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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 10:46 am 
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It was my understanding that the modifications for the SilverPlate atomic b-29 fleet were as follows:

Gun turret deletion (except tail gun)
Curtis reversible-pitch electric propellers installed
Bombay mods to accept little boy
fuel-injected engines
armor plating removed
deleted observation blisters

I stumbled across the below pic and noticed some sort of epennage from the rear of the tail gunner compartment along the bottom of the vertical stabilizer running across the top of stopping at half of the fuselage length. I wasn't aware of the mod. This photo supposedly is loading little boy prior to its Hiroshima mission.

The EG does not appear to have this on it currently as displayed at Udvar-Hazy. Was this modification removed after the mission? Anyone have any info relating to this? What were all the modifications done to the EG and all other 14 atomic b-29's?

The NASM site reveals :
Quote:
After the war, the Enola Gay underwent some modification for tests in the Pacific to determine the effects of atomic weapons on naval ships but it never took part in the program



globalsecurity website and photo:

http://www.globalsecurity.org/military/ ... tinian.htm

Image



Current NASM site display photo:

Image



regards,


t~


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 12:53 pm 
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I'm not seeing the add on you mention - where exactly are we looking?

Tom P.


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:07 pm 
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Tom,

Your question sparked me to relook at the photo in question. I mistook the shadow of the right horizontal stabilizer for something else on top of the a/c.

Boy am I embarrassed. :oops: :oops: :oops: Man, I must need glasses :!:

My apologies :roll:

While we're on the subject, was my list of "Silverplate" modifications complete? Besides Enola Gay and Bockscar, are they're any SP B-29's left in any form. I believe the "Great Artiste" at Whiteman is not the original but it appears to have the SP configuration:

from registry:


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t~ :!:


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PostPosted: Wed Nov 09, 2005 1:54 pm 
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I kept looking and thinking "What am I missing??"

As far as I am aware (could be wrong) the only true "Silverplate" B-29s left are BocksCar and Enola Gay.

The Great Artiste was damaged in an accident at Goose Bay - while the plane was scheduled to go to NASM because it was the only B-29 to witness both atomic bomb drops, there was confusion on the serial number and the plane was scrapped :evil:

Of the original silverplate ships I understand that 5 of them were sent to China Lake never to be heard from again - perhaps they are still out there??

Tom P.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:18 am 
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wendovertom wrote:
Of the original silverplate ships I understand that 5 of them were sent to China Lake never to be heard from again - perhaps they are still out there??

Tom P.


Howdy Tom,
In 1973, I met Bruno Genarlsky...who was the Confederate air Force Dallas/Fort Worth WING Head Mechanic. He was placed in charge of the B-29 procurement from China Lake...and selected one of the B-29s to become "Fifi". After the plane was placed in operating condition, they were to fly the plane to a nearby USAF Base where they were to get approval to fly to Harlingen, Texas...instead they topped off the tanks and made their destination straight for Harlingen. Bruno was proud as there were no problems reported to be fixed after the flight.

When they arrived, the USAF went over the B-29 and made one major change...they ordered the Confederate Air Force to weld the bomb bay racks...the A-BOMB Bomb Racks! "Fifi" was a Silverplate B-29!

Sadly, Bruno passed away in May 1993. He was NEAT...In WWII, he was Flight Chief of "C" Flight, 431st Fighter Squadron, 475th FG...and in charge of Tom McGuire's many "Pudgy" P-38s!
Cheers,
David Aiken


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 11:35 am 
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I think that "The Great Artiste" that is displayed at Whiteman is actually an SB-29 Super Dumbo.


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PostPosted: Fri Nov 11, 2005 2:18 pm 
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David_Aiken wrote:
"Fifi" was a Silverplate B-29!


I wonder if that was mentioned at Airsho '75?

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 Post subject: Fifi and Silverplate
PostPosted: Sat Nov 12, 2005 1:36 am 
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I don't think Fifi can be a Silverplate B-29. Certainly not one of the original 17. They all came from Wichita and Fifi is Renton built according to the serial number. That's not to say it couldn't have been modified later, but its not a wartime Silverplate.

James


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 Post subject: Re: Fifi and Silverplate
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 9:01 am 
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jamesintucson wrote:
I don't think Fifi can be a Silverplate B-29. Certainly not one of the original 17. They all came from Wichita and Fifi is Renton built according to the serial number. That's not to say it couldn't have been modified later, but its not a wartime Silverplate.

James


B-29's were manufactured at the following plants: Renton, Washington, Wichita, Kansas, Martin in Omaha, Nebraska, Bell in Atlanta, Georgia. The Enola Gay (model #B-29-45-MO) was accepted by the AAF aircraft on June 15, 1945 from Martin. I believe all silverplate B-29's were ordered and came from Martin. All Silverplate B-29 were just that B-29's and not B-29A's.

This is supported (for what it's worth) by the following b-29 site:

http://www.csd.uwo.ca/~pettypi/elevon/b ... 29-03.html

I've always read that there were originally 15 wartime silverplates as follows: (FIFI (44-62070) was NOT included in this list as it was a B-29A). I've read that another 9 were ordered in reserve, perhaps FIFI was one of those. Did the CAF reinstall turrets, etc...?


1. 44-27296 - Some Punkins
2. 44-27297 - Bockscar (Nagasaki mission F31)
3. 44-27298 - Full House
4. 44-27299 - Next Objective
5. 44-27300 - Strange Cargo
6. 44-27301 - Straight Flush
7. 44-27302 - Top Secret
8. 44-27303 - Jabit III (left Tinian on 9 Aug 45 in this aircraft for Wendover to be ready to transport the third atomic bomb F-32)
9. 44-27304 - UP an' Atom
10. 44-27353 - Great Artiste
11. 44-27354 - Big Stink
12. 44-86291 - Necessary Evil
13. 44-86292 - Enola Gay (Hiroshima mission)
14. 44-86346 - Spook
15. 44-86347 - Laggin Dragon

regards,

t~


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 Post subject: Re: Fifi and Silverplate
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:01 am 
originalboxcar wrote:
The Enola Gay (model #B-29-45-MO) was accepted by the AAF aircraft on June 15, 1945 from Martin. I believe all silverplate B-29's were ordered and came from Martin. All Silverplate B-29 were just that B-29's and not B-29A's. FIFI (44-62070) was NOT included in this list as it was a B-29A


Look at this:
Quote:
http://www.nasm.si.edu/research/aero/aircraft/boeing_b29.htm
Late in 1944, AAF leaders selected the Martin assembly line to produce a batch of Superfortress atomic bombers codenamed "Silverplate" aircraft. Martin modified these special B-29s by deleting all gun turrets except for the tail position, removing armor plate, installing Curtiss electric propellers, and configuring the bomb bay to accommodate either the "Fat Man" or "Little Boy" versions of the atomic bomb. The AAF assigned 15 Silverplate ships to the 509th Composite Group commanded by Colonel Paul Tibbets and he named his personal B-29 "Enola Gay" after his mother.


And this:
Quote:
http://cybermodeler.com/history/silverpl/silverpl.shtml
On 22 August, 24 SILVERPLATE-modified B-29s were ordered from the Glen L. Martin Modification Center at Omaha, Nebraska, with the first three aircraft to be delivered by 30 September, followed by 11 more by 31 December. These 14 aircraft would be used for test and training purposes. The remaining 10 were due "as soon as possible" in 1945; outfitted with the latest changes, they would be reserved for combat

After the war, the USAAF demobilized so rapidly that, within a year, it had become virtually ineffective as a fighting force. So debilitated had long-range bombing units become, in fact, that in early 1947 the Strategic Air Command found itself unable to identify the precise location and condition of all its SILVERPLATE airplanes. As a result, inspectors were sent out to track down and physically examine all of the aircraft remaining in the SILVERPLATE fleet. So many modifications and changes - some documented, others not - had been made that no two aircraft were identical. Drawings and paperwork had been discarded or misplaced, and new engineering materials would have to be drawn up from scratch before further improvements could be incorporated. Even the very name SILVERPLATE had become compromised through overuse and carelessness. To mark renewed emphasis on security, the USAAF's atomic weapon program ceased to be called SILVERPLATE on 12 May 1947; henceforth, a new codeword, SADDLETREE, would take its place.


I did read on someone's website (and can't track it down now) that FIFI was rebuilt from three separate B-29 airframes. Is that right? Assuming all the Atom Bombers were Omaha built B-29s, then Fifi can't be an original Atom Bomber - but I don't think anyone was claiming that. However it is perfectly possible that either it was built LATER with a capacity to drop a nuke (and there shouild be a record somewhere about Renton B-29As with a nuclear capacity), or that one of the China Lake Atom Bombers was cannibalised in its restoration.

Rob / Kansan


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 Post subject: Fifi's history
PostPosted: Mon Nov 14, 2005 10:53 am 
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You're right Omaha not Wichita. I pulled the following off the CAF website:


http://www.cafb29b24.org/fifi.shtml

Fifi's official serial number in No. 44-62070. Some of the interesting dates in her earlier life are as follows:

July 31, 1945 ~ Delivered to USAAF, Salinas, Kansas.

August, 1945 ~ To 247th base unit, Smoky Hill Field, Kansas.

September, 1945 ~ To 232nd base unit, Dalhart Field, Texas.

October, 1945 ~ to 242nd base unit, (Continental Air Forces - changed in May, 1946 to Strategic Air Command), Grand Island Field, Nebraska.

April, 1946 ~ Modified to TB-29A, used for operational training.

November, 1947 ~ Status changed to "excess" at Grand Island and transferred to 414th base unit (Air Material Command), Pyote AFB, Texas. Assignment was "SA" administrative aircraft (probably some Colonel's private plane).

January, 1948 ~ Status changed to "SS" - storage (noncocooned) - polite for "left in desert."

October, 1951 ~ To contract maintenance and modification. Returned to B-29A configuration in April, 1952.

September, 1952 ~ Assigned to 310th Bombardment Wing (SAC), Smoky Hill AFB, Kansas.

April, 1953 ~ To Sacramento Air Material Area for depot maintenance.

May, 1953 ~ Returned to 310th Bombardment Wing (SAC), Smoky Hill AFB, Kansas.

August, 1953 ~ Assigned to 3510th Flying Training Wing (Air Training Command), Randolph AFB, Texas.

November, 1953 ~ Modified to TB-29A (trainer).

October, 1956 ~ Transferred to U.S. Navy (believed flown from Randolph, Texas to China Lake Naval Weapons Center, Muroc Dry Lake, California at this time.

1971 ~ U.S. Navy to Confederate Air Force and flown to Harlingen, Texas.


There is no mention of conversion to an a-bomb carrier. I doubt they would have had to move bomb racks from one plane to another while getting Fifi ready to fly, but anything is possible. It's probably just one of those stories that gets started.

James


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 Post subject: FIFI
PostPosted: Tue Nov 15, 2005 6:51 pm 
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From what I've read, FIFI was one the most intact B-29's at China Lake. Thats why the CAF selected her. Some parts were "canned" from other B-29's, but the basic airframe was complete.....


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