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H.R.H. The Prince Philip, Duke of Edingburh

Principal types of aircraft operated by R.A.F. during WW2 and crashed in Belgium

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress


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The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engined heavy bomber developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Competing against Douglas and Martin for a contract to build 200 bombers, the Boeing entry (prototype Model 299/XB-17) outperformed both competitors and exceeded the air corps' performance specifications. Although Boeing lost the contract (to the Douglas B-18 Bolo) because the prototype crashed, the air corps ordered 13 more B-17s for further evaluation. From its introduction in 1938, the B-17 Flying Fortress evolved through numerous design advances, becoming the third-most produced bomber of all time, behind the four-engined B-24 and the multirole, twin-engined Ju 88.
The B-17 was primarily employed by the USAAC in the daylight strategic bombing campaign of World War II against German industrial and military targets. The United States Eighth Air Force, based at many airfields in central and southern England, and the Fifteenth Air Force, based in Italy, complemented the RAF Bomber Command's nighttime area bombing in the Combined Bomber Offensive to help secure air superiority over the cities, factories and battlefields of Western Europe in preparation for the invasion of France in 1944. The B-17 also participated to a lesser extent in the War in the Pacific, early in World War II, where it conducted raids against Japanese shipping and airfields.
From its prewar inception, the USAAC (by June 1941, the USAAF) promoted the aircraft as a strategic weapon; it was a relatively fast, high-flying, long-range bomber with heavy defensive armament at the expense of bombload. It developed a reputation for toughness based upon stories and photos of badly damaged B-17s safely returning to base. The B-17 developed a reputation as an effective bomber, dropping more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II. Of the 1.5 million tonnes of bombs dropped on Nazi Germany and its occupied territories by U.S. aircraft, 640,000 tonnes were dropped from B-17s. In addition to its role as a bomber, the B-17 was also employed as a transport, antisubmarine aircraft, drone controller, and search-and-rescue aircraft.
As of May 2015, 10 aircraft remain airworthy, though none of them were ever flown in combat. Dozens more are in storage or on static display. The oldest of these is a D-series flown in combat in the Pacific and the Caribbean.

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Specifications (B-17G)

General characteristics

Crew: 10: Pilot, co-pilot, navigator, bombardier/nose gunner, flight engineer/top turret gunner, radio operator, waist gunners (2), ball turret gunner, tail gunner[212]
Length: 74 ft 4 in (22.66 m)
Wingspan: 103 ft 9 in (31.62 m)
Height: 19 ft 1 in (5.82 m)
Wing area: 1,420 sq ft (131.92 m2)
Airfoil: NACA 0018 / NACA 0010
Aspect ratio: 7.57
Empty weight: 36,135 lb (16,391 kg)
Loaded weight: 54,000 lb (24,500 kg)
Max. takeoff weight: 65,500 lb (29,700 kg)
Powerplant: 4 × Wright R-1820-97 "Cyclone" turbosupercharged radial engines, 1,200 hp (895 kW) each

Performance

Maximum speed: 287 mph (249 kn, 462 km/h)
Cruise speed: 182 mph (158 kn, 293 km/h)
Range: 2,000 mi (1,738 nmi, 3,219 km) with 2,700 kg (6,000 lb) bombload
Service ceiling: 35,600 ft (10,850 m)
Rate of climb: 900 ft/min (4.6 m/s)
Wing loading: 38.0 lb/sq ft (185.7 kg/m2)
Power/mass: 0.089 hp/lb (150 W/kg)

Armament

Guns: 13 × .50 in (12.7 mm) M2 Browning machine guns in 8 positions (2 in the Bendix chin turret, 2 on nose cheeks, 2 staggered waist guns, 2 in upper Sperry turret, 2 in Sperry ball turret in belly, 2 in the tail and one firing upwards from radio compartment behind bomb bay)
Bombs:
Short range missions (<400 mi): 8,000 lb (3,600 kg)
Long range missions (≈800 mi): 4,500 lb (2,000 kg)
Overload: 17,600 lb (7,800 kg)


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