Superfortesses in Korea

Discussion in 'Post-War' started by Hobilar, Nov 8, 2007.

  1. Hobilar

    Hobilar Member

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    At the beginning of the Korean War the US Far East Air Force (FEAF) bomber strength in Korea comprised just one group: the 19th BG(M) equipped with the big Boeing B-29 Superfortress. Official records state that, as of 31 May 1950, the Far East inventory consisted of 22 B-29 bombers, six RB-29s (Reconnaissance aircraft), 24 WB-29s (Weather Reconnaissance aircraft) and four SB-29s (Air-Sea Rescue aircraft).

    Clearly, this force was well short of the numbers of machines required to defeat the enemy and so an urgent call was made for reinforcements to be rushed to the peninsula. Until these could arrive, the 19th BG would have to fair as best it could. On the 28th June 1950 four B-29s flew the first combat missons against the invading North Koreans, attacking enemy tanks and troop concentrations. Whilst this and subsequent sorties were not entirely successful in neutralising targets they did have a substantial morale effect on an enemy that had not been expecting such opposition.

    The first Superfortress to enter hostile airspace was not however, from a bomber squadron, but was a WB-29 on a 'Buzzard Special' mission, on the 26th of June. Over the next three months these reconnaissance aitcraft crossed over the enemy lines on an almost daily basis.

    The 22nd and 92nd bomber Groups arrived from the USA on the 3rd of July providing a welcome assistance to the hard pressed 19th BG. These were soon followed by the arrival of the 98th and 307th Bomber Groups. Throughout the remaining Summer and Autumn these five American Bomber Groups were able to inflict severe damage on North Korean emplacements and troop concentrations right across the Korean peninsula.

    One specialist mission for the Superfortresses was to drop large quantities of flares nightly over enemy targets, which would then be attacked by heavily armed B-26s. So successful were these missions that by the 22nd of October, General Stratemeyer was able to cut back on the number of missions and release two of the B-29 groups to return to their SAC bases in the USA.

    But only five days after the bombers departure, the Chinese entered into the War. Consideration was given as to bringing back the returned Groups, but ultimately it was decided that the three remaining Bomber Groups would be sufficient to thwart the Chinese. From thereon, the three 'In-Theatre' B-29 groups would be kept extremely busy throughout the remainder of the war.
     
  2. insomnia

    insomnia New Member

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    interesting
     
  3. Aggie08

    Aggie08 Active Member

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    Interesting indeed. I always liked seeing how well the tail gunners did. What a nasty surprise to the uninformed fighter!
     
  4. Seawitch

    Seawitch Member

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    Good reading!
     
  5. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair Member

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    Hi All,

    Great thread.

    Another point of interest is that the Royal Australian Air Force's first operation in Korea occurred on 2nd July 1950 when 77 Squadron escorted B-29 Superfortresses. (Depicted in the Robert Taylor painting below which was commissioned by the Australian War Memorial)

    178528.jpg

    77 Squadron was based in Japan as part of the occupation forces after WWII and was on the verge of returning home when the Korean conflict commenced.

    Cheers

    Owen
     
  6. Rich46yo

    Rich46yo New Member

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    Nostal that is one GREAT picture.
     
  7. Nostalgair

    Nostalgair Member

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    Hi Rich,

    It sure is. Robert Taylor is a master.

    I was lucky enough to track a copy of the print down and it now hangs in my home. It's significant to me as 77 Squadron was my Dad's unit in Korea and the print is signed by a number of his squadron mates.

    Cheers

    Owen
     
  8. Thorlifter

    Thorlifter Well-Known Member

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    Nice post Hobilar.
     
  9. Wayne Little

    Wayne Little Well-Known Member

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    Yeah, nice post AND picture Guys.
     
  10. Negative Creep

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    Just one question though, does B-26 refer to the Marauder or Invader?
     
  11. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    A-26 is for the Invader and B-26 is for the Marauder.
     
  12. Negative Creep

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    Weren't later models redesignated B-26?
     
  13. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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    Thats correct from what I remember about the A-26. Not exactly sure when the name changed though or what model.
     
  14. B-17engineer

    B-17engineer Active Member

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    Google Search John Care DFC he was a B-29 gunner in Korea, very nice website!
     
  15. Micdrow

    Micdrow “Archive”
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  16. Graeme

    Graeme Well-Known Member

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    Interesting read on the last 'civil' Invader, the Marksman.

    The Last Marksman

    One of the more bizzare versions of the Invader, a Marksman engine test-bed.

    [​IMG]
     
  17. Negative Creep

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    So according to warbird alley they were changed to B-26 in 1948, so they could've used Invaders. I know it's off topic but I just brought it up as I'd never heard of the Marauder being used in Korea
     
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