But there was a bomber in between the B-29 and the B-52. The B-36. It had it's genesis before the U.S. entered WWII . When it looked like England was going to fall to the Nazis, the Army was looking for a long range bomber capable of launching from Greenland and bombing Europe. The original design was a multi-engine bomber with a 45,000 foot ceiling and a 12,000 mile max range. It got shelved for most of the war when B-24s and B-17s were being built and flown out of England.
Late in the war, it got revived as a bomber capable of bombing Japan from Hawaii. Two prototypes were built at the end of the war and were test by the Army in 1946. It was a six engine propeller plane in the original configuration.
The largest production piston aircraft ever made. The longest wing of any production aircraft. Capable of staying in flight for up to 40 hours and traveling about 7,000 miles, it was the final development before the jets took over. To get an idea of what this plane was, here's a picture of an early B-36 side by side with a B-29.
With one radical design change. Four jets engines were mounted, two on each wing. In the words of the time, six turning and four burning.
As I said at the start, the B-52 entered service in 1955. The last B-36s were mothballed in 1959. There are four in museums. None in flying status and none likely of ever being returned to flight. Big, complicated, and increasing vulnerable to more modern fighters that could climb to their cruising altitude, their day was past.
None of my recent posts would be complete without a video, so here is a 7 minute clip from the 1955 movie Strategic Air Command starring Jimmy Stewart. It is preflight to takeoff and shows off the aircraft in great detail.