One of only seven known survivors and designed exclusively for use in nose & tail positions of the B-32, this unused A-17A Turret didn't come from Kingman, but the manual shown below did:
Dated February, 1944, this very early A-17 Turret Manual was removed from one of the Kingman Dominators and is unusual in that it's bound (most manuals were perforated for binders so pages could be updated from time to time).


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 38 Bombers in number, they represent nearly 1/3 of all B-32s built and flown away from both factories.

These Bombers are listed in order of their construction and not by the dates they were assigned to Kingman:

1) B-32-1-CF #42-108471

- The first production model and perhaps the most-modified, remodified, as well as what may have been the most-photographed of all Dominators, here's a nice close-up of 471's tail - note the retracted Lower Ball Turret.
...And, yes, those unique-to-the-Dominator aerodynamic fairings behind the Martin Upper Turret domes rotated with the turret. Beneficial when stowed, but what a drag they must have created when guns were pointed 90° left or right!

 

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

From the AIRPLANE COMMANDER TRAINING MANUAL, here's a March 1945 Weight and Balance form for 478's flight from Ft. Worth, Texas to Blythe, California.

. . . The details are amazing - a crew of 9, a full load of oil & fuel, six 2000 lb bombs... the Dominator weighed in at 50+ tons - one has to wonder if this was all hypothetical or taken from an actual form!

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

- Lowered for the bomber's final landing, the Tail Skid remains in the down position; 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.

Still inscribed with factory writing:

 

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

5) TB-32-5-CF #42-108485 * - 2519th AAFBU Field Code OM17

6) TB-32-5-CF #42-108486

7) TB-32-5-CF #42-108493 * -  2519th AAFBU Field Code OM19

8) TB-32-5-CF #42-108494

- 2519th AAFBU Field Code OM29, this image of 494 is from the AIRPLANE COMMANDER TRAINING MANUAL.

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

 

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

- One of Kingman's most-photographed Dominators, this ship carried 2519th AAFBU Field Code OM20 and is shown here with her #3 engine broken away from the wing. Contrary to some erroneous reports, this catastrophic damage was actually the result of ground-running the engine until it overheated and caught fire (R-3350 overheating was a trait shared with the Superfortress). Evidence around #4's nacelle reveals it also caught fire and began to droop, but crews extinguished those flames before that nacelle also separated from 500's wing.

 

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

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

 

11) B-32-21-CF #42-108527 *^ This was an ultra rare, one-only Dominator heavily modified into troop carrier configuration. Pulled from the -20-CF lineup, all of her bombing equipment was removed and seating then installed in the rear Bomb Bay & rear fuselage. No photographs of this unique bomber-turned-transport are known to exist.

However, the Load Adjuster removed from 527 at Kingman currently resides in the Depot 41 Museum Collection: Disappointingly, it retains the original Bomber data and doesn't reflect any of the modifications.

 

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

- rare color shot of 529 in the combat zone

 

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

- Combat theater shot of 530

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 . . . !

 

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

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

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

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

- Nice inflight shot of 536; I've always assumed they were red, but after a recent discussion with Bill Larkins, he suggested that if the photographer was using Panchromatic film (more popular at the time than the old Orthochromatic), the color on the Prop Domes & Cowls could be blue or even black. Further comparing these to the darkness of the insignia's blue, we came to the conclusion that their color might actually be a lighter blue. Any reader input would be welcome . . .

 

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

- 537 in the field at Kingman, awaiting her turn . . .

 

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

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

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

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

- No risque', scantillly-clad model on the nose of this ship, 543's titled artwork included 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 Engine Nacelle 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...

 

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

- ATC Public Relations photo of  546; an overzealous censor curiously inked-out the Turrets' Guns, Radome, Loop Antenna and Tail Skid.

 

24) 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.

 

25) B-32-30-CF #42-108571

- Bearing production line info "FW No.101" on 571's nose, here's a shot of the 100th production model nearly ready to roll out of the Ft Worth, Texas factory.

Photo was taken on the scales so her weight & balance could be recorded for use with the Load Adjuster.

Radio Manual removed from B-32 #42-108571 at Kingman

 

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

27) B-32-30-CF #42-108573

28) 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 the ferry crew taxied their beloved bomber into the desert, for only a handful of Kingman's thousands of planes are known to have received this extra care.

 

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

DUST EXCLUDER

CABIN AIR INTAKE

A pair of oval holes in the Dominator's wing leading edge provided fresh air for the giant bomber's cockpit. Faintly on the reverse of this curved aluminum 'plug' is

B-32-30-CF   AAF 42-108575

 

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

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

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

- The fifth Dominator at Kingman that was part of the combat theater deployment, here's an overseas shot of 578 taxiing for takeoff in August 1945, the final month of WWII.

 

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

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

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

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

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

38) B-32-35-CF #42-108584 *~#   - 584 was the final accepted production model

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, which is roughly $400 million in today's currency.

Seems like a bargain for what was then 38 state-of-the-art Global Bombers!

B-32

Bomb Hoist CHOCK ASSY

It's absolutely amazing where some of these Dominator artifacts turned up...

More to be revealed in the book.

*** Also in July of 2010:

Seen here is none other than Tony Svore, former Colonel & 386th Squadron Commander who piloted B-32 #42-108530 DIRECT FROM TOKYO back across the Pacific after the War. The object he's signing is an aluminum Engine Nacelle Access Plate from one of Kingman's two Dominators known to have had the 386th Squadron's large, black Club painted on its tail. One of five returned combat Dominators, the Tail Number of this ship isn't presently known, but it's quite possibly the very bomber he flew into Kingman in 1945 . . .

THANK YOU, TONY!

A remarkable man in many ways, Tony transferred directly into B-32s after flying A-20 Havocs, in the process skipping over Medium & Heavy Bombers!

. . . Five months earlier in 2010, 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 Engine Nacelle 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:

A twin-fuselage Dominator?!

This image was photoshopped around 10 years ago by my son Brian, but don't laugh . . .

Recent Convair information has revealed they were at least dreaming about just such a Bomber!

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 several 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

DOMINATOR

The Story of the Consolidated

B-32 BOMBER

by Harding & Long - in its 5th and final printing.

This is the most historically-accurate B-32 book published to date!

Price: $20.00 ea.

 

NOTE: INTERNATIONAL customers will need to inquire about shipping cost to their country

 

 

photo credits this page:

- William T. Larkins

- Tony Svore

- Ben Guttery / Ft Worth Aviation Museum

- Peter Bowers

- Depot 41 Photo Archive

 

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