Saturday, April 12, 2014

Icon.

If the B-17G isn't the most iconic bomber ever, it's close enough that it's not worth arguing over.
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33 comments:

Garrett Lee said...

I'd vote for the B-17F.

Just to be contrary.

Anonymous said...

It's all a matter of one's personal taste. For me it has to be the Avro Lancaster. You can never go wrong with four Rolls-Royce engines and a 22,000lb bomb.

Al_in_Ottawa

og said...

Lord, imagine how cold that nose position must have been at speed and at altitude. To say nothing of loud!

The Raving Prophet said...

The only other bomber that I'd see as competing would be the B-52... it could take it based on nothing more than longevity. One simply must give an airplane its due when it looks like it may well end up serving for a full century (I know, it's slated to be retired in 2040, but the USAF really ought to find a way to stretch that out another dozen years).

The BUFF ain't nearly as pretty as the B-17 though.

Sherm said...

A few aircraft are just flat out gorgeous. B-17, yes. B-24, no. Submarine Spitfire, yes. P-39 Airacobra, no.

An iconic aircraft not only has to do its job well but needs to look good doing it.

Murphy's Law said...

Someday, when I'm rich...I'll have a stable of wonderful aircraft like those.

Old NFO said...

Iconic, and and truly the bomber that won the war in Europe, thanks to the folks at home that built them as quickly as they did. Side fact, Memphis Belle is the ONLY nose art that continued after WWII to the present day. It's currently on Memphis Belle 4, a BUFF at Barksdale.

tailwind said...

Murphy's Law -

Paul Allen beat you to it:

http://flyingheritage.com/

So, I guess it's "someday when I'm richer than Paul Allen ..."

Sport Pilot said...

From what I've read the door gunners on B-17's had the coldest combat positions due to the open doors. They were issued electrically heated suits and still got frostbite. Patriots and hero's every one.

BTW Tam, you've become quite the photographer. Kudos to you.

RHT447 said...

Near and dear to my heart. My dad was a B-17 pilot with this group--

http://www.447bg.com/

He flew 35 combat missions over Fortress Europe.

TheUnpaidBill said...

My maternal Grandfather flew with the 452nd as a ball turret gunner before crashing in Belgium and spending sometime in Stalag Luft IV.

The stories he could tell were just heart wrenching.

Anonymous said...

The G model's chin turret was developed at a counter to the Luftwaffe's tactic of charging bombers head on. Older model B17s had two side blister mounted .50s, which were less effective when an FW190 was chopping 20mm cannon fire at your flight crew.

Combined with the top turret gunners twin .50s, the chin turret made the Luftwaffe pay a little more dearly for their frontal attacks.

I could look at warbirds all day long, and have, from Omaha to Tucson to Huntsville to DC. Love em.

Matt
St Paul

Gewehr98 said...

Another fine Boeing product.

And who said the BUFF wasn't pretty?

(Neat seeing the crew entry hatch underneath the nose, just like my B-52s and WC-135s made by the same company so many years later...)

Gewehr98 said...

Forgot to mention, my grandfather was a B-17 flight engineer for the Mighty 8th AF during WWII. I have a formation photo of his bare aluminum B-17G hanging up on my Eye Luv Me wall, next to the signed prints of my own career birds.

Tatzelwurm said...

Originally designed in 1935, this aircraft proves that some beauty is timeless. I have always loved this plane.

Joseph said...

I was treated to the sight a couple of weeks ago of a B-17F flying at Stinson Field here in San Antonio...along with a P-51. You just don't hear engines like that anymore. Quite a sight.

Will said...

Sherm:

I think the P-39 was a very good looking airplane. Shame the fool at Bell decided to toss the turbocharger.
Fastest rolling fighter in the (early?) war years. Highest Allied ace kills were in this aircraft. Turns out the Russians didn't use this for ground attack. Air superiority fighter. Their #3 ace had 44 kills in this model, plus 12 in others.

Trivia:
It would appear the 37mm auto cannon used in the P-39 was the cannon that was mounted on the bow of PT-109, JFK's boat.
I always thought it was an Army field gun the PT boats were appropriating. Turns out, they were taking them from crashed or non-op P-39's, which were in use in that part of the Pacific. 3 rounds/sec against armed Japanese barges sounds a lot more attractive than a hand loaded howitzer on a bouncing boat.

I wonder if the fact that a 37mm cannon was common in Soviet jets was due to their WWII pilots liking this gun a lot?

Anonymous said...

The "G" was an "end of the war" aircraft. ALL of the flying B-17G's we see today never saw action having been made to late in WW-2 to be sent to the ETO before the surrender of Germany. The "G" only flew about 2% of all WW-2 combat missions, the "E" and "F" flying the bulk of combat missions. In 1944 a chin turret "retrofit" kit was issued for the B-17F. Most photos of combat B-17s with chin turrets taken before FEB.- Mar. 1945 are B-17F's. A few other "factoids" The bulk of B-17's were built in Kansas at the Lockheed Vega plant, NOT by Boing. (Most B-24's were built at Willow Run Mich. by GM) B-24's outnumbered B-17's by more than three to one. And last. The USA turned out over TWO MILLION combat aircraft during WW-2. Allmost all of them being produced in Automobile plants, by women who had never touched an aircraft or a rivet gun before, and they did it ALL in LESS than three years. OH!! and FYI most of the factory's where they built arms in WW-2 weren't there in 1941-- The women that worked in most of the WW-2 factory's also BUILT them, in less than six months!!---Ray

Sabre22 said...

Simply the Queen.

Sabre22 said...

Saluting Maynard Smith MOH (AKA Snuffy Smith) ETO and Jay Zeamer (MOH) and Crew SW Pacific Area of Operations. After the first thousand holes it really doesn't matter Per Flying Fort martin Caidin. The queen never let them down

Eric said...

Growing up, I loved watching the B-17s in Twelve O'Clock High. I never realized just how small they are until I got to go inside one at an airshow in Titusville, FL back in the 90s.

RandyGC said...

Sport Pilot, those positions are referred to as "Waist Gunners".

Door gunners normally flew on helicopters of a later era (although I know of at least EC-47 that used M-16s out the paratroop doors to "send a message" to Charles)

Not to be pedantic or anything ;-)

Will said...

Ray:

Willow Run was a FORD plant.

Charles Lindbergh worked there as a consultant to try to get the auto workers up to speed on aircraft production. Workers and management were pretty much clueless on the different QA requirements. Lindbergh covered some of this in his book "The Wartime Journals of Charles A Lindbergh". VERY interesting book.

Tatzelwurm said...

Sorry, but the chin turret involved a major redesign of the bombardiers position. The "refit" kits were for the two cheek guns. You can tell the newer paint on many photos. Also, if you research the tail numbers, you will find that G's were being built in 1942. I've honestly NEVER heard of an F having a chin turret refit, except for the YB-40. If you have any evidence to the contrary, I'd love to have it. The history of this bird fascinated me. Always has.

Tatzelwurm said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Tatzelwurm said...

And the Vega plant was in Burbank, California, not Kansas.

Paul from Canada said...

I'm with Al. I've seen and even better, heard the Lancaster at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at CYHM.

Paul from Canada said...

I'm with Al. I've seen and even better, heard the Lancaster at the Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum at CYHM.

Anonymous said...

The chin turret on the B-17G came from the short run of experimental escort gunships known as the "XB-40" (and later YB-40) aircraft.

The idea behind the B-40's (developed by Lockheed Vega) was that in '42 and '43, we lacked long-range fighters for escorts deep into Europe. Our guys were getting chopped to pieces pretty badly. So the B-40's were converted B-17F's where they dispensed with the idea of dropping bombs and instead stuffed more and more guns and ammo into the airplane, turning it into a "flying gun truck" of sorts.

The B-40 project found that the idea worked, but only on the way to the target. After the regular '17's had dropped their bomb loads, they left the B-40's in their contrails on the way home.

The biggest idea that came out of the B-40 project was the chin turret, control of which was given to the bombardier, since he had the best view of the head-on attacks.

Anonymous said...

og said...
Lord, imagine how cold that nose position must have been at speed and at altitude. To say nothing of loud!


Og - depends on where in the formation you were, and what position in the aircraft you were. Dad (B-17 Navigator) said that when they flew Tail-End-Charlie on a training mission at 35K, and he was in the bombardiers position, he would be freezing his you know what off, even with full flight suit on, and he'd look back up over his shoulder, and the pilots were stripped down to their t-shirts, sweating up a storm, and working like crazy to maintain formation. Turns out that back in the rear of the formation, you're playing a continuous game of speed-up-slow-down as the formation accordions due to speed variations by the lead aircraft. By the time the accordion reaches the aircraft at the rear of the formation, the variations in speed are quite significant, so you really have to work to maintain formation, especially if you want to stay in tight for the mutual protection of the formation.

BSR

Vernon said...

Years ago Air Progress magazine had a somewhat tongue in cheek article proposing a scaled down, homebuilt version of the B-17. Single seat, four Volkswagon engines. I'd do it if I had the time and money. Still have that issue around somewhere, I think.

VJ

Will said...

Vernon:

TaDa! A scale B-17:

https://www.facebook.com/BallyBomber

RHT447 said...

An excellent read...

http://www.amazon.com/Serenade-Big-Bird-Bert-Stiles/dp/0965523861/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1397506654&sr=1-2