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B-17 Flying Fortress (USA, 1938)

B-17 Flying Fortress (USA, 1938)

The ´Flying Fortress´ was developed for the United States Army Air Force by Boeing

History

Keywords

Flying Fortress, Memphis Belle, Boeing, airforce, nehézbombázó, bomber, USA, aircraft, world war, war, weapon

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Narration

Developed for the United States Army Air Corps by Boeing, this heavy bomber was named the Flying Fortress. The first flight took place in 1935 and it was introduced in 1938. More than 12,000 B17s were constructed. During World War II, the Flying Fortress was deployed on all fronts.

The bomber measured more than 22 meters (72 feet) in length and about 6 meters (20 feet) in height and had a wingspan of 31 meters (102 feet). With a maximum takeoff weight of 24.5 tonnes, this monster was powered by 4 motors each producing 1,200 horsepower. With a crew of ten on board, the aircraft had a combat range greater than 3,000 km (1,864 mi). It also reached a cruising speed of 300 km/h (186 mph) and a service ceiling of more than 10,000 m (32,808 ft).

However, it was not due to these impressive specifications that the aircraft was named the Flying Fortress; this was because of its armament. First 11 machine guns, and later 13, jutted out from the dorsal, ventral, nose and tail machine gun turrets. This provided adequate protection for the B17, which dropped its 2,300 kg (5,071 lb) of bombs on the enemy.

During World War II, squadrons of B17 bombers dropped a total of 650,000 tonnes of bombs. The most notable Flying Fortress was Memphis Belle, which took part in 25 successful combat missions on the European battlefield. The story of the aircraft and of its crew has been the subject of a number of Hollywood productions.

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