B-29 Superfortress Nose Art

B-29 Superfortress Nose Art

The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is a four-engine propeller-driven heavy bomber designed by Boeing and flown primarily by the United States during World War II and the Korean War. Named in allusion to its predecessor, the B-17 Flying Fortress, the Superfortress was designed for high-altitude strategic bombing but also excelled in low-altitude night incendiary bombing, and in dropping naval mines to blockade Japan. B-29s also dropped the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki which contributed to the end of World War II.

In late 1939, the Army Air Corps issued a formal specification for a “superbomber”, capable of delivering 20,000 lbs of bombs to a target 2,600 miles away at 400 mph. The winner of the competition was Boeing, and its B-29 Superfortress. It was one of the most advanced bombers of the time, with innovations such as a pressurized cabin, a central fire-control system, and remote-controlled machine gun turrets.

In wartime, the B-29 was capable of flight up to 31,850 feet at speeds of 350 mph. Designed as a high-altitude daytime bomber, the B-29 flew more low-altitude nighttime incendiary bombing missions. As part of the World War II military buildup, 3,970 B-29s were built during production at four assembly plants across the United States.

The Superfortress was a popular plane for nose art during World War II.

47th Bombardment Squadron

Activated at March Field, California in early 1941 as part of the prewar mobilization of the Army Air Corps. Equipped with B-18 Bolos and Lockheed Hudsons. Engaged in coastal patrols over Southern California, later over the San Francisco area.

Re-equipped with B-25 Medium bombers, deployed to Seventh Air Force in Hawaii during the late summer of 1942. Completed final training in Hawaii and moved to Tarawa in the Central Pacific in December 1943. Entered combat and attacked enemy installations, airfields, and shipping in the Marshall Islands in preparation for the invasion by US forces, and after February 1944 staged through captured fields on Eniwetok to attack shipping in the Caroline Islands.


In April 1944 moved to Makin where its missions were directed primarily against shipping and bypassed islands in the Marshalls and Carolines. Returned to Hawaii in October 1944 for training with rockets and new B-25’s. Moved to Okinawa, May–June 1945. Bombed airfields, railways, and harbor facilities on Kyushu until August 1945. Also flew some missions against airfields in China.

Moved to Manila in December 1945. Inactivated in the Philippines on January 27, 1946.

Tank Destroyer Battalion

Tank Destroyer Battalion

The tank destroyer battalion was a type of unit used by the United States Army during World War II. The unit was organized in one of two different forms—a towed battalion equipped with anti-tank guns, or a mechanized battalion equipped with armored self-propelled guns. The tank destroyer units were formed in response to the German use of massed formations of armored vehicles units early in WWII. The tank destroyer concept envisioned the battalions acting as independent units that would respond at high speed to large enemy tank attacks. In this role, they would be attached in groups or brigades to corps or armies. In practice, they were usually individually attached to infantry divisions. Over one hundred battalions were formed, of which more than half saw combat service. The force was disbanded shortly after the end of the war when the concept had been shown to be militarily unsound.

By far the largest employment of tank destroyer units was in the north-western Europe campaign through France, the Low Countries and Germany. They were employed from the very beginning of the campaign, with one battalion being landed on Utah Beach in a follow-up wave on D-Day.

The most significant employment of tank destroyers in Normandy was in early August, at the Battle of Mortain, where the 823rd Tank Destroyer Battalion (towed 3-inch guns) was on the defensive alongside the 30th Infantry Division. The division, which was in temporary positions and not prepared for a defensive engagement, was attacked by elements of four panzer divisions on 6 August, under heavy fog. The 823rd put up a strong defense—knocking out fourteen tanks—but took heavy losses, being mostly overrun and losing eleven guns. This served to reinforce misgivings about the effectiveness of the towed units, and a report delivered to the Pentagon in December recommended they be phased out in favor of self-propelled units.

533D Bombardment Squadron

533D Bombardment Squadron

The 533d was constituted as the 533d Bombardment Squadron and activated as a part of the 381st Bombardment Group, Heavy on 3 November 1942, at Gowen Field, Idaho. Soon after, the 533d trained under II Bomber Command at Pyote Army Air Field, Texas, where the first two phases of unit training took place. The rest of the training was conducted at Pueblo Army Air Base, Colorado and in the simulations throughout the country. Received deployment orders for the European Theater of Operations in May 1943.

During the three years before its inactivation, the 533d Bombardment Squadron was part of the rapid buildup of the Army Air Forces in the European Theater of Operations. At that time, the Eighth Air Force and the Royal Air Force Bomber Command were engaged in a combined bomber offensive against strategic targets in Nazi Germany and Occupied Europe. Equipped with Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses, the 533d was a part of many bombardment raids. These included the campaigns in Normandy, Northern France, Rhineland, Ardennes-Alsace and Central Europe. The 533d also bombed targets in support of the Battle of the Bulge.

After V-E Day, the unit returned to Sioux Falls Army Air Field, South Dakota, in July 1945, although many combat personnel were demobilized upon return to the United States. A small cadre of personnel were formed with replacement personnel assigned. The unit was programmed for conversion to Boeing B-29 Superfortress very heavy bombers however no aircraft were assigned. The Japanese Capitulation in early August led to the units inactivation on 28 August, with personnel either reassigned to other units or demobilized.