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February 3, 1945 - Over 1,000 B-17 Flying Fortresses (right) bomb Berlin as part of Operation Thunderclap. Developed in 1934, the B-17 entered service four years later. Though it saw service in most theaters of World War II, the B-17 is best remembered for its role in the Combined Bomber Offensive against Germany. Flying with the Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces, B-17 formations suffered heavy losses in 1943 as they were forced to conduct missions unescorted. With the arrival of the P-51 Mustang and drop tank-equipped P-47 Thunderbolts, losses dropped dramatically as large groups of B-17s struck targets deep in Germany. Retired from frontline service after the war, the Flying Fortress became one of the icons of the war in Europe. Share your thoughts on the B-17.

World War II Bombers:

Photograph Courtesy of the US Air Force

Comments

February 4, 2010 at 5:41 pm
(1) Dave WWII Buff says:

The Palm Springs Air Museum is Smithsonian. One side is
Naval Craft and the other Army Air with a B-17. I loved the
Catalina Flying Boat, very impressive wing span.

February 4, 2010 at 11:47 pm
(2) Jake says:

My next door neighbors dad was a B-17 pilot, he made 24 missions, he was late for his 25th, and missed it. His crew did not come back. He flew one more mission with another crew and went home. He had a hard time getting over it, but he was a success in life. That man came over and at our kitchen table thanked me for my service in Nam (in tears) when I came home, no one outside of my family has even said thanks. I will never forget him for that.

February 5, 2010 at 4:25 pm
(3) Pat says:

My Dad was a gunner and crew chief towards the end of the European theater on Sweet Rosie O’Grady. He flew several missions and saw several sister ships shot down. He never quite got over the sight of another “17″ cart wheeling through the sky. Tears would come to his eyes and his voice would quiver as he recalled the loss off those brave men. I salute all these fine men and women who served as well as those that continue to uphold that quality of being an American.

February 5, 2010 at 4:27 pm
(4) Hector says:

I flew on the Collings Foundation B-17G Nine-o-Nine, it was one of the best things i’ve ever done. I really recommend it for flight buffs.

February 5, 2010 at 4:32 pm
(5) Hector says:

I flew on the Colling’s Foundation B-17G, Nine-O-Nine. I really recommend it, it was one of the best experiences of my life. They were definetly the finest generation.

February 19, 2010 at 12:41 am
(6) George says:

I got to see one of those big birds at an air show. She was gorgeous. During the evolution of the B-17, they added more guns to protect her, She truly became a “Flying Fortress”.

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