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B-32 Dominator bomber factory in Fort Worth, 1944


The B-32 Dominator was a heavy bomber built for the United States Army Air Forces during World War II, and had the distinction of being the last Allied aircraft to engage in combat during World War II.

The B-32 Dominator was initially intended as insurance against the failure of the B-29 program; However, the success of the B-29 development and operational deployment made the Dominator a very real possibility of cancellation at several points in its development.

The Army Air Force wanted to begin replacing B-17s and B-24s with B-32s in the summer of 1944. The plan called for Mediterranean-based B-24 bomb groups to transition first, followed by other groups in the 15th Air Force. And finally the 8th Air Force Group.

Because the B-32 test schedule was far behind schedule, however, not a single B-32 was ever sent to the Mediterranean or European Theater of Operation.

The B-32 program was almost again canceled in December 1944. This time it was saved until the completion of a service test program. While service testing proceeded, combat crew training was initiated in preparation for deployment to the Pacific (pending a successful service test.) Service testing revealed several minor and some major problems, and the program was canceled once again in the spring. was close to. 1945.

Convair built the B-32 Dominator because the US Army Air Forces wanted a backup for the Boeing B-29. Hap Arnold inquired about the status of the Dominator several times during the breakup of the B-29, but Convair ran into a lot of problems of his own.

He had a serious weight issue and eventually ended up having a pressurized cockpit. Full-scale production did not begin until late 1944, and before the war ended only two groups armed with B-32s were trained in time to deploy to the western Pacific.

The Dominator was built in small numbers and was only used in a small number of combat operations during the last few weeks of World War II. A total of 300 B-32s were ordered, but only 118 were delivered to the USAAF. A total of 130 were flyable, and 170 more were cancelled.

After VJ-Day, the remaining B-32 aircraft were ordered to be returned to the United States for storage. Aircraft in the Consolidated factories were flown directly to Kingman Army Airfield in Arizona, Walnut Ridge in Arkansas, and the scrap yard at Davis-Murning in Tucson.

All partially built B-32s were dismantled at the Consolidated Assembly Plant in Fort Worth. By 1947, most B-32 aircraft sent to settlement centers had been scrapped. The last remaining B-32s were scrapped in the summer of 1949.

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