This page is dedicated to James E. Reifenschneider, CFC Gunner on first 8 missions
May 14 through June 24, 1945, a member of the 73rd Bomb Wing, 500th Bomb Group.
The B-29 Superfortress was born in response to the Army Air Corps demand for a bomber capable of flying 400 miler per hour, carrying a ton of bombs, and flying missions up to 5,000 miles. There were 3,965 of these beauties produced at four different plants, one of which was Bell Aircraft (now Lockheed-Martin) located in Marietta, Georgia. Six hundred sixty-eight B-29’s were produced here. The first B-29s rolled off the production lines at Bell-Atlanta (Marietta) in February of 1944.
44-70113 (pictured above) was built in Wichita, KS in late 1944. She was assigned to the 20th Air Force, the 73rd Bomb Wing, the 500th Bomb Group and carried the squadron number 58. The Z identifies the Group. Crews flew her in 1945 in WWII combat missions over Tokyo, Osaka, Yokohama and Kobe, Japan. She is credited with shooting down 3 Japanese fighters and 5 POW missions. She flew a total of 27 combat missions one of which was on the last day of WWII. She was decommissioned in 1956 and stored until the Marietta B-29 association sponsored her restoration in 1994. She was assembled and prepared through a joint effort between reserve and civilian Air Force personnel at Robins AFB, Westover AFB and Dobbins AFB
Members of Ray Clinkscales crew receiving medals that day are (L to R): Ray Clinkscales-pilot, Bob Spicer-navigator,
Tom Benwell-co-pilot, Jim Wride-flight engineer, and Ed Strubble-bombardier.
Statistics for the B-29 are as follows:
Boeing B-29 (nicknamed the Superfortress)
Length 99’0″ (30.17M), Height 27’9″ (8.46M), Wingspan 141’3″ (43.05M)
Wing area: 1739.00 Sq Ft (161.54Sq M), Empty Weight: 69610.0lbs (31569.0Kg)
Gross Weight: 140000lbs (63492.0Kg), Max Weight: 141100lbs (63990.0Kg)
Number of engines: 4
Powerplant: Wright R-3350-23, 2200 Horsepower each
Range: 5830 miles (9388.00 Km)
Cruise Speed: 220.00 mph ( 354.00 Km/H / 191.35 Kt)
Max Speed: 365.00 Mph ( 587.00 Km/H / 317.30 Kt)
Ceiling: 31850.0 Ft (9707.40M)
In June 1944, B-29 combat operations began with raids against Japanese-held targets in Indochina. By New Years Day 1945, approximately 750 B-29s were in combat groups overseas, and by the time the 2,000th B-29 rolled off of the assembly lines in March 1945, were heavily engaged in bombardment activity against targets in Japan itself. By May 1945, the aerial bombardment of Japan was in high gear. By the war’s end in August 1945, these American-made B-29’s had destroyed virtually every strategic target in Imperial Japan.
STANDING (L to R): Ray Clinkscales – Pilot ( Belmont, NC), Tom Benwell – Co-Pilot , Bob Spicer – Navigator (Lake Placid, FL), Ed Struble – Bombardier , Jim Wride – Flight Engr (Bartlesville, OK) Bob Kain – Radar.
KNEELING (L to R): Francis Sobek – Radio, Dick Wing – Gunner (Sparks, NV), Don Chambers – Gunner (unknown), Jim Reifenschneider- CFC Gunner (New Philadelphia, OH), Elmo Glockner – Tail Gunner.
Flight Surgeon- Dr. Zimmerman, Pilot- Lt. Col. Ray Clinkscales,
CFC Gunner – James E. Reifenschneider
On May 6, 1997 the “Sweet Eloise” was dedicated at Dobbins AFB in Marietta, GA. This event wraps up years of blood, sweat and tears spent in restoring this piece of American history. After her decommission in 1956, she spent 20 years at Aberdeen proving ground in Maryland, transferred to Florence, SC where she was almost destroyed by hurricane Hugo and finally to Marietta where she now stands proudly after much hard work and dedication by truckers, students, government and military officials and B-29’ers across Georgia. Our thanks go out to those individuals, but this web page stands as a memorial to the designers of the B-29, the factory workers who built these babies and the brave and courageous men and women in our armed services who crewed these war ships.
It has been said that the B-29’s won WWII and saved countless lives because our men never had to land on Japanese soil. This war was won “in the air” and turned the tide on the entire war. We Americans owe the lifestyle we are living NOW to those who fought THEN… an important message that has failed to be delivered to those of us who are fortunate enough to have never lived through war. The fighting men and women and their support personnel deserve our gratitude for defeating an enemy that would have changed the face of the planet forever. We applaud those who made the ships, who flew the ships and especially those who gave their lives so we could keep ours! It is never too late to say Thank You!
Please be reminded of our copyright law – it will be enforced.
See actual B-29 training films!
Please send me your photos and stories to be added to the new revised edition of this web site. Thanks for stopping. Sallyann Wagoner