Development of the B-32 started before WWII, in June 1939. US Army Gen. W.G. Kilner delivered a study that recommended development of a new bomber to succeed the B-17 Flying Fortress, despite the added cost, two separate designs from two separate companies should be developed; in case one turned out to be a failure. Boeing entered their XB-29 design, Lockheed their XB-30, and Consolidated their XB-32.
The clear favorite was Boeing’s B-29 Superfortress however it was decided to still pursue a “fall-back” option and Consolidated’s B-32 was selected. A pre-production order was placed in June 1941.
The first production B-32 wasn’t delivered until 19 September 1944, by which time the B-29 was not only in service but already flying combat missions. Clearly, there was no longer any need for a “fall-back” bomber design, but since so much money had already been sunk into the Dominator, production continued and the total final order was actually increased to 1,966 planes.
During the twenty-day interim between the second atomic bomb drop on 9 August and the arrival of the occupation fleet off Japan on 29 August, B-32s (now in Okinawa) flew reconnaissance missions over the Japanese home islands. The actual reconnaissance value was small, but the flights tested Japan’s willingness to refrain from further combat before the surrender ceremony on 2 September 1945.