Designed in the mid-1930s, originally to protect the coasts of the US from hostile warships, the Boeing B-17 went on to become a mainstay of Allied bombing raids against Nazi Germany. Unremitting and crushing attacks by hordes of these `Flying Fortresses' helped bring the Third Reich to its knees and drove the German high command to consider ever more desperate antidotes to aerial intruders. More than 12,700 B-17s were delivered between 1937 and 1945.
The B-17 Flying Fortress gives a complete account of the aircraft from its appearance in response to a 1934 Army Air Corps specification to its retirement. The book opens with the B-17's design and development history, which saw its armament steadily increase until it bristled with no less than 13 12.7mm (0.5in) machine guns. The B-17 Flying Fortress then identifies the units that operated this legendary bomber, and explains how missions were flown, before going on to chart the aircraft's wartime career. The final chapter details the B-17 variants, including the YB-40, a bomber converted to a 30-gun escort. Technical information is presented in three appendices and includes specifications of the B-17 and comparisons with its major rivals. The B-17 Flying Fortress is illustrated throughout with detailed artworks and photographs.