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This Day In History: Gen. “Hap” Arnold Gives The Highest Priority To The Development Of The B-35 Flying Wing And The B-36 Peacemaker

September 28, 2016

This day in history, September 28, 1942, Gen. Henry “Hap” Arnold gives the highest priority to the development of the B-35 Flying Wing and the B-36 Peacemaker, which were intended to be used for bombing runs from bases in the United States to targets in Europe.

At the time of the United States’ entry into the Second World War, the Army Air Forces had become an increasingly distinct military service. Arnold was made its first chief and he was given an opportunity to take a seat with the Joint Chiefs of Staff; initially intended to boost his status to that of his counterpart in Britain. The move also increased the stature and independence of the Army Air Forces. Arnold was able to form alliances with British RAF allies who also favored the use of strategic bombing in lieu of ground-force operations.

In 1942, Arnold gave the highest priority to the development of two extra long-distance transatlantic planes that would prove most useful to his strategic bombing game plan: the B-35 and the B-36 transatlantic bombers.

The B-35 was initially proposed in 1941 to defend Britain but the project was put on hold because the plane was considered to be too radical because it was tailless. The planes development was then started back up because of some of its advantages over the B-36.

Both planes were ordered for construction but the B-35 did not take flight until after the war had ended. Developers hoped the B-36 would be created during the war so that it could reach European bases from America but the construction for the plane was not finished until after the war was over.

The B-35 would become the prototype for the B-2 Stealth bomber built in 1989 and the B-36 which was used extensively by U.S. Strategic Air Command until 1959, but never dropped a bomb.