“B-32 Dominator – The Ultimate Look” by William Wolf

Discussion in 'Non-fiction' started by vikingBerserker, Jul 11, 2012.

  1. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

    Apr 10, 2009
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    Korporate Kontrolleur
    South Carolina
    “B-32 Dominator – The Ultimate Look: From Drawing Board to Scrapyard”
    By William Wolf
    Schiffer Military History – 2006
    ISBN: 0-7643-3451-9


    In 1940 the AAF requested designs for a Very Long-Range Bomber with the original requirement of a range of 5,333 miles, ability to carry 2,000 lbs of bombs half that distance, and a speed of 400 mph. After experience derived from combat in the ETO requirements were changed to include self-sealing tanks, increased armor, and multiple turrets with heavy machine guns and cannons. 5 companies submitted their designs:

    XB-29 Boeing
    XB-30 Lockheed (based on the C-69 Constellation)
    XB-31 Douglas (based on the DC-4)
    XB-32 Consolidated
    XB-33 Martin (a four engined B-26)

    Of the ones submitted, two were selected for production: the B-29 “Super Fortress” and the B-32 “Dominator”. This is the story of the later.

    The book is 272 pages long divided into 5 Sections, 37 Chapters with tons of pictures and drawings. There are a number of books out on the B-32 but this is IMHO the best and most detailed around. The author (William Wolf who also wrote the book on the B-18 I’ve reviewed) starts off with the history of Consolidated then moves onto the prototypes (both the B-29 B-32) and then dives into the issues that plagued the bomber as well as a few that the B-29 had to deal with. Then it gives a detailed account of the combat history then onto the scrap yard.

    I know a number of members here work in manufacturing or in a technical field. If there ever was a case to be made about the impact of bad quality, the B-32 program would be the poster child. There were problems with wiring being crossed/done backwards, wires being too short that somebody used tape to secure them instead of solder, and equipment not properly installed.

    Once all the bugs were worked out the bomber actually turned out to be quite good, however by that time the B-29 was already well established and the need for it was greatly diminished. Though inferior to the B-29, this would have been an excellent plane to replace the B-17s B-24s as it was more economical.

    There were a few things that did concern me about this book and that was the lack of proofreading. For example the Title of Section 3, Chapter 2 on Page 178 is:

    Prefligt Walk Around Inspections and Preflight Checks”.

    Also on the same page was typesetting instructions which were actually printed:

    “<cap> 03-02-01 (See folder) Pilot’s Walk Around Diagram”.

    This might not seem to be a big issue, but I always worry if something so minor was missed was anything major missed as well.

    Overall it was a pretty good book, and I would rate it 7 out of 10.

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