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Consolidated B-32 Dominator

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The Consolidated B-32 Dominator was a heavy bomber that was used by the United States during World War II. 

HistoryEdit

B-32 Front

A B-32 from the front.

It was the last US aircraft built during the war to see combat. Ordered in September 1940, the B-32 was designed in tandem with the B-29 Superfortress - to the same Hemisphere Defence Weapon specifications - in case that aircraft failed.[2] A high wing monoplane of somewhat smaller size than the B-29, with retractable tricycle undercarriage, the first prototype made its initial flight on 7September 1942, two weeks ahead of the XB-29. Known as the Consolidated Model 33 (XB-32),[1] the type had a smooth streamlined nose, like the one on the B-29, and twin fins like those on the B-24.[2] The second prototype, first flown on 2 July 1943, introduced a stepped pilot windscreen, while the third, first flown on 9 November 1943, was fitted with the single large fin of later B-24s. The layout for the third prototype was selected for the Model 34, which entered production as the B-24 Dominator.[1]
Consolidated TB-32 production line

A production line of TB-32s.

The heavy and complex armament was eventually replaced with manned turrets. This move was followed in 1943 by elimination of the troublesome pressurisation system, resulting in operations being restricted to a maximum altitude of 30,000 ft. This led to the delivery of operational B-24s being delayed until November 1944, by which time B-29s had been operating from forward bases in China for almost eight months.[1] As a result, only 115 of the large number ordered from Fort Worth and San Diego had been delivered by VJ Day,[2] Only seeing action with a few units against Japanese targets in 1945, 15 examples becoming operational with the 386th Bombardment Squadron at Okinawa. A pair of B-32s were involved in the last aerial combat of World War II, when they were attacked by 14 Japanese fighters while conducting a photo-reconnaissance mission over Tokyo on 18 August 1945. The action resulted in the destruction of at least two - possibly four - Japanese fighters. One B-32 crewman was killed, and another two were wounded.[1]

Some 40 examples of a TB-32 training aircraft were also produced, but both versions were quickly withdrawn from service following the end of World War II.[1] None were preserved.

ReferencesEdit

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 1.3 1.4 1.5 World Aircraft Information Files Aviation Partwork. Midsummer Books Ltd. File 891 Sheet 36:A-Z of Aircraft - Consolidated Model 32 (B-24 Liberator) (continued) to Consolidated Model 39 Liberator-Liner (R2Y)
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Gunston, Bill. Illustrated Directory of Fighting Aircraft of World War II. Salamander Books. 1988. ISBN 0-86101-390-5 Pages 364-365


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