Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Frederick A. Johnsen

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Frederick A. Johnsen

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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Frederick A. Johnsen

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Frederick A. Johnsen

Warbird Tech: 7

This is one of the best researched books I have found on the B-17. Johnsen is clearly an expert on his subject, and uses a much wider range of evidence than most books on this subject. This is evident all the way through the book as Johnsen supports his text with a good choice of quotes from contemporary documents.

Another benefit of this level of knowledge is the fantastic selection of diagrams taken from the service manuals for the B-17. If you have any doubts as to the nature of a particular feature of the aircraft, there is nothing better that the actually centenary illustrations to clear up any confusion. The book also benefits from a good selection of colour pictures.

Chapter One - Design of the Flying Fortress - contains the traditional technical history of the aircraft, taking us from the earliest Boeing precursors of the bomber through to the last production versions of the aircraft, and its use as the first airborne warning aircraft, just after the end of the war.

Chapter Two - First to Fight - looks at the Flying Fortress's first use in combat, with the RAF, focusing on the training of RAF flight crews in the United States and the fate of one bomber over Norway.

Chapter Three - In Harm's Way - looks at the B-17's combat record with the USAAC, from the early days at Pearl Harbor and on the Philippines to the massive armada of bombers operated by the Eighth Air Force. Not only did the size of the B-17 fleet increase massively during this period, so did the sophistication of the Eighth Air Force's operations. Johnsen traces that process from the small scale raids of 1942 to the massive, fighter escorted, pathfinder led, radar aided bombing raids of 1944-45

Chapter Four - Tests and Proposals - looks at the efforts that were made to improve the B-17 during the war. The chapter takes an unusual but effective approach to this topic. Rather than look at each model in turn, here Johnsen looks at the modifications from the point of view of the research and development teams that produced them. As a result we are given far more background information on the work that led to each new version of the B-17. Johnsen also provides some fascinating sections on proposed modifications that were never used on production aircraft.

Finally Chapter Five looks at the Postwar career of the Flying Fortress. Very few aircraft remained in military use, although a number were still in use during the Korean War. This chapter also looks as the career of the B-17 as a test bed, most notably a version with a fifth nose-mounted engine used by Curtiss Wright.

Author: Frederick A. Johnsen
Edition: Paperback
Pages: 104
Publisher: Voyageur Press
Year: 2001 (revised edition)

Frederick A. Johnsen (Johnsen, Frederick A.)

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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Frederick A. Johnsen - History

In the late-1950s, many of the surplus Boeing B-17 Flying Fortresses that were used by the Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard in the air-sea rescue role found their way into the hands of several civilian fire bomber operations that for the first time along with surplus Consolidated PB4Y-2 Privateers, offered a quantum leap in performance with the ability to carry significant loads of fire retardant. In fact, prior to the arrival of the B-17s and PB4Y-2s, no other civilian fire bomber then in use even remotely approached the fire retardant capacity of the converted four-engined bombers. In 1960, the first of about two dozen B-17s were converted with bomb bay tanks for aerial delivery of fire retardants.

The bomb bays were fitted with tanks that could carry 2,000 lbs of retardant. The tank was then subdivided into four compartments, each compartment having its own quick-opening door to empty that tank on a forest fire target. The converted B-17s were based on the -F and -G variants primarily (the USAF's air-sea rescue SB-17G, for example). Stripped of all non-essential equipment, the B-17 offered a significant increase in power in the typical-high altitude areas that most forest fires were found. Most of the conversions flew on contracts with the US Forest Service.

However, by the late-1960s many of the fire bomber B-17s were retired from service as aircraft like the Douglas DC-6 and ex-military Douglas C-54s were converted for the role. In addition, the Wright R-1820 Cyclone radial engines of the B-17s were becoming increasingly difficult to support with spare parts. One enterprising outfit got around this issue by re-engining their B-17 fire bomber with four Rolls-Royce Dart turboprops that once belonged to Vickers Viscount. As the Dart engines were much lighter than the Wright Cyclone radials, the nacelles had to be extended far forward to maintain the center of gravity with the propeller spinners being nearly in line with the nose of the B-17. Only one B-17, N1304N, was converted in 1970. Some sources indicate that the aircraft had the nickname "Batmobile" and she was so overpowered, that with both outboard engines shut down and feathered, she was still faster than a stock B-17 and this was while carrying a full load of fire retardant. When the pilots made their drop, they had to shut down and feather the outboard engines to keep from overspeeding the airframe.

This unique and one-of-a-kind B-17 Flying Fortress was unfortunately lost in the same year it was converted. While fighting a forest fire near Dubois, Wyoming, the engines lost power due to excessive ingestion of heated air and smoke from the fire and the aircraft failed to pull out of a retardant drop.

Source: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (Warbird Tech No. 7) by Frederick A. Johnsen. Specialty Press, 2002, p97-99.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

By Stephen Sherman, July 2002. Updated January 21, 2012.

I n 1934, the Army issued specs for a "multi" engine bomber, which Boeing interpreted as four engines. While the Martin B-10 bomber seemed adequate at the time to defend the continental United States, with great foresight Boeing designed an altogether heavier, faster, higher-flying, and longer-range bomber, which proved to be invaluable in the strategic air battles over Germany.

Boeing started design work on its Model 299 in June, 1934 just over a year later the first flight of the prototype took place at Boeing Field, July 28, 1935. A month later, the shiny silvery aircraft flew to Wright Field, Ohio in record time, but crashed disastrously at its USAAC evaluation flight in October. Despite this accident, which was traced to human error - not a design flaw, the Air Corps recognized the potential of the Model 299 (aka XB-17), and orderd thirteen service-test models (Y1B-17) for evaluation. Among the notable changes incorporated into the Y1B-17, 930-hp Wright Cyclones replaced the original 750-hp Pratt & Whitneys (a change which lost 70,000 engine orders for the East Hartford company).

In the 1930's, the nation's military leaders debated bomber doctrine strenuously. Among the most influential views were those of Billy Mitchell and his bomber advocates. For them, the B-17 was a godsend - the manufactured, tangible embodiment of a "Flying Fortress."

As early as 1937, the 2nd Bombardment Group was equipped with B-17s, using them to perfect techniques of high-altitude, long-distance bombing. Since the only foreseeable use of such a capability was the defense of the nation's shores from enemy fleets, the U.S. Navy fiercely opposed the Army's development of the four-engine bomber. By way of a compromise the Army ordered 39 more B-17B's. The Air Corps' air doctrine envisioned large formations of fast, high-flying B-17 bombers, defending themselves against enemy fighters with their own massed machine-gun fire. Fighter escort was considered impractical, and even undesirable by the bomber advocates. In a way, any admission that fighter escort was necessary would imply that enemy fighters posed a real threat and that the Flying Fortresses were not invulnerable.

More improvements followed in the B-17C: more machine guns, self-sealing fuel tanks, more armor plating, up-rated engines, etc.. Even though all these increased the weight of the "C" model to 49,650 pounds, the installation of the 1,200 Wright Cyclones made the "C" capable of 320 MPH, the fastest of all B-17 variants.

This was a slightly modified B-17C, with different engine cowling flaps and an extra pair of machine guns, bringing its total armament to six .50 caliber and one .30 caliber machine guns. While only 42 model "D"s were built, by the time of Pearl Harbor the existing "C" models had been upgraded to "D" specifications.

The first B-17D flew on February 3, 1941. Most were sent to Hawaii and the Philippines.

The "E" model introduced some significant changes from the earlier versions, the most visible being the addition of a dorsal fin forward of the now-larger tail, greatly thickening the profile view of "E" and later versions when compared to earlier models. These features increased flight stability, especially during high-altitude bomb runs.

Equally significant was the addition of a pair of .50 caliber machine guns in a tail turret, resolving a deficiency that had been noted by August, 1940 when the B-17E was ordered. The addition of the tail turret required a completely redesigned rear fuselage, resulting in a six foot longer aircraft. The third big change was the installation of powered turrets in the ventral and dorsal positions.

Crew: pilot, copilot, bombardier, navigator, flight engineer, radio operator, tail gunner, belly gunner, and two waist gunners. The navigator or bombardier used the nose gun, and the flight engineer operated the dorsal turret

With the same 1200 hp engines, these add-ons made for a somewhat slower, but eminently more defensible, B-17E. It's specs were similar to the B-17D, noted above, but the overall length was 74 feet, and it carried nine machine guns (eight .50's and one .30). Boeing produced 512 "E"s.

The "F" was the first B-17 variant to be produced by all of the "B.V.D." companies (Boeing, Lockheed/Vega, and Douglas). Because of the pressing demand for the Flying Fortress, Boeing provided blueprints and cooperation for the B-17 to be built at the Douglas plant in Long Beach and the Vega plant in Burbank. Altogether, they would turn out 3405 B-17Fs: 2300 by Boeing, 605 by Douglas, and 500 by Lockheed/Vega. The first B-17F flew in May, 1942.

From the outside, the "F" closely resembled the "E" only the unframed, bubble-style plexiglass nose appeared different. Internally, over 400 changes made the B-17F a better bomber: new Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone engines (capable of 1380 hp in short bursts), paddle-bladed propellers, a stronger undercarriage, external bomb racks, better brakes, carburetor intake filters, etc..

B-17F's participated in the January 27, 1943 raid on Wilhelmshaven, the first USAAF mission over Germany. The Luftwaffe pilots quickly identified the B-17's vulnerability to head-on attack. Field modifications, typically jury-rigged machine guns, didn't help much. The stage was set for the B-17G, the definitive variant of the Flying Fortress.

- More pictures of B-17s and other bombers at Photo Gallery 2.

This version fairly bristled with defensive firepower: 13 Browning .50 caliber machine guns. Chin, dorsal, ventral, and tail turrets each mounted a pair of guns (8). Left- and right- side guns in the cheeks and waist added 4 more. And a single, rear-firing gun on the top of the fuselage made 13. No wonder Luftwaffe pilots suffered from "vier motor schreck" ("four-engine fear").

The most distinctive change was the "chin" turret, sticking out below the nose. It looks like an after-thought, and it was. But the two machine guns there addressed the B-17's earlier vulnerability.

With 8,680 produced between July 1943 and April 1945, the "G" was the most numerous B-17 variant: 4,035 B-17Gs by Boeing, 2,395 by Douglas, and 2,250 by Lockheed/Vega. The vast majority of surviving B-17s are "G"s.

In the Pacific

Before the United States got into the war, we stationed most of our 150 B-17's (C, D, and a few E models) in the Pacific, in part hoping that their presence would serve as a deterrent to the Japanese. Thirty-five B-17s of the 19th Bombardment Group (BG) were stationed in the Philippines, 19 at Clark Field, Luzon and 16 at Del Monte, on Mindanao. Sixteen were in the Canal Zone. Twelve, of the 5th BG, were at Hickam Field, Hawaii. And, as every student of the attack on Pearl Harbor knows, six more B-17s were approaching Hickam Field on the morning of December 7th. They touched down wherever they could. In the Japanese attack that morning, five B-17s were destroyed and eight were damaged.

In the Philippines, an odd drama unfolded. The bombers at Clark Field were stationed there as a deterrent. Plans were in place for an immediate strike against Japanese bases on Formosa in the event of war. Generals MacArthur and Brereton got prompt word of the attack on Pearl Harbor. But the B-17's did not attack Formosa they circled Luzon defensively, then returned to base. The next day, the Japanese struck Clark Field and destroyed or damaged all but one of them. A few damaged planes were repaired and joined up with the squadrons at Del Monte. These few B-17's launched some ineffectual attacks against the Japanese onslaught, including one mission in which the pilot, Colin Kelly, thought he had sunk the battleship Haruna. He died on landing, but won great acclaim and a DSC. Postwar research indicated that he had slightly damaged a cruiser.

Eventually 14 surviving B-17s from the Philippines evacuated to Batchelor Field near Darwin, Australia. From these early defeats in the Philippines and Java to the shoestring existence in Australia, maximum effort missions were lucky to involve six or ten B-17's. Crews lived in makeshift accommodations with swarms of insects, disease, poor food, and lack of spare parts. They battled furious tropical storms as much as the enemy and flew incredibly hazardous missions, often at night. B-17's were involved in the Solomons campaign and New Guinea they were especially effective the Battle of the Bismarck Sea, using skip-bombing techniques against the Japanese transports.

In another example of the "fog of war," Army B-17's participated in the Battle of Midway, and again claimed great successes against the Japanese invasion ships (the B-17's original mission back in the mid Thirties). Again, they hadn't made much of an impact. As described in Gordon Prange's Miracle at Midway the Navy's dive bombers scored all the big hits.

In Europe

In a sense, the story of the B-17 in Europe IS the story of the air war over Europe. The strategic choices, the debates over daylight "precision" bombing vs. nighttime area bombing, the targeting of ball-bearing plants, oil production, & aircraft manufacturing, the staggering losses, etc. could fill volumes. Indeed the story of the air war in Europe HAS filled volumes. What follows here is very summary.

The Eighth Air Force (8AF) was organized in England in early 1942. Its mission - to destroy Germany's ability to wage war, through daylight bombing raids (complementing the RAF's nighttime attacks). Massed formations of Flying Fortresses would roam over Occupied Europe, wreaking havoc on the German war machine, while relying on the bombers' speed, altitude, and own firepower for protection. Billy Mitchell, "Boom" Trenchard, and Guilio Douhet were to be proven right at last!

The first B-17E arrived in Britain on July 1, 1942. Six weeks later, August 17, eighteen Flying Fortresses launched their first raid against Nazi Europe, hitting rail yards at Rouen. Eighth Air Force head General Ira Eaker went along on this mission, flying in Yankee Doodle the Luftwaffe didn't come up that day. Light opposition continued for the next ten missions. While many B-17's were diverted to the North African front in the Fall of 1942, the remaining 8AF Bomb Groups targeted the submarine pens along the coast. It was an ineffective campaign the thick concrete pans were difficult to damage and the many aircrew were lost. But learning, expensive as it was in "blood and treasure' continued. In January, the Eighth adopted the "bomb on the leader" approach, where all the B-17s in a flight dropped when the lead plane's bombardier dropped.

As the heavy bomber demands of the North African campaign eased in the winter of 1942-43, the air war in Northwest Europe accelerated. On January 27, 1943, for the first time, American bombers hit inside of Germany itself, the submarine facilities at Wilhelmshaven.

A turning point was reached on April 17, when 115 Flying Fortresses bombed the Focke-Wulfe factory in Bremen. As if defending its nest, the Luftwaffe struck hard, knocking down sixteen B-17's (a 15 percent loss rate - on a single mission!). Soon, ten-to-fifteen percent losses became the norm, as the Luftwaffe improved their tactics, in particular by attacking the B-17's head on. Thus the famous phrase "Bandits at twelve o'clock high!"

But the Eighth continued grimly on, throughout 1943, next targeting ball-bearing production, considered a vital weak point in aviation manufacturing. On the 17th of August, a large force of 376 bombers raided Schweinfurt and Regensburg. Sixty bombers, with six hundred aircrew, didn't come back. 16 percent losses. At that rate, the Eighth Air Force could not continue. When B-17G's began to arrive in August and September, the forward machine guns in their chin turrets helped a little. The appalling wastage continued:

  • September 6 - Over 400 bombers attacked the Stuttgart ball-bearing plant 45 were lost.
  • October 14 - Schweinfurt again. 291 B-17's went out 60 went down.
  • January 11, 1944 - German aircraft industry targets. 600 Flying Fortresses were sent out. Because of bad weather, only 238 reached Germany 60 were shot down.

German industrial capacity proved remarkably resilient. Armaments Minister Albert Speer mobilized German (and captive) labor and decentralized critical production. In his Inside the Third Reich: Memoirs, Speer told of his efforts "After the second heavy raid on Schweinfurt on October 14, 1943, we again decided to decentralize. Some of the facilities were to be distributed among the surrounding villages, others placed in small, as yet unendangered towns in eastern Germany. This policy of dispersal was meant to provide for the future but the plan encountered . resistance on all side. The Gauleiters did not want new factories in their districts for fear that the peacetime quiet of their small towns would be disturbed."

In late 1943, P-38's and P-47's began to provide the long range escort that the 'Forts' needed. But the ultimate answer, the P-51 Mustang, which could reach Berlin, only appeared in March, 1944.

Big Week

In February, 1944, and especially in the third week, later dubbed "Big Week," the Eighth Air Force launched massive raids against German aircraft manufacturing in Leipzig, Augsburg, Regensburg, Schweinfurt, Stuttgart, etc.. Starting on the 20th, VIII Bomber Command launched over 1,000 Flying Fortresses in an attempt to destroy the Luftwaffe. American losses were heavy - 244 bombers and 33 fighters, but the Luftwaffe's strength never recovered. Its losses in the air were almost as damaging as the destruction of the factories.

The following month, March 1944, Mustangs escorted the B-17s all the way to Berlin. As Goering later said, when he saw Mustangs over Berlin, "he knew the jig was up." Because from that date, the bombers could range all over Germany, not immune from losses, but with fighter escort to keep Allied losses down and to continue to erode Luftwaffe strength. (While tangential to the B-17 story, Germany's inadequate pilot training and its short-sighted non-rotation of pilots made it impossible for the Luftwaffe to make good its losses, while competently trained American aircrew filled, replaced, and expanded the 8AF roster.)

In retrospect it seems that the Allies shifted the focus of their bombing too often. First submarines, then ball-bearings, the aircraft builders, then (in May, 1944) oil. Both Galland and Speer, in their memoirs, suggested that continued concentration on one of these industrial jugular veins might have yielded better results. Perhaps by May of 1944, the Allied analysts thought that enough damage had been done to the aircraft industry. They turned their attention to oil production, oil refineries, and synthetic oil plants.

457th Bomb Group

The 1944 experience of this typical group shows how relentless the USAAF bombing campaign was and how much the situation had changed since 1943 (when ten percent losses were the norm). The 457th BG arrived in ETO in February and for its first mission, participated in a "Big Week" raids on Gutersloh/Lippstadt, Oschersleben, Schweinfurt, and Augsburg. In four February missions, the 457th sent out 36, 18, 18, and 25 bombers, losing 4. In March, they flew 18 missions of 18+ planes each, hitting Berlin five times, and losing only 4 planes - about a one percent loss rate! Fifteen somewhat larger raids in April, typically with 24 planes, hit airfields and rail marshalling yards the shift toward these tactical targets in anticipation of D-Day. Five B-17's of the Group didn't make it, for losses of 1.5 percent. In May - 19 raids of similar size, suffering two percent losses.

With D-Day in June, the 457th flew 23 missions, mostly against tactical targets, airfields, and marshalling in northern France. These missions included 800 sorties, with only nine planes lost. In the last five months of 1944, the 457th ran 87 missions, about 2700 sorties (540 per month), and lost 66 planes (13 per month), for a monthly loss ratio of 2.5 percent. Higher than earlier in the year, but far below the unbearable experience of 1943.

You can read more details about the 457th at the excellent 457th Bomb Group website.

Right up until May, 1945, the B-17 Flying Fortresses continued to batter the Third Reich. More than any other airplane, the big Boeing bombers brought the war to the Germans.

Experimental B-17's

As with most widely produced planes, the B-17 spawned a number of interesting variations. The YB-40, armed with additional machine guns and ammunition, was conceived as an escort fighter. But it was so heavy and so slow, that it couldn't keep up with the bombers. The B-17H was a post-war conversion of 12 (?) B-17G's into air-sea rescue planes, fitted with air-droppable life-rafts. Some of these (redesignated SB-17G) served in Korea and flew until the mid 1950's in the air-sea rescue role.

Rather less successful was the BQ-7, a conversion of some war-weary Forts into flying bombs. The planes were provided with radio-directed flight controls, packed with 10 tens of Torpex, and stripped of everything else. The pilot got the plane off the ground, headed toward the target, and he bailed out. On several attempts the BQ-7s either went out of control, exploding on English soil or the North Sea, or were hit by flak, or missed their targets.

Famous Planes

Memphis Belle

In mid-1943, the bomber crews of the Eighth Air Force were getting shot down at a very rapid rate. Morale reflected this. The promise of rotation home after twenty-five missions seemed too far away and too unlikely. "Who's gonna make twenty-five missions? We'll get shot down first."

A Flying Fortress of the 91st Bomb Group had racked up a lot of missions since its first on November 9, 1942. The pilot, Colonel Robert Morgan wrote of first mission jitters in his memoirs The Man Who Flew the Memphis Belle:

The "Belle," named for Col. Morgan's sweetheart went on to complete 25 missions, the last ones were filmed by William Wyler's movie crew. To great fanfare, the plane (number 41-24485) and crew were rotated home. Their 26th mission was to fly back to the United States for a heroes welcome, Bond Tours, etc..

For many year the "Belle" did gate guard duty outside an Air National Guard base and deteriorated over time. In 1987, the citizens of Memphis renovated the plane and built the Memphis Belle Pavilion at the local airport.

Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby

In March 1944 this B-17G joined the 91st Bomb Group, at Bassingbourn, England. The crew named it Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby after the popular Glenn Miller song. It flew 24 combat missions, receiving flak damage seven times. Its first mission (Frankfurt, Germany) was on March 24, 1944, and last mission (Posen, Poland) on May 29, 1944, when engine problems forced a landing in neutral Sweden where the airplane and crew were interned. In 1968, Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby was found abandoned in France, and then donated to the USAF. After a ten year resoration, the aircraft was flown to Wright Patterson AFB Museum in October 1988.

Yankee Doodle

This Flying Fortress took part in the first B-17 raid over Europe on August 17, 1942. General Ira Eaker flew B-17E 41-9023, "Yankee Doodle," to lead this mission against the marshalling yards at Rouen.

Aluminum Overcast

A surviving B-17G, number 44-85740, "Aluminum Overcast," was delivered to the USAAF on May 18, 1945. Too late to see action in World War II, the airplane has been restored to flying condtion by a warbirds group in Wisconsin. See the Aluminum Overcast website.

B-17 in the Movies

Twelve O'Clock High - Colonel Savage (Gregory Peck) whips the 918th Bomb Group and crew of the Leper Colony into shape. My favorite scene? Dean Jagger in the post-war epilog, looking out over the now-empty, wind-blown airfield. A great movie about humanity, war, leadership.

Memphis Belle - the 1990 movie starring Matthew Modine told a version of the famous airplane and its last mission. You really had to sympathize with that guy in ball turret in the belly of the plane.


Half a Wing, Three Engines and a Prayer, by Brian D. O'Neill - the story of one bomber crew of the 303rd Bomb Group, "Hell's Angels," told primarily through the diary of the navigator, Elmer J. Brown, and interviews with five other surviving crew members. It covers all their missions from August 1943 through February 1944.

B-17 Flying Fortress Units of the Eighth Air Force (1) (Osprey Combat Aircraft 18), by Martin W. Bowman - another in the fine Osprey "Combat Aircraft" series, featuring a wartime history of the B-17, many period photographs, and over forty original profiles and paintings. These illustrate the B-17 Bomb Groups of the 1st Air Division of the 8AF.

B-17 Flying Fortress: The Symbol of Second World War Air Power, by Frederick A. Johnsen, Walter J. Boyne - a very thorough histroy, covering the Air Corps' early concepts of strategic bombardment, the design and evolution of hte Flying Fortress, and its wartime experience in all theaters.

Flying Fortress, by Edward Jablonski - this 1966 work is long out-of-print, but it's still one of the best reference works on the B-17

Joe Baugher's B-17 web pages - Outstanding! Very detailed. When it comes to aircraft histories on the web, Joe Baugher is The Man!


Today I'd like to present you the Queen of the Skies: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress bomber.

Born as a result of USAAC request for a Martin B-10 replacement, it first flew on 28 July 1935. Few months later the prototype Model 299 crashed and eventually the contract went to Douglas' smaller and cheaper B-18, but military was sufficiently impressed with the 'Flying Fortress', as the journalists named it, they ordered 13 aircraft for 'operational testing', designated Y1B-17 (plus one for static testing, that eventually become a flying testbed as Y1B-17A). Eventually further - albeit small - orders followed for subsequent improved versions: 39 B-17B in 1939, 38 B-17C in 1940 and 42 B-17D in early 1941. At that point experiences from the aircraft's use led to major redesign and creation of the "big tail" versions, that enjoyed much larger production run, beginning with B-17E of which 512 made from late 1941. USA entry into World War 2 led to huge expansion of aircraft production (which was already increasing from 1939) and in 1942 B-17F entered production lines, with 3405 being made before being superseded by B-17G in second half of 1943, that last being most-produced version with 8680 being made (for a grand total of 12371). During the war, Flying Fortress was USAAF's most famous heavy bomber (albeit not the most-produced: that distinction goes to B-24 Liberator), equipping 42 operational Bombardment Groups (although not simultaneously): 5 in the Pacific Theater of Operations (5th, 7th and 13th Air Forces), 3 in the Caribbean (6th Air Force), 7 in the Mediterranean Theater of Operations (12th and later 15th Air Forces) and 28 in European Theater of Operations (8th Air Force - one of these groups transferred eventually to MTO) where it's service is most remembered today. Besides the "basic" bomber versions (which underwent numerous modifications during their production run), a number of more special variants was created, like XB-38 with inline engines, XB/YB-40 heavy escort, transport conversions (designated C-108/CB-17/VB-17 - although some war-weary bombers were just stripped of armament and used as crudely-adapted transports without any changes in designations), reconnaissance (F-9 and later RB-17), search and rescue (SB-17), while some others were used as testbeds for armaments and special equipment and even as flying bombs. After the war B-17's rapidly left front-line units, replaced there by much more capable B-29 Superfortress, but for number of years they remained in support roles - SAR, aerial mapping, transport/communications, airborne early warning (in the US Navy as PB-1) as well as flying testbed and finally as drone (which was the type's last operational role in USAF until late 1950s). Number of B-17 made it post-war to the civilian market, being used as executive aircraft, cargo transports, for aerial mapping and most famously - as fire bombers.

(Note: please take into consideration, that some versions, particularly tesbeds, are represented by rather few drawings and had to be made entirely from photographs, therefore I'm afraid that I can't guarantee their accuracy)

Boeing Model 299 B-17 Flying Fortress / XB-38 / XB-40 / YB-40 / PB-1

United States

Great Britain happened to be the only foreign operator of "factory fresh" B-17's (all others acquired their Fortresses second-hand, one way or another). Already in 1940 20 B-17C (designated Fortress Mk. I) were acquired in RAF, which hoped they could be used as very-high altitude daylight bombers - both from UK and Egyptian bases. Relative technical immaturity of these aircraft coupled with poor tactics led to their high attrition and whole experiment being deemed a failure. On the other hand, surviving aircraft were found to be more promising as long-range maritime patrol aircraft and were duly transferred to that role (with exception of 2 last Egypt-based planes which were transferred back to US custody where they served as trainers). Therefore all further British B-17 orders were made with Coastal Command in mind. Next ordered was B-17F (as Fortress Mk. II), but because of the high demand for them in the USAAF, instead 45 older B-17E were delivered first (as Fortress Mk. IIA), followed eventually by 19 planes from 'original' Mk. II order. Finally, well over a 100+ of B-17G (Fortress Mk. III) were delivered, but by then the demand for these aircraft in Coastal Command was diminishing (largely replaced by Liberators) and only 3 were actually operated in patrol role, with some more used for weather reconnaissance and as electronic warfare platforms by Bomber Command, with majority of them never being operationally used.

Great Britain

Japan captured a number of B-17's in the Philippines and Dutch East Indies. Most of them were heavily damaged, but at least 3 (1 B-17D and 2 B-17E) were made flyable and heavily trialled in Japan.


Of the large number of B-17's downed over Germany or occupied territories, at least some 40 were captured in a relatively "in one piece" condition, some 12 were eventually made flyable. Initially mostly for evaluation and for training of fighter pilots in attacking them, several were eventually operated by Kampfgeschwader 200 for covert agent insertion flights.


Beginning in 1943, damaged USAAF B-17's landed in neutral Sweden, where they were interned. Eventually 9 of these (in practically intact condition) were formally transferred to Swedish ownership in return for return of some 300 US airmen. Swedes converted these planes into long-range passenger aircraft, particularly for service on dangerous route to Great Britain (on which a number of airliners was already lost). They served until 1948 when they were replaced by newer designs.


Starting from August 1943 a number of B-17's force-landed also in neutral Switzerland. Although this Alpine country never formally operated them, some 9 of them were given Swiss markings and used for evaluation and training flights.


Canada received 6 war-weary B-17E and B-17F's in late 1943 and early 1944 for use as trans-Atlantic mailplanes with Rockliffe-based No. 168 Squadron. Although initially all were in basic bomber configuration and had received only makeshift adaptations for transport role, 3 of them eventually received more substantial modifications with new nose that allowed easier loading. In 1946 unit was disbanded and surviving aircraft were disposed on civilian market. In later years several B-17's were used by civilian operators in Canadian interior.


Despite numerous requests, Soviet Union never received any B-17's under Lend Lease agreement, but eventually managed to become in fact 4th largest operator of them (after USAAF, RAF and US Navy). In 1945 significant number of B-17's force-landed in territories under Soviet control, at least 23 of which were subsequently repaired and pressed into service with 45 Tyazhelaya Bombardirovochnaya Divizia (45th Heavy Bomber Division) and later with various training units and as trials aircraft (last of these surviving until at least 1952).

Russia (Soviet Union)

In March 1945 single B-17 (in VIP standard) was donated to general Pierre-Marie Koenig to be his personal aircraft. Eventually that aircraft was later transferred to Institut Géographique National and converted to aerial mapping duties. There it was joined by some two dozen other second-hand B-17's used in the same role until the late 1980s.


In 1945 Danish airline Det Danske Luftfartselskab A/S purchased two B-17 airliners from Sweden for the long-range routes. One of these crashed in 1946, while the surviving one was put for sale after the introduction of DC-4's. It was bought by Danish military aviation which considered it ideal platform for aerial mapping work over Greenland, it was due to perform on behalf of Geodætisk Institut. It served in this capacity until 1953 when it was stored and in 1955 sold to French IGN.


During the war several B-17's (including single YB-40) landed - due to various reasons - in Portuguese territories, although these weren't used by their new, accidential owners, except for few test flights. In 1947, however, 5 SB-17's (later joined by one more) were delivered to Portugese military aviation for the purpose of providing SAR coverage in the Azores area. Eventually they were replaced by SA-16 Albatross flying boats, with last one being retired in 1959.


Despite actually operating a very tiny fleet of B-17's Israel is one of the more well-known operators of the type. In 1948 agents of the young state managed to purchase 4 Fortresses in somewhat incomplete condition (for a combat aircraft, that is - for a civilian operator, the buyers claimed to be, lack of equipment such as bomb sights and racks wouldn't be normally a problem). Three of them reached Czechoslovakia via Puerto Rico, Azores and Corsica, but last was impounded en route by Portuguese authorities. In Czechoslovakia planes received some military equipment before they made a flight to Israel (which happened to be also their first combat mission, bombing Cairo, Rafah and Gaza Strip). After the conclusion of 1948 war Israeli B-17's were upgraded to more uniform and less make-shift condition and constituted Israel's "strategic" bomber force until 1956 Suez War, after which they were retired due to poor technical condition.


Between 1951 and 1968 Brazilian Air Force operated 12 B-17's - mostly in SAR version, but also one each in aerial mapping and VIP/communications version. They were based in Recife with 6º Grupo de Aviação until they were gradually replaced by SA-16 Albatross flying boats (and also they happened to be last military-operated B-17's in the world).


In mid-1950s Bolivian government obtained (partially funded by US government aid) some 23 B-17's in cargo transport version, to be leased to local air freight operators. Until late 1980s, Fortresses were primarily used as meat carriers between lowland ranchos and major cities located in the highlands (transport of such perishable cargos being perennialy a major problem, given Bolivias rather poor transport network).


Argentina - two of the Canadian B-17's were sold to local Argentine operator, although it seems they made rather few flights in the Southern Hemisphere, due to some legal or financial reasons their owner encountered (rather not related to aircraft themselves, but to entriety of companys operations).
Colombia - after the war quite a few Fortresses spread around the Latin America as transports, including to Colombia, where according to some sources, depicted plane was specially adapted to carry particularly dangerous prisoners to a high-security prison somewhere in the jungle.
Dominican Republic - in its heyday in 1950s Dominican Military Aviation was best-equipped air force in Central America. Among it's diverse array of fairly potent combat aircraft were 2 B-17G's operated between 1948 and 1955/1956.
Iran - Single VIP-equipped B-17 was donated to Shah of Iran Reza Mohammad Pahlavi by TWA as a "deal sweetener" after the company obtained a contract to aid the development of national iranian airline.
Mexico - at least one civilian B-17 was used in Mexico for aerial mapping.
Nicaragua - one B-17 has been recorded to be used in Nicaragua as airliner. What's interesting, though, is that same registration at the same time was carried also by another airliner of another (better known) operator, which raised suspicions that this Fort could be actually flying fictional colours of front operation of the CIA.
Peru - several B-17's were used post-war as transports in Peru.
South Africa - single B-17 in aerial mapping version was leased in mid-1960s from french Institut Géographique National.
Taiwan - several US-owned by operated jointly by US and ROC secret services B-17's were used in Taiwan for agent insertion, leaflet-dropping and SIGINT flights over the mainland China between 1952 and 1959.
Yugoslavia - single slightly damaged B-17 landed in March 1945 on an airfield controlled by Yugoslav partisans. Although it had Yugoslav markings applised it's unclear (and rather improbable) if they made any flights on it, before it was transferred to Soviet Union.

Argentina, Colombia, Dominican Republic, Iran, Mexico, Nicaragua, Peru, South Africa, Taiwan, Yugoslavia

Stand-alone books
Geoffrey J. Thomas, Barry Ketley, KG 200. The Luftwaffe's most secret unit, Hikoki Publications, 2003
Dan Hagedorn, Latin American Air Wars and Aircraft 1912-1969, Hikoki Publications, 2005
Clarence Simonsen, RAF & RCAF Aircraft Nose Art in World War II, Hikoki Publications, 2001
Maciej Góralczyk, Gerald T. Högl, Jürgen Kiroff, Nicholas Millman, Mikhail V. Orlov, Real Colors of WW II Aircraft, AK Interactive, 2019
Ján Stanislav, Viliam Klabník, Slovenské letectvo, vol. 3 1944-1945, Magnet Press, 2003
Robert S. Hopkins III, Spyflights and Overflights. US Strategic Aerial Reconnaissance. Volume 1 1945 - 1960, Hikoki Publications, 2016
Tim Mason, The Secret Years. Flight Testing at Boscombe Down 1939-1945, Hikoki Publications, 1998
Robert Dzhekson (Robert Jackson), Voyennaya tekhnika Vtoroi Mirovoi Voiny - B-17 Letalyushchaya Krepost, Eksmo, 2007

Books from publishing series
Awiakolekcja 2009/12, V. R. Kotelnikov, Okraska i oboznacheniya samolyetov Aviatsionnogo Korpusa i VVS Armii SShA 1926-1945 gg., Modelist-Konstruktor, 2009
Crowood Aviation Series, Martin W. Bowman, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Crowood Press, 1998
De Geschiedenis van de Luchtvaart, Gevechtsvliegtuigen met Wereldfaam, Lekturama-Rotterdam, 1979
In detail & scale, Alwyn T. Lloyd, Terry D. Moore, B-17 Flying Fortress (3 volumes), Aero Publishers, Inc./Arms and Armour Press, 1983-86
Słynne samoloty, Doug Richardson, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, BGW, 1993
Kampanie Lotnicze 6, Elżbieta Teresa Prusinowska, Mirosław Skwiot, Pearl Harbor 1941, AJ-Press, 1996
Kampanie Lotnicze 11, Andre R. Zbiegniewski, Nowa Gwinea 1942, AJ-Press, 1997
Kampanie Lotnicze 13, 14, Marek Murawski, Obrona Powietrzne III Rzeszy. Działania dzienne (2 volumes), AJ-Press, 1998
Militaria 37, Jacek Nowicki, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Wydawnictwo Militaria, 1997
Monografie Lotnicze, 90, 91, Adam Jarski, Aurelia i Wawrzyniec Markowski, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress (2 volumes), AJ-Press, 2004
Mushroom White Books 9134, Robert M. Stitt, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in RAF Coastal Command Service, Stratus, 2019
Mushroom White Books 9138, Jan Forsgren, The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in Foreign Service, Stratus, 2019
Osprey Aircam Aviation Series 15, Richard Ward, Ernest R. McDowell, Boeing B-17B-H Flying Fortress in USAAF, USAF, USN, USMC, USCG, RAF, French, Danish, Portuguese, IDF/AF, Dominican & Brazilian AF Service, Opsrey Publications, 1970
Osprey Aircam Aviation Series S14, Richard Ward, E. A. Munday, USAAF Heavy Bomb Group markings & camouflage 1941-1945, vol.2, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Osprey, 1973
Osprey Aircam-Airwar 2, Jerry Scutts, USAAF Heavy Bomber Units ETO & MTO 1942-1945, Osprey Publishing, 1977
Osprey Aviation Elite Units 11, Brian D. O'Neill, 303rd Bombardment Group, Osprey Publishing, 2003
Osprey Combat Aircraft 18, 36, Martin Bowman, B-17 Flying Fortress Units of the Eighth Air Force (2 volumes), Osprey Publishing, 2000-2002
Osprey Combat Aircraft 38, William N. Hess, B-17 Flying Fortress Units of the MTO, Osprey Publishing, 2003
Osprey Combat Aircraft 39, Martin Bowman, B-17 Flying Fortress Units of the Pacific War, Osprey Publishing, 2003
Osprey New Vanguard 283, Steven J. Zaloga, American Guided Missiles of World War II, Osprey Publishing, 2020
Profile Publications 77, Charles D. Thompson, The Boeing B-17E & F Flying Fortress, Profile Publications, 1966
Profile Publications 205, Roger A. Freeman, Boeing B-17G Flying Fortress, Profile Publications, 1972
Squadron/Signal Aircraft in Action 12, Steven Birdsall, B-17 in action, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1973
Squadron/Signal Aircraft in Action 63, Larry Davis, B-17 in action, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1984
Squadron/Signal Fighting Colors 6561, Steve Birdsall, B-17 Flying Fortress in Color, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1986
Squadron/Signal Fighting Colors 6563, Robert Robinson, USAF Europe in Color. vol. 2 1947-1963, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1990
Squadron/Signal Aircraft Specials 6035, Larry Davis, Air War Over Korea. A pictorial record, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1982
Squadron/Signal Aircraft Specials 6047, Hans-Heiri Stapfer, Strangers in a Strange Land, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1988
Squadron/Signal Aircraft Specials 6049, Larry Davis, Bent & Battered Wings. USAAF/USAF Damaged Aircraft 1935-1957, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1989
Squadron/Signal Aircraft Specials 6056, Hans-Heiri Stapfer, Strangers in a Strange Land - Escape to Neutrality, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1992
Squadron/Signal Aircraft Specials 6074, Steve Birdsall, Pride of Seattle. The Story of the First 300 B-17Fs, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1998
Squadron/Signal Aircraft Specials 6150, Dana Bell, Air Force Colors, Vol. 1 1926-1942, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1995
Squadron/Signal Aircraft Specials 6151, Dana Bell, Air Force Colors, Vol. 2 ETO & MTO 1942-45, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1980
Squadron/Signal Aircraft Specials 6152, Dana Bell, Air Force Colors, Vol. 3 Pacific and Home Front, 1942-47, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1995
Squadron/Signal Aircraft Specials 6174, Ron MacKay, 381st Bomb Group, Squadron/Signal Publications, 1994
Squadrons! 4, Phil H. Listeman, The Boeing Fortress Mk.I, Philedition, 2014
Squadrons! 21 , Phil H. Listeman, The Boeing Fortress Mk.II & Mk.III, Philedition, 2017
WarbirdTech Series 7, Frederick A. Johnsen, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Specialty Press, 2002
Warpaint Series 90, Kev Darling, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Warpaint Books, 2009

Articles in periodicals
Michał Mucha, Niezwykła historia Latającej Fortecy nazwanej "Shoo Shoo Shoo Baby", AeroPlan, 1995/2
Michał Peda, Zestrzelenia "Poque Ma Home", AeroPlan, 2003/3
Paweł Przymusiała, Haganah. Wojna o niepodległość Izraela w 1948 r. (II) , Aero Technika Lotnicza 1990/7
Wojciech Markowski, Samoloty z pomocą Powstaniu Warszawskiemu, Lotnictwo Aviation International 1994/14
Szymon Tetera, Operacja "Double Strike". Cz. II - nalot na Schweinfurt, Lotnictwo, 2007/11
Krzysztof Zalewski, Cesarskie "Latające Fortece", Lotnictwo, 2008/4
Maciej Strembiński, Bitwa o Szwajcarię 1943-1945, Lotnictwo, 2013/2
Krzysztof Kuska, Consolidated B-24 Liberator vs Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress, Lotnictwo, 2013/3
Tomasz Szlagor, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress - ludzie i maszyny, Militaria XX Wieku, 2007/6(21), 2008/1(22), 3(24), 2009/1(28)
Marek J. Murawski, Luftwaffe przeciwko 8. Armii Powietrznej USAAF, Militaria XX Wieku, 2012/6(51)
Marek J. Murawski, KG 200 - tajny pułk Luftwaffe, Militaria XX Wieku, 2015/4(67)
Marek J. Murawski, Cel - schody katedry! Nalot na Münster, Militaria XX Wieku, 2016/s5(51), 2016/s6(52), 2017/s1(53)
Conflicts, coups, crises & clashes. A survey of Third-World air combat from 1946 to the present, Small Air Forces Observer, vol.5 no.4 (20)
Search & Rescue - Brazilian Style, Small Air Forces Observer, vol.7 no.4 (28)
Eric Hourant, Israeli Aircraft: PT-17, T-6, C-46, B-17 & C-47, Small Air Forces Observer, vol.9 no.3 (35)
Leif Hellström, Dominican Republic B-17 & B-26, Small Air Forces Observer, vol.12 no.2 (46)
Szymon Tetera, Nalot na Regensburg i Schweinfurt. 17 sierpnia 1943 r. , Technika Wojskowa - Historia, 2017/3, 4
Leszek A. Wieliczko, Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress. Powstanie i rozwój, Technika Wojskowa - Historia, 2018/s4, s5, 6
Jacek Pukropp, Zatrzymać Japończyków! Amerykańskie ciężkie bombowce w początkowym okresie wojny na Dalekim Wschodzie, Wojsko i Technika - Historia, 2016/6, 2017/1, 2

Not my greatest achievment, I'm afraid. Best situation is when the author "wants to draw it" - in this case I only "wanted to see it done", which is far lower level of motivation. As a result, I'm afraid I cut some corners and ignored some issues and quality accordingly suffered, especially with last pictures made (which are USAAF ETO B-17's).
Rather humbling experience, that once again reminds me that I woved to reduce my FD activity to minimum and rather pass the mantle to "younger" (at least in terms of time spent on Shipbucket) generation of Artists, some of which alread proved that are capable of making drawings of much higher artistic quality than me (only for some reason they prefer to concentrate their FD efforts on AU/Challenge stuff ).

My Worklist
Sources and documentations are the most welcome.


On 8 August 1934, the U.S. Army Air Corps (USAAC) tendered a proposal for a multi-engined bomber to replace the Martin B-10. Requirements were that it would carry a "useful bombload" at an altitude of 10,000 ft (3 km) for ten hours with a top speed of at least 200 mph (320 km/h). [ 12 ] [ 13 ] They also desired, but did not require, a range of 2,000 mi (3200 km) and a speed of 250 mph (400 km/h). The Air Corps were looking for a bomber capable of reinforcing the air forces in Hawaii, Panama, and Alaska. [ 14 ] The competition would be decided by a "fly-off" at Wright Field in Dayton, Ohio. Boeing competed with the Douglas DB-1 and Martin Model 146 for the Air Corps contract.

The prototype B-17, designated Model 299, was designed by a team of engineers led by E. Gifford Emery and Edward Curtis Wells and built at Boeing's own expense. [ 13 ] It combined features of the experimental Boeing XB-15 bomber with the Boeing 247 transport airplane. [ 12 ] The B-17 was armed with bombs (up to 4,800 lb/2,200 kg on two racks in the bomb bay behind the cockpit) and five 0.30 in (7.62 mm) machine guns, and was powered by Pratt & Whitney R-1690 radial engines each producing 750 hp (600 kW) at 7,000 ft (2,100 m). [ 13 ] The first flight of the Model 299 was on 28 July 1935, with Boeing chief test-pilot Leslie Tower at the controls. [ 1 ] [ 15 ] Richard Williams, a reporter for the Seattle Times coined the name "Flying Fortress" when the Model 299 was rolled out, bristling with multiple machine gun installations. [ 16 ] Boeing was quick to see the value of the name and had it trademarked for use. On 20 August, the prototype flew from Seattle to Wright Field in nine hours and three minutes at an average speed of 235 mph (378 km/h), much faster than the competition. [ 13 ]

At the fly-off, the four-engine Boeing design displayed superior performance over the twin-engine DB-1 and Model 146, and then-Major General Frank Maxwell Andrews of the GHQ Air Force believed that the long-range capabilities of four-engine large aircraft were more efficient than shorter-ranged twin-engined airplanes. His opinions were shared by the Air Corps procurement officers and, even before the competition was finished, they suggested buying 65 B-17s. [ 17 ]

Development continued on the Boeing Model 299, and on 30 October 1935, the Army Air Corps test-pilot, Major Ployer Peter Hill and Boeing employee Les Tower, took the Model 299 on a second evaluation flight. The crew forgot to disengage the airplane's "gust lock," a device that held the bomber's movable control surfaces in place while the plane was parked on the ground, and having taken off, the aircraft entered a steep climb, stalled, nosed over and crashed, killing Hill and Tower (other observers survived with injuries). [ 18 ] [ 19 ] The crashed Model 299 could not finish the evaluation, and while the Air Corps was still enthusiastic about the aircraft's potential, Army officials were daunted by the much greater expense per aircraft. [ 20 ] [ 21 ] "The loss was not total, however, since the fuselage aft of the wing was intact, and the Wright Field Armament section was able to use it in subsequent gun mount development work, but Boeing's hopes for a substantial bomber contract were dashed." [ 22 ] Army Chief of Staff Malin Craig cancelled the order for 65 YB-17s, and ordered 133 of the twin-engine Douglas B-18 Bolo instead. [ 13 ] [ 17 ]

Regardless, the USAAC had been impressed by the prototype's performance and, on 17 January 1936, the Air Corps ordered, through a legal loophole, [ 23 ] 13 YB-17s (after November 1936 designated Y1B-17 to denote its special F-1 funding) for service testing. The YB-17 incorporated a number of significant changes from the Model 299, including more powerful Wright R-1820-39 Cyclone engines replacing the original Pratt & Whitneys. Although the prototype was company owned and never received a military serial ("the B-17 designation itself did not appear officially until January 1936, nearly three months after the prototype crashed"), [ 24 ] the term "XB-17" was retroactively applied to the airframe and has entered the lexicon to describe the first Flying Fortress.

Between 1 March and 4 August 1937, 12 of the 13 Y1B-17s were delivered to the 2nd Bombardment Group at Langley Field in Virginia, and used for operational development and flight test. [ 12 ] One suggestion adopted was the use of a checklist, to avoid accidents such as the Model 299's. [ 23 ] [ 25 ] In one of their first missions, three B-17s, directed by lead navigator Lieutenant Curtis LeMay, were sent by General Andrews to "intercept" the Italian ocean liner Rex 610 mi (980 km) off the Atlantic coast and take photographs. The successful mission was widely publicized. [ 26 ] [ 27 ] The 13th Y1B-17 was delivered to the Material Division at Wright Field, Ohio, to be used for flight testing. [ 28 ]

A 14th Y1B-17 (37-369), originally constructed for ground testing of the airframe's strength, was upgraded and fitted with exhaust-driven turbochargers. Scheduled to fly in 1937, it encountered problems with the turbochargers and its first flight was delayed until 29 April 1938. [ 29 ] Modifications cost Boeing US$100,000 and took until spring 1939 to complete, but resulted in an increased service ceiling and maximum speed. [ 30 ] The aircraft was delivered to the Army on 31 January 1939 and was redesignated B-17A to signify the first operational variant. [ 31 ]

In late 1937, the Air Corps ordered 10 more aircraft, designated B-17B and, soon after, another 29, none of which could be funded until mid-1939. [ 30 ] Improved with larger flaps, rudder and Plexiglas nose, the B-17Bs were delivered in five small batches between July 1939 and March 1940. They equipped two bombardment groups, one on each U.S. coast. [ 32 ] [ 33 ]

Prior to the attack on Pearl Harbor, fewer than 200 B-17s were in service with the Army, [ 23 ] A total of 155 B-17s of all variants had been delivered between 11 January 1937 and 30 November 1941 but production quickly accelerated with the B-17 eventually setting the record for achieving the highest production rate for large aircraft. [ 34 ] The aircraft went on to serve in every World War II combat zone, and by the time production ended in May 1945, 12,731 aircraft had been built by Boeing, Douglas and Vega (a subsidiary of Lockheed). [ 35 ]

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress: Warbird Tech Series, Volume 7

Title: Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress: Warbird Tech .

Publisher: Specialty Press, North Branch, MN

Publication Date: 1997

Binding: Softcover

Book Condition: Very Good

Edition: First Edition

Its full potential still not explored, the model 299 crashed at Wright Field on 30 October 1935 on takeoff, with the control locks inadvertently engaged. Much as the crash of the new XP-38 Lightning several years later did not kill that promising program, so did the Flying Fortress outlive the demise of the prototype.

"About this title" may belong to another edition of this title.

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Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress - Warbird Tech series Volume 7

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Watch the video: B-17 Flying Fortress Destroys the Yamato Battleship in Ravenfield! (July 2022).


  1. Aashish

    this has no analogs?

  2. Layton

    You realize, in told...

  3. Wulf

    On mine it is very interesting theme. I suggest all to take part in discussion more actively.

  4. Brakus

    A good idea

  5. Groll

    It is exact

  6. Zulkitaur

    Familiar style.

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