Aviation Historian 39
A.Griffith - American domination?
Following its somewhat protracted development, the Consolidated B-32 eventually entered service with the USAAF’s 312th Bomb Group (BG), part of the Fifth Air Force, at Clark Field in the Phillippines in mid-May 1945. This example is B-32-20-CF The Lady is Fresh, of the 312th BG’s 386th Bomb Sqn at Clark Field in 1945.
The B-32 was designed to the same US Army Air Corps Specification, XC-218-A, as Boeing’s B-29, and initially sported a twin-tail arrangement, as seen here on the second XB-32, serial 41-142. Stability problems, however, led to the adoption of a 19ft 6in (5-94m) single fin, which became a standard fit on all production examples.
The sixth production B-32, serial 42-108476, demonstrates the type of high-aspect-ratio wing designed by David Davis and used on the B-32’s older stablemate, the B-24. The benefits of the Davis wing included higher speeds and good low-speed characteristics, but it was comparatively thick and saw little further use after the war.
Dominators under construction at the Fort Worth factory in Texas. Production of the B-32 was cancelled in September 1945, Fort Worth having produced 74 B-32s plus 40 TB-32 trainers. Consolidated’s San Diego factory in California produced just one - which, added to the three XB-32s, made a grand total of only 118 examples built.
Another photograph of B-32-20-CF serial 42-108529 The Lady is Fresh, at Clark Field in May 1945. In common with the B-29, the Dominator was not used in any European theatre during the Second World War, and saw only limited action in the Pacific with the 312th Bomb Group. The type’s last operational mission was flown on August 28, 1945.
Had the RAF taken on the B-32, it would probably have had the front turret removed, as per this TB-32 trainer.
In USAAF service the B-32 incorporated four Wright R-3350 Duplex-Cyclone engines and was armed with a nose turret, a Martin forward upper turret (obscured here by the engine cowlings), a rear upper turret, a ventral ball turret and a rear turret, all fitted with 0-5in-calibre armament.
A classic “what if... ?”, this speculative illustration shows the possible configuration of the B-32 in RAF service, for which it may have been given the name Dominator Mk I. It is fitted with Bristol Centaurus engines and would have retained the front upper turret (again obscured by the propellers here) and the tail turret, but the nose, upper rear and ventral ball turrets have been deleted.