Was the B-17 the P-40 of heavy bombers?

Discussion in 'Aviation' started by gjs238, Jun 16, 2013.

  1. gjs238

    gjs238 Well-Known Member

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    By the time ETO strategic bombing got underway, was the B-17 obsolete or outdated?
     
  2. l'Omnivore Sobriquet

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    #2 l'Omnivore Sobriquet, Jun 16, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 16, 2013
    Neither obsolete nor out-dated.
    Mass-produced.

    Good precision, good protection, flying high, and well, modern equipments.
    By todays' standards, a 800-strong B-17 raid, 8000 meters high, would still bring-in apocalypse. Despite your 30 "bargain-priced" Stingers...
     
  3. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    In what way?

    it can take 9-12 months to go from the 5TH production plane to the 500th and another 3-9 months to get to the 1000th. That is just out the factory door/s. Issued, trained on, gotten over seas ( America's front lines were 3-6000 miles from the factories not a few hours flying time like the German front lines). The B-17 may have "obsolete or outdated" compared to prototypes flyng in the summer of 1943 but the prototypes were 1 -2 years away from large scale deployment.
     
  4. syscom3

    syscom3 Pacific Historian

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    The B17 was outdated by summer of 1944. Still useful though.

    The USAAF discovered soon enough that even though the B17 flew high, it was at the expense of accuracy. That and its small bomb load often meant that those B17 groups often had to hit the same targets multiple times to knock them out. And the B24 units weren't much better.
     
  5. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Neither. Fine airframe with rather small engines.

    Britain installed RR Merlin engines on Lancaster bomber. Germany used Jumo 211 engines for most bombers from 1939 onward. If U.S. Army Air Corps had installed engines of similar power in B-17 it would have remained first rate to the end of WWII.
     
  6. fastmongrel

    fastmongrel Well-Known Member

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    At 30,000 ft the B17s engines were probably putting out more power than any single stage Merlin or Ju211 engine. Its not the engine its the blower that counts.

    Personally I would have kept the B17 for Europe and concentrated the B24 on maritime patrols and non European theatres where its better range would be an advantage.
     
  7. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    B-17 was a little lacking in engine power for take-off. Speed was limited by the needs of formation flying and range, not engine power. B-17 could pull 1200hp (or more) from the engines at 25-27,000ft. The Merlin needed the 60 series engines to match that.
    The Jumo 211 didn't have prayer of matching it.
     
  8. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    Ira Eaker didn't think the B-17 was obsolete. When asked by the Smithsonian to name the most important AAF airplane to provide the centerpiece for the Keith Ferris commission - he didn't hesitate.

    For those of you that have seen the Thunderbird in full scale - 6 feet behind the wall - at the Smithsonian - I would challenge you to cite a better subject rendered better that that.
     
  9. drgondog

    drgondog Well-Known Member

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    The B-24 may have arguably been a better airplane, ditto the Lanc - but hard to find another, better, symbol for American airpower than the B-17G Flying Fortress wading through the flak and German fighters. Bloodied but never turned back - no matter how many German fighters were thrown against them.

    The GAF never had a problem finding and attacking the 8th and 15th AF in very large concentrations - a lot of very good men on both sides (RAF and US) died in the prosecution of the Battle for Germany - but for the US the B-17 was the symbol and the reality of that battle.
     
  10. davebender

    davebender Well-Known Member

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    Jumo 211 was designed to produce max power @ typical German bomber operating altitude. If Ju-87s and Ju-88s had routinely operated @ 30,000 feet that's where Jumo 211 engines would have produced max power.
     
  11. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Just like that huh?

    Care to explain HOW?

    Take the Turbo OFF the Wright Cyclone and give it a two speed supercharger drive and it made 1200hp at 4,200 ft and 1000hp at 14,200 ft.

    You could set up a Jumo 211 to run or cruise at 30,000 ft but without a turbo or very fancy supercharger set up it won't come near the power it can make at 10-14,000ft.

    Normal Jumo 211J was good for about 750PS at 9000 meters?
    or 850PS at 8000 meters?

    Germans were fooling around with turbo diesels, N20 systems and sticking a 3rd engine in the fuselage of a twin to power a big supercharger to feed air to the "normal" engines just because using a turbo was too easy?
     
  12. FLYBOYJ

    FLYBOYJ "THE GREAT GAZOO"
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    Info...

    "The Army Air Forces wanted to begin replacing B-17s and B-24s with B-32s in the summer of 1944. The plan called for Mediterranean-based B-24 bomb groups to transition first, followed by other groups in the 15th Air Force and finally 8th Air Force groups. Because the B-32 test program was so far behind schedule, however, not a single B-32 was ever sent to the Mediterranean or European Theaters of Operation."

    Factsheets : Consolidated B-32
     
  13. dobbie

    dobbie Member

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    The B-17 was the most heavily modified US heavy bomber in WWII. It needed to be in order to keep up. The B-24 was easier to build, and despite being able to fly a bit farther or carry a bit more of a bombload, could not hold formation at the altitudes the B-17 could. The B-17 could take more punishment, and was safer if one had to ditch for the crew. The higher flying and more sophisticated B-29, because of the problems bombing at even higher altitudes was eventually stripped of most of its armament and used as a low level night bomber in the Pacific. One wonders how well the 29 might have performed over Germany?
     
  14. MacArther

    MacArther Active Member

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    A small note, I've been aboard both a B-24 and a B-17, and I definitely prefer the roominess in the B-24. I really have to give credit to the waist gunners in the B-17 for what they worked with and how well they did: I'm 5'11 and I was hunched and felt like I was almost touching parts of the other waist position.
     
  15. pattle

    pattle Member

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    #15 pattle, Jun 17, 2013
    Last edited: Jun 17, 2013
    I suppose the B17F was out dated because they updated it into the B17G. My own opinion is that the Mustang stopped the B17 from becoming obsolete because with the Mustang alongside, the B17 was able to do what was asked of it. Compared to the Lancaster the B17 did have a small bomb bay but then how many bombs could the Lancaster have of carried it was weighed down with the extra crew and 50 cals needed to survive over Germany during daylight. I don't think the Lancaster and B17 can be properly compared as they were in a different line of work.
     
  16. Balljoint

    Balljoint Member

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    Much of the B-29 accuracy problem was the result of the strong jet stream over Japan. Because of this, the raid on Tokyo was at low altitude. It worked largely as a result of the surprise factor. But altitude was generally used to largely avoid what interceptor response Japan could put up.
     
  17. airminded88

    airminded88 Member

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    A little bit old...maybe

    Somewhat inadequate specs compared to its late-war counterparts...perhaps

    Ready and willing to take the fight to the heart of the Axis Powers and prevail against fearsome losses and formidable air defenses...definitely

    Hey, and who says the P-40 didn't go on to become one of the greatest planes of the war? :p
     
  18. Shortround6

    Shortround6 Well-Known Member

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    Yep, By the end of 1943 it was one of the greatest advanced trainers in any air force :)
     
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