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Joining the Air Force
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  2. Combat Crew: The Story of 25 Combat Missions Over Europe From the Daily Journal of a B-17 Gunner
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  4. Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

The German fighters found that when attacking from the front, where fewer defensive guns were mounted and where the pilot was exposed and not protected by armor as he was from the rear , it took only four or five hits to bring a bomber down. To rectify the Fw 's shortcomings, the number of cannons fitted was doubled to four, with a corresponding increase in the amount of ammunition carried, creating the Sturmbock bomber destroyer version.

The adoption of the 21 cm Nebelwerfer -derived Werfer-Granate 21 Wfr. The Me , however, had moderate success against the B late in the war. With its usual nose-mounted armament of four MK cannons , and with some examples later equipped with the R4M rocket , launched from underwing racks, it could fire from outside the range of the bombers'. During World War II, after crash-landing or being forced down, approximately 40 Bs were captured and refurbished, with about a dozen put back into the air.

Given German Balkenkreuz national markings on their wings and fuselage sides, and "Hakenkreuz" swastika tail fin-flashes, the captured Bs were used to determine the B's vulnerabilities and to train German interceptor pilots in attack tactics. They were chosen specifically for these missions as being more suitable for this role than other available German aircraft; they never attempted to deceive the Allies and always wore full Luftwaffe markings. The U. These aircraft had landed with mechanical trouble during the shuttle bombing raids over Germany or had been damaged by a Luftwaffe raid in Poltava.

The Soviets restored 23 to flying condition and concentrated them in the th bomber regiment of the 45th bomber division, but they never saw combat. In the regiment was assigned to the Kazan factory to aid in the Soviet effort to reproduce the more advanced Boeing B as the Tupolev Tu During the Allied bomber offensive , U. Swiss aircraft attempted to intercept and force individual aircraft to land, interning their crews; one Swiss pilot was killed, shot down by a U. From then on, red and white neutrality bands were added to the wings of Swiss aircraft to stop accidental attacks by Allied aircraft.

Official Swiss records identify 6, airspace violations during the course of the war, with foreign aircraft landing on Swiss territory and 56 aircraft crashing there.

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The aircraft was turned over to the Swiss Air Force , who then flew the bomber until the end of the war, using other interned but non-airworthy Bs for spare parts. The bomber was repainted a dark olive drab , but retained its light gray-painted under surfaces. It carried Swiss national white cross insignia in red squares on both sides of its rudder, fuselage sides, and the underside wings, with white crosses in red roundels atop both upper wings. On its gray under surfaces, the BF also carried light gray flash letters "RD" and "I" on either side of the Swiss national insignia.

Three damaged Bs, one "D" model and two "E" models, were rebuilt to flying status by Japanese technicians and mechanics with parts stripped from B wrecks in both the Philippines and the Netherlands East Indies. The "D" model was later deemed an obsolescent design. The two "E" models were used to develop B air combat counter-tactics and also as enemy aircraft in several Japanese propaganda films. One of the captured "E" Flying Fortresses was photographed by U.

No traces of these captured Flying Fortresses were found in Japan by Allied occupation forces, and they were assumed scrapped late in the war for their vital war materials. Flight crews ferried the bombers back across the Atlantic to the United States where the majority were sold for scrap and melted down, although significant numbers remained in use in second-line roles such as VIP transports, air-sea rescue and photo-reconnaissance. Army Air Forces and the establishment of an independent U.

Work on using Bs to carry airborne lifeboats had begun in , but they entered service in the European theater only in February They were also used to provide search and rescue support for B raids against Japan. Some SBs had their defensive guns removed, while others retained their guns to allow use close to combat areas.

In , surplus Bs were chosen as drone aircraft for atmospheric sampling during the Operation Crossroads atomic bomb tests, being able to fly close to or even through the mushroom clouds without endangering a crew.

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This led to more widespread conversion of Bs as drones and drone control aircraft, both for further use in atomic testing and as targets for testing surface-to-air and air-to-air missiles. A retirement ceremony was held several days later at Holloman AFB, after which was retired. Originally, the B was also chosen because of its heavy defensive armament, but this was later removed. These aircraft were painted dark blue, the standard Navy paint scheme which had been adopted in late The Coast Guard PB-1Gs served throughout the s, the last example not being withdrawn from service until 14 October These included BG , registered as NZ.

These aircraft were primarily used for agent drop missions over the People's Republic of China, flying from Taiwan, with Taiwanese crews. Four Bs were shot down in these operations. In the surviving Bs had been stripped of all weapons and painted black. Smith and LeSchack parachuted from the B and searched the station for several days. Its main use was in Europe , where its shorter range and smaller bombload relative to other aircraft did not hamper it as much as in the Pacific Theater.

Combat Crew: The Story of 25 Combat Missions Over Europe From the Daily Journal of a B-17 Gunner

After the first Bs were delivered to the Air Corps 2nd Bombardment Group, they were used on flights to promote their long range and navigational capabilities. In January , group commander Colonel Robert Olds flew a YB from the United States's east coast to its west coast, setting a transcontinental record of 13 hours 27 minutes.

Many pilots who flew both the B and the B preferred the B for its greater stability and ease in formation flying. Its electrical systems were less vulnerable to damage than the B's hydraulics, and the B flew better than the B when missing an engine. Lieutenant General Jimmy Doolittle wrote about his preference for equipping the Eighth with Bs, citing the logistical advantage in keeping field forces down to a minimum number of aircraft types with their individual servicing and spares. For this reason, he wanted B bombers and P fighters for the Eighth.

His views were supported by Eighth Air Force statisticians, whose studies showed that Fortresses had utility and survivability much greater than that of the B Many B crew members received military honors and 17 received the Medal of Honor , the highest military decoration awarded by the United States: [].

Combat Crew: The Story of 25 Combat Missions Over Europe From the Daily Journal of a B-17 Gunner

In , the latter film was made into a television show of the same name and ran for three years on ABC TV. The most famous B, the Memphis Belle , toured the U. Bs are seen flying and crashing in flames in the British film The Way to the Stars. The song, "Icarus II Borne On Wings Of Steel " by Kansas , from their album Somewhere to Elsewhere , has lyrics sung by Steve Walsh that describe the heroic sacrifice a B pilot makes to save his crew after they are hit and going down, ordering them to jump, leaving him to steer the dying plane to its end.

The B has also been featured in artistic works expressing the physical and psychological stress of the combat conditions and the high casualty rates that crews suffered. Artists who served on the bomber units also created paintings and drawings depicting the combat conditions in World War II. Data from The Encyclopedia of World Aircraft [39]. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. US four engine bomber produced — For other uses, see B17 disambiguation. For the film, see Flying Fortress film.

For the videogame, see B Flying Fortress video game. Gun turret atop the Model 's nose glazing. Main article: Boeing B Flying Fortress variants.

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For a more comprehensive list, see List of B Flying Fortress operators. For a more comprehensive list, see Accidents and incidents involving the Boeing B Flying Fortress. Aviation portal.

XXI, No. Hill his first time flying the and Lieutenant Donald Putt the primary army pilot for the previous evaluation flights , Leslie Tower, Boeing mechanic C. Benton, and Pratt and Whitney representative Henry Igo. Putt, Benton, and Igo escaped with burns, and Hill and Tower were pulled from the wreckage alive, but later died from their injuries.

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Life published the lengthy B checklist in its 24 August issue. The Rex was miles offshore on her last position report as the Bs were taxiing for takeoff from Mitchel Field, four hours before interception. Retrieved: 3 March Fortress in the Sky. GDP Then? Retrieved 6 April Retrieved: 22 May Retrieved 15 January Retrieved: 9 January Retrieved 24 June This solution was the Bendex Chin Turret.

This turret had originally been used on the XB gunship project. While this experiment proved unsuccessful, the chin turret was found to be a major improvement to the B's forward firepower. London: After the Battle , Number 6, , pp. They Fought With They Had. General Kenney Reports. New York: Duell, Sloan and Pierce, Washington, D. Archived from the original on 30 May Retrieved 4 October The Daily Telegraph. National Park Service. Retrieved 2 July Ludington Daily News , 16 April , p. Retrieved: 13 September Gerguson, "Chapter Rouen-Sotteville, No. Retrieved: 18 December Army Air Forces: April World War II.

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

Retrieved 2 August Archived from the original on 24 August New York: Duall, Sloan and Pearce, Retrieved: 16 January Retrieved: 18 June Military Aviation History. Vintage Wings. Retrieved: 15 January Retrieved: 18 July Colorado Springs Gazette , 8 June Retrieved: 1 July Retrieved: 24 January We also reported seeing a B17 flying at a safe distance from the formation. This mystery fortress shadowed the formation inbound from the Rhine river and we were informed others had seen it back across Belgium on the way out.

A fortress manned by the enemy created an unsettling feeling in all of us. WW2 in color. Retrieved 5 May Atglen, Pennsylvania: Schiffer Military History, Retrieved: 25 July Issue 12, December , p. The Strategic Bombing of Germany, — Westport, Connecticut: Praeger. Warbirds News.

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Archived from the original on 5 April Retrieved 20 December Retrieved 28 May Retrieved 17 May Retrieved 28 October Retrieved: 31 August Zeamer's Eager Beavers. Retrieved 26 July Popular Science.

B-17 The Mighty 8th - Squadron Commander - Mission 28

May Air Force". National Museum of the U. Air Force.