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B-29A Superfortress - Castle Air Museum

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B-29A Superfortress "Raz'n Hell"

Former US Navy PB4-Y-1 at Castle Air Museum

Serial number is displayed as 44-61535 which was the original Raz'n Hell, however this B-29 is a composite of three aircraft which were recovered from from the Naval Weapons Center at China Lake. According to museum information it was restored entirely at Castle Air Museum. The markings including the nose art, are Korean era of the 28th Bombardment Squadron, 19th Bombardment Group.

B-29 radar unit - Castle Air museum

The black and white dome-shaped structure under the aircraft is the AN/APQ-13 ground scanning radar used in World War II as well as the Korean War. It was an American model based on further development of the British H2S radar which was designed to allow bombers to carry out missions over Germany on overcast days.


B-29 Raz'n Hell nose art - Castle Air Museum

On B-29s the N/APQ-13 radar was used on bombing raids against Japan. It was not necessary to have every B-29 fitted with ground radar as the other bombers in the formation would bomb simultaneously with the radar equipped aircraft. According to the National Electronics Museum, after WWII, the N/APQ-13 was used as the first weather radar in the United States.


B-29 bubble shaped window for upper turret gunner

B-29 remote upper turret - Castle Air Museum

The B-29 was equipped with five gun positions: two top turrets, two bottom turrets and a tail position. All of these were operated remotely at three sighting stations, by gunners in the aircraft who pointed aiming devices through bubble shaped windows (see photo above, right). The aiming devices controlled the turrets with the assistance of an analog computer. During WWII, the top forward turret with its two 50 caliber machine guns was frequently retrofitted with either three or four machine guns to better fend off frontal attacks by Japanese fighters. See photo above, left.

B-29 tail gun at Castle Air Museum

The tail position was initially armed with two 50 caliber machine guns and a 20 mm cannon. On many models, the cannon was removed because the trajectory was significantly different than that of the 50 caliber machine guns. On this aircraft the tail cannon is still present and visible in the photo (the longer barrel in the center position).


There were three pressurized compartments in a B-29. The bombardier, co-pilot, flight engineer, pilot, radio operator and navigator all sat in the forward pressurized compartment.


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In the middle compartment were stationed the the two waist gunners, top gunner, and radar operator. The tail gunner sat in the rear compartment by himself.


Comparatively, the B-29 was the most advanced bomber of the Second World War and the B-29A was an improved version which continued to be manufactured for a short while after WWII. B-29 bombers also were used in the Korean War, eventually being retired in 1960.

Also see on our website

B-29 Superfortress - American aircraft


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