The B-17 four-engine bomber was introduced into the American Air Force in 1938. It owes its nickname – the Flying Fortress – to the great number of machine guns it was equipped with. B-17 was designed to carry out daytime precise bombing runs deep behind enemy lines. By May 1945 exactly 12,731 Flying Fortresses had been produced, they also dropped the largest volume of bombs, compared to any other type of plane. After arriving at Great Britain in 1942, the Americans wanted to see some real actions. It was assumed that B-17s would be able to defend against enemy fighters on their own.
In August 1943, Schweinfurt was selected as a target. However, out of 291 B-17 bombers sent on a bombing run over the city, the Germans managed to shot down 60, and another 55 had to be written off due to damage. Even the US could not afford such losses. Due to that disaster, work on building a long-distance bomber was sped up.
- Crew: 10
- Wing span: 31.6 m
- Length and height: 22.7 m and 5.8 m
- Speed and range: 462 km/h, 3200 km (with a load of 2700 kg bombs)
- Maximum altitude: 10,850 m
- Weapons: 13 12.7 mm machine guns, from 3.6 to 7.8 tonnes of bombs
- Total weight: 29.7 t.
Illustration and historical commentary from the ALLIES – World War II deck, published by Trefl-Kraków as part of the Excellent series.
- Drawings: Jakub Mathia
- Box and reverse side design: Piotr Łapiński
- Historical commentary: Łukasz Przybyło