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The first aircraft that dropped a nuclear bomb on a civilized area

The first aircraft that dropped a nuclear bomb on a civilized area is the B-29. The first city that was blown by a nuclear bomb was Hiroshima, followed by Nagasaki. Upon losing these two cities, Japan yielded to the United States of America, and the Second World War was over.

B-29 From the beginning, the B-29 was a fountain of firsts, anticipating the methodologies and successes of the later NASA Lunar and Space Shuttle programs. Before the first prototype had been constructed, manufacturing facilities had already been established, a risky process that had not been the norm in the aircraft industry. And that bomber, the heaviest production aircraft built up to that time, would be the first to have pressurized crew compartments, centralized and computerized fire control, the capacity to carry up to a 20,000 pound bomb load, or the ability to fly 5,830 miles, with a top airspeed of 365 miles per hour. Paradoxically, although the B-29 was designed to be a high-altitude weapons platform, its greatest WW II successes were accomplished at low-altitude, in the fire-bombing of Japan. Low-flying B-29's laid waste to most militarily important cities in Japan except Hiroshima, Nagasaki, Niigata and Kokura, which had been declared -- for reasons unclear to the active bomb groups -- off-limits to their bombing.

Eventually, the B-29 became the first combat aircraft to carry and drop atomic bombs, first on Hiroshima (by "Enola Gay" commanded by Capt. Robert Lewis and Col. Paul Tibbetts), then Nagasaki (by "Bockscar," commanded by Maj. Charles Sweeny), becoming the first and only aircraft to effectively end a world war. B-29's had one more war in their future before the type was finally retired from combat service in 1960 by a jet-propelled Air Force. During the Korean War, they flew more than 20,000 sorties in which they dropped nearly 200,000 tons of bombs on North Korean targets.

Major variants included: B-29A (Increased-span versions built by Boeing); B-29B (Bell-built version with automatic, radar-guided tail guns); RB-29 (Photo-reconnaissance variant); KB-29M / KB-29P (Inflight refueling tankers); and P2B-1S / P2B-2S (US navy anti-submarine testbeds).

Of the 3,970 B-29's built, one aircraft still flies as a living memorial and educational component of the Commemorative Air Force, flying in its illustrious "Ghost Squadron" of World War II aircraft.