Surviving Artifacts

from

Kingman Army Air Field:

& Sales-Storage Depot No.41

Planes:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One of only seven known survivors, this gorgeous,
unused A-17 Turret
didn't come from Kingman, but the broken and partially-corroded artifact below did:

This aluminum & steel assembly is a rear machine

gun support from the Sperry A-17 of a Kingman

Dominator and aside from its rough & weathered condition, it identically matches the NOS assembly

inside the turret above. As you can see to the lower

left, the rusted recoil mounts are side by side and for

a long time it wasn't known whether this piece came

from the Emerson A-31 of a Kingman B-24N
. . . or the Sperry A-17 of a Kingman B-32


the only USAAF turrets with this unusual characteristic.
Not until Depot 41's acquisition of the complete turret
was the latter confirmed.

The Turret is in remarkable condition but its 24" oval, Bulletproof Glass Assembly and Gun Camera were removed somewhere along the line and are missing. The B-7 Extension Lamp was also appropriated, but we're in luck with that item: since there were 2 different styles of B-7 Lamps used during WWII (aluminum and the late-War black plastic) it took an examination of the Kingman B-32 turret junkyard artifact to reveal the plastic version to be the correct type for this turret.

The red arrow points to one of two screws - used to secure the Extension Lamp to the bracket - still attached to a fragment of the original B-7:

...and below that is the NOS B-7 Extension Lamp which will replace the original in the B-32 Turret.


The Kingman Dominators

Contrary to misinformation in print as well as spread all over the Internet, using photographs, items actually removed from Kingman Dominators bearing those tail numbers AND official USAF Aircraft Record Cards, what may well be the only accurate list of the 38 Dominators sent to Kingman for storage at the end of WWII is as follows. No more and no less than thirty eight bombers in number, they represent nearly 1/3 of all B-32s built and flown away from both factories:

B-32-1-CF #42-108471
- perhaps the most-modified, remodified & most-photographed of all Dominators, this is 471 in flight:

...And, yes, those unique-to-the-Dominator aerodynamic fairings behind the Martin Upper Turret domes rotated with the turret - what a drag they must have caused when guns were pointed 90° left or right!

B-32-1-CF #42-108478 *

B-32-1-CF #42-108480 *

- Tail skid remaining in the down position after making her final landing, in case you're wondering about the dark horizontal object above 480's tail turret - it's a manual Rudder Lock, probably made of plywood:

B-32-5-CF #42-108481 *

TB-32-5-CF #42-108485 *

TB-32-5-CF #42-108486

TB-32-5-CF #42-108493 *

B-32 CHECK LIST

from a

Kingman Dominator

TB-32-5-CF #42-108494

- 2519th AAFBU Field Code OM29, this image of 494 is from the Training Manual:

...see additional info on this ship below under: RECENT UPDATE !

TB-32-10-CF #42-108500 *

- One of Kingman's most-photographed Dominators, this ship carried Field Code OM20 and is shown below with her #3 engine broken away from the wing. Contrary to some erroneous reports, the catastrophic damage was actually the result of running the engine until it overheated and caught fire (ground overheating being an R-3350 trait shared with the Superfortress). Evidence around #4's nacelle reveals it also caught fire and begin to droop, but crews extinguished those flames before that nacelle separated from the wing:

TB-32-10-CF #42-108513 *

- 513 in a factory line-up of over a dozen incomplete Dominators:

B-32-21-CF #42-108527 *^

B-32-20-CF #42-108529 + "The Lady is Fresh"

- rare color shot of 529 in the combat zone:

B-32-20-CF #42-108530 + "DIRECT FROM TOKYO"

- Combat theater shot of 530 below.

NOTE: This ship has traditionally been referred to as DIRECT FROM TOKYO, but it wasn't the only Dominator at Kingman to bear that title . . . !

B-32-20-CF #42-108531 *+

B-32-20-CF #42-108533 *

B-32-20-CF #42-108534 *

B-32-20-CF #42-108536 *

- Nice inflight shot of 536 below, the color of her forward cowls and prop domes is yet to be determined:

B-32-20-CF #42-108537 *

B-32-20-CF #42-108538 *

B-32-20-CF #42-108541{}*

B-32-20-CF #42-108542 *

B-32-20-CF #42-108543 + "HARRIET'S CHARIOT"

- No risque, scantillly-clad model on the nose of this ship, 543's titled artwork consisted of the State of Indiana reportedly bearing the names of 15 homeward-bound airmen:

July 2010***- HARRIET'S CHARIOT pilot Lyman Combs, his gracious wife Harriet (after whom the bomber was named) ...and yours truly with a Kingman B-32 aluminum Access Plate that was just autographed by Lyman. One of my newest friend's, I'm sorry to report that Lyman passed away in December of that same year.  More on him later...

B-32-25-CF #42-108546 *

B-32-25-CF #42-108547

- Formerly attached to Squadron E of the 611th AAFBU at Florida's Eglin Field, 547 carried that Base Code of 591 on her nose:

B-32-30-CF #42-108571

- Bearing production line info "FW No.101" on her nose, here's a shot of  571 nearly ready to roll out of the Ft Worth, Texas factory:

B-32-30-CF #42-108572 *

B-32-30-CF #42-108573

B-32-30-CF #42-108574 *

- Also formerly attached to Squadron E of the 611th AAFBU at Florida's Eglin Field, 574's canvas engine covers that now drape forlornly were once carefully fastened in place by an attentive crew - those puny Army Air Force straps were no match for Northern Arizona's formidable winds! Counter to normal Sales-Storage Depot #41 procedure, it's presumed this same crew taxiied their beloved bomber into the desert, for only a handful of Kingman's thousands of planes are known to have received this extra care:

B-32-30-CF #42-108575 *~

B-32-30-CF #42-108576 *

B-32-30-CF #42-108577 *

B-32-35-CF #42-108578 +

- The fifth & newest combat Dominator at Kingman, here's an overseas shot of 578 taxiing for takeoff in August 1945, the final month of WWII:

B-32-35-CF #42-108579 *~

B-32-35-CF #42-108580 *~

B-32-35-CF #42-108581 *~

B-32-35-CF #42-108582 *~

B-32-35-CF #42-108583 ~

B-32-35-CF #42-108584 *~#

KEY TO SYMBOLS

 * = Load Adjuster in the Depot 41 Museum Collection 

 {} = Pilot's Instrument Panel in the Depot 41 Museum Collection

 + = Part of group sent overseas for combat deployment; these five ships were the only Dominators that made it

back to the U.S.

 ^ = One-only bomber modified to experimental paratroop carrier

 ~ = Immediately declared excess upon delivery to USAAF, and therefore spanking-new upon arrival at Kingman

 # = Last B-32 to be accepted by USAAF; 2 additional unaccepted San Diego-built ships and 10 unaccepted

Ft. Worth-built ships were completed only enough to be flyable and they were subsequently sent to Walnut Ridge, Arkansas (along with dozens of other USAAF-accepted Dominators)

 

To place their monetary value in perspective, these

38 bombers at Kingman alone represented approximately 30 million dollars of taxpayers' investment in the Forties, nearly $400 million in today's currency.

In the early 90s and while he was still the Director of the Air Force Museum in Dayton, I made Col. Richard Uppstrom a gift of this 9" Bracket from a Kingman B-32:

Heavy chisel marks indicated a hasty removal and its unique part number revealed it was once part of the giant bomber's fuel system.

***Also in July of 2010:

Seen here is none other than Tony Svore, former Colonel & 386th Squadron Commander who piloted DIRECT FROM TOKYO

back across the Pacific after the War. The object he's signing is an aluminum Access Plate from one of Kingman's two Dominators known to have had the 386th Squadron's large, black Club painted on its tail - quite possibly the very bomber he flew into Kingman in 1945....

THANK YOU, TONY!

 

In February of the same year, I had the unique pleasure of a long distance cell phone conversation with Tony, while I was standing on the precise location where that shamrock-tailed B-32 briefly rested at Kingman...

... WOW OR WHAT? 

RECENT UPDATE !

On February 6, 2011, totally unplanned (as far as the date was concerned), but precisely 64 years to the day from when he took his now-famous and historic series of Kingman photographs in 1947,

Bill Larkins autographed an

aluminum OIL DRAIN Access Plate

FROM B-32 #42-108494, SHIP "OM29" :

(L to R) My long-time benefactor & dear friends Bill Larkins &

his charming wife Tillie with yours truly holding a photo of

the exact Dominator from whence this Plate came...

At 3/16", the PLATE is over three times thicker than standard access panels. This is because, as the War progressed, Convair began protecting vital areas on their planes from disabling & deadly FLAK.

The B-32 manual image below shows how it's vulnerable nacelles were protected by the installation of these much thicker aluminum panels:

Stay tuned...

The fascinating Kingman Dominators have been the subject of intensive research and exhaustive field work over the past 25 years, resulting in what is probably the largest concentration of B-32 artifacts anywhere in the world.

As a matter of fact, after chasing these extinct Bombers for decades, the Depot 41 Museum Collection now includes something from each & every

Kingman Dominator!

- JCS

Want to learn more about the B-32's fascinating story?

We sell brand new copies of this excellent, concise softcover by Harding & Long that's in its fifth and final printing.

Price: $15.00 ea.

*CA sales tax &  Continental U.S. Priority Mail included

 

photo credits this page:

- William T. Larkins

- Tony Svore

- Ben Guttery / Ft Worth Aviation Museum

- Peter Bowers

- Depot 41 Photo Archive

 

Last revision to Page: 2/2015

 

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