But the AF commanders concerned made exactly the opposite determination. Senior Air Corps strategists wanted a long-range bomber with a 5,000-mile range, a concept that led to the design and development of the B-15 and then to the even more ambitious B-19. Beginning in the spring of 1943, the 43rd Bomb Group replaced its B-17s with B-24s, ending the combat career of the Flying Fortress in the Pacific. When comparing the number of sorties flown and losses sustained by the two types, the difference is even greater. Your selected aircraft are compared in side-by-side arrangement below. The departure of the 93rd left the 44th alone in the skies over Occupied Europe, and their smaller numbers led their peers in B-17s to take heavier note of their losses, just as had those who fought before them in Java, where the proportion of B-24s to B-17s was similar. As the war intensified, the U.S. Army elected to change the role of the B-24A, and most were converted to long-range transports while a few were equipped with cameras for reconnaissance. Range: 2300 miles with 5000 pounds of bombs. 1500 miles, so Berlin & back with 4000 lbs would have been possible, though perhaps not at high speed, and assuming a pretty direct flightpath. Your selected aircraft are compared in side-by-side arrangement below. Other long-range missions were being flown by B-24s assigned to the 28th Composite Group in the Alaska Command. Included in the 80 airplanes were 15 LB-30 bombers that had been repossessed from Britain, although only 12 actually reached Australia. Bomber pilots were no different when it came to trading in their B-24s for the B-17. Now, the B17 had a range of 2,000 miles, a typical payload of 5-8,000 lbs. The U.S. B-24s often operated in formation with RAF Liberator squadrons. Of the 230 bombers that went to Schweinfurt, 36 failed to return—a total of 60 B-17s had been lost in one day. of bombs, including the huge (22000 lb.!) The empty weight of an airplane is the sum of the weight of the components used in its construction—including the ribs, spars, stringers, and longerons that form the wings, the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, and the fuselage. In January 1945, Eighth Air Force Commander Lt. Gen. James H. Doolittle wrote a letter to Army Air Forces chief of procurement General Barney Giles in which he expressed his preferences for the B-17 over the B-24 for his command. I use B24 alot lately but i hve a sence that there is a small debate between these 2 historical bombers. However, if the spar on a B-17 was hit, the results were the same. By December 1941, B-17s had been in service with U.S. Army bomber squadrons for more than four years. This is the period that is most often addressed by the TV documentaries and literature about the bombing campaign in Europe. After the Java Campaign, B-17s remained as the only heavy bombers operating in what had become the Southwest Pacific Area of Operations, though a handful of LB-30s and B-24s served in the transport role. (Get the full details of this mission and many other pivotal moments in World War II history by subscribing.). - maximum speed at 290 mph But on November 7, 1942, the 44th Bomb Group, which was actually the oldest B-24 group in the Army, flew its first mission. People almost always say the B17 because it is the one that is in most of the movies and tv shows i.e, gets the most attention. After the B-17s proved ineffective in British hands, the Army Air Corps sought to determine why. of bombs maximum payload was 17,500lbs) and a speed of 287 mph. Throughout the summer of 1943, Eighth Air Force B-17 crews found themselves alone in the skies on the long—and treacherous—missions over Germany. However, the real reason the B-24s had gone to Africa was to attack the Ploesti, Romania, oil refineries in a daring low-level attack that put the crews in range of every weapon available to the German defenders, from 88mm antiaircraft guns to machine pistols, not to mention German and Romanian fighter aircraft. In the annals of military history magazines, this is one of those moments. But there’s NEVER been anything like THIS before. Losses in such numbers would be repeated among Eighth Air Force B-17 formations a couple of times in early 1944, though never to such a large extent among the B-24s that flew alongside them. These figures relegate to myth the belief that the B-17 was the “safer” airplane. Within four months after the letter was sent to Washington, the last B-17 to be built by Boeing rolled off the assembly line. Times when the very landscape appears to shift. The report of the RAF crews who flew both the American-designed Flying Fortress and Liberator was that they might be suitable for a war in the Pacific where missions would be flown over open expanses of ocean, but they were too poorly armed for daylight operations into Germany. Please direct all other inquiries to militaryfactory AT gmail.com. Welcome to the WWII Forums! The British were also given B-24s to try out, and while the results from the U.S. viewpoint were less than hoped for, the RAF did prefer the B-24 Liberator over the B-17 Flying Fortress because of its heavier payload capabilities. Oh, and it was made of wood. Missions were flown at night and in daylight as the fledgling Ninth Air Force took advantage of the cloak of darkness on missions to the most heavily defended targets. The aerodynamics of the Flying Fortress stemmed from designs of the late 1920s and early 1930s, featuring a wide chord, the width of the wing from leading to trailing edge, and shorter span. Former B-17 crew members who survived a combat tour stress that because the Old Fort brought them home, it has to be the best. Attacks were aimed at the supply lines of the German Afrika Korps, particularly the ports and supply depots at Tobruk and Benghazi in Libya. In September 1941, two squadrons of the 19th Bombardment Group were dispatched from Hamilton Field, Calif., to provide a heavy-bomber presence in the Philippines. Dimensions: Wingspan 110 feet 0 inches, length 66 feet 4 inches, height 17 feet 11 inches, wing area 1048 square feet. As with the huge vertical stabilizer, the wider wing of the B-17 often resulted in hits in noncritical areas that missed the spar and would have passed harmlessly in space behind the slimmer wing of the B-24. In January 1939, prompted by President Franklin D. Roosevelt, U.S. Army Air Corps Commander General Henry “Hap” Arnold published a requirement for a four-engine bomber with a 3,000-mile range, a top airspeed in excess of 300 miles per hour, and a service ceiling of 35,000 feet. The other did not enter combat until November 26, 1943, more than a year after the 93rd flew its first mission. It could haul 18000 lbs. The jet propelled Me 262 introduced in the last year of the war was 100 mph faster than contemporary … This is one area in which the B-17 possessed something of an advantage over the B-24. The B-24 was a faster plane having a greater range and payload capacity. The HALPRO Project, named for its commander, Colonel Harry Halvorsen, had originally been intended for duty in China, where the War Department had envisioned it as the nucleus of a heavy-bomber force equipped with B-24Ds that would begin a strategic bombing campaign against the Japanese homeland from bases in China. The Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a four-engine heavy bomber developed in the 1930s for the United States Army Air Corps (USAAC). Perhaps the answer lies in the fact that there was more dead space in the huge airfoils of the B-17 where hits could do little damage. This is, of course, what allowed it to bomb Japan from as far away as the Mariana Islands. The August 1, 1943, mission to Ploesti cost the Eighth Air Force groups 30 B-24s out of 103 on the 171-plane mission, a loss rate just shy of 30 percent and considerably higher than the loss rates suffered by the B-17s on the Regensburg and Schweinfurt missions. By the time the new airplane entered production, war had broken out in Europe and the United States had begun supplying airplanes and other military hardware to the British and French. Notes: Some entries contain '0', 'not available', or an 'NA' value. When they got there, 24 bombers were missing, 17 of which had been shot down. The combat records of both types contradict the assertions that aircrews flying B-17s were “safer” than those in B-24s. One area in which the B-17 and all models of the B-24 were completely equal was in the power of their engines. Many B-17 battle-damage pictures show holes in—and even sections gone from—the vertical stabilizer, otherwise known as the “tail,” an airfoil, the sole purpose of which is to keep the nose of the airplane tracking straight; however, there are pictures of B-24s maintaining formation with one of their twin vertical stabilizers shot completely away—and one famous Liberator suffered the loss of both when it was struck by a British Lancaster bomber, yet it returned to the United States for a War Bond Tour. Along with the HALPRO diversion, Tenth Air Force commander Maj. Gen. Lewis H. Brereton was ordered to the Middle East from India with as many of his heavy bombers as he could muster. Can someone give me a broad overview? During the first week of June 1943, the 389th Bomb Group arrived in England to bolster the two groups already there. It was not until the late summer of 1942 that American heavy bombers began operations over Western Europe from bases in England. It was that very factor that had led the chief planners at Army Air Forces Headquarters in Washington, DC, to conclude that the B-24 was the only type that could possibly fly what was to be the most dangerous and ambitious heavy-bomber mission of World War II. Most who look at these statistics quickly jump to the conclusion that the B-17 losses were heavier because of the period in 1943 when they were going it alone on deep-penetration missions over Germany. Shortly after the 44th entered combat, three squadrons of the veteran 93rd were sent south in support of the North African campaign while the fourth was placed on a special assignment. The B-24s in Africa performed well as they went against German and Italian targets. 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