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North Field Area - 314th Bomb Wing Home of:
The 19th Bomb Group (VH)
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Takeoff Method:

Truly the "Miracle of the Marianas" was the ground traffic direction control system used at the start of a B-29 mission to Japan. The diagram above shows how one wing at North field, Guam, took off on a typical "Night Burn Job." Each group appears at normal strength of 33 planes, plus two spares. By the war's end the maximum group strength averaged well over 40.

At Zero hour plus one minute Wing leader in No.1 of the 39th Bomb Group (A) is airborne at the end of the North runway while No.1 of the 29th B.G. is halfway down South runway, 30 seconds behind. Others are all lined up ready to go on signal from a green Aldis lamp. One by one, the rest move out on exact schedule from their hardstands and taxi into position (follow red arrows). Vacant stands are occupied by planes either unassigned or in repair. Uncompleted areas are shown in gray, outlined in white.

The image above is the daytime takeoff procedure for one group. This differed from the night system only in that each group used both runways to speed up assembly into formation. Here the 29th Group, third to takeoff after the 19th and 39th, flies 32 planes, which are divided into two sections, North (N) and South (S). As soon as the first planes have been given the gun (again at 30-second interval), 8 N taxis over behind 7 N, while 2 S slides down the South runway into starting position. This continues until all the N planes are lined up. Then the backlog of seven S planes takes position.

For clarity all Superforts are shown out on the taxi strips; in actuality the last 16 would still be dispersed on their hardstands at the time the group leader takes off.

From "Impact" Magazine's Final Issue Sept-Oct 1945

This page was created on 08 June 2002
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