Too Little, Too Late - The B-32 Dominator

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FLYBOYJ

"THE GREAT GAZOO"
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Apr 9, 2005
Colorado, USA
B-32 SPECIFICATIONS
Span: 135 ft. 0 in.
Length: 82 ft. 1 in.
Height: 32 ft. 2 in.
Weight: 100,000 lbs. (design gross weight)
Armament: Ten .50-cal. machine guns plus 20,000 lbs. of bombs (max.)
Engines: Four Wright R-3350-23 Cyclone radials of 2,200 hp. each (takeoff power)
Crew: 10
PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed: 357 mph. at 30,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 290 mph.
Range: 3,000 miles w/ 10,000 lbs. bomb load
Service Ceiling: 30,700 ft.

Compared to the B-29....

Span: 141 ft. 2.76 in.
Length: 99 ft. 0 in.
Height: 27 ft. 9 in. (at rest) 27 ft. 6.7 in. (taxi position)
Weight: 133,500 lbs. (max. overload) 105,000 lbs. gross
Armament: Ten or twelve .50-cal. machine guns and one 20mm cannon plus 20,000 lbs. of bombs.
Engines: Four Wright R-3350-21 or -23 "Cyclone" radials each equipped with two type B-11 turbo superchargers.
PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed: 357 mph at 25,000 ft.
Cruising speed: 220 mph
Range: 5,600 miles max. ferry range and 3,250 miles with 20,000 lbs. of bombs
Service Ceiling: 33,600 ft.

Only 75 were built. Cancellation of the B-32 program came on 8 September 1945 and production of Dominators was halted on 12 October. Flyable aircraft at Consolidated factories were flown directly to the scrap yard and all partially built B-32s were scrapped at the factory. The last remaining B-32 was scrapped in the summer of 1949.

This aircraft was supposed to replace the B-17 and B-24 had the war lasted longer and had it got delivered earlier (it was well over a year behind schedule). General Kenny, Commander of the 5th AF also wanted the plane after the 5th AF was denied B-29s. One Squadron, the 386th Bomb Squadron, 312th Bomb Group, 5th Air Force got 3 of them and flew 6 missions before the end of the war. One B-32 even got damaged by flak and fighters.

Do you think this aircraft could of replaced both the B-17 and B-24? How do you think it would of done over Germany, especially aganist the ME-262? Keep in mind that this aircraft did not use remote control radar gun turrets like the B-29 but rather electric manned turrets like the B-17 and B-24.
 

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I think it was well protected from diving attacks from above, the front and the sides, belly protection OK, but that large tail would reduce the effectiveness of the top turrets against rear attacks, so its rear defence would have suffered.
A shallow dive from above while following the aircraft would probably be the biggest danger.

This is another consolidated plane that looks quite unusual
xc99.jpg
 
Hmm.

I know B-32 Dominator is totally forgotten, but keep wondering is there any B-32 around or totally gone?
 
It has to be somewhere or probably already gone....forever.

Y'know, B-32 Dominator is just almost look like PB4Y-2 Privateer, but only bigger and more bomb load, but then again it just look really close.
 
It's quick aircraft though - cruising at 290 MPH. I don't really think gun protection is that vital. The RAF and USAAF both found out that guns can't protect your bombers, only escorts can.

With a escort of P-51Ds; B-32 with their high cruising speed could be in and out of enemy terrority quickly - and be just as well as protected as B-24s and B-17s.
 
They had a whole special about the Dominator on Discovery yWings one night that I watched about a year or so ago. It was an interesting special on an aircraft that got very little attention.

There was an XC-99 up for sale about 2 years ago, but I don't think they found a buyer and ended up scrapping it. Shame.
 
plan_D said:
It's quick aircraft though - cruising at 290 MPH. I don't really think gun protection is that vital. The RAF and USAAF both found out that guns can't protect your bombers, only escorts can.

With a escort of P-51Ds; B-32 with their high cruising speed could be in and out of enemy terrority quickly - and be just as well as protected as B-24s and B-17s.

I read this aircraft was supposed to be replacing B-17s and B-24s in early 1944. Could you imagine the impact this aircraft would of made in Europe with a short range 20,000 pound bomb load?

The prototype had a faster top speed and also had a twin tail.

XB-32 SPECIFICATIONS
Span: 135 ft. 0 in.
Length: 83 ft. 0 in.
Height: 20 ft. 10 in. (32 ft. for 41-18336)
Weight: 101,662 lbs. (gross weight)
Armament: Fourteen .50-cal. machine guns, two 20mm cannon plus 20,000 lbs. of bombs (max.)
Engines: Four Wright R-3350-13 Cyclone radials of 2,200 hp. each (take-off power)
Crew: 12 (max. as designed)
PERFORMANCE
Maximum speed: 376 mph. at 25,000 ft.
Cruising speed: approximately 250 mph.
Range: 4,450 miles w/ 2,000 lbs. bomb load
Service Ceiling: 30,700 ft.
 

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The B-17 had a short range bomb load of 17, 600 lbs but I imagine was slower than the B-32. The Lancaster had a massive short range bomb load - which I have heard as being as high as 33,000 lbs! I don't know if that's the truth - and I've never been bothered to find out.

If the B-32 had replaced the B-17 and B-24 [in 1944] then we might have seen even more tonnage dropped on Germany - with less of a loss to the USAAF.
 
plan_D said:
The B-17 had a short range bomb load of 17, 600 lbs but I imagine was slower than the B-32. The Lancaster had a massive short range bomb load - which I have heard as being as high as 33,000 lbs! I don't know if that's the truth - and I've never been bothered to find out.

If the B-32 had replaced the B-17 and B-24 [in 1944] then we might have seen even more tonnage dropped on Germany - with less of a loss to the USAAF.

I agree, and even though we know that escorts were essential (even for the proposed B-32) it's defensive armament is impressive, all power turrets.

Smokey brought up the large tail interfering with the line of fire. I don't think this would be a major problem.

I also discovered the top turrets were modified Martin Turrets with a teardrop streamlining added to them. The nose and tail turrets were hydraulic/electrical modifications of the Sperry Ball turret and the belly turret was a traditional Sperry ball turret that partially retracted into the belly. it was intended to have remote controlled turrets on the B-32 like the B-29 had, but like the B-29 numerous problems were encountered with them and it was decided to go with manned gun turrets.

No intact, complete B-32 survives today. B-32-1-CF 42-108474 had been set aside for display at the Air Force Museum, but was unaccountably declared excess and scrapped at Davis-Monthan in August of 1949. Only bits and pieces of B-32s remain in existence today. A nose turret from a B-32 is in storage at the Paul Garber Restoration Facility of the Smithsonian Institution at Suitland, Maryland. Another B-32 nose turret is on display in a Minnesota museum. A static test wing panel from a B-32 was erected as a monument to aviation pioneer John J. Montgomery on a hill near San Diego.
 
B-32 COMBAT HISTORY
From "Flying Terminated Inventory", Stephen Harding, Wings, April 1993

"An August 1944 directive from the USAAF had required that a combat test be carried out before the B-32 could be introduced into service. However, the AAFPGC agency opposed both a combat test and general service introduction of the B-32, so it seemed that the Dominator would be consigned to operational limbo indefinitely. In the meantime, Lt. Gen. George C. Kenney, the commander of the Far East Air Forces, had been anxious to get B-29s but his requests had always been turned down on the grounds that the B-29s were urgently needed elsewhere. As an alternative, General Kenney started requesting B-32s instead. On March 27, General Arnold approved Kenney's request and authorized a comprehensive Dominator combat test.

Col. Frank R. Cook was appointed commander of the test detachment. Three B-32s were chosen for the combat test (42-108529, -108531 and -108532). -108531 was damaged in an accident before leaving Fort Worth, and was replaced by 42-108528. -108528 was in rather bad shape, since it had been used as a test machine at Fort Worth. The first two arrived on Luzon on May 24, with the recalcitrant -108528 not arriving until the next day. The test was to be carried out under the auspices of the 5th Bomber Command, with the 316th Bombardment Squadron of the 312th Bombardment Group as the host unit. If things worked out well, the A-20s which equipped the 312th would be replaced by B-32s.

The first combat mission took place on May 29, 1945. It was a strike against a Japanese supply depot in Luzon's Cayagan Valley. All three of the Dominators were to take part, but -108528 aborted on takeoff. The other two proceeded to the target. Unopposed bombing runs were made from an altitude of 10,000 feet, and both aircraft returned without incident. This raid was followed by a series of attacks on Japanese targets in the Philippines, in Formosa, and on Hainan Island in the Tonkin Gulf. The only opposition encountered during these missions was some rather inaccurate flak. The tests were deemed a success, and plans were made to convert the entire 386th Bombardment Squadron to B-32s. The 312th BG was scheduled to move to Okinawa as soon as the 386th conversion was completed.

Following the dropping of the atomic bombs, in August of 1945, the unit was ordered to move to Okinawa before the conversion could be carried out. Six more B-32s joined the squadron on Okinawa a few days later. Combat operations continued in spite of the de-facto cease-fire that had been called following the bombing of Nagasaki. During this time, the B-32s flew mainly photographic reconnaissance missions, most of which were unopposed. However, on August 17 a group of 4 B-32s flying over Tokyo were fired on by radar-directed flak and were attacked by Japanese fighters. The American aircraft escaped with only minor damage, claiming one confirmed fighter kill and two probables. During a reconnaissance mission over Tokyo on August 18, 42-108532 and 42-108578 were attacked by Japanese fighters. The American gunners claimed two kills and one probable, but -108578 was badly shot up and one of her crew was killed with two being injured. This was to prove to be the last combat action of World War 2.

The last Dominator mission of the war was flown by four B-32s on August 28 in a reconnaissance mission to Tokyo. The mission was a disaster, although not because of any enemy action. 42-108544 lost an engine on takeoff and skidded off the runway. All 13 men aboard perished when the aircraft exploded and burned. On the way back from the target, 42-108528 lost power on two of its four engines. The plane's pilot ordered the crew to bail out, but two men perished."
 
Yeah, it would have been nice to have seen one at Wright Pat. I lived near there when I was a kid and always enjoyed a day at the Air Force Museum. So many historic airplanes there. I loved standing next to Bockscar, the -29 that dropped the bomb on Nagasaki.
 
I remember when all the anti-nuke freakazoids made such a stink when they restored the Enola Gay - None of those jerkoffs ever researched to find that "Bockscar" been hanging at Wright Pat for years!
 
The Consolidated B-32 Dominator four-engined heavy bomber was ordered at the same time as the Boeing B-29 Superfortress. However, the B-32 was definitely the USAAF's second choice, and was intended primarily as insurance in case the favored Boeing design failed. Since the B-29 ultimately turned out to be an outstanding success, the B-32 was built only in relatively small numbers and used in only a very few combat actions during the last few weeks of the war. Although its brief combat career was unspectacular, it did have the distinction of flying the last aerial combat mission against Japan.

from http://home.att.net/~jbaugher2/b32.html
 

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