B-29 Engine Overheat Issues Question

Discussion in 'Technical Requests' started by Robert Porter, Dec 26, 2016.

  1. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Well-Known Member

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    I have read and heard over the years many different conflicting stories about the causes, severity, and ultimate resolution of B-29 Engine Overheat issues. Can anyone direct me to a definitive source for information about this issue?
     
  2. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    PM your email Robert and I'll send you some info....
     
  3. fubar57

    fubar57 Well-Known Member

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    1ab.jpg

    Email sent Robert
     
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  4. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Well-Known Member

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    Got it! Interesting causation, not sure I totally understand what an induction caused fire is but obviously it had to do with the fuel and air induction areas of the blower. It also seemed like they had a lot of issues with prop governing and feathering not always working. The two scariest places to have a fire in my opinion is first a submarine. Secondly an aircraft, especially when engine components are made of magnesium!

    They can't do it any more in schools, might scare the millennial's, but I vividly remember my chemistry teacher setting off magnesium in a ceramic jar, while smoking a cigarette I might add, another thing that would horrify folks nowadays! Lets just say it was impressive when he dumped the whole thing in an aquarium and it kept right on burning! Later we had a similar demonstration with white phosphorus!
     
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  5. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Well-Known Member

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    Always loved that pic! Used it a lot. Had a quote with that image on my office door for years that read: "Lack of planning on your part, does not constitute an emergency on my part."
     
  6. Bill C.

    Bill C. New Member

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    There is a book out (been out many years). Can't remember the author but it was XX Air Force. B-29's flying out of China, if I remember correctly, against Japan. Has some stories regarding engine fires, magnesium, etc.. You might be able to glean some info from that.
     
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  7. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    In 1943 Wright R-3350 Duplex Cyclone engines were temperamental beasties with an alarming tendency for the rear cylinders to overheat. This was due to minimal clearance between the cylinder baffles and the cowl. A number of changes were made to provide more cooling at low speeds. But with the rush to get the aircraft into operational use in the Pacific many of these changes proved counterproductive. The early B-29 tactics of maximum weights, when combined with the high temperatures of the tropical airfields where B-29s were based, produced overheating problems that were never completely solved. The engines had a nasty tendency to swallow their own valves and because of a high magnesium content in the crankcase alloy, the resulting engine fires, i.e. burning magnesium, at times reached temperatures approaching white heat, 5,600 °F (3,100 °C). Such temperatures were so intense that the main spar could burn through in seconds, resulting in catastrophic wing failure. Burning magnesium cannot be extinguished as it combines with oxygen, nitrogen, carbon dioxide, and the heat splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. Smothering with sand is essentially the only recourse.

    Early versions of the R-3350 also had carburetors, though the poorly designed elbow entrance to the supercharger led to serious problems with fuel/air distribution. Near the end of WWII, the system was changed to use gasoline direct injection where fuel was injected directly into the combustion chamber. This change improved engine reliability.
     
  8. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    WP, Willy Pete, is a WHOLE other question. White Phosphorus is a allotrope of the red phosphorus used in match heads though now-a-days it's the red "strike here" band on so called Safety Matches. The white allotrope will react with atmospheric oxygen with enough heat to spontaneously ignite burning at well over 5000F producing massive clouds of toxic Diphosphorus Pentoxide. If a chunk of the burning WP hits you it will extinguish as inside you there is no oxygen. Later if a surgeon exposes the WP it will re-ignite.
    M-15 WP grenades were difficult to throw far enough to get out of the danger zone but did a number on "spider holes"
    Note the white cloud trails of the burnng WP
    skyraiderWP.jpg
    WPburns.jpg
     
  9. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Well-Known Member

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    I got a copy of the book, ah er, borrowed an electronic copy until I can find one to buy, called 20th Air Force Story it was about the group that operated B-29's from China against Japan. It is by Ken Rust. Has an interesting series of stories many about the engine fires and field modifications made to better position fire suppression bottles in areas likely to cause issues. But one story in particular reports of a B-29 on the way home, it was already dark and a companion plane saw a Blue Yellowish fire in the port side inboard engine, it got very bright and then the wing came off. No chutes seen. I believe this is the book Bill C above recommended.
     
  10. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Well-Known Member

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    There was a motivational speaker I heard one time, he was a Nam vet and had been burned pretty badly, he also spoke of catching fire several times as they were operating on him, not from his own memory of course but the doctors that operated on him. He said as far as he knew we were the only group using WP so he was pretty sure it was friendly fire that got him.
     
  11. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    #11 mikewint, Feb 24, 2017
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2017
    Foo Gas: A 55-gallon drum into which a single block of C-4 was placed in the bottom wrapped with det-chord. The det-chord was then wrapped around the top of the drum, just below the lid, and then connected to a claymore charger. The drum was filled with napalm. When detonated, the device threw burning fuel about 50 meters at an attacking enemy. Barbed/razor wire were strung to channel attacking forces into the Foo zones
    D 1 5 Foo Gas test.jpg
     
  12. varsity07840

    varsity07840 Member

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    I flew countless sorties dropping 55 gal drums of flame(gasoline and a binder used in road tar that I can't remember)in nets slung from my Chinook. We called them flame drops. An 0H-6 or AH-1G would mark the target and we'd make a pass and punch off the load(7 barrels). The Cobra would then make another pass and light it up with rockets, or we'd make another pass and light it up with the door guns. My guns were all tracer. On rare occasions a white WP grenade went down with the load to light it up. It depended on what support we had and anticipated ground fire. Very primitive.
     
  13. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    The United States military uses three kinds of thickeners: M1, M2, and M4.

    The M1 Thickener (Mil-t-589a), chemically a mixture of 25% wt. aluminum naphthenate, 25% aluminum oleate, and 50% aluminum laurate, (or, according to other sources, aluminum stearate soap) is a highly hygroscopic coarse tan-colored powder. As the water content impairs the quality of napalm, thickener from partially used open containers should not be used later. It is not maintained in the US Army inventory any more as it was replaced with M4.
    The M2 Thickener (Mil-t-0903025b) is a whitish powder similar to M1, with added devolatilized silica and anticaking agent.
    The M4 flame fuel thickening compound (Mil-t-50009a), hydroxyl aluminum bis(2-ethylhexanoate) with anti-caking agent, is a fine white powder. It is less hygroscopic than M1 and opened containers can be resealed and used within one day. About half the amount of M4 is needed for the same effect as of M1.

    As a substitute ordinary MOGAS can be mixed with any type of motor oil though 90W gear oil works best. In general a 30 – 20 mix is used.

    A later variant, napalm-B, also called "super napalm", is a mixture of low-octane gasoline with benzene and polystyrene. It was used in the Vietnam War. Unlike conventional napalm, which burns for only 15 to 30 seconds, napalm B burns for up to 10 minutes with fewer fireballs, sticks better to surfaces, and offers improved destruction effects. It is not as easy to ignite, which reduces the number of accidents caused by soldiers smoking. When it burns, it develops a characteristic smell.

    “I love the smell of Napalm in the morning”

    *Note* hydroxyl aluminum bis(2-ethylhexanoate) The chemical name of an aluminum based “soap” (ordinary soaps are sodium or potassium based). An aluminum salt is reacted chemically with a fatty acid such as Stearic or Palmic acid). These aluminum soaps have very powerful gelling properties when mixed with hydrocarbons hence their use to produce Napalm, i.e. jellied gasoline.
     
  14. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Well-Known Member

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    Have you ever read John Nolan's book "The High View"? I think that is the title. I worked with him years ago in Florida. He introduced me to my soon to be room mate that had been a ground crewman in country. He flew cargo planes on the triangle run all through the latter 60's up until the end of the war in the 70's. One thing he noted in the book was that we were the only ones using Napalm, and yet week after week he flew G.I.'s home that had been burned badly by Napalm. It was not just once in awhile, it was a constant stream for years. He was rather bitter about it and often spoke of the results of a "pushbutton" war.
     
  15. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    Napalm is a truly terrible weapon albeit a highly effective weapon against the ENEMY. The biggest problem that I was witness to was the, at times, inability to lay the stuff where it was needed. This was exacerbated by the 7th AF's love of jets whereas, on the ground we invariably asked for those fantastic Skyraiders. The jets were just to fast and had too short loiter times. The AF FACs also had problems at times understanding what was going on on the ground and what the ground forces really needed. Eventually the AF relented and one of our guys rode with the FAC to "translate". Triple canopy jungle and the closeness of combatants also made the use of area weapons problematic
    Watch "We were Soldiers Once" for an idea of what happens with a "whoopsie" napalm drop
     
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  16. MiTasol

    MiTasol Active Member

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    According to some anti-war protesters Napalm was banned by the Geneva Convention just after WW2. I have never checked it out but given My Lai and other similar items I suspect there may be a grain of truth there somewhere.

    Mi
     
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  17. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    The use of flame weapons, such as Fougasse, the M202A1 Flash, white phosphorous, thermobaric, and other incendiary agents, against military targets is not a violation of current international law. They should not, however, be employed to just cause unnecessary suffering to individuals.
    All US weapons, weapons systems, and munitions must be reviewed by the service Judge Advocate General for legality under the law of war. (DoD Instr. 5000.2, AR 27-53, AFI 51-402 and SECNAVINST 5711.8A.) A review occurs before the award of the engineering and manufacturing development contract and again before the award of the initial production contract. (DoD Instr. 5000.2)

    The 1980 Protocol III of the Convention on Certain Conventional Weapons deals specifically with the Use of Incendiary Weapons, and their use against civilians. The United States is not a party to this Protocol. Weapons as high-explosive munitions and blast or fragmentation weapons are not covered by this protocol, even though they may have secondary burn effects on persons exposed or cause secondary fires. Similarly, laser weapons are not covered even if their primary effect is to set fire to objects or cause burn injuries, since they do not deliver burning substances on the target.
    Paragraph 1 of Article 2 states that the civilian population as such and individual civilians or civilian objects may not be made the object of attack with incendiary weapons -- a principle that applies to all weapons under customary international law. Paragraph 2 prohibits making of any military objective located within a concentration of civilians the object of attack by air-delivered incendiary weapons, such as napalm. This paragraph does not restrict the use of other types of incendiary weapons, such as White Phosphorus delivered by artillery. Paragraph 3 prohibits uses of incendiaries against military objectives located within concentrations of civilians, except when the target is clearly separated from the concentration of civilians and all feasible precautions are taken to limit the incendiary effects to the target and minimize civilian casualties.
    The Protocol on Prohibitions or Restrictions on the Use of Incendiary Weapons (Protocol III or the Incendiary Weapons Protocol) is annexed to the Convention on Prohibitions or Restriction on the Use of Certain Conventional Weapons Which May be Deemed to be Excessively Injurious or to Have Indiscriminate Effects (the Convention). The Convention, including Protocol III, as well as two additional protocols, was concluded at Geneva on October 10, 1980. The United States ratified the Convention and expressed its consent to be bound by its Protocol II on Mines, Booby-traps and Other Devices, as well as its Protocol I on Non-Detectable Fragments, on March 24, 1995.
     
  18. MiTasol

    MiTasol Active Member

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    Thanks Mike
    Obviously the anti war people in the 70s were using what is now known as alternative facts :confused:
     
  19. Robert Porter

    Robert Porter Well-Known Member

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    I always wonder about conventions as applies to war. The track record of ANY side following them with no exceptions is pretty thin on the ground. To be honest while I agree with the intent unless and until there is some way to actually enforce compliance (war maybe?) it is not something that is very practical. Admirable, but not practical. War crimes are almost always a function of the victor against the looser. Yes we have had allied troops tried for war crimes but by and large the victorious side seems to get a free pass.
     
  20. mikewint

    mikewint Well-Known Member

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    One more point I'd like to expand upon, with reference to US atrocities in Vietnam:
    During the entire war there were TWO cases of War Crimes by military personnel. March 1968, My Lai, 347 mostly women and children, by the 1st platoon of Charlie company, Lt Calley and February 1970, 16 women and children by 5 Marines from Bravo company at Son Thang. US Press accounts of My Lai never mentioned that Warrant Officer Hugh Thompson, Jr., a helicopter pilot from Company B, 123rd Aviation Battalion, Americal Division was flying over the village of Sơn Mỹ providing close-air support for ground forces. The crew made several attempts to radio for help for the wounded. Thompson then saw a group of civilians (again consisting of children, women, and old men) at a bunker being approached by ground personnel. Thompson landed and told his crew that if the soldiers shot at the Vietnamese while he was trying to get them out of the bunker that they were to open fire on these soldiers. He found 12–16 people in the bunker, coaxed them out and led them to the helicopter, standing with them while they were flown out in two groups. Returning to Mỹ Lai, Thompson and other air crew members noticed several large groups of bodies. Spotting some survivors in the ditch, Thompson landed again. Thompson then reported what he had seen to his company commander, Major Frederic W. Watke, using terms such as "murder" and "needless and unnecessary killings". Thompson's statements were confirmed by other helicopter pilots and air crew members.
    For the actions at My Lai, Thompson was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and his crew members Glenn Andreotta and Lawrence Colburn were awarded Bronze Star medals. As the DFC citation included a fabricated account of rescuing a young girl from My Lai from "intense crossfire" Thompson threw his medal away.
    Both case resulted in court martial and all were found guilty. After 3 years, Calley was pardoned by Nixon.
    Meanwhile the press never mentioned any of the widespread civilian murders committed by the VC/NVA. During Tet alone the VC/NVA murdered over 5,000 civilians, in Hue alone over 3,000 were tortured and murdered. Civilian USAID workers, missionaries and any other westerners were captured starved, tortured, and murdered with never a press comment.
    In 1968 Eddie Adams an AP photographer took a photo of General Nguyen Ngoc Luan head of Saigon’s Security Forces executing a VC prisoner. This photo won a Pulitzer Prize in 1969 and was widely portrayed as evidence of Saigon’s corruption, inhumanity, and injustice. These evils had caused the heroic Viet Cong to rebel and begin their civil war.
    That the prisoner was the head of a terrorist squad, that he had just been captured in the home of one of Nguyen’s top officers. That he and 5 others had just killed and tortured the officer, his mother and father, his wife and their 4 children was never mentioned in any American report. Adams protests, even to his dying day, that this act was “wholly justified given the nature of the crime and guerrilla nature of the War.” were never given any press coverage.
    On 8 June 72, AP photographer Nick Ùt (a Vietnamese national) covering an ARVN attack on the village of Trang Bang, which had
    been captured and occupied two days earlier by NVA forces took a photo of 9 YO Kim Phuc running naked from the village where a VNAF Vietnamese pilot had dropped napalm. Media in the U.S. widely claimed this to be a U.S. atrocity, Evidence of the brutal way the US military conducted the War. While U.S. forces had supplied the napalm NO Americans were involved in any capacity whatsoever. Furthermore, U.S. forces had NO authority over any ARVN command.
     
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