Developed as the main arm of the US Army Air Corps bomber force the B17 was designed from the outset to be self-sufficient in a combat environment. Intended to provide all round defence capability against fighter attack the B17s were employed in relatively tight formations and supplied with an array of 0.5inch heavy machine guns The theory of mutual self defence was found wanting in the early operations and loss rates were horrendous. With advent of long range fighter escort (P51 and P47) the mission profile became more supportable and continual long range daylight missions did much to end the European WW2 hostilities. While making a huge impact in the ‘round the clock’ bombing missions the B17 always suffered from a low total bomb load of only 6,000lbs for normal range sorties.
The image portrays a B17 G model – Yankee Lady – currently flying in USA.