It didn’t help, either, that the Superfortress was a complicated beast to build. The planes were put together at four separate principal assembly facilities, in fact, with the number of sub-contractors involved running into the thousands. What’s more, an early test flight in 1943 produced a devastating result. The plane crashed and killed all 11 of the crew – as well as 20 unlucky souls in the Seattle meat-packing plant that was devastated by the accident. The incident also claimed the life of one firefighter.
But the B-29 nevertheless became a real warhorse for the U.S. Air Force during the Second World War. It certainly saw significant action in the Pacific, with its most famous missions represented by strikes against Japan in August 1945. Yes, Superfortresses were used to drop the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and so hasten the end of WWII.