B-17 Flying Fortress 4 engine heavy bomber Used primarily in European Theatre against Germany. Eighth Air Force based in England and Italy. Dropped more bombs than any other US aircraft during WWII Carried up to 4,800 lbs of bombs Norden Bombsight/high altitude bombing 5- 50 caliber machine guns 10 man crew Began operations in 1941 with the RAF. 1/3 of all B-17’s built lost in combat. 12, 731 built Schweinfurt Missions August 1943 Goal: Bomb the factories at Schweinfurt industrial complex. 230 aircraft attack 36 shot down (24 shot down in another raid the same day. Total 60) 2nd attempt: October 14, 1943 291 planes attacked. 59 shot down, 1 ditched in the Channel, 5 crashed in England & 12 scrapped due to damage= 77 lost 8th Air Force lost 176 bombers in Oct. 1943. Weakness Luftwaffe figured out that 20 hits from a 20mm gun in the tail section would bring a B-17 down. To accomplish this, they would fire over 1000 rounds at the bomber. Or attack from the front Pacific Theatre 5 B17 groups in the Pacific Theatre Used sparingly because they had so few. Legacy Crews loved them Legends grew (Memphis Belle) Today a handful tour the country keeping history alive.
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