Thursday, April 5, 2018
The Mighty Eighth-- Part 2: B-17s, Quite the Strategic Weapon
The U.S. Eighth Air Force (based at many airfields in southern England) and the Fifteenth Air Force (based in Italy) complemented the RAF Bomber Command's nighttime 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.
Touted as a strategic weapon, the B-17 was a potent, high-flying, long-range bomber that was able to defend itself and to return home despite extensive battle damage. Its reputation quickly took on mythic proportions, dropping more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft in World War II (640,000 metric tons).
When I think of World War II bombers, the one that pops up immediately in my mind is the B-17 Flying Fortress.