B-29 Bomber – The Only Bomber To Become A Jet Ace?
When jets started flying towards the end of WWII, that took a huge step in military aviation. Bomber aircraft pilots thought that they were safe in high altitudes. Then fighter jets could easily climb those altitudes and bombers were not safe anymore. Although the bomber could fight back with their guns, it was still a big challenge when fighter jets could easily climb the heights that bombers like Boeing B-29 Superfortress did.
The Boeing B-29 Superfortress is a four-engined propeller-driven heavy bomber. It was made by Boeing and the primary user was the United States Air Force during World War II and the Korean war. The B-29 could fly at a top speed of 587 km/h and had a range of 9,000 km.
Initially, the B-29 served the same purpose that it used to do during WWII. During the Korean war, B-29 fleets conducted high-altitude daytime bombing runs. But after when the Soviet MiG-15 jets started flying, it was a serious threat to B-29s. After the Air Force lost 28 B-29 aircraft, the B-29 bombing attacks were only limited to nighttime.
During 3 years of service of B-29 from 1950-1953 in the Korean war, it flew a total of 20,000 sorties. A total of 180,000 tons of bombs were dropped by the B-29 in the Korean war alone. Although 57 B-29 bombers were lost, B-29 gunners could score 27 enemy kills. Out of those, there is a special one with a record of five MiG-15 kills which can be considered as the only “Jet Ace” by a bomber aircraft.
A pilot must score five air-to-air kills to become an “Ace”. Normally, bomber kills are not officially recognized as aces for their aerial kills, but individual crews count their kills and keep records. However, the Air Force officially does recognize this historic 5-kill record by the B-29 named “Command Decision” as an Ace.
In addition to this 5-kill record by the B-29 bomber, it has dropped 2.5 million pounds of bombs and flew 121 combat missions. Today, Command Decision and her crew are displayed in the Korean War Gallery at the National Museum of the United States Air Force.