America’s Giant World War II Intercontinental Bomber
This 80-page paperback book is X-Planes book number 16 that is available from Osprey Publications.
In 1935 the USAAC wanted to build a potential intercontinental bomber, a ‘Guardian of the Hemisphere,’ and granted Donald Douglas a contract to build the world’s largest bomber. The groundwork for the intercontinental bomber had been laid in the previous two decades by the courageous military and civilian pilots who risked their lives to set new distance and endurance records.
After World War I the future Axis and Allied nations built larger aircraft and finally during World War II Germany and Japan became intent on developing intercontinental bomber to retaliate against America. While the XB-19 never flew as an intercontinental bomber or even as a combat bomber; its contributions as a ‘Flying Laboratory’ significantly influenced the development of the Consolidated B-36 Peacemaker, the world’s first true intercontinental bomber.
- Flight test
Since the XB-19 project was top secret and there was only one example built there is little information remaining for researchers. Over the years Bill Wolf has collected the largest quantity of XB-19 material and a number of photographs, including a copy of the original Army Air Force acceptance of the aircraft, first-hand narratives of its first flight, and other USAAC and Douglas Company documents. This book provides a superbly illustrated history of the XB-19 intercontinental bomber and the text is supported by previously unpublished photographs.
First of all, the XB-19 was truly a massive airplane that was designed in the 1930’s and first flew in 1941. This plane dwarfed its contemporaries with a wingspan of 212 feet and a fuselage length of 132 feet. This was the largest bomber plane built and flown at that time which was between 1941 and 1949. The Douglas XB-19 was the US Air Forces first Intercontinental Bomber was a giant of a machine. More importantly, it was intended to hold up to 11,000 gallons of fuel and to house a replacement crew for missions that would extend its flying time to more than 24 hours in the air. With this in mind, the bomber was even equipped with bunks and a galley kitchen.
This is an excellent book for the historian and modeler. The historian will gain an insight into this little known but important aircraft and a bit of the history behind this cold war weapon. You will see all types of photographs from inside and outside of the plane providing all types of views. There are very few versions of this plane modeled. The one company I was able to fine was from the Anigrand Craftswork company which was a 1/144th scale model resin cast model. This model can be ordered at 1/144 scale Douglas XB-19 / XB-19A – Hemisphere Defender (anigrand.com). Reading this book, readers of all interested will gain an excellent insight into this very important aircraft in aeronautical history.
Douglas XB-19 America’s Giant World War II Intercontinental Bomber is an 80 -page paperback book and is the 16th book in the X-Planes series of books that are available from Osprey Publications.
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(The photographs used in this review are copied with the permission of Osprey Publications.)