Episode 72

B-29 bomber: the Historic aircraft of WWII

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We visited the Pueblo Weisbrod Air Museum in Colorado and got to go inside a B-29 Superfortress. It was a dream come true for Jenn as she got to sit in the seat of history.

Plan your visit: pwam.org

Go inside a B-29 bomber

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Transcript
Scott:

Quick thank you to the Pueblo Wise Broad Air Museum, John Hill,

Scott:

and everybody who brought us out.

Scott:

It really was a blast.

Scott:

If you guys are in the greater Colorado area, it's absolutely worth a trip.

Scott:

Please.

Scott:

You can go check it, check them out.

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Um, I'll put a link to the museum in the show notes.

Scott:

If you ever want to visit,

Scott:

this is it.

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This is the B29, the plane you've been waiting for.

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And it was worth waiting for.

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It's the biggest, fastest, mightiest heavy bomber in the world.

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It can travel farther and higher than anything else on wings.

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It has a pressurized cabin, permitting high altitude flight without oxygen masks.

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It has five remotely controlled, electrically driven turrets, each

Scott:

carrying twin 50s, with a 20mm cannon added to the turret in the tail.

Scott:

Yes, the B 29 is everything you've been promised.

Scott:

And the pilot who flies one has an enviable job.

Scott:

Important, glamorous, and tough.

Scott:

Welcome to Talk With History.

Scott:

I'm your host, Scott, here with my wife and historian, Jen.

Scott:

Hello.

Scott:

On this podcast, we give you insights into our history inspired world travels,

Scott:

YouTube channel journey, and examine history through deeper conversations

Scott:

with the curious, the explorers, and the history lovers out there.

Scott:

Now, Jen, last episode, I did not tell a joke.

Scott:

Thank God.

Scott:

This being our road trip series, I have to, I have to

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keep telling the cheesy jokes.

Scott:

The dad jokes.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

Okay.

Scott:

So I'm going to ask you one for this particular episode theme.

Scott:

What sound does a rubber airplane make?

Jenn:

What sound does a rubber airplane make?

Jenn:

I

Scott:

don't know.

Scott:

Boeing.

Scott:

That's good.

Scott:

So if you are listening and that made you laugh or you made your eyes roll or

Scott:

you have a better joke, leave us a review on Apple Podcasts and tell that joke.

Scott:

And if it makes me laugh, which it probably will because

Scott:

I'm easy to entertain, I'll tell that one on the podcast.

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So help us out.

Scott:

Leave us a review and let's keep this thing going.

Scott:

The B 29 Bomber was a revolutionary long range heavy bomber that played

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a pivotal role in World War II.

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Introduced by the United States Army Air Forces in 1944, the B 29 was a

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technological marvel of its time, boasting advanced features such as pressurized

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cabins, remote controlled gun turrets, and a powerful four engine setup.

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The most notable contributions of this aircraft came through its

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deployment and use in the Pacific theater, eventually culminating in

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the first use of the atomic bomb.

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The legacy of this aircraft endures as a symbol of the United States

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determination and ingenuity during one of the most transformative periods

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in world history, and Jen got the opportunity to get an intimate look

Scott:

inside of one of these legendary aircraft.

Scott:

So Jen, let's talk about the B 29

Jenn:

Superfortress.

Jenn:

Yes, what an amazing aircraft.

Jenn:

It's just beautiful.

Jenn:

When you think about this aircraft, we just did our talk about

Jenn:

Oppenheimer and how much they spend on the Manhattan Project.

Jenn:

We did

Scott:

a live stream on our YouTube channel.

Scott:

And remember how

Jenn:

much that was.

Scott:

Yeah, what, two or three billion?

Jenn:

Yeah, it was like two billion.

Jenn:

It took three billion dollars to, to design the B 29 bomber.

Jenn:

That's crazy.

Jenn:

It is the most expensive of the war.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

That they made, anything, even more than the bomb.

Jenn:

And the reason why is because they needed an aircraft that

Jenn:

could fly the Pacific, right?

Jenn:

That's what, because they couldn't carry something so heavy off an

Scott:

aircraft carrier.

Scott:

Well, and also if I remember right, bombers at the time, they had some,

Scott:

but They had to either fly them off an aircraft carrier or it's like

Scott:

kind of island hop to get over there.

Scott:

And it just wasn't viable for long

Jenn:

range.

Jenn:

It's not.

Jenn:

It wasn't.

Jenn:

It wasn't viable for long range.

Jenn:

So you couldn't carry something very heavy.

Jenn:

Plus, it made you very vulnerable to the attack pilots.

Jenn:

And so, um, the fighters.

Jenn:

And so what was great about the super forges is it could fly 30, 000 feet.

Jenn:

350 miles an hour, which the, the fighters couldn't get up that

Jenn:

high and once they got up that high, they couldn't fly that fast.

Jenn:

So it was an engineering marvel.

Jenn:

And didn't they

Scott:

like basically say like, Hey, we need something that can

Scott:

fly this far and do these things.

Scott:

And they essentially built it in like two years.

Scott:

They did.

Scott:

So it

Jenn:

really was, it was Charles Lindbergh who saw the need for an aircraft that

Jenn:

could do this and actually had a good talk with one of our five stars, Arnold.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And threw a ton of money at it.

Jenn:

And that's when, and you know, and they're coinciding the Manhattan Project.

Jenn:

Sure.

Jenn:

Because

Scott:

they don't know if one or the other, they're going down

Jenn:

both roads.

Jenn:

So you can't like make something.

Jenn:

Without a way to deliver something right and you can't make a way to

Jenn:

deliver something without having something to deliver right, right?

Jenn:

So these are going on kind of simultaneously

Scott:

and they had other intent for the b29, right?

Scott:

I mean it was it was not just for the atomic bomb But it was

Scott:

also for other bombing raids and kind of striking deeper into yeah

Jenn:

long range long range Bombing and it really it was really used on the Pacific

Jenn:

theater because it really was to fly over that ocean Um because it couldn't

Jenn:

get close up to, uh, you know, to Japan.

Jenn:

But, uh, yeah, it was Boeing that actually, your joke is so, it's so

Jenn:

apropos, uh, cause it was Boeing that designed the B 29 bomber.

Jenn:

And of course, like anything else with government contracting, people came

Jenn:

with their plans and it was Boeing that had put forth the best design.

Jenn:

And so you got this huge aircraft, like you said, with like 140 feet wingspan.

Scott:

141 feet longer than the.

Scott:

first flight

Jenn:

by the Wright brothers.

Jenn:

So when we're standing in the hangar there, it at the Pueblo Air Museum,

Jenn:

and you see this huge wingspan of this aircraft, it is remarkable how

Jenn:

big, and it has the two, two engines on each side, and it's a prop plane.

Jenn:

So these are propellers that are spinning.

Jenn:

It just really is a marvel, an engineering marvel to look at it.

Jenn:

Well,

Scott:

and it was neat too.

Scott:

And we'll talk a little bit about kind of where we were

Scott:

visiting when we were in Pueblo.

Scott:

Um, but it was neat too because once you get up close to one of these aircraft,

Scott:

and if you ever have the opportunity, Pueblo, Colorado, Fantastic Air Museum,

Scott:

we'll talk a little bit more about it, to get up close to one of these

Scott:

aircraft to see how big these things are.

Scott:

Now, obviously, the insides were pretty crowded.

Scott:

They didn't have the small technology that we had today, but then seeing

Scott:

footage, and I show some of it in, in our video that I'll link in the

Scott:

show notes, seeing footage of dozens, of these aircraft just lining up

Scott:

getting ready to go down the runway.

Scott:

I mean, and so these maps, I mean, it really kind of helps put more of that

Scott:

World War II industrial effort into scale.

Scott:

Exactly.

Scott:

Seeing

Jenn:

that.

Jenn:

So from 1944 to 1960, that's the lifetime of the B 29.

Jenn:

They basically made a little less than 4, 000 of them.

Jenn:

So about 3970 are rolled off the, um, the line.

Jenn:

Um, and like you said, pressurized cabin, which was rare.

Jenn:

There weren't any aircraft at the time with pressurized cabins,

Jenn:

the whole length of the aircraft.

Jenn:

So that means everybody, the crew didn't have to wear oxygen masks

Jenn:

because above 10, 000 feet, you have to wear supplemental oxygen.

Jenn:

So this allowed you to have, you know, frame of mind and keep

Jenn:

your wits about you long mission.

Jenn:

Right 14 hour flight without a without a mask on and you got one gunner to

Jenn:

control the four turrets Which is also rare And so it really was like they were

Jenn:

putting these things together that was really going to make this an efficient

Jenn:

Aircraft for what they needed it.

Jenn:

But like you said There's only two aircraft B 29s that fly today, and

Jenn:

you might see pictures of them online.

Jenn:

It's the Fifi and the Dock.

Jenn:

Yeah, I show footage of the Fifi in our video.

Jenn:

And they still fly, but then there's 22 static aircraft.

Jenn:

And the two most famous ones, um, and of course we're, we're right in August.

Jenn:

So we have Hiroshima, the Enola Gay.

Jenn:

We, who dropped the, the bomb, little boy, um, the Enola Gay was

Jenn:

named after the pilot's mother.

Jenn:

And so Enola Gay is where the name comes from.

Jenn:

And then you have Boxcar, who dropped the bomb in, in, in Nakasaki, um,

Jenn:

Fat Man was the name of that bomb.

Jenn:

And Boxcar is the captain of that plane named, last name

Scott:

was Box.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And little known.

Scott:

Well.

Scott:

Maybe that's not so little known, but I didn't know this.

Scott:

It's not B O X, it's B O C K S, so box.

Scott:

Like that's, that's the last person's last name.

Jenn:

Like chicken bock or chicken pock.

Jenn:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Jenn:

Chicken

Scott:

bock.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So if you're listening and you didn't know that and you always

Scott:

thought it was actually B O X C A R.

Scott:

No, that's, that's not actually correct.

Scott:

Yeah, it's

Jenn:

CK.

Jenn:

Um, so those, the Enola Gay Smithsonian, uh, boxcar is at the, uh, Air Force Museum

Jenn:

in Dayton, Ohio, birthplace of aviation.

Jenn:

And then you have the other 20.

Jenn:

spread out across America.

Jenn:

And we got to see one and we got a personal tour of one.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Scott:

And so just to kind of tell how this opportunity for us came about.

Scott:

So we actually had someone reach out to us, I believe is one of

Scott:

our Arlington videos, right?

Scott:

They, they commented and they reached out, they shot us an email.

Scott:

And so it was John Hill, um, who kind of did a lot of the coordinating.

Scott:

He's a great guy, um, and reached out to us probably six to nine

Scott:

months before we ever got.

Scott:

To come out.

Scott:

Yeah.

Jenn:

Cause it's Colorado.

Jenn:

It's Pueblo, Colorado.

Jenn:

So it's, uh, it's difficult for us in Virginia to make it out to

Jenn:

Colorado, but it coincided with

Scott:

our road trip.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So it ended up working out coinciding with our road trip and we had

Scott:

kind of shifted some plans around.

Scott:

We were able to make this work.

Scott:

It actually lined up really well.

Scott:

And so.

Scott:

This was exciting for us because it was one of the goals that I've kind of had

Scott:

that's on the download I don't talk about too much for the channel is for museums

Scott:

like this to reach out to us and say hey We would like you to come and make a

Scott:

video at our museum to help promote the museum and eventually for that kind of to

Scott:

be one of our Potential kind of business avenues right for us to help promote

Scott:

museums and we've just kind of done it for free up to this point And this was kind

Scott:

of like the first Sort of sponsorship.

Scott:

They didn't really directly pay us money or anything like that

Scott:

But they did offer us, you know us you and I the walk with history a

Scott:

lifetime membership and that lifetime

Jenn:

membership Enabled us to get the hands on tour of the b29, right?

Scott:

It allowed us for the hands on tour inside Because there's certain

Scott:

criteria for some of the other aircraft and we haven't made those videos

Scott:

yet and they'll be coming out soon I mean you got to sit in an f 15 and

Scott:

what's the other aircraft you sat in?

Scott:

Was it an F 16?

Scott:

There was two that you sat in.

Scott:

Yeah,

Jenn:

I think it was an F 15 and an F 16.

Jenn:

Both of them are Air

Scott:

Force.

Scott:

Right.

Scott:

But part of that is that they can't just let the public sit in these things.

Scott:

So if you go to Pueblo, the Pueblo Air Museum, right, it's about an hour and

Scott:

a half to two hours south of Denver.

Scott:

Um, You actually, if you buy a lifetime membership, those people

Scott:

there are, are allowed to let these members on occasion sit inside of

Scott:

some of these aircraft and do what the public is not authorized to do.

Scott:

And so they, they've, they've worked on this and this, it's been

Scott:

around for a couple of decades.

Scott:

It's a phenomenal museum, very kid friendly.

Scott:

Very good.

Scott:

If you were out in the Denver area, I highly recommend making a trip out

Scott:

there if you're a fan of aviation.

Scott:

Or even if you just want to take your kids to something, that whole

Scott:

kids area, I didn't get to, I haven't showed it in the video yet.

Scott:

That's coming up in future videos.

Scott:

But it was, it was just amazing.

Scott:

But we'll talk a little bit more about the B29.

Scott:

Yes.

Jenn:

Yes.

Jenn:

A very, a stem for kids.

Jenn:

That's what I really appreciated about it.

Jenn:

The Pueblo Weisbrod Aircraft Museum and it's a non profit and Fred

Jenn:

Weisbrod was the former city manager of Pueblo and it's two hangars.

Jenn:

They have 40 military and civilian aircraft.

Jenn:

It's all done by volunteers and they're, they do restoration.

Jenn:

And one of the planes they're restoring is the B 29, um, Superfortress.

Jenn:

It's the Peachy and the captain, Robert.

Jenn:

Haver was from Pueblo, Colorado.

Jenn:

Mr.

Jenn:

Weisbaugh, he's the one who made sure to save that aircraft because it was

Jenn:

going to go to be kind of like a static target for target train for, for, for

Jenn:

pilots to practice target training.

Jenn:

And he saved it because the pilot of that aircraft was from that city

Jenn:

and they were able to get it back there and get it in the hangar.

Jenn:

And that's so neat.

Jenn:

It's connection to the town.

Scott:

Yeah, yeah, and it was and I believe there was like, you know,

Scott:

if you go back and watch the video I don't remember if everything kind

Scott:

of made the my my editor's cut But there was sections of it that he saved

Scott:

and then other sections they were able to get from other other places.

Scott:

So, um You know, the, this aircraft, you know, as John Hill said,

Scott:

it's not a, not a combat veteran.

Scott:

It didn't actually fly in combat or anything like that.

Scott:

Well,

Jenn:

it was shot down over

Scott:

Tokyo.

Scott:

This, the one sitting in the museum.

Scott:

Oh, yeah.

Scott:

The original Peachy aircraft was shot down.

Scott:

Yes,

Jenn:

the original Peachy aircraft was shot down over Tokyo in May of 1945.

Jenn:

It's 35th trip over

Scott:

Japan.

Scott:

Yeah, and, and I encourage you to go watch the video.

Scott:

One, it's actually doing quite well for us.

Scott:

I think it's going to be a popular video.

Scott:

Um, but, but two, it's the nose art is classic world war two nose art.

Scott:

So

Jenn:

peachy is the younger sister of the pilot.

Jenn:

So the pilot from Pueblo.

Jenn:

Um, Robert Haver, it's his younger sister, her name, her nickname was

Jenn:

Peachy, and she wears this little leather skirt and a little leather vest and a

Jenn:

cowboy hat and really not nothing else.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

It's, it's, it's like think Dallas Cowboys cheerleaders, but.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And they painted her on the side of the aircraft.

Jenn:

And they actually have the outfit that she wore for the,

Jenn:

for modeling it there as well.

Jenn:

Um, but it's really neat, uh, that that's, it's so, I always find it so

Jenn:

neat how aircraft are named by the crew.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And something special to them, something that has meaning to them.

Jenn:

You know, when you think of the Memphis Belle, right, that was the

Jenn:

girlfriend of the pilot, like it's just something that really ties them

Jenn:

to home and something that really makes them smile and, you know, kind

Jenn:

of cheers them up and it's for morale.

Jenn:

So that's why I really, I love nose art and I really loved this nose art.

Jenn:

But, um.

Jenn:

Yeah, it has the original serial number, so you can always look it up.

Jenn:

It's 44 62022.

Jenn:

Yeah, it was recovered in 1972, which is, it's really neat that this uh, aircraft

Jenn:

is, is there at the Pueblo Museum.

Jenn:

Yeah,

Scott:

and just to kind of paint the picture for those listening, if

Scott:

you haven't seen the video yet, you know, the, this B 29 is just kind of

Scott:

looming inside of their first hangar.

Scott:

So there's the first hangar that you can walk all the way through the museum.

Scott:

You can actually walk outside.

Scott:

They have a bunch of aircraft outside.

Scott:

Yes.

Scott:

And then they've got a separate hangar with some of the more modern aircraft.

Scott:

Now, where the B 29 was, they've got a bunch of World War II kind of memorabilia

Scott:

and historical artifacts all the way from, and again, this is in upcoming

Scott:

videos, but from flight jackets to, you know, propaganda posters to, you know,

Scott:

different kinds of communication areas.

Scott:

And so you can go all through and get a feel for what that era was really like.

Scott:

Even though the public can't crawl kind of in as, as much as you got to do.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Inside of the B

Jenn:

29.

Jenn:

So I got to see what it's really like to be in the crew of a B

Scott:

and you sat in the bombardier seat, like picture.

Scott:

Picture the kind of plexiglass front nose that's has clear mm-hmm.

Scott:

right?

Scott:

If you've watched Star Wars is kind of that kind of hexagonal windows.

Scott:

Totally.

Scott:

An influence.

Scott:

And your city, you got to sit right up front.

Scott:

And the nose of that

Jenn:

aircraft.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

So, and I got to sit, it's a basically like a, a flip seat where you kind

Jenn:

of stand on the seat, then you flip the backup and you sit down and right

Jenn:

in front of you is the instrument that the bombardier is using.

Jenn:

Uh, it looks like it's calibrated and it has all these different, um, dials

Jenn:

on there for different, the compass.

Jenn:

settings and for you to make sure you're dialed into where you're, you're bombing.

Jenn:

Right.

Jenn:

And so, and you can have a little, I look through space, but that little area where

Jenn:

the bombardier sitting and then right behind the bombardier, you got the pilot

Jenn:

and the co pilot, and then you have a navigator and a radar man who's all kind

Jenn:

of sitting in that same general area.

Jenn:

But this is, this is where you are for your 14 hour flight.

Jenn:

And really when you, when you think about it for like, To get a bomb on target, to

Jenn:

get one thing on target, and you really have to, you're the guy, when you think

Jenn:

about it, like the pilot flies you there, but you're the guy who has to drop it,

Jenn:

and it has to be perfect, and you have to think of everything, you know, you

Jenn:

have to think of trajectory, and wind, and doing all the math, all the math,

Jenn:

so, it really was a neat experience to sit there, and to be there, and

Jenn:

to kind of feel, you know, What that must have felt like for that person.

Jenn:

Yeah, now

Scott:

it wasn't John who, our initial kind of docent, who was showing us around,

Scott:

but he kind of gave us the outside tour and told us about the pilots and the

Scott:

crew and Peachy and all that stuff.

Scott:

But it was another gentleman named Dick who brought us into, inside the aircraft.

Scott:

Um, and you really got, spent more time inside and I was wrangling kids

Scott:

and kind of taking shots from outside.

Scott:

So

Jenn:

Dick was, Dick has been the one who's been restoring the aircraft

Jenn:

and I asked him what Brought you to Pueblo, Colorado and he said the B 29.

Jenn:

Yeah, and I thought that was amazing that he said he came there To restore that

Jenn:

aircraft like that's how much people love these aircraft and there's so few of them.

Jenn:

And so he's slowly building this aircraft back To its original original

Jenn:

looks and Original parts and he found pieces on eBay and he's been

Scott:

fixing them He's found pieces you guys you even spent one point and

Scott:

I didn't it didn't really the audio the conversation didn't make The video cut

Scott:

but there's one at one point in time.

Scott:

I'm showing you all these dials right where I think it's either the navigator

Scott:

might have sat or one of the flight engineers sure and There's all these dials

Scott:

with all these labels and all the stuff and he's recreated some of the labels.

Scott:

Some of the labels are still original, which is really cool.

Scott:

But even you, when you were talking to him, you couldn't tell the difference.

Scott:

He's doing a phenomenal job.

Scott:

And one of the places that he really, he spent a ton of time that we show right

Scott:

in the very beginning of the video.

Scott:

was the gunner's turret,

Jenn:

the turret and kind of its little sight gauge and the way

Jenn:

it can move 360 on like a rail.

Jenn:

He's he found that original piece and was able to clean it up and recreate it and

Jenn:

make sure it fits and is workable in the B

Scott:

29.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

So picture that clear bubble on top of the aircraft, right?

Scott:

That's where someone's actually looking through.

Scott:

that bubble at the enemy aircrafts around them.

Scott:

And there was really, and he was talking about the

Jenn:

barber's chair.

Jenn:

So he sits.

Jenn:

That person sits on a chair that also swivels 360.

Jenn:

Right.

Jenn:

So it kind of, and they're higher up because they're sitting in that bubble.

Jenn:

Their head is in that bubble.

Jenn:

And then there's two gunners to either side of him.

Jenn:

Right.

Jenn:

With bubbles on each side of the aircraft.

Jenn:

With bubbles on each side.

Jenn:

And then of course, there's a tail gunner in the back.

Jenn:

So you really, I mean this is a big crew.

Jenn:

When you think about what's on a B 29, it's.

Jenn:

10, 11 people who are in tandem making this aircraft work, flying this aircraft.

Jenn:

So it was just amazing for, to, to be there with him and for him to

Jenn:

show me how all of it worked and then to climb around that thing.

Jenn:

Like it's a tunnel and, uh, and I said, how did people get through this tunnel?

Jenn:

And he's like, well, they would put mattresses down and they would

Jenn:

slide on their flight jackets.

Jenn:

But think of like, you know, young men who were just laid down and

Jenn:

pull themselves through this tunnel.

Jenn:

That's what I'm thinking.

Jenn:

Oh my, does he expect me to, he did not expect me to do that.

Jenn:

Thank God.

Jenn:

But like, it really is a physical demanding job and you just don't think

Jenn:

about how physical it is just to, for one flight, for one, you know, uh, mission

Jenn:

to be able to, to complete your mission.

Jenn:

You have to, there's a lot you have to do and then you

Jenn:

probably are on your guns for a.

Jenn:

a significant part of your flight as well.

Jenn:

And again, just to be that alert and aware, it takes, it takes a lot.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And, and so we, I think we were talking, there was about four gunners, right?

Scott:

One on each side where the one, uh, probably lead gunner in the, in the,

Scott:

that bubble turret, the top bubble turret and the one in the back.

Scott:

And one of the cool things about this aircraft, we talk

Scott:

about how technologically advanced it was at the time.

Scott:

Think about this, the mid 1940s, the one.

Scott:

Uh, they designed this aircraft, the B 29, so that this one gunner in the turret

Scott:

could actually control every single gun on, on the aircraft that, that turned.

Scott:

So he could essentially take control of all of them.

Scott:

And I, then I imagined the others could take individual control at the same time.

Scott:

So I thought about that.

Scott:

I was like, that's actually pretty incredible.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

For, for that era.

Scott:

I mean, they made some serious technological advances and you

Scott:

mentioned on the live stream that.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

You know, governments, and us in the United States specifically,

Scott:

have never had more technology advances than we do during wartime.

Scott:

Yes.

Jenn:

That's when we throw a lot of money at technology and you can see When we

Jenn:

increase that cost during wartime towards military advancement and technology.

Jenn:

It's when the greatest jumps are made and When you think about it if there was a

Jenn:

chance that you lose a gunner you don't lose the gun Right, right, and that's

Jenn:

what makes it so so unique is you're not going to wound yourself on that side

Jenn:

and not have that gun still available to you, even if you might lose the person.

Jenn:

And that's what you have to think about with, you know, technology and defense.

Jenn:

And uh, it's just, it's just amazing.

Jenn:

That aircraft is, is really something to see.

Jenn:

Yeah.

Jenn:

And

Scott:

one of the neat things that I found on YouTube and I kind of

Scott:

downloaded the video and kind of interjected it throughout our video.

Scott:

was an old training video.

Scott:

I mean, I call it a training video.

Scott:

Really, it was more like a kind of a propaganda war video.

Scott:

Sure.

Scott:

Kind of more for the public than anything else.

Scott:

But even in the 40s, it had like animations.

Scott:

It would talk about this is where the crew sits and it would animate.

Scott:

Here's how the guns would turn.

Scott:

And here's what the pilots do.

Scott:

And it's that kind of old timey like and the pilots like brave and.

Scott:

important and this, that, and the other.

Scott:

You know, it's like, it's classic 40s, it's classic 40s kind of war propaganda

Scott:

video, but it was, it was very well

Jenn:

done.

Jenn:

And honestly, no other nation has an aircraft like this.

Jenn:

I mean, even Britain wants to use it, but really America is the one who's designed

Jenn:

it, made it, and put it into operation.

Jenn:

No one has touched anything like this when it comes to flight technology.

Jenn:

And that's why the B 29 was so unique and really, like, they couldn't stop it.

Jenn:

Like even dropping the bombs, like it couldn't, no one could get up

Jenn:

there to stop it from happening.

Jenn:

And, um, another thing that I find really unique is the A, we

Jenn:

talk about what makes a B 29.

Jenn:

A.

Jenn:

And Dick kind of mentions that it really was each place is making

Jenn:

different parts of this aircraft.

Jenn:

Like each manufacturer.

Jenn:

Each manufacturer is not rolling off one B 29.

Jenn:

One place is making the front, one place is making the middle, one place

Jenn:

is making the tail, and then they're kind of putting it all together.

Jenn:

So in different areas, they're doing something a little bit different.

Jenn:

And that's what makes things, the design is just a little

Jenn:

bit different in some places.

Jenn:

And that's what makes it.

Jenn:

gives

Scott:

it the A.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And I think we said on the video that the B 29A had like an improved wing design

Scott:

and some improved kind of defense systems.

Scott:

Um, so again, they're constantly iterating and making those things better because you

Scott:

have the best and brightest all focusing their efforts on things like the atomic

Scott:

bomb as well as, um, Things like the B 29.

Scott:

The B

Jenn:

29.

Jenn:

And honestly, when you think of the B 29, I want people to think a lot of

Jenn:

the Manhattan Project because they're rolling off, I think the first B

Jenn:

29 rolled off in 1942 from Seattle.

Jenn:

And then the second one is in 1943, uh, and sometimes they would roll

Jenn:

off test flight and there was a mishap where the whole crew died.

Jenn:

But most of the time someone would test flight it and fly it right back into

Jenn:

the hangar and they would fix all the things they were saying from that flight.

Jenn:

So these test pilots who are learning this B 29, they're learning.

Jenn:

on the go.

Jenn:

It is like, we're, this is, this is the, the feeling of urgency of wartime.

Jenn:

It's like, we're making this, we're testing it, we're fixing it,

Jenn:

we're testing it, we're fixing it.

Jenn:

And so those, by the end of 1943, they only had 15 that were airworthy.

Jenn:

And even though they had made like a couple hundred only 15

Jenn:

were really like safe to fly.

Jenn:

So when you think about how much they had to kind of overcome and learn and

Jenn:

get better to get this aircraft in the air, it really did take a lot of

Jenn:

time and money and people to do this.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And, and.

Scott:

The other kind of video I found that was kind of, I cut inside of our video was

Scott:

another kind of mini documentary I found on YouTube that talked about the B 29 and

Scott:

more specifically kind of the operations and lead up to the first atomic bomb drop.

Scott:

Right?

Scott:

So it talked about how the Japanese at the time, we were fighting

Scott:

them back, but they basically said we're going to fight to the last.

Scott:

last man, last soldier, last woman, and all this stuff.

Scott:

And it kind of all the lead up that a lot of us have learned about,

Scott:

especially here in America, um, leading up to that kind of historic day.

Scott:

And unbeknownst to us, really unplanned for us when we did our

Scott:

live stream on Sunday, that was the 78th anniversary of Hiroshima.

Scott:

Um, so it was kind of neat to be able to talk about that in Oppenheimer

Scott:

and kind of just remember that, you know, talk about it and, you know,

Scott:

talk about what we had learned.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

Right.

Scott:

And obviously we focused on the movie.

Scott:

It was kind of an Oppenheimer review.

Scott:

And so if you enjoyed that movie, if you've seen it, or if you're

Scott:

curious, you can go to our channel and check out that live stream.

Scott:

We had a friend of ours on, the history chick, Sarah, um, but talking about

Scott:

that and how significant the B 29 was, and it really was, that aircraft

Scott:

really was kind of what it was.

Scott:

part of the golden age of aviation in, you know, in the forties, you know,

Scott:

in the world war two advancements.

Jenn:

Exactly.

Jenn:

And like you had said, Japan had really, they were faltering, but

Jenn:

they had made a stance that they weren't going to surrender until

Jenn:

the last person was, was dead.

Jenn:

Like they basically had said, we're going to fight until the end.

Jenn:

I don't want people to think we weren't feeling that on the other side.

Jenn:

Getting these aircraft and that, um, that atomic bomb ready took men and women

Jenn:

and their families and sacrifice to get these things ready to do what it did.

Jenn:

We were trying to meet the enemy where they stood.

Jenn:

And that's really, I mean, it was, and when you think of the 1940s, and that's

Jenn:

why I always say it's the greatest generation, everybody was all in.

Jenn:

The country was all in people making these aircraft coming off the assembly line.

Jenn:

We're women, right, Rosie the Riveters were doing this, men were

Jenn:

doing this, kids were helping out at home and it was the country all

Jenn:

together who was making this happen.

Jenn:

So it really was like if Japan was digging in their heels, America

Jenn:

was meeting them where they

Scott:

were at.

Scott:

Yeah.

Scott:

And so that's why, again, it was, it's, it's difficult to describe on

Scott:

a podcast what it was like to kind of climb in that classic, just silver

Scott:

shiny aircraft, a hundred and forty.

Scott:

One feet wide, you know, I don't remember how long, how long the aircraft

Scott:

is, but climbing inside that, I mean, you just, you can feel the history

Scott:

there and everybody's been commenting on the video saying, you know, Jen,

Scott:

we can tell how excited you were and how passionate you were to be there.

Scott:

So it really was an experience.

Scott:

I encourage you to check out the show notes and watch the

Scott:

video on our YouTube channel.

Scott:

Um, I think you would really enjoy it if you enjoy this podcast.

Scott:

So the B 29 Superfortress soared through the skies during the golden

Scott:

years of aviation, leaving an indelible mark on World War II.

Scott:

With its pressurized cabins, remote controlled gun turrets, and four engine

Scott:

prowess, the B 29 epitomized the pinnacle of mid 20th century aviation engineering.

Scott:

Its illustrious legacy was etched into history over the vast expanse

Scott:

of the Pacific theater where it undertook daring missions, raids,

Scott:

and, of course, the historic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Scott:

Beyond its military triumphs, the B 29 Superfortress ignited an enduring

Scott:

fascination with the soaring possibilities of flight, forever linking it to

Scott:

aviation's golden age and the stories and legends of the greatest generation.

Scott:

Thank you for listening to Talk With History Podcast and please

Scott:

reach out to us at our website, www.

Scott:

talkwithhistory.

Scott:

com.

Scott:

But more importantly, please share this if you have aviation.

Scott:

Fans in your in your friends circle shoot them a text to link to this

Scott:

podcast or a video on youtube Because we rely on you our community to grow

Scott:

and we appreciate you all every day.

About the Podcast

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Talk With History
A Historian and Navy Veteran talk about traveling to historic locations

About your hosts

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Scott B

Host of the Talk With History podcast, Producer over at Walk with History on YouTube, Editor of HistoryNewsletter.com
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Jennifer B

Former Naval Aviator turned Historian and a loyal Penn Stater. (WE ARE!) I earned my Masters in American History and graduate certificate in Museum Studies, from the University of Memphis.

The Talk with History podcast gives Scott and me a chance to go deeper into the details of our Walk with History YouTube videos and gives you a behind-the-scenes look at our history-inspired adventures.

Join us as we talk about these real-world historic locations and learn about the events that continue to impact you today!

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Thank you for the great podcasts and for sharing your passion! Love hearing about the locations you visit.