Aviation of World War II
B-17G "Flying Fortress"
The design of the B-17G took into account the experience of bombing German cities in 1943 (American pilots noted the insufficient armament of the B-17F, which practically did not protect the aircraft from frontal attacks of German fighters). The main difference of the new modification was the electric turret under the bow compartment. The coaxial 12.7 mm machine gun had remote control. Several single machine guns, which were part of the armament of the previous model, were removed from the plane. Crew of 10 people.
The power plant of the serial V-17 consisted of four 9-cylinder air-cooled radial engines Wright R-1820-97 with a rated power of up to 1200 hp. (895kW). The engines are enclosed in NACA-type annular hoods equipped with controllable louvers starting with the B-17D. The engines are equipped with General Electric B-2 turbochargers (the latest series - B-22), powered by exhaust gases.
On the B-17G, all machine guns are large-caliber 12.7 mm. They were located in the "beard" under the nose (two), along the sides of the navigator's cockpit (two asymmetrically: the left one in the first window from the nose, the right one in the second; K-1 type installations), in the Bendix turret above the flight mechanic's seat ( two), in the radio operator's cabin (one, on the K-2 type installation, removed from the 105-VO series), in the Sperry lower ball turret (two), in the K-6 airborne units in the aft fuselage (one each on the right and left) and in the aft turret (two). The bow, upper and lower turrets are electrified. The total ammunition for the B-17F was 3900 rounds, for the B-17G - 5770 rounds.
The bomb load of the "Fortresses" of the latest modifications was increased to 9600 pounds (4350 kg), and for closely spaced targets - up to 17000 pounds (8000 kg) and even 20800 pounds (9400 kg). The B-17 could carry a wide range of high-explosive, fragmentation, incendiary and special aerial bombs weighing from 100 to 4000 pounds of the M30, M31, M43, M44 and others types. In a combat situation, bombs of British and Soviet models were also suspended. On some modifications, it was envisaged to carry depth and guided bombs of various types. As a rule, the aircraft carried bombs only inside the bomb bay, the B-17F also provided external suspension on two beam holders under the central part of the wing (each with one bomb weighing up to 4000 pounds). The Norden high-precision gyro-stabilized bombsight was located in the very nose of the fuselage. Some B-17Gs also carried the British H2X radar sight, the antenna of which was mounted in a round fairing instead of the lower turret. The crew is protected by armored plates, armored seat backs, and the gunners, in addition, are protected by individual armored skirts.
Deliveries of the new vehicle to combat units began in September 1943. A total of 8680 aircraft of this model were manufactured, their production continued until April 1945. During production, a significant number of changes were made to the design of the machine. The B-17G became the backbone of the American bomber force in Europe in 1944-1945.
Search and Rescue Aircraft
In 1945, it was planned to specifically convert approximately 130 B-17Gs from the USAAF into a search and rescue aircraft. The development of such an aircraft began back in 1943. The aircraft was equipped with a Higgins A-1 lifeboat located under the fuselage. The boat had a length of 8.2 meters and a weight of 1360 kg and was equipped with two engines. The dumped lifeboat A-1 was a special design, was unsinkable and had an inviolable emergency supply on board. The boat was located under the lower fuselage of the aircraft and was dropped into the sea with three parachutes. The boat was located in the interval from the rear side of the turret fairing in the lower front part of the fuselage to the ball turret and fit snugly against the lower fuselage. After landing on the water, all three parachutes fired back.
The aircraft converted in this way were named B-17H. The exact number of aircraft up to standard H is not known. Different sources give different figures. A number of sources mention only twelve aircraft converted in this way and that all were redesignated as B-17H; and five B-17Hs were later converted to training and re-designated TB-17Hs. Other sources claim that all 130 aircraft were converted, but only 12 of them were redesignated as B-17H, and the rest retained their original designation B-17G. A number of sources claim that all 130 aircraft were designated B-17H.
Some early B-17Hs were designed to fly in war zones and retained their defensive armament. On others, the defensive armament was completely removed and a search radar was placed in the lower front of the fuselage instead of the turret. By the end of the war, only part of the B-17N entered service. Despite this, the B-17H saved the lives of several B-29 crew members shot down in the last bombing of Japan. In the Pacific, the local designation ALB-17G was sometimes used.
After the creation in 1948 by the US Air Force, the B-17Hs were redesignated as SB-17G, with the letter S indicating the primary role of the aircraft "search-and-rescue" - "search and rescue".
F-9 "Flying Fortress"
Long-Range Reconnaissance Aircraft
Boeing F-9 is a long-range reconnaissance, four-engine all-metal monoplane with retractable landing gear. Crew - 9 - 10 people. The F-9 was a reconnaissance variant of the B-17 "Flying Fortress" ("Flying Fortress") heavy bomber. The latter, named Model 299, was designed at the Boeing Airplane Design Bureau under the direction of E. Wells. The prototype bomber made its first flight on June 28, 1935. From December 1936, this aircraft, designated B-17, began mass production at the Boeing plant in Seattle, and in March 1937 it was adopted by the US Army Air Corps.
In 1942, a test conversion of the B-17F into a long-range F-9 reconnaissance aircraft was made at the Seattle plant. From the end of the year, production of serial reconnaissance aircraft began there. A total of 51 copies were made. The F-9 was in service only with the US Air Force - since 1942. In addition, in the UK, Fortress III (B-17G) bombers were converted into radio reconnaissance and radio countermeasures with radar.
From the very beginning of the war in the Pacific, the Americans often used B-17 bombers as long-range reconnaissance aircraft. In August 1942, such an aircraft filmed military objects near Rabaul (New Britain Island). In the same month, the "flying fortresses" photographed the islands of Kiska and Kodiak (Aleutian Islands), captured by a Japanese landing party. The F-9 photo reconnaissance aircraft were used in Europe and the Pacific from the spring of 1943 until the end of the war. In particular, in June 1943, vehicles of this type were conducting reconnaissance of Japanese bases on the Solomon Islands. British Fortress III aircraft with special equipment identified the location of radar stations and guidance posts of the German air defense system, and were also used as countermeasures during massive night raids, creating active and passive jamming.
The release of the last modification, the F-9C, was completed in 1944. The scouts based on the B-17 remained in service with the US Air Force after the war, in 1948 they were renamed RB-17. One of them made the first combat mission for the American Air Force in the Korean War on June 25, 1950. RB-17Gs were used in Korea until the armistice was concluded. Individual aircraft of this type were operated in the Air Force until 1956, and the last aircraft flew in the US Coast Guard until October 1959.
B-17G from the 99th Bomber Air Group - one of the aircraft that made the first shuttle raid with a landing in Ukraine on June 2, 1944. This B-17G in the skies over Hungary.
October 07, 2019.