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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:07 am 
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I decided to step away from my research and take a break for a while. After revisiting the data, I realized a huge error in my theory, not factoring in that Boeing was running two production plants at the same time and each plant would have been using their own Tail Unit Numbers, one for BW - Boeing Wichita, Kansas and one for BN - Boeing Renton, Washington. Each would have be running in Tandem, not correlating or consolidating the Unit Numbers, but rather using their own, 1 to 1620 for BW - Boeing Wichita, Kansas and 1 to 1119 for BN - Boeing Renton.

The key was Taigh's tail. It has a high assembly revision number (-13), but a low unit number (142). The B-29 and B-29A (built at different plants) used many of the same drawings. The B-29 would have used all assembly revision numbers but the B-29A would be only using later revisions of a drawing because production started later.

So with this new consideration, the math works:
BW - Boeing Wichita, Kansas Production:
- C/N 3339 B-29-1-BW 42-6205 to C/N 3355 B-29-1-BW 42-6221, C/N 3357 B-29-1-BW 42-6223, C/N 3359 B-29-1-BW 42-6225, C/N 3360 B-29-1-BW 42-6226, C/N 3361 B-29-1-BW 42-6227, C/N 3362 B-29-1-BW 42-6228, C/N 3368 B-29-1-BW 42-6234, C/N 3370 B-29-1-BW 42-6236, C/N 3372 B-29-1-BW 42-6238, C/N 3373 B-29-1-BW 42-6239, 3374 B-29-1-BW 42-6240, C/N 3375 B-29-1-BW 42-6241, C/N 3376 B-29-1-BW 42-6242 and C/N 3378 B-29-1-BW 42-6244 to C/N 3388 B-29-1-BW 42-6254 = 40 aircraft
- C/N 3389 B-29-5-BW 42-6255 to C/N 3438 B-29-5-BW 42-6304 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 3439 B-29-10-BW 42-6305 to C/N 3488 B-29-10-BW 42-6354 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 3489 B-29-15-BW 42-6355 to C/N 3538 B-29-15-BW 42-6404 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 3539 B-29-20-BW 42-6405 to C/N 3588 B-29-20-BW 42-6454 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 4081 B-29-25-BW 42-24420 to C/N 4130 B-29-25-BW 42-24469 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 4131 B-29-30-BW 42-24470 to C/N 4180 B-29-30-BW 42-24519 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 4181 B-29-35-BW 42-24520 to C/N 4230 B-29-35-BW 42-24569 = 100 aircraft
- C/N 4231 B-29-40-BW 42-24570 to C/N 4330 B-29-40-BW 42-24669 = 100 aircraft
- C/N 4331 B-29-45-BW 42-24670 to C/N 4430 B-29-45-BW 42-24769 = 100 aircraft
- C/N 4431 B-29-50-BW 42-24770 to C/N 4580 B-29-50-BW 42-24919 = 150 aircraft
- C/N 10487 B-29-55-BW 44-69655 to C/N 10536 B-29-55-BW 44-69704 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 10537 B-29-60-BW 44-69705 to C/N 10636 B-29-60-BW 44-69804 = 100 aircraft
- C/N 10637 B-29-65-BW 44-69805 to C/N 10736 B-29-65-BW 44-69904 = 100 aircraft
So the 998th B-29 tail produced at Boeing Wichita, Kansas would be attached to an aircraft in Block 65 of production. The only B-29 that was in Block 65 of production and ended up at China Lake is: C/N 10687 B-29-65-BW 44-69855, "Little Jeff" of 6th Bomb Group.

To prove the theory further:
BN - Boeing Renton, Washington Production:
- C/N 7231 B-29A-1-BN 42-93824 to 7250 C/N B-29A-1-BN 42-93843 = 20 aircraft
- C/N 7251 B-29A-5-BN 42-93844 to 7280 C/N B-29A-5-BN 42-93873 = 30 aircraft
- C/N 7281 B-29A-10-BN 42-93874 to 7330 C/N B-29A-10-BN 42-93923 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 7331 B-29A-15-BN 42-93924 to 7380 C/N B-29A-15-BN 42-93973 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 7381 B-29A-20-BN 42-93974 to 7430 C/N B-29A-20-BN 42-94023 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 7431 B-29A-25-BN 42-94024 to 7480 C/N B-29A-25-BN 42-94073 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 7481 B-29A-30-BN 42-94074 to 7530 C/N B-29A-30-BN 42-94123 = 50 aircraft
- C/N 10987 B-29A-35-BN 44-61510 to C/N 11086 B-29A-35-BN 44-61609 = 100 aircraft
- C/N 11087 B-29A-40-BN 44-61610 to C/N 11186 B-29A-40-BN 44-61709 = 100 aircraft
- C/N 11187 B-29A-45-BN 44-61710 to C/N 11286 B-29A-45-BN 44-61809 = 100 aircraft
The 528th B-29A tail produced at Boeing Renton, Washington would be attached to an aircraft in Block 45 of production. The tail marked with UNIT 528 was attached to Craft Number 11216, B-29A-45-BN 44-61739, New England Air Museum, and attached to "Jacks Hack" during restoration.

_________________
Thanks,
Van
Kosovo, Afghanistan (x2) and Iraq Campaign Veteran
B-29 42-24791 "Big Time Operator"
C-47A 43-15137 "7H" Normandy/Holland Vet
SNJ-5B S/N 84947
UC-45F 43-35764 Cockpit
PT-26A 42-71104
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PostPosted: Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:40 pm 
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Hi Van, this is an interesting discussion! Let me see if I can take a crack at it :wink:

First, let's look at the assy # for your "unpainted tail," which is 3-14335-13. This tells us right away that it is for a B-29A, and was installed beginning with serial # 42-93874 and on. That means it did not come off of any B-29 other than an A model.

Second, there is no correlation between the "unit number" of the tail compartment and the construction number of the B-29 it was bolted on to. What I have seen though is partial (and sometimes full) C/N's written in grease pencil on various components and assemblies.

Third, B-29 parts can be very confusing. There were constant changes and revisions going on during production, but the parts catalog can help us here too.

For instance: 3-14335-10 tail compartments were used on B-29A's 42-93824 to 42-93873. The -11 tail compartments were also used in this same S/N range as well. The -12 tail compartments were used on B-29A's 42-93874 to 42-94123.

The -13 tail compartment was used on B-29A 42-93874 and on, but my parts catalog does not show the S/N that this particular dash ended on. The A model parts catalog also lists tail compartments 3-14335 without a dash number, and they were also used beginning with 42-93874 and on.

So what we know from the assy # is that your "unpainted tail" is from a B-29A whose AAF serial number was above 42-93874.

Now to bring it all home, if we apply Occam's Razor, about the simplest solution, your "unpainted tail" has the S/N 44-62208 painted inside it. I'd say that was your B-29A (a Renton Block 65).

One thing to keep in mind here Van is that the S/N list on the China Lake Alumni website is NOT an accurate accounting of all the B-29s that were at China Lake. In fact, it's FAR from complete. Based on my research, which is still ongoing, there were a lot of B-29s that met their end at China Lake, but none of their individual record cards show them as being disposed of at China Lake. And yet, they were there.

The other thing to keep in mind is that both of your tail compartments came from Bill Huffman at Mobile Smelters, via Gary Larkins. Mobile Smelters was already operating in the 1950s at China Lake, and by the time Gary first arrived at Bill's yard in Mojave in the 1970s, there were, to use his words to me, "a big pile [of turrets] about the size of a house" at the yard. That is where your two tails, my tail, and a lot of other parts came from. This fact also tells us that a lot of the parts that came out of Bill's yard would not appear on any published serial number list, such as the one on the China Lake Alumni website, because all of those B-29s were already blown up before that list was compiled.

Another piece of evidence is that your "unpainted tail" was painted black before the TB-29 conversion. 44-62208 was a Korea vet ("Miss Liberty Belle") and would have been painted black at some point during the war.

What I would suggest you do now Van is pull the record card for 44-62208 from Maxwell and it will show if it was indeed converted to a TB-29. You would then have conclusive proof of the ID, and owe me a beer (even though I don't drink!) :wink:

_________________
~Trevor McIntyre, "For Mother and Country - a B-29er's War"
http://www.motherandcountry.com


Last edited by B29Gunner on Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:16 am, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Thu Jan 22, 2015 10:21 am 
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Good morning Trevor! Thank you for jumping in! :D
First, I have discontinued the direct correlation between Craft Number of the A/C and the Unit Number stamped in the tail, other than for linear production tracking purposes and ease of discussion in this thread.

I do want to point out, that all of the discussion here is for the average reader, with lots of explaining done so everyone can follow along, and not directed as a challenge directed at anyone making a reply. The focus is preserving history and not ruffling feathers. :wink:

Trevor, what are the markings in your B-29 tail?

B29Gunner wrote:
First, let's look at the assy # for your "unpainted tail," which is 3-14335-13. This tells us right away that it is for a B-29A, and was installed beginning with serial # 42-93874 and on. That means it did not come off of any B-29 other than an A model.

So, let’s discuss this first. The unpainted tail that I own is marked ASSY 3-14335-13 UNIT 998 and the one that was attached B-29A-45-BN 44-61739, New England Air Museum, and attached to "Jacks Hack" is marked: ASSY 3-14335-16 UNIT 528. The -13 and -16 is the revision of the original drawing of the part: 3-14335. So why does my tail have UNIT 998 as a -13 revision and UNIT 538 have a -16 revision. With my posting on Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:07 am, the arithmetic works almost perfectly for unit number working almost exactly with the aircraft # produced in the factory, B-29A-45-BN 44-61739 was the 530th B-29A produced at Renton, with a tail unit number of 538. Do you have documentation that only -13 revision numbers were only produced at Renton?

B29Gunner wrote:
Second, there is no correlation between the "unit number" of the tail compartment and the construction number of the B-29 it was bolted on to. What I have seen though is partial (and sometimes full) C/N's written in grease pencil on various components and assemblies.
I agree. I’m still including the Craft Numbers in this discussion only for ease of thorough tracking and so this thread shows up if someone “googles” a Craft Number for a B-29 when they are doing research.
B29Gunner wrote:
Third, B-29 parts can be very confusing. There were constant changes and revisions going on during production, but the parts catalog can help us here too.
Ah yes, I agree! But, there are a few factors that are 100% true when it comes wartime production, everything came down to $. A contract was specified between the United States Government and the manufacturer. When a change or revision went into effect, it changed the $ amount for the contract, increase or decrease. Changes were not done on the fly because someone “wanted to”. A minor change in a drawing for a part created a revision (the -13, for example, in this discussion). A major change in production would be B-29 to B-29A or B-29B, because there were major changes in the design. Every change had to be approved before being put into actual production because it all came down to $. Most changes in any wartime production would be put into effect in the next contract production block (because the price would go up or down for that block of production). This applies to Jeeps, Rifles, Airplanes….anything being produced for the government.

B29Gunner wrote:
For instance: 3-14335-10 tail compartments were used on B-29A's 42-93824 to 42-93873. The -11 tail compartments were also used in this same S/N range as well. The -12 tail compartments were used on B-29A's 42-93874 to 42-94123.
Now you REALLY have my attention. AWESOME! :D Do you have the blueprints that support this, that these tail unit revisions were ONLY used at Renton and not used at Wichita?
Is this info from the Boeing B-29 Aircraft Parts Catalog Manual AN 01-20EJ-4?
If so or not, what is the name and date of the manual you are referencing?

B29Gunner wrote:
The -13 tail compartment was used on B-29A 42-93874 and on, but my parts catalog does not show the S/N that this particular dash ended on. The A model parts catalog also lists tail compartments 3-14335 without a dash number, and they were also used beginning with 42-93874 and on.
Which manual or manuals are you referencing so everyone can follow along. Please also include the date the manual was produced.
B29Gunner wrote:
Now to bring it all home, if we apply Occam's Razor, about the simplest solution, your "unpainted tail" has the S/N 44-62208 painted inside it. I'd say that was your B-29A (a Renton Block 60).
Although that is spray painted on the inside, and not totally discounting it yet, Boeing B-29A-65-BN 44-62208 would have been built AFTER B-29A-45-BN 44-61739 (New England Air Museum, and attached to "Jacks Hack" is marked: ASSY 3-14335-16 UNIT 528). B-29A-65-BN 44-62208 would NOT have had a -13 revision tail after a -16 tail.

B29Gunner wrote:
One thing to keep in mind here Van is that the S/N list on the China Lake Alumni website is NOT an accurate accounting of all the B-29s that were at China Lake. In fact, it's FAR from complete. Based on my research, which is still ongoing, there were a lot of B-29s that met their end at China Lake, but none of their individual record cards show them as being disposed of at China Lake. And yet, they were there.
I totally agree. They were using them as ground targets…and not keeping them to preserve history, so the accurate accounting is not there. But, what is available is a start.

B29Gunner wrote:
The other thing to keep in mind is that both of your tail compartments came from Bill Huffman at Mobile Smelters, via Gary Larkins. Mobile Smelters was already operating in the 1950s at China Lake, and by the time Gary first arrived at Bill's yard in Mojave in the 1970s, there were, to use his words to me, "a big pile [of turrets] about the size of a house" at the yard. That is where your two tails, my tail, and a lot of other parts came from. This fact also tells us that a lot of the parts that came out of Bill's yard would not appear on any published serial number list, such as the one on the China Lake Alumni website, because all of those B-29s were already blown up before that list was compiled.
I have TOTALLY taken this into consideration. No one cared, not even into the 1980s the “actual” history of these aircraft. They were being scrapped. And the ones that were saved were put into some museums or used in the movie industry. Only recently has provenance played a key role in preservation.

B29Gunner wrote:
Another piece of evidence is that your "unpainted tail" was painted black before the TB-29 conversion. 44-62208 was a Korea vet ("Miss Liberty Belle") and would have been painted black at some point during the war.
I have also considered this, but it also comes down to the TB-29 conversion aspect and my discussion above about Boeing B-29A-65-BN 44-62208 would have been built AFTER B-29A-45-BN 44-61739 (New England Air Museum, and attached to "Jacks Hack" is marked: ASSY 3-14335-16 UNIT 528). B-29A-65-BN 44-62208 would NOT have had a -13 revision tail after a -16 tail.

B29Gunner wrote:
What I would suggest you do now Van is pull the record card for 44-62208 from Maxwell and it will show if it was indeed converted to a TB-29. You would then have conclusive proof of the ID, and owe me a beer (even though I don't drink!) :wink:
I have already looked at the microfiche at the Smithsonian Air and Space archives for every one of the 67 B-29s listed there were disposed of at China Lake, and almost none of them are there because they saw service after 1953, and that is as far as the Smithsonian archives go. So, there are a bunch of history cards that I need to see if are at Maxwell. The other (here comes the additional headache) variable is IF the aircraft were officially transferred to the United States Navy, the history cards many not be at Maxwell because the Navy officially took ownership of them.

Great discussion Trevor, thanks!

_________________
Thanks,
Van
Kosovo, Afghanistan (x2) and Iraq Campaign Veteran
B-29 42-24791 "Big Time Operator"
C-47A 43-15137 "7H" Normandy/Holland Vet
SNJ-5B S/N 84947
UC-45F 43-35764 Cockpit
PT-26A 42-71104
LNE-1 S/N 31556
CG-15A Cockpit
CG-4A Cockpit (x2) and fuselage
Follow QuestMasters on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/QuestMastersMuseum
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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 4:16 am 
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Hi Van, I'm happy to help my friend! There's not many of us with this level of interest in the B-29 and we have to stick together, ha! :wink:

A few more points to add:

Quest Master wrote:
So, let’s discuss this first. The unpainted tail that I own is marked ASSY 3-14335-13 UNIT 998 and the one that was attached B-29A-45-BN 44-61739, New England Air Museum, and attached to "Jacks Hack" is marked: ASSY 3-14335-16 UNIT 528. The -13 and -16 is the revision of the original drawing of the part: 3-14335. So why does my tail have UNIT 998 as a -13 revision and UNIT 538 have a -16 revision. With my posting on Wed Jan 21, 2015 10:07 am, the arithmetic works almost perfectly for unit number working almost exactly with the aircraft # produced in the factory, B-29A-45-BN 44-61739 was the 530th B-29A produced at Renton, with a tail unit number of 538. Do you have documentation that only -13 revision numbers were only produced at Renton?


First, you are assuming that assy # 3-14335-16 is a B-29A tail compartment. According to the B-29A parts catalog I have, the highest dash it shows is a -13.

Second, as you point out, the rear fuselage of 44-61739 was also pulled out of Aberdeen and bolted onto "Jack's Hack" at NEAM, which is commonly known. What isn't commonly known is that NEAM later received a spare tail gunner compartment from Tony M. (Doc) that was part of a trade, to be used in the restro of "Jack's Hack" -- either for parts, or the entire compartment. Did that tail gunner compartment end up on "Jack's Hack?" It's been so long that I don't remember now.

Third, if you want to do some more math (and who doesn't?? :D), begin with B-29A 42-93874, and then, following the production at Renton, add in the Unit # 998 from your "unpainted tail." That takes you to Block 70. Then you have to take into account spares, etc, which is an unknown variable, but it is not a stretch to say that the final number would fall somewhere around Block 65/Block 70. B-29A 44-62208 is a Block 65.

(Note: I mistakenly said that 44-62208 was a Block 60 in my last post, and I did not catch the error until I just looked at it again...but hey, I had been working on an old Huey all day and my brain was fried, ha! I've corrected it now to avoid any confusion.)

Quest Master wrote:
Changes were not done on the fly because someone “wanted to”.


I don't think we want to get into the minutia of B-29 production here, but that is not accurate with regards to the B-29. There were so many changes and revisions going on (and lots of poor communication about doing so) that you even had modifications being performed to modifications at the mod centers. Confused yet? So was everyone else, and that was the problem. It got so bad that they actually froze the design of the B-29 for a period of time in order to keep the production lines moving, because the lines could not keep up with all of the changes. Vander Meulen's book "Building the B-29" is a good read on the subject if anyone is interested, and I cover this in my book as well.

Quest Master wrote:
A minor change in a drawing for a part created a revision (the -13, for example, in this discussion).


You're talking about two different things there. 3-14335-13 is the assembly number for the entire, completed, tail gunner compartment. Minor changes to the parts that make up that entire assembly would not have resulted in a new (higher) dash number for the complete assembly. But, those specific parts that were changed would have of course resulted in a new revision # added to the part number for that specific part, or resulted in an entirely new part number altogether.

Quest Master wrote:
Now you REALLY have my attention. AWESOME! :D Do you have the blueprints that support this, that these tail unit revisions were ONLY used at Renton and not used at Wichita? Is this info from the Boeing B-29 Aircraft Parts Catalog Manual AN 01-20EJ-4? If so or not, what is the name and date of the manual you are referencing?


It's all in the parts catalog. One thing I should point out is that the B-29A had its own parts catalog, which most people are not aware of. The B-29s produced at Boeing-Wichita, Bell-Marietta, and Martin-Omaha are all covered together in a separate parts catalog, but it does not show the assy #'s for the tail compartments they each used (at least not in my copy anyway). However, the B-29A parts catalog does give this info, and 3-14335-13 is what was used on the B-29A (in addition to the other dashes as noted in my first post).

Quest Master wrote:
Although that is spray painted on the inside, and not totally discounting it yet, Boeing B-29A-65-BN 44-62208 would have been built AFTER B-29A-45-BN 44-61739 (New England Air Museum, and attached to "Jacks Hack" is marked: ASSY 3-14335-16 UNIT 528). B-29A-65-BN 44-62208 would NOT have had a -13 revision tail after a -16 tail.


Again, you are assuming that a -16 is a B-29A tail compartment. The B-29A parts catalog I have only shows up to a -13 tail compartment.

Quest Master wrote:
I totally agree. They were using them as ground targets…and not keeping them to preserve history, so the accurate accounting is not there. But, what is available is a start.


I only mentioned this fact because you, and others, have been using that S/N list a definitive source when making various assertions, such as, "The only B-29 that was in Block 65 of production and ended up at China Lake is: C/N 10687 B-29-65-BW 44-69855, "Little Jeff" of 6th Bomb Group," which of course is not an accurate statement, because there is no way to know that. We will probably never have an accurate accounting of all the B-29s that were at China Lake, but I'm sure gonna try with my research! :D

Quest Master wrote:
I have already looked at the microfiche at the Smithsonian Air and Space archives for every one of the 67 B-29s listed there were disposed of at China Lake, and almost none of them are there because they saw service after 1953, and that is as far as the Smithsonian archives go. So, there are a bunch of history cards that I need to see if are at Maxwell. The other (here comes the additional headache) variable is IF the aircraft were officially transferred to the United States Navy, the history cards many not be at Maxwell because the Navy officially took ownership of them.


Maxwell will have the record card for 44-62208, and according to Bob Mann's book, will show it in storage at Davis-Monthan in 1955. The majority of the B-29s that I've identified as being destroyed at China Lake, but which do not appear on the China Lake Alumni S/N list, came from Davis-Monthan, and were never "officially" transferred to the Navy. It appears that they were struck from the AF inventory, and then ferried out to China Lake. This move would not have been reflected in their records cards because the last entry already listed them as reclaimed, salvaged, etc, and the AF was not keeping track of them any longer. Again, my research into all of these B-29s is still ongoing, but I will be posting my findings at some point in the future.

Quest Master wrote:
The focus is preserving history and not ruffling feathers.


I do not have any feathers that I'm aware of :P

_________________
~Trevor McIntyre, "For Mother and Country - a B-29er's War"
http://www.motherandcountry.com


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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 2:27 pm 
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Ok, this is why I started this thread….asking for more data on the markings inside of B-29 tails, so that there is no assumption, but rather fact that I can base a theory on. Since no one has jumped in on this thread that actually put B-29s together during WWII, I have to base theory on surviving B-29s and the scattered documentation that is available. Can you provide any tail markings to add to the theory?

B29Gunner wrote:
First, you are assuming that assy # 3-14335-16 is a B-29A tail compartment. According to the B-29A parts catalog I have, the highest dash it shows is a -13.

Again, I assume you are talking about “B-29 Aircraft Parts Catalog Manual AN 01-20EJ-4”, dated: “something”, correct? As we all know, these manuals were produced to maintain these aircraft during the war, not to document their production or aid in restoration decades later. If it is a post WWII manual, it gets even more sketchy because they are a consolidation of data used to keep aircraft in service well after production and often loosing production details.

Side note, before I delved into the B-29 realm I was a B-24 guy, with one of the largest private B-24 collections, which has now been split up between the YAM and CAF. I’ve been down this A/C production twist before. Since the B-24 moved on, I filled the gap with B-29 stuff…and going down a similar path, this time with different factories.

B29Gunner wrote:
Second, as you point out, the rear fuselage of 44-61739 was also pulled out of Aberdeen and bolted onto "Jack's Hack" at NEAM, which is commonly known. What isn't commonly known is that NEAM later received a spare tail gunner compartment from Tony M. (Doc) that was part of a trade, to be used in the restro of "Jack's Hack" -- either for parts, or the entire compartment. Did that tail gunner compartment end up on "Jack's Hack?" It's been so long that I don't remember now.

I am not assuming that Assy 3-14335-16 Unit 538 belonged to B-29A-45-BN 44-61739 (NEAM, currently attached to Jack’s Hack) but rather that is the information that was documented and provided. B-29A-45-BN 44-61739, was a B-29A and built at Renton. Until I have more tail data from other documented B-29 aircraft, I have to use this as fact.

B29Gunner wrote:
Third, if you want to do some more math (and who doesn't?? ), begin with B-29A 42-93874, and then, following the production at Renton, add in the Unit # 998 from your "unpainted tail." That takes you to Block 70. Then you have to take into account spares, etc, which is an unknown variable, but it is not a stretch to say that the final number would fall somewhere around Block 65/Block 70. B-29A 44-62208 is a Block 65.
(Note: I mistakenly said that 44-62208 was a Block 60 in my last post, and I did not catch the error until I just looked at it again...but hey, I had been working on an old Huey all day and my brain was fried, ha! I've corrected it now to avoid any confusion.)

The hang up I have here, with what you said, is: my tail is ASSY 3-14335-13 UNIT 998 (dash 13) could not have come after ASSY 3-14335-16 Unit 538 (dash 16) B-29A-45-BN 44-61739. I understand spare parts (engines, radios, guns, tires, bulbs and such…all provided by sub-contractors BTW), can you provide documentation that the United States Government ordered spare wings, cockpits, empennages and tails from Boeing Renton or Boeing Wichita for B-29’s? I cannot, so I am discounting the “spare” theory in production markings on major assemblies, such as the tail enclosure.

B29Gunner wrote:
You're talking about two different things there. 3-14335-13 is the assembly number for the entire, completed, tail gunner compartment. Minor changes to the parts that make up that entire assembly would not have resulted in a new (higher) dash number for the complete assembly. But, those specific parts that were changed would have of course resulted in a new revision # added to the part number for that specific part, or resulted in an entirely new part number altogether.

Ummm no. The ASSEMBLY number is the reference to the Drawing and Part Number. In this case: 3-14335 is the part number for the gunners enclosure on the B-29, which encompassed a slew of additional part numbers contained within (each with their own part number). The assembly number 3-14335 was used by all three manufacturers of the B-29. The suffix or dash number at the end of the part number is the revision of the original drawing of that assembly. I didn’t want to add any cross pollination of manufacturers in this thread, but this is the data plate from the Hudson built tail (Hudson built the gunners enclosure on Martin built B-29’s) with the Drawing and Part number 3-14335-14 (which is for the entire tail assembly):
Image

B29Gunner wrote:
It's all in the parts catalog. One thing I should point out is that the B-29A had its own parts catalog, which most people are not aware of. The B-29s produced at Boeing-Wichita, Bell-Marietta, and Martin-Omaha are all covered together in a separate parts catalog, but it does not show the assy #'s for the tail compartments they each used (at least not in my copy anyway). However, the B-29A parts catalog does give this info, and 3-14335-13 is what was used on the B-29A (in addition to the other dashes as noted in my first post).

Yes, everything provided to the United States Government has its own parts catalog, that is part of the contract, providing documentation. In the case of the B-29 each manufacturer, Bell/Martin/Boeing provided documentation, but often, it is consolidated into one frustrating manual. AND THEN, if that item (weapon, vehicle, aircraft etc) is used after WWII, it is consolidated into another manual that is sometime even more vague with production details. So, again, what manual are you referencing?

Back to 3-14335-13, if you look at the photo I posted above, this data plate was only installed on Martin built B-29’s (Built by Hudson), and I have a photo of the one in “Bocks Car” in another thread if you would like me to add it. “Bocks Car” was not a B-29A and it has the part number 3-14335-14. Bock's Car was delivered 19 March 1945, just as an added reference for production part numbers specific to the tail enclosure for Martin, which is not the full scope of this thread. This thread is for Boeing produced tail enclosures and the linear production for Assy 3-14335 and revisions.

So….

Back to the original point of this thread, can anyone provide other tail assembly part and unit numbers (for ANY mfg) for consolidation into a theory for assistance in identification of the tail gunner’s enclosures that I have in the collection?

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 8:38 pm 
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Hi Van, another great discussion my friend! :D

A few more points:

Quest Master wrote:
Again, I assume you are talking about “B-29 Aircraft Parts Catalog Manual AN 01-20EJ-4”, dated: “something”, correct?


Affirmative. And AN 01-20EJ-4A.

Quest Master wrote:
As we all know, these manuals were produced to maintain these aircraft during the war, not to document their production or aid in restoration decades later. If it is a post WWII manual, it gets even more sketchy because they are a consolidation of data used to keep aircraft in service well after production and often loosing production details.


Not true. They do exactly that. The B-29 parts catalogs are an indispensable tool and literally worth their weight in gold. The reason why is because they will tell you the EXACT serial number range of the B-29s that each and every single individual part was used on.

For example, the B-29A parts catalog tells us that the B-29A used the following tail gunner compartments in the following serial number ranges:

3-14335-10 -- B-29A 42-93824 to 42-93873.
3-14335-11 -- B-29A 42-93824 to 42-93873.
3-14335-12 -- B-29A 42-93874 to 42-94123.
3-14335-13 -- B-29A 42-93874 and on.

What the above means Van is that those tail gunner compartments were manufactured exclusively for, and bolted exclusively onto, B-29A's. None of the above tail gunner compartments were produced by any other B-29 manufacturer, or subcontractor, for any B-29 other than an A model. Now, could one of the above tail gunner compartments ended up on a B-29 other than an A model? Sure, if it was swapped out for a damaged one, etc. while in service. But lets be clear about this: Boeing-Wichita did not produce any B-29s with the above tail gunner compartment assembly numbers - specifically, the dash numbers 10 through 13. Neither did Bell-Marietta. Neither did Martin-Omaha.

Quest Master wrote:
The hang up I have here, with what you said, is: my tail is ASSY 3-14335-13 UNIT 998 (dash 13) could not have come after ASSY 3-14335-16 Unit 538 (dash 16) B-29A-45-BN 44-61739.


B-29A-45-BN 44-61739 did not roll off the assembly line with a 3-14335-16 tail gunner compartment. 3-14335-16 was made by a different manufacturer for a different B-29 that was not an A model. The parts catalog tells us this. If 3-14335-16 was produced for the B-29A, it would be in the parts catalog. It is not. The 3-14335-16 tail gunner compartment that's currently bolted onto "Jack's Hack" came from a different B-29 at some point in time, either while 44-61739 was still in service, during the recovery from Aberdeen, or during the restoration. 44-61739 did not come out of Renton with that tail gunner compartment bolted on it.

3-14335-13 UNIT 998 and 3-14335-16 Unit 538 have no relevance to one another because they were built by different manufactures for different B-29 models.

Again, to be clear about this: B-29A-45-BN 44-61739 was not manufactured with a 3-14335-16 tail gunner compartment. It originally would of had a 3-14335-13 tail gunner compartment when it left the factory. How it later ended up with a 3-14335-16 tail gunner compartment is a separate issue.

To add more clarity, the four B-29 factories used their own, unique, dash numbers following the assembly number for their tail gunner compartments. You mentioned the Martin-Omaha tail mfd. by Hudson, which is 3-14335-14. They were the only ones who built tail gunner compartments with that particular dash number.

Quest Master wrote:
Ummm no. The ASSEMBLY number is the reference to the Drawing and Part Number. In this case: 3-14335 is the part number for the gunners enclosure on the B-29, which encompassed a slew of additional part numbers contained within (each with their own part number).


I think we're both saying the same thing here, only we're saying it differently. For the sake of anyone trying to follow along (if there's anyone left, ha! :P ) 3-14335 is the assembly number for the complete tail gunner compartment assembly, which is further distinguished by a dash number at the end, such as 3-14335-13. It is not a part number for a single, individual part. If we want to be technical about it, Boeing refers to 3-14335 as "Body Assembly - Tail Section 45."

Quest Master wrote:
Yes, everything provided to the United States Government has its own parts catalog, that is part of the contract, providing documentation. In the case of the B-29 each manufacturer, Bell/Martin/Boeing provided documentation, but often, it is consolidated into one frustrating manual. AND THEN, if that item (weapon, vehicle, aircraft etc) is used after WWII, it is consolidated into another manual that is sometime even more vague with production details. So, again, what manual are you referencing?


See above. On a personal note, I've always found the B-29 parts catalogs to be extremely detailed, well laid out, and easy to use. I can't speak for all the parts catalogs of every other aircraft used during the war, but I will say that the P-51 parts catalog made blood shoot out of my eyes after only 5 minutes! :P

Quest Master wrote:
Back to 3-14335-13, if you look at the photo I posted above, this data plate was only installed on Martin built B-29’s (Built by Hudson), and I have a photo of the one in “Bocks Car” in another thread if you would like me to add it. “Bocks Car” was not a B-29A and it has the part number 3-14335-14.


See above. 3-14335-14 tail gunner compartments were not built for B-29A's.

Quest Master wrote:
Back to the original point of this thread, can anyone provide other tail assembly part and unit numbers (for ANY mfg) for consolidation into a theory for assistance in identification of the tail gunner’s enclosures that I have in the collection?


No theory needed Van. The facts are already in this thread. You just have to pull the record card for 44-62208 from Maxwell and all will be well buddy :D

If I can be of any further assistance, please don't hesitate to ask Van! I'm always happy to help out a fellow B-29er in any way I can!! :wink:

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PostPosted: Fri Jan 23, 2015 10:19 pm 
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I've asked this several times, what is the date of printing the single manual you are referencing? Is it an original manual or a consolidated internet CD manual?

Can you provide the drawing, part or assembly number for your tail enclosure that you own, or any other known or documented B-29, that still exists, for reference?

Thank you for the discussion.

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B-29 42-24791 "Big Time Operator"
C-47A 43-15137 "7H" Normandy/Holland Vet
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UC-45F 43-35764 Cockpit
PT-26A 42-71104
LNE-1 S/N 31556
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 2:54 am 
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Quest Master wrote:
I've asked this several times, what is the date of printing the single manual you are referencing? Is it an original manual or a consolidated internet CD manual?


Hi Van, I'm using two -4's, as follows: 20 July 1945, Revised 1 September 1945, and 20 October 1944, Revised 15 March 1945. Both are page-for-page hard copies of the original manuals, not CD's, or from CD's. When it comes to "working" manuals such as these, I prefer to use copies instead of the originals if at all possible, so I don't have to worry about my dirty hands messing them up when I'm working on something. :wink:

Quest Master wrote:
Can you provide the drawing, part or assembly number for your tail enclosure that you own, or any other known or documented B-29, that still exists, for reference?


Negative. Mine was hacked in half to (presumably) gain better access to the armor plates, which the scrappers then didn't even get around to removing after all of that work. You can see this tail gunner compartment in my video "The Life and Death of the Boeing B-29 Superfortress," as well as some other B-29 "relics" from my collection, here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=53qyC8z2HX4

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 12:03 pm 
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B29Gunner wrote:
Affirmative. And AN 01-20EJ-4A.

B29Gunner wrote:
Hi Van, I'm using two -4's, as follows: 20 July 1945, Revised 1 September 1945, and 20 October 1944, Revised 15 March 1945. Both are page-for-page hard copies of the original manuals

Ok, here is where we may have a problem.
The AN 01-20EJ-4 is only for the B-29 Superfortress.
The AN 01-20EJA-4 is for the B-29A Superfortress.
Again, which manual do you have?

I have a copy of AN 01-20EJ-4, USAF Series B-29, KB-29M and KB-29P, dated 20 July 1945, Revised 20 December 1950, printed 20 February 1951 – Mendle Printing Co.

Will you please site the specific page, or publish a .jpg of the section here in this thread that states the information, that the specific revision numbers for part 3-14335, the tail gunner enclosure, were ONLY used on specific models or manufacturers of the Superfortress? I would like to see where it states “ONLY used”, for example: ASSY 3-14335-XX only used in B-29A-XX-BN 44-XXXXX.

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Van
Kosovo, Afghanistan (x2) and Iraq Campaign Veteran
B-29 42-24791 "Big Time Operator"
C-47A 43-15137 "7H" Normandy/Holland Vet
SNJ-5B S/N 84947
UC-45F 43-35764 Cockpit
PT-26A 42-71104
LNE-1 S/N 31556
CG-15A Cockpit
CG-4A Cockpit (x2) and fuselage
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 4:38 pm 
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Quest Master wrote:
Ok, here is where we may have a problem.
The AN 01-20EJ-4 is only for the B-29 Superfortress.
The AN 01-20EJA-4 is for the B-29A Superfortress.
Again, which manual do you have?


I have both. :wink:


Quest Master wrote:
Will you please site the specific page, or publish a .jpg of the section here in this thread that states the information, that the specific revision numbers for part 3-14335, the tail gunner enclosure, were ONLY used on specific models or manufacturers of the Superfortress? I would like to see where it states “ONLY used”, for example: ASSY 3-14335-XX only used in B-29A-XX-BN 44-XXXXX.


Roger that. Here's just one example.

Image

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 6:18 pm 
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What does it say in your copy of AN 01-20EJ-4?

And, that picture, from AN 01-20EJ-4A, states that it was used on those aircraft, but does not say that the 3-14335-11 or -13 was not used by any other manufacturer, since that excerpt is from the manual for the B-29A. It says INCL (inclusive) not exclusive.

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Van
Kosovo, Afghanistan (x2) and Iraq Campaign Veteran
B-29 42-24791 "Big Time Operator"
C-47A 43-15137 "7H" Normandy/Holland Vet
SNJ-5B S/N 84947
UC-45F 43-35764 Cockpit
PT-26A 42-71104
LNE-1 S/N 31556
CG-15A Cockpit
CG-4A Cockpit (x2) and fuselage
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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 8:52 pm 
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Quest Master wrote:
What does it say in your copy of AN 01-20EJ-4?


01-20EJ-4 does not list the assy numbers with the B-29 S/N ranges they were used on, as I previously mentioned a couple posts ago. However, 01-20EJ-4 does list the individual parts and assemblies of the complete tail gunner compartments by the B-29 S/N ranges they were used on, and which manufacturer used them.

Quest Master wrote:
And, that picture, from AN 01-20EJ-4A, states that it was used on those aircraft, but does not say that the 3-14335-11 or -13 was not used by any other manufacturer, since that excerpt is from the manual for the B-29A. It says INCL (inclusive) not exclusive.


It does. You just have to compare the part numbers to see it. :wink:

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PostPosted: Sat Jan 24, 2015 10:15 pm 
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B29Gunner wrote:
01-20EJ-4 does not list the assy numbers with the B-29 S/N ranges they were used on, as I previously mentioned a couple posts ago. However, 01-20EJ-4 does list the individual parts and assemblies of the complete tail gunner compartments by the B-29 S/N ranges they were used on, and which manufacturer used them.


As I previously asked, please post an image, from this specific the this manual: AN 01-20EJ-4 that states that ONLY these Assembly numbers were used in specific serial number ranges of B-29's made by Boeing, Wichita. If you are unable to, just say so.

B29Gunner wrote:
It does. You just have to compare the part numbers to see it. :wink:


I have looked in the manual I have, listed clearly above by full title and date. I do not see what you believe you are talking about. You posted an image that has two part numbers listed in a manual for only the B-29A.

So, I believe we are done here with this manual discussion. Unless additional data can be provided from the gunners enclosure from existing B-29's or B-29A's, this dialog is simply additional speculation and outside of the scope of the original scope of the request of this thread.

Thank you for your time Trevor.

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Van
Kosovo, Afghanistan (x2) and Iraq Campaign Veteran
B-29 42-24791 "Big Time Operator"
C-47A 43-15137 "7H" Normandy/Holland Vet
SNJ-5B S/N 84947
UC-45F 43-35764 Cockpit
PT-26A 42-71104
LNE-1 S/N 31556
CG-15A Cockpit
CG-4A Cockpit (x2) and fuselage
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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 5:09 am 
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Quest Master wrote:
As I previously asked, please post an image, from this specific the this manual: AN 01-20EJ-4 that states that ONLY these Assembly numbers were used in specific serial number ranges of B-29's made by Boeing, Wichita. If you are unable to, just say so.


Hi Van,

Here's one random page from 01-20EJ-4, and how to use it. For example, lets look at 9-5474 "Panel Assy - Tail gunners oxygen." Notice off to the right, under "Usage Code," is the letter "A." When then go down to the bottom, where you will see different serial number ranges that each have a different letter in front of them. In this case, "Usage Code A" tells us that this assy was used on 41-36954 to 42-6254. We then turn to the front of the parts catalog, where we will find a serial number chart. We then locate that serial number range on the chart, and then look over to the two columns next to it, one for Bell, and one for Martin. If those two columns also list a serial number range, then we know this assy was also used on Bell and/or Martin B-29s within the serial number ranges given. If there are no entries in those columns, then that means the assy was only used on Boeing-Wichita B-29s. In this particular case, with assy 9-5474, it was only used on Boeing-Wichita B-29s.

Image

Quest Master wrote:
I have looked in the manual I have, listed clearly above by full title and date. I do not see what you believe you are talking about. You posted an image that has two part numbers listed in a manual for only the B-29A.

So, I believe we are done here with this manual discussion. Unless additional data can be provided from the gunners enclosure from existing B-29's or B-29A's, this dialog is simply additional speculation and outside of the scope of the original scope of the request of this thread.


Yes, it appears we've beaten this horse dead :D But what I would suggest you do Van is obtain copies of 01-20EJ-4 and 01-20EJ-4A and simply compare the parts they each show for the tail gunner compartments. You will discover differences in the part numbers. I will give you one very specific example: the upper retainers for the rear armored glass. If tail gunner compartment assy 3-14335-13 was produced by other manufacturers, not just limited to the B-29A, then 01-20EJ-4 would list that exact same part number for the retainers. But it doesn't. The P/N that 01-20EJ-4 lists for those retainers, which it shows was used on all tail gunner compartments for Boeing-Wichita, Bell-Marietta, and Martin-Omaha, is different from the P/N that 01-20EJ-4A shows was used on all of the A model tail compartments. This is just one of the signs that tell us that assy 3-14335-13 was produced only for the B-29A. If that was not the case, then all of the P/N's would be the same. But they are not.

On a side note, I've not looked at a copy of the post-war parts catalog you have, so I cannot speak to what is and what isn't listed in it. If at all possible, try to find the WWII era editions, as it sounds like they are much more detailed?

Quest Master wrote:
Thank you for your time Trevor.


No problem my friend! It's been a very interesting discussion! :)

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PostPosted: Sun Jan 25, 2015 10:42 am 
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Trevor, thank you for finally conceding that you do not have the a manual that states the exact assembly numbers for Assemby 3-14335 (and revisions) for Boeing Witchita, Bell or Martin. Finally! That was a long dialog for you to finally get to that point!

That is the scope of this thread, Assembly 3-14335 (and revisions) with the inclusion of the Unit Number stamped. This is for specific research in relation to that assembly in linear production of the B-29 and B-29A.

Trevor, you HAVE provided a helpful excerpt from the B-29A manual AN 01-20EJ-4A, which provides that 3-14335-11 was used in B-29A-1-BN 42-93824 to B-29A-5-BN 42-93873 and 3-14335-13 was used on B-29A-10-BN 42-93874 and on. Unfortunately, it does not state a serial number past B-29A-10-BN 42-93874, so there is no conclusion of follow-on assemblies. This is only conclusive to those production blocks, that -11 and -13 was used on the B-29A for those serial numbers, so this may be helpful in the future. Thank you.

I did decide to spend my Sunday morning crawling around the unpainted tail, chasing part numbers since I hadn’t been inside of it in a while. Feel free to look them up, but this is inconclusive since furnishment, such as oxygen systems, are easily replaced, repaired or modified. A specific example, the unpainted tail in my collection, was modified to a TB-29 by the Oklahoma City Material Area, Tinker Air Force Base in the very early 1950s. Systems were removed and modified for the configuration to a TB-29. The key is the tail enclosure assembly number, which has remained since the aircraft was produced.

So, here are some part numbers, if you want to look them up (written exactly as they are stamped or cast) in the unpainted tail: 9-4870-1 BOEING; 12-658 50; 14-3268-5; 1-27552; 3-21842-1; BOEING-F 15-10508.

For the average reader, this is the way they show up in the manual:
Part found in the unpainted tail: BOEING-F 15-10508
“B-29 Manual AN 01-20EJ-4, dated 20 July 1945, revised 20 December 1950, Section II, Fuselage, Tail Turret Installation (Section 45), Figure 230-43, Part Number 15-10508, Support-Tail Turret. Used in B-29 Serial Numbers AF41-36954 to AF44-70154 incl.” which means this part was used on every Boeing, Wichita; Bell and Martin built B-29 within that serial number range. So, inconclusive.

So again, back to the point of this thread, additional data needs to be obtained from the gunners enclosure from existing B-29's or B-29A's.

_________________
Thanks,
Van
Kosovo, Afghanistan (x2) and Iraq Campaign Veteran
B-29 42-24791 "Big Time Operator"
C-47A 43-15137 "7H" Normandy/Holland Vet
SNJ-5B S/N 84947
UC-45F 43-35764 Cockpit
PT-26A 42-71104
LNE-1 S/N 31556
CG-15A Cockpit
CG-4A Cockpit (x2) and fuselage
Follow QuestMasters on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/QuestMastersMuseum
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