5 Reasons Why The B-29’s Gun System Was So Effective

5 Reasons Why The B-29’s Gun System Was So Effective | World War Wings Videos

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Here are five reasons why the B-29’s gun system was so effective during the Second World War

1. The B-29s were armed with 12 Browning M2 .50-caliber machine guns mounted in five turrets. 

The turrets were powered electrically and operated by the bomber’s gunners. Later versions of the plane would include additional .50-cals in the upper forward turret, which significantly enhanced the effectiveness of frontal attacks. 

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2. It featured a computerized central fire control system

Today, a modern, fly-by-wire warplane with a computer-corrected, remotely operated gun turret isn’t all that impressive.

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However, during WWII, the concept was revolutionary. The central fire control became a key feature in the B-29’s success in WWII. 

3. The B-29 was the first plane that used analog computers to remotely aim/fire gun turrets

The B-29’s system has analog electro-mechanical computers that utilize small, electrically-driven mechanical switches.

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They are often called relays, rather than levers and gears. They’re so much quicker than mechanical computers, too.

The B-29 fire control would eventually serve as the model for future bomber defense weapon systems.

4. The turrets uses fire cut-off interrupters and to keep pilots from shooting their own planes

In the heat of battle, friendly fire can be expected. That’s why the B-29 used a “Fire Cut-off Cam”. If the turret was traversing from left to right and encountered the cam, the turret would stop firing until it clears a certain area.

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5. By the end of the war, B-29s exceeds the P-51 Mustang’s air-to-air kill ratio

The B-29s ended WWII with an air-to-air kill ratio of 11.7 to 1 compared to the Mustang’s 11:1

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All in all, the B-29 gun system is extremely effective in WWII as long as enemy experience isn’t first tier. 

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