Douglas' giant XB-19 (also XBLR-2 eXperimental Bomber, Long Range) Hemisphere Defender was a one-off testbed for technologies for giant long-range bombers. Like so many large-plane projects of its time, it was designed for engines that never materialized, so performance was never up to design levels.
In line with the American "Bigger is Better" mindset, the B-19 attracted a fair amount of attention and press.
- A News clip with photo, "Spot Checking," [ HTML ] gives first-look specs on the B-19.
- "Building the Douglas B-19" [ HTML ] is a photo article showing various views of the plane on the production floor.
- "Douglas B-19 Data" [ HTML ] gives particulars on the plane.
- "Bombers Nearly Twice Size of "Fortress" Planned for 500-a-month production program" [ HTML ] mentions the B-19 in context of the development of the superheavy bombers B-29, B-32.
- "New Engines in Test Bomber" [ HTML ] describes the experiment of re-engining the B-19 with Allison H-24 engines.
- A news clip with photo from the "Aviation News" column, May, 1940, shows the aft fuselage and fin under construction.
- A News clip with photo, "Spot Checking," [ HTML ] includes a production-line photo of the wing and center fuselage section:
- Massive wing of the Douglas B-19 bomber, showing engine nacelles and portion of the fuselage. Wing spread is 212'. [ photo ]
- "Aviation's Sketchbook of Design Detail" for October, 1940, has 2 detail drawings:
- A general view showing the rib construction used on the Douglas B-19, 210' wing spread bomber. Ribs are built up aluminum alloy. [ drawing ]
- The leading edge of the B-19, when uncovered, shows the rib construction used. The stringers are H section and every third rib is reinforced. The opening in the leading edge is for one of the landing lights. [ drawing ]
- "Building the Douglas B-19" [ HTML ] is a photo article with 7 captioned photos:
- The wing of the Douglas B-19 nearing completion in its steel jig. The tail section is at lower right. [ photo ]
- The nacelle skin of the B-19 is Alclad of approximately .040 gauqe. The engine mount is of the new Lord "Dynafocal" type. with stainless-steel tube members running from the shock units to the individual cylinder heads. The cylinder head ttachment fitting is a special forging. The shock absorber fittings are three-piece dural castings, with one piece for the attachment to the bulkhead. and two pieces for clamping around the rubber shock absorbing units. The stiffeners of the nacelle are bulb-angle extruded sections except at each shock unit mounting where two "C" sections are used together to give added strength to carry the engine loads back into the nacelle structure. The nacelle is flush-riveted throughout with dural rivets countersunk where sections are heavy and counter-punched where skin is attached to skin- (or thin-) section members. [ drawing ]
- Hoisting one of the four 2,000-horsepower Wright Duplex Cyclone engines into place. These engines will swing 16' diameter propellers that were recently developed. [ photo ]
- A closeup of the tail section shows the rear gun turret position and the full cantilever construction of the fin and stabilizers. [ photo ]
- The control cabin gives some idea of the size of the B-19. Here are ten men working, and all with ample room. in the forward part of the cabin, with a space much larger than this below the floor. The wing span of the ship is 210' and it will weigh, fully loaded, more than 140,000 lb. The load capacity is some 56,000 lb and the airplane is built for range and armament rather than speed, a lesson learned from the war. [ photo ]
- Most of the wing was constructed while in a vertical steel jig. The nacelles are large enough for a member of the crew to repair the engines while in flight, with access through the wing. [ photo ]
- A view inboard from near the left wing tip shows the wing to be set at a rather high angle of incidence. The main spar of the wing in general is of box beam construction with corrugated aluminum alloy forming the top and bottom. It has a tricycle landing gear. [ photo ]
- The "Have You Seen?" section for April, 1941, shows tail-gun mountings for B-19 and B-26. These are reported as the first tail gun installations on American planes.
- A Rohm & Haas ad, "Plexiglas on the Douglas B-19," shows the nose of the B-19, seen from ground level.
- "Bombers Nearly Twice Size of "Fortress" Planned for 500-a-month production program" [ HTML ] includes a photo of the B-19 [ photo ]
Captioned: World's most powerful bomber in the air. Mighty Douglas B-19 has been going through a series of flight tests at Santa Monica. With four 2,000 hp. Wright engines, this battlewagon of the air can fly nonstop 7,750 miles. Over 700,000 man-hours were involved in building the B-19.
- A SKF Industries (roller bearings) ad, "The Biggest Thing in the Air flies with SKF bearings," shows the B-19 on hardstand in front of a hangar. View is from 8 o'clock high. Plane has "meatball" insignia and striped rudder.
- The "Have You Seen?" section for February, 1942, shows a photo of the Flight deck, seen from aft.
- The "Have You Seen?" section for May, 1942, shows a photo of the flight deck, with named pilot, seen from aft. This appears to be a cropped version of the February, 1942, photo.
- "New Engines in Test Bomber" [ HTML ] includes a photo showing the lefthand engine nacelles.
- Army's experimental bomber, the XB-19A. was recently fitted with Allison engines by the Fisher Body Division of General Motors [ photo ]