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''B-29 ''''Enola Gay'''' Desktop Model

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Was: $194.95
Now: $169.95
Your Savings:
$25.00 (12.82%)
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Model Description

This collectible B-29 represents one of the most famous aircraft in history – the “Enola Gay,” the Boeing B-29 Superfortress that dropped the atomic bomb on Hiroshima and helped speed the end of World War II. Painstakingly built from Philippine mahogany by our skilled craftsmen with a wealth of detail, this 1/72-scale model B-29 makes a great gift for any aviation enthusiast or history buff.

The Enola Gay, assigned to the 393rd Bombardment Squadron of the 509th Composite Group, was one of 15 B-29s specially modified to carry nuclear weapons. Built under license by the Glenn L. Martin Company in Bellevue, Nebraska, B-29 number 44-86292 was personally selected off the assembly line by Col. Paul Tibbets on May 9, 1945.

Tibbets, commander of the 509th Composite Group, had gathered top pilots, crews and maintenance personnel in Wendover, Utah to train for a top-secret mission. Under tight security, crews learned to drop a single bomb before pulling away in a 155-degree diving turn. The crews were not told about the nature of their mission – and questions were not welcome.

The selection of Tibbets and the B-29 for the mission of dropping the first atomic bombs was no accident. Tibbets was regarded as one of the best pilots in the Army Air Forces, and as a squadron commander in the 97th Bomb Group, led the first heavy bomber raid of the Eighth Air Force in Europe. Completing more than 50 missions in Europe and the Mediterranean, Tibbets returned to the United States to become a project officer for the troubled B-29 project.

In September 1944, Tibbets was tapped to lead what was to become the 509th Composite Group, and train the unit that would carry out one of the most famous combat missions of World War II.

The Boeing B-29 was the most advanced and complex aircraft of the Second World War. It dwarfed other bombers, including its famous predecessor, the B-17 Flying Fortress. At 99 feet long, with a wing span of 141 feet, a B-29 weighed more than 120,000 pounds loaded. Its four Wright R-3350 engines could propel it to a maximum speed of more than 350 mph, and to altitudes topping 30,000 feet.

The B-29 also featured pressurized crew compartments, a central fire control station directing 10 .50-caliber machine guns in remote-controlled turrets, analog fire control computers, and use of lightweight alloys throughout the aircraft. Because of its complexity, the B-29 was troublesome to develop – engine fires were a particular problem.

By 1945, most of the bugs in the Superfortresses were worked out and the huge silver bombers began operations against Japan. High-altitude winds caused problems with bombing accuracy, and Gen. Curtis Lemay – then commander of the 20th Air Force – began using the B-29 on low-altitude night firebombing raids. The destructive raids – which included such aircraft as Lucky ‘Leven helped set the stage for Japan’s surrender.

By July 1945, Tibbets and the 509th were on Tinian Island, making practice drops, instrument calibration tests and 12 practice missions to Japan, dropping conventional explosive versions of the plutonium bomb shape.

In early August, two nuclear weapons were ready for use – and the first mission was set for Aug. 6, 1945.

The night before the mission, Tibbets ordered that the name “Enola Gay” – his mother - be painted on the nose of the aircraft he would pilot on the first nuclear mission in history. The plane’s regular commander, Capt. Robert Lewis, who would fly as co-pilot, was reportedly furious at the naming of “his” plane.

Crew of the Enola Gay for the Hiroshima mission was:

Col. Paul Tibbets, pilot and mission commander

Capt. Robert lewis, co-pilot

Maj. Thomas Ferebee, bombardier

Capt. Theodore “Dutch” Van Kirk, navigator

Navy Capt. William “Deak” Parsons, weaponeer and bomb commander

Lt. Jacob Beser, radar countermeasures.

2nd Lt. Morris Jeppson, assistant weaponeer

Tech. Sgt. George “Bob” Caron, tail gunner

Tech. Sgt. Joe Wyatt Duzenberry, flight engineer

Sgt. Joe Stiborik, radar operator

Sgt. Robert Shumard, assistant flight engineer

Pfc. Richard Nelson, radio operator

With Tibbets at the controls, the Enola Gay took off from Tinian at 2:45 a.m. Three B-29 weather reconnaissance aircraft from the 509th preceded Enola Gay; two instrumentation aircraft – The Great Artiste and Necessary Evil, would accompany Tibbets to the target.

The three strike aircraft rendezvoused over Iwo Jima and proceeded to the primary target – Hiroshima. During the flight, Parsons armed the bomb. Thirty minutes before the bomber reached Hiroshima, Jeppeson removed a set of safety plus, completing the arming process. At 8:15 a.m. at 32,000 feet, Enola Gay dropped her lone bomb, diving away in the prescribed turn as crewman strained to see through almost-opaque goggles.

The bomb detonated with a blast of about 13 kilotons 2,000 feet above the Shima Surgical Clinic, having missed its aiming point by 800 feet. The fire and blast killed 70,000 to 80,000 immediately, with another 70,000 injured. Thousands more would die of radiation-related injuries in coming months and years.

The Enola Gay circled Hiroshima, then headed home, finally landing at 2:58 p.m. after a mission lasting 12 hours, 13 minutes. After Tibbets exited Enola Gay, Gen. Carl “Tooey” Spaatz pinned the Distinguished Service Cross on his coveralls.

Three days later, the B-29 Bockscar dropped a second atomic bomb on Nagasaki. Six days after that, Japan surrendered, ending the most destructive war in world history.

Today, the Enola Gay is on display at the National Air and Space Museum’s Stephen F. Udvar-Hazy Center at Washington Dulles Airport.

Value Package
+ B-17G Flying Fortress
Buy B-17G Sentimental Journey and get B-29 'Enola Gay' at an additional 10% off our everyday low price.
Total Price: $349.90
Price for the Bundle: $332.91
This Item: B-29 'Enola Gay'
B-17G Sentimental Journey
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