into a military fortress - and yet it also became the site of one of America's greatest defensive failures, the Japanese attack of December 7, 1941. By the end of World War II, the harbor itself was the most heavily defended in the world, and the island had earned the sobriquet Fortress Oahu. This title documents the development of the coastal, air and land defense systems that served to protect Pearl Harbor and Honolulu from 1907 to 1950, and seeks to understand why these failed at a critical point. Softcover, 64 pages, PC/PB&WCover price $18.95.
Volume 30 - 1st printing. "Fort Eben Emael!" Written by Simon Dunstan. Art by Hugh Johnson. At the outbreak of World War II, Fort Eben Emael in Belgium was the strongest fortress in the world, and it lay exactly across the German invasion route of Belgium and France. The fort's elimination was essential for the success of Hitler's invasion of the West. Deemed impregnable to conventional attack, Hitler himself suggested the means for its capture with the first glider-borne assault in military history. On 10 May 1940, ten gliders carrying just 77 paratroopers landed on top of the fort. Using top-secret hollow-charge weapons for the first time in warfare, the assault pioneers of Sturmgruppe Granit subdued Fort Eben Emael within just 30 minutes, and the fortress surrendered within 30 hours. It remains one of the greatest raids in the annals of Special Forces. Softcover, 64 pages, PC/PB&WCover price $18.95.
Because of the B-29's advanced design, unlike many other World War II-era bombers, the Superfortress remained in service long after the war ended, with a few even being employed as flying television transmitters for the Stratovision company. The B-29 served in various roles throughout the 1950s. The Royal Air Force flew the B-29 as the Washington until phasing out the type in 1954. The Soviet Union produced an unlicensed reverse-engineered copy as the Tupolev Tu-4. The B-29 was the progenitor of a series of Boeing-built bombers, transports, tankers, reconnaissance aircraft and trainers including the B-50 Superfortress (the first aircraft to fly around the world non-stop) which was essentially a re-engined B-29. The type was retired in the early 1960s. The B-29 production total was 3,970 aircraft. Dozens of B-29s remain as static displays, but only two examples, Fifi and Doc, have been restored to flying status, with Doc flying again for the first time from McConnell AFB on July 17, 2016. 781b155fdc