KB_TheDireWolf

Douglas XB-19, 212ft Wing Span, 74 Ton, Monster Heavy Bomber

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Design and development

During the mid 1930s, the Army Air Corps wanted to push the technological envelope when it came to building a very long range bomber. Code named 'Project D,' this top-secret initiative would lead to the largest American bomber concept flown during World War II, the massive yet elegant Douglas XB-19.
 
Under Project D, two major manufacturers, Douglas and Sikorsky, were competing at a chance to build what would be the most advanced bomber ever conceived by the US. Much like modern classified bomber competitions, both manufacturers were given a designation, those being the XBLR-2 for Douglas, and XBLR-3 for Sikorsky, with XBLR standing for 'Experimental Bomber Long-Range' The Army ordered full-scale mock-ups of each design for evaluation. 
 
In mid 1936, after reviewing both companies' mock-ups and design proposals, the Army Air Corps chose Douglas's XBLR-2 design for further development as it was thought to have been superior both in potential performance and its packaging of new technologies.
 
The XBLR-2 was truly an innovative design. The aircraft was an all metal, glass nosed, low winged, teardrop shaped behemoth that sat atop an unconventional (for the time period) retractable tricycle undercarriage. The tires on the XBLR-2's main landing gear were absolutely massive, dwarfing anything previously put on an aircraft.
 
Originally, she was supposed to be powered by four 1,600hp XV-3420-1 twenty four cylinder, liquid-cooled engines. These experimental engines were basically a pair of twelve cylinder Allison inline 'v' engines mated together.
 
Due to their complexity, and in and effort to cut costs while reducing an already languishing development schedule, the XV-3420-1s were replaced with 2,000hp Wright R-3350 air-cooled radial engines.
 
Even though this change was made, the aircraft was built with complex and very powerful engines in mind as passages in the lower part of the aircraft's thick internal wing structure were designed for mechanics to service the engines in flight.
 
By 1938, the XBLR-2's research and development contract changed to a production contract, and the aircraft was re-designated the B-19. A single prototype was ordered, which would be named the XB-19 to designate its experimental nature.
 
As the year wore on, funding for the massive aircraft was not consistent and progress on its construction was slow. Meanwhile, the aircraft's weight was ballooning. By late 1938, some three years after the original 'Project D' kicked off, even the Douglas project team was losing hope in their massive experiment and could tell that the big secret bombing was not a high enough priority for Army Air Corps.
 
The XBLR-2 was in danger of being obsolete before it even left the ground. As a result, Douglas themselves requested the cancellation of the project. The Army refused, and construction continued somewhat sporadically.


 

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The XB-19 in two stages of construction

 

Operation of the XB-19
By 1940, the Army declassified the giant bomber as many of its technologies were no longer cutting edge enough to justify keeping it secret. The press ran with the story and a large buzz was created about the Army's secret super-bomber that could fly across oceans and attack foreign countries while still having enough gas to make it home.
 
The XB-19 was finally finished in May of 1941. She was rolled out to the public sporting a massive 212 foot wingspan, just larger than that of a 747. The XB-19 was 132 feet long, and weighted 130,000lbs empty, which made it the largest aircraft America had ever built at the time. The aircraft could hold over 11,000 gallons of gas.
 
She was designed to be operated by a crew of 16, but an additional eight crew, which would consist of relief pilots and mechanics, could be carried for extended missions. Bunks and a complete galley were also an innovation on the giant bomber, as the aircraft's relatively low cruise speed, of around 170mph, would mean that missions could last over 24 hours.

 

http://www.criticalpast.com/video/65675032894_Douglas-B-19-bomber_B-19-takes-off_B-19-taxis_B-19-lands_huge-gathering

The XB-19 first flight

 

Test flights of the XB-19 continued for some time before it was apparent that although the aircraft was massive, and had impressive features, it was being surpassed by smaller bombers that could be built in greater numbers which had their development accelerated by America's entry into WWII. Thus, once testing was complete, the XB-19 was converted into a cargo aircraft and her engines were replaced with the production version of her original intended powerplant, the 2,600hp Allison V-3420-11 twenty four cylinder turbocharged engine. With this modification, her designation was changed to XB-19A, and her top speed was increased dramatically from 225mph to 275mph (362 km/h to 442 km/h) 

 

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XB-19A

 

During the later part of WWII, the XB-19A used its heavy hauling ability to move high-priority material and people over long distances. Yet once the war was over, there was little demand for the expensive one-off heavy hauler. By the Summer of 1946 the giant aircraft that was once thought of as a cutting-edge new technology, had flown its last flight and was subsequently mothballed at Davis Monthan AFB in Arizona. By 1950, the aircraft had been dismembered and was eventually scrapped. Many lament the fact that this unique piece of aviation history was not preserved as a museum piece for future generations to enjoy.

 

Even though the XB-19 never entered production, the knowledge gained from its construction, testing and operation was incredibly valuable and was put to use in other strategic bomber and transport aircraft designs including the B-29 Superfortress and the B-36 Peacemaker. The B-36 would seize the record as America's largest flying bomber design when it first flew on August 8th, 1946, just days before the XB-19A's last flight.

 

The new U.S. Air Force had plans to save the XB-19 for eventual display, but in 1949 the Air Force did not have a program to save historic aircraft and the Air Force Museum had not yet been built. So the XB-19 was scrapped, but two of its enormous main tires were saved. One was put on display at the Hill Aerospace Museum at Hill Air Force Base in Ogden, Utah and the other has been on display at the National Museum of the United States Air Force in Dayton, Ohio, in the "Early Years" gallery for many years.

 

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1949 Supposedly a real estate office in the area salvaged this nose and had it on display for a while

 

 

Specs Of The XB-19

 

Crew: 18

 
Length: 132 ft 2 in (40.2 m)
 
Wingspan: 212 ft 0 in (64.6 m)
 
 
Height: 42 ft 9 in (13.0 m)
 
Wing area: 4,492 ft2 (417 m2)
 
Empty weight: 39000 kg ()
 
Loaded weight: 158,930 lb (72,000 kg)
 
Max. takeoff weight: 164,000 lb (74,400 kg)
 
Engines: Four Wright R-3350-5 radials 2000 hp each for takeoff and 1500 hp at 15,700 feet
XB-19A 4 × Allison V-3420-11 V24 engines, 2,600 hp (1,940 kW) each 
 
Maximum speed: 224 mp/h (360 km/h) at 15,500 ft
XB-19A 265 mph (230 kn, 426 km/h)  
 
Cruising speed: 135 mph 
165 mph (143 kn, 266 km/h) XB-19A
 
Service ceiling: 23,000 ft 
39,000 feet for XB-19A 
 
Range: 7,900 miles (maximum ferry range); 7,300 miles with 6,000 lbs. of bombs
 
Armament
XB-19
 
Guns:
5 × 0.50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns
 
6 × 0.30 in (7.62 mm) M1919 Browning machine guns
 
2 × 37 mm (1.42 in) autocannon (M4 cannons I believe) 
 
Distributed as follows: one 37-mm cannon and one 0.30-inch machine gun in each of the nose and forward dorsal turrets, one 0.5-inch machine gun in the tail position, rear dorsal turret, ventral turret, and port and starboard positions. One 0.30-inch machine gun was fitted on each side of the bombardier's position and on each side of the fuselage below the tailplane.
 
Bombs: 18,700 lb (8,480 kg) internal bomb bays
 
 
Gallery and video
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XmhevFScTXg
 
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kk9fiReRHFw
 
XB-19 first flight by critical past
 
 
 
060526-F-1234S-027.jpgDouglas XB-19 at March Field, Calif., on the day of its first flight, June 27, 1941.
 

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"Whats that? You have 24"s on your Cadillac? Isn't that cute..."

 

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Cockpit and flight engineer's stations of the XB-19.

 

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 Upper turret gunner's station. The XB-19 bristled with guns. The nose turret and the forward dorsal turret were each equipped with a 37mm cannon and a .30-calibre machine gun. The rear dorsal turret, the ventral turret, the tail gunner's station, and a station on each side of the rear fuselage were each provided with one .50-calibre machine. The bombardier was provided with a pair of .30-calibre machine guns located to either side of the bomb aiming station. Another pair .30-calibre machine gun was located in the rear fuselage under the horizontal stabilizers.

 

I would add more pictures but there is a limit  :(s 

 

Sources:

http://foxtrotalpha.jalopnik.com/americas-real-wwii-flying-fortress-was-the-massive-doug-1632864365

http://www.nationalmuseum.af.mil/factsheets/factsheet.asp?id=2489

http://www.aviastar.org/air/usa/douglas_b-19.php

http://www.air-and-space.com/Douglas%20XB-19.htm

http://www.joebaugher.com/usaf_bombers/b19.html 

Edited by KB_TheDireWolf
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It's a very beautiful aircraft, and at 18k lbs, this comes close to the B-29.

 

 

I say yes!

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Alright, here's my question: do you want this as a regular, premium, or gift aircraft?  I honestly can't see it as being a regular bomber on the US tech tree so that rules that option out.  Other than that it's basically a much slower B-29, which is far from overpowered based on how vulnerable they've been in the games where I've gone up against them (except the few times where they climb into space, which can be annoying admittedly, but not a problem when I'm in a jet).  This thing couldn't climb into space if it tried - it's just too slow for that.

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Alright, here's my question: do you want this as a regular, premium, or gift aircraft?  I honestly can't see it as being a regular bomber on the US tech tree so that rules that option out.  Other than that it's basically a much slower B-29, which is far from overpowered based on how vulnerable they've been in the games where I've gone up against them (except the few times where they climb into space, which can be annoying admittedly, but not a problem when I'm in a jet).  This thing couldn't climb into space if it tried - it's just too slow for that.

Where ever they can fit it am a happy man. But it dose have 37mm cannons defending it self  :Ds

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as a machine designed as a bomber and which successfully flew, although not in combat, it seems like a quite fair candidate for inclusion, but should probably have low priority compared to the inclusion of more widespread machines

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 And I thought the B-36 was huge........

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 And I thought the B-36 was huge........

B-36 Peacemaker still has a 18ft larger wingspan than the XB-19A...and the H-4 Hercules has a mere 8ft larger wingspan than the XB-19A.

 

And then there is the An-225 Mriya with the 290ft wingspan. 

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Yeah, I want this.  It's slower than the B-17 but with one hell of a bomb load.  If the U.S. gets a rank 4 premium bomber and it's not this a great injustice has been done.

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Where ever they can fit it am a happy man. But it dose have 37mm cannons defending it self  :Ds

 

Assuming those are the same cannons as on the P-39s, they're not as effective as you probably think they are against attacking fighters.

 

  • They fire low velocity shells at a low rate of fire, which makes hitting a fast-moving target a difficult proposition
  • They're not accurate, compounding the previous issue
  • They jam after just a couple of shots, and considering how wildly the AI gunners shoot (IF they shoot), they'll be constantly jamming and reloading their cannons every couple of seconds

That being said they COULD be useful if you encounter a twin-engined heavy fighter or another bomber, or even (if your team has a decisive numerical advantage and the game is an assured victory) for gunshipping soft targets.

Edited by Z3r0_
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Alright, here's my question: do you want this as a regular, premium, or gift aircraft?  I honestly can't see it as being a regular bomber on the US tech tree so that rules that option out.  Other than that it's basically a much slower B-29, which is far from overpowered based on how vulnerable they've been in the games where I've gone up against them (except the few times where they climb into space, which can be annoying admittedly, but not a problem when I'm in a jet).  This thing couldn't climb into space if it tried - it's just too slow for that.

 

its XP its got to be a premium i would hope

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If they put this bomber in I would be astounded, since it could carry up to 37,100 lb of bombs in total with its additional external bomb load. It would be amazing to see some of these huge lumbering sky whales in war thunder like the B36 Peacemaker as well. However, I doubt this plane is ever going to be implemented. The current game mechanics can barely support a bomber with a bomb load equivalent of that to the B29's. If we see a change in mechanics for ground targets for bombers in AB/RB maybe we can see the introduction of these type of heavy bombers. 

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If they put this bomber in I would be astounded, since it could carry up to 37,100 lb of bombs in total with its additional external bomb load. It would be amazing to see some of these huge lumbering sky whales in war thunder like the B36 Peacemaker as well. However, I doubt this plane is ever going to be implemented. The current game mechanics can barely support a bomber with a bomb load equivalent of that to the B29's. If we see a change in mechanics for ground targets for bombers in AB/RB maybe we can see the introduction of these type of heavy bombers. 

Actually, the game currently can handle the B-29, because it almost never makes it to its target.

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Actually, the game currently can handle the B-29, because it almost never makes it to its target.

haha so true

 

*official post

Edited by turkborg
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Actually, the game currently can handle the B-29, because it almost never makes it to its target.

 

Plus the B-29 and several other bombers have nerfed bombloads, so if the payload is a concern then Gaijin can just nerf it.

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