Col. Robert "Bob" Morgan
The pilot of the B-17 "Memphis Belle" also flew a B-29 named the "Dauntless Dotty".
Artwork and Research by;
Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
My painting of the Dauntless Dotty. Morgan autographed this painting for me. Painting size is two by four feet.
Colonel Robert Morgan returned to the United States after his tour of 25 missions as a bomber pilot in England. Bob was no ordinary bomber pilot, He was the pilot of the famous "Memphis Belle". Bob was given the opportunity to tour America flying the "Belle" with his original crew to sale war bonds.
As a celebrity Bob was offered all kinds of cushy jobs but Bob was not a military type man. He joined the Army Air Force because he wanted to fly. He had no love for the military way of life. Period. When asked what he wanted to do next after the bond tour Bob said that he wanted to fly combat again. He was not allowed to do another tour in Europe. Many other pilots like Bob volunteered to go to the Pacific Theater.
During the bond tour Morgan was taken to the Boeing plant where the new B-29 was being built. The development of the B-29 was a secret at the time which intrigued him even more. After a few strings were pulled here and there Morgan was assigned to be a Squadron Leader of one of the newly formed B-29 units. After he and his crew trained his squadron was transferred to the Pacific to start the daylight bombing on Japan.
On November 24, 1944 Colonel Morgan led the first B-29 raid over Tokyo. This was the first raid on the city since the Jimmy DooLittle raid in 1942. The Japanese were not prepared for the oncoming onslaught. Never did the Japanese leaders imagined waves of bombers over their cities. When the Japanese fighters first engaged the B-29 bombers they were astonished at the size of the aircraft.
General Curtis LeMay was the master planner of the aerial assault on the Japanese mainland. In Europe the American bombers were trying their best to bomb military targets only. Not Civilian. In Japan it would be different. LeMay sent his bombers to increate the Japanese people. Some said that it was because the Japanese had small military manufactures spread out through the residential districts. That was not always true. The major Japanese military machine was in commercial districts.
After the massive bombing raids decimated the industrial areas the Japanese broke down their manufacturing and distributed it through out the city, even in some homes. The Germans did the same thing. By bombing the Japanese people the American Air Corp was determined to break the moral of the Japanese people. These are not my thoughts on what happened to the Japanese people, these were well planned and well documented military plans.
Attacking Japan was to use the same bombing tactics as in Europe. High altitude. The first high altitude bombing raids were unsuccessful. With Japan being an Island and in the middle of a sea where many weather and climate situations clashed, they quickly found that by the time the bombs were dropped from 40,000 feet the bombs drifted miles away from the target area. The Superfortress was designed to operate at this altitude however with the weather this was not going to work. It would have worked in Europe but the B-29 never saw the air war over the continent.
Morgan and the rest of the pilots threw in their two-cents and suggested that they had no choice but to drop the altitude of the bombing to what ever worked. High altitude bombing was safer for the bombers and the crews but this was not o be. They had to bomb from lower altitudes. They chose to try again at 10,000 to 15,000 feet. A drastic difference from the original 40,000.
The Japanese air defense was meager. Most of the Japanese pilots were lost in the previous battles in the Pacific from Midway all the way to Japan itself. Many of the Japanese pilots were new and not seasoned but there were many pilots that were veterans. The oceans of American bombers were over whelming. Plus with the size of the B-29 you need 20mm to 30mm cannon to bring them down.
Most of the attacks on the bombers by fighters were unorganized and feeble at best. Not like the organized attacks that Bob and other bomber pilots were use to over Germany. The Japanese tried to drop incendiary bombs into the B-29 formations that would detonate at different altitudes. This worked well when it worked. The Japanese tried to fly head on at the bombers in an effort to break up the formations. If the Japanese could get a B-29 bomber alone they had a better chance at bringing it down. When attacking the entire group of bombers the combined onslaught from the fifty-calibers from so many bombers was often deadly. Occasionally a frustrated Japanese pilot would simply ram the bomber. Some lived to try it again, but most did not. This was very unnerving to the bomber crews.
On the night of March 9, 1945 General LeMay sent over 300 B-29's to bomb Tokyo city from the altitude of only 9,000 feet. Each B-29 carried eight tons of incendiaries. This was carefully planned to set the city on fire. LeMay knew that the wood and paper residential homes would be perfect kindling. The city was caught off guard and did not have proper precautions for such air raids. The city had all of their lights on and were a perfect target. Two-thousand four hundred tons of incendiaries was something that no one ever expected to use, to deliberately burn these people to death.
The ensuing fire storm was so fierce that the Japanese who were not killed by flame were killed by suffocation. Over 56 square miles of the city was consumed by fire and 80,000 Japanese were consumed. This figure of 80,000 dead was far more than the destruction caused by the first atomic bomb.
Morgan led his squadron on this mission and on a total of 25 such raids on Japan. The theory was to bring the war to an end as quickly as possible. But just like the German citizens, the attacks only made the Japanese more defiant. Morgan did not have high losses in his unit like they experienced in Germany. The Japanese anti-aircraft fire was ineffective and the Japanese fighters suffered from the long range P-51 escort fighters. The defensive machine guns on the B-29 were devastating to the enemy fighters as well. On one mission 34 attacking Japanese fighters were shot down by the bombers themselves. All in all there were many B-29's lost in combat. As the raids continued the Japanese started to perfect their tactics.
Colonel Morgan finished his tour five months before the atomic bomb was used. After the war Bob left the service. He returned to Ashville, North Carolina to help his father with the family furniture business.
Dauntless Dotty Crew
Morgan flew 25 missions over Japan flying the B-29 "Dauntless Dotty" leading many of the fire raids on Tokyo.
Here I am with my painting of the Dauntless Dotty with the pilot, Robert Morgan.
This is a painting of the B-29 flown by another pilot you should look at.
Below is some research I am gathering about the B-29.
If you have info to help me fill up this page, please share it.
The B-29 first flew on September 1942.
Bomb load was 10 tons.
There were ten remote-controlled fifty-caliber machine guns operated by five crewmembers. There was also a 20mm canon.
Production of the bomber was as massive as the bomber itself. The size of manufacturing floor space required four different factories. Total production was 3,974 aircraft.
B-29’s that were sold to
Paul Tibbets dropped the first atomic bomb
B-29’s were used extensively during the Korean War. The last reconnaissance mission was flown by a B-29 on July 27, 1953. During the three year war only 16 B-29’s were shot down by North Korean fighters. Four were lost to anti-aircraft fire while fourteen others were lost to operational failures.
The B-29, “Command Decision” was the first B-29 to achieve “Ace” status with its gunners shooting down five Mig 15 jet fighters. “Command Decision” was with the 28th Bomber Squadron.
The first strike during the Korean War was
on June 28, 1950. The targets were military positions around
Most all B-29’s were aluminum finished except for B-29’s that engaged in night missions when the bottom and sides were painted black. During the war the B-29 units had their Squadrons distinctive tail-codes painted in black very large on the tail and rudder for easy visual identification.
I will add more here in the future. Please return in six months or so and see if I have added more. remember I have over 150 different pages on my web site, so I will add a little here and a little there as information develops.
B-29's dropped 185,000 tons of bombs during the Korean War.
The B-29 was retired from squadron service a few years after the Korean War. Jet bombers would now forever replace the piston engine bomber.
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Sir Ernie Hamilton Boyette
107 Arthur Moore Drive
Green Cove Springs, Florida 32043
Phone Number; 1-904-406-5791
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Counter Started on June 23, 2011
Edited on June 25, 2011
Reworked on June 22, 2013