Friday, March 1, 2013

B-32 Bomber Factory in Fort Worth, Texas c.1944

B-32 Bomber Factory in Fort Worth, Texas c.1944
B-32 Bomber, Texas, 1944
The B-32 Dominator was initially intended as insurance against failure of the B-29 program; however, the success of B-29 development and operational deployment made cancellation of the Dominator a very real possibility at several points in its development. The Army Air Forces wanted to begin replacing B-17s and B-24s with B-32s in the summer of 1944. The plan called for Mediterranean-based B-24 bomb groups to transition first, followed by other groups in the 15th Air Force and finally 8th Air Force groups. Because the B-32 test program was so far behind schedule, however, not a single B-32 was ever sent to the Mediterranean or European Theaters of Operation.In December 1944 the B-32 program was almost canceled again. This time it was saved pending completion of a service test program. While the service test proceeded, combat crew training was started in preparation for deployment to the Pacific (pending a successful service test.) The service test revealed several minor and a few major problems, and the program was near cancellation once again in the spring of 1945. In total 75 B-32 were built.
Convair built the B-32 Dominator because the US Army Air-Force wanted a back-up for the Boeing B-29. There were times during the breaking in of the B-29, when Hap Arnold would inquire about the status of the Dominator, but Convair was running into a lot of problems of their own. They had a serious weight issue, and eventually eliminated the pressurized cock-pit. Full scale production did not begin until late 1944, and only two groups that were equipped with B-32s were trained in time to deploy to the Western Pacific before the war was over.

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