Talk:Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
          This article is of interest to the following WikiProjects:
WikiProject Military history (Rated Start-Class)
MILHIST This article is within the scope of the Military history WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see a list of open tasks. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
Start This article has been rated as Start-Class on the quality assessment scale.
WikiProject Aviation / Aircraft (Rated C-class)
WikiProject icon This article is within the scope of the Aviation WikiProject. If you would like to participate, please visit the project page, where you can join the project and see lists of open tasks and task forces. To use this banner, please see the full instructions.
C-Class article C  This article has been rated as C-Class on the project's quality scale.
Checklist icon
Note icon
This article has been selected for use on the Aviation Portal.
Taskforce icon
This article is supported by the aircraft project.
Former featured article Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a former featured article. Please see the links under Article milestones below for its original nomination page (for older articles, check the nomination archive) and why it was removed.
Main Page trophy This article appeared on Wikipedia's Main Page as Today's featured article on June 18, 2010.

Ball turret size[edit]

It would be helpful if the article included the diameter of the ball turret, especially the inside diameter! (I can't find this information anywhere.)

—The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 19:54, 31 January 2007 (UTC).

The ball turret used in the B-17 and the B-24 (retractable version) was made by Sperry Corporation (formerly Sperry Gyroscope). Post war Sperry underwent a number of reorganizations which reflected its increased diversification. The documentation for the ball turret, which was made completely obsolete by another defensive system invented by General Electric for the B-29 project, was probably inherited by Sperry Flight Systems Company of Phoenix AZ, which in turn was absorbed by Honeywell Aerospace in the 1980s.

Another source of inquiry might be the Commemorative Air Force, which operates two flyable B-17Gs. Since both of the planes had non-military careers after the war correct defensive gun stations, including the ball, had to be re-installed by the restoration craftsmen. It's unimaginable to me that the owners of those aircraft can't supply us with the needed information if they are contacted and asked politely. Try ENScroggs 20:28, 22 June 2007 (UTC)

Access dates of references[edit]

Front view of a B-17 Flying Fortress. Lackland AFB, San Antonio, Texas (March 2007).

I think these need to be in a specific format, although I am not sure of the exact constraints. If not in this format, it seems that they appear as red links. Snowman 17:00, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Again, there are no rules for this, but the reader should be able to navigate via one system of dates rather than three, which was the case. I adopted the first date system employed and used it throughout. Bzuk 17:04 4 February 2007 (UTC). See your date above, you also use this system.
My date is not linked. I am trying to avoid all the red linked dates. To maintain the one consistent format (which I presume is your preferred option), I guess that the red linked dates would all need to be piped. Alternatively; the current date format within the main text could remain to be internally consistent, and the assess dates could all be changed to the format that is recognised by the software. ("2007-01-30" works). Actually, I see no reason why the software does not recognise your date format. Snowman 17:28, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

A separate field called "accessyear" can be added to the references, so that "accessdate" contains the month and day (or vice-versa), and "accessyear" contains the year. Here's how it stands now:

{{cite web |url= |title= The Boeing Logbook: 1933 – 1938|accessdate=18 December 2006|format= |work=}}

…and here is how it's supposed to be:

{{cite web |url= |title= The Boeing Logbook: 1933 – 1938|accessdate=18 December|accessyear=2006|format= |work=}}

This way, references will display the access dates properly. I'll convert a few references for starters, but I hope I'll get some help to fix them all. Squalla 17:32, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Update: I started fixing the dates, and noticed that the year was not appearing at some of the references. Whilst trying to figure out what I was doing wrong I noticed you had converted most of the dates, and just noticed that you reverted some of them. I'll do a little search to see if I can find out what's wrong. Squalla 19:15, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

Similarly, I do not know why the year date is not displayed for a few of the links. At the time, I reverted the page, because I thought I did something wrong with the "find/replace" & "RegEx" on AWB. Snowman 19:29, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

For my 2¢, I'm not sure why the references needed to be changed at all. If the reader has a preference to how a date should be shown, then they can select that form in their user preferences. Right now I have chosen wikilinked dates to be shown as "16:12, January 15, 2001". So no matter how a date is formed in the article, whether it be [[8 January]] [[2007]], [[January 8]] [[2007]], or [[2007-01-08]], it all shows up as 8 January 2007, 2007-01-08, January 8, 2007 (to me they all appear alike). Yes, they look different when you are editing the article, but we are doing this for the reader, not the editor. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 20:32, 4 February 2007 (UTC)

You might have been referring to an earlier change, but talking about this evenings changes, if you look back, the links that have been changed this evening were red links (ie 7 March 2006), which have been changed with only partial success to a format that you are indicating (ie 7 March 2006). Red links were created prior to this. At first inspection there appears to be a fault in accessdates, or misunderstanding about the format that is needed for the software. Is it worth asking the "Village pump (technical)" for help? Snowman 20:55, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
I have asked at "Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)" to see if anyone knows what is wrong. Snowman 11:22, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
It has been analysed at Wikipedia:Village pump (technical)#References. It seems that it is "cite" does not allow both accessdate and accessyear. It would be possible to have accessmonth and accessyear together or the accessdate ("2006-2-28"). Suggest use "3 February 2006" in the text and "2006-2-28" for the accessdates, with an explanatory footnote. Is there a consensus opinion for date formats for this page. Snowman 13:14, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Personally I think it's fine to use the YYYY-MM-DD format for references; it may not look as good, but it's a much shorter format (which saves space for both editors and readers), and we know that it will work for every reference, not just some of them. I vote for going back to the YYYY-MM-DD format—at least until there's a reliable way to cite everything in the "Month DD, YYYY" format. Squalla 14:43, 5 February 2007 (UTC)


What if the reader has "no preference" selected for date/time (like 99.999% of all wikipedia readers). What would these readers see?Bzuk 21:04 4 February 2007 (UTC).

Are there default settings depending on the localization? Snowman 20:57, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
The setting will format any date that is wikilinked, and if they have no preference then they will see it the way it was written. But, if they have no preference, then it would seem that they don't care how they see the date. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 21:28, 4 February 2007 (UTC)
Then it typically looks like a mess with three different dates even to the casual reader, it is so much easier to do one date system and not bounce around with changes in dates. As I mentioned before, Trevor, there is an established date system for historical writing and it usually prevails in publishing, but in Wikipedia, anything goes. Bzuk 21:34 4 February 2007 (UTC).
The problem is that "cite" does not allow accessdate and accessyear together, so at the present time is in impossible on the wiki to use the English format with "cite" to generate blue links. Perhaps some one will make the wiki software more consistent. Snowman 14:58, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

I've just done an edit that I think will appease everyones concerns. Using the accessmonthday and accessyear fields, this is how the cite will appear:

The date will be formated in the preferred DD Month YYYY format, and in unlinked so that the only link in the ref will be either the website or the IBSN #. For now there is an extraneous comma between the month and year, but am going to propose at Template_talk:Cite_web that the template be changed such that if someone enters "DD Month" instead of "Month DD", the comma will be ommited. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 16:38, 5 February 2007 (UTC)

The problem is that "accessmonthday" will only work with {{Cite web}}, but not with {{Cite journal}} (which is used for many citations in the article). Squalla 16:41, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Ok, I see. I've commented at Template_talk:Cite_journal#Accessdate. We'll just have to wait for some feedback from the people involved there before updating the templates to allow this. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 17:23, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
Not getting any response yet at the templates, so I've been bold and edited the cite web template. We can now use a new parameter to get the desired date format (I'll edit an example now). If this causes no uproar overnight, I'll update cite journal as well, in the morning. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 04:24, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
This generates an unlinked date with "cite". It can not be used with "journal", but blue links are generated by "journal" by the existing "journal" format. Some blue links and some black links probably will probably look odd. Suggest liaise with template projects. Snowman 10:05, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I've gone ahead and changed the cite journal template to allow this date format. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 22:55, 7 February 2007 (UTC)

Surviving Aircraft[edit]

There is a flying B-17, named "Yankee Lady" at the Yankee Air Museum in Ypsilanti, MI. I haven't edited it into the article because I don't have the extra info that is there for the other aircraft. Orionhawk 19:21, 2 March 2007 (UTC)

There are others too. Should they have a separate page? Snowman 14:33, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
I think if the two sections about individual aircraft gets any longer it will have to be moved to a separate page. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 15:16, 3 March 2007 (UTC)
Frankly, I like the idea that all existing airframes will evolve into their own articles, as the histories are built. Mark Sublette (talk) 22:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 22:40, 21 January 2008 (UTC)

gun positions[edit]

part of what makes the B-17 compelling is its huge number of manned guns. Searching for where the guns were in the 13-gun configuration is difficult in this article's current form... it should be in the summary section of the article. Maybe a diagram? brain 15:02, 13 April 2007 (UTC)

Notable B-17s[edit]

I think Old 666 should be added as it fought off 17 zeroes and was recently featured on the History Channel's Dogfights. It had more guns than a regular B-17 and two men in it won the Medal of Honor, and the rest, the Distinguished Flying Cross in the same day. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talk) 20:13, 22 April 2007 (UTC).

If you want to be taken seriously, a) register and b) never ever mention the steaming turd that is "Dogfights" as your reference. - Emt147 Burninate! 23:05, 22 April 2007 (UTC)
If YOU want to be taken seriously, don't use "steaming turd" in a serious manner. Jersey John (talk) 05:42, 2 January 2009 (UTC)
Ah, yessss... I was in Fort Walton Beach, Florida over the holidaze, and hung out with a group of Eglin and Hurlburt airmen from a local car club, and the members of the 33rd Fighter Wing are all pissed-off at "Dogfights" for showing all the Gulf War air victories, marked LK for Lakenheath, with nary an "EG" tailcode for the 33rd, who scored the majority of the kills in that conflict. I agree with Emt147 - do NOT use "Dogfights" as sources... Mark Sublette (talk) 22:47, 21 January 2008 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 22:47, 21 January 2008 (UTC)
Agreed - Do not use "Dogfights" as a primary source. It is a good starting place to look for primary source material, but should never be taken at face value, due to inaccuracy and inconsistency - much like Wikipedia. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 19:55, 19 April 2011 (UTC)

Long range fighter impact[edit]

I made several edits to correct statements which perpetuated a myth that has grown up around the advent of the P-51 in 1944, hopefully without changing the general tenor of what was there. 8AF lost 700 bombers to fighters in all of 1943 and curtailed deep penetration missions after 2d Schweinfurt. It lost 1124 bombers to fighters in the first six months of 1944 alone (and 1516 for the year), including 60+ on three missions in March and April. Three groups of P-51s began deep escort during Big Week but did not become pre-eminent in fighter combat until April. However 7 groups of P-47s began using 150-gallon drop tanks during Big Week and scored heavily against the Luftwaffe, as they had in November and December 1943. Claims were 873 Jan-Feb-Mar (about 550 of them to P-47s) and 1110 Apr-May-Jun (about 700 P-51). VIII FC went to a "zone defense", so to speak, for protecting the bombers, sending groups to sectors along the route of the bomber stream to patrol while the bombers flew through it. Until May 1944 more than half these fighters were P-47s (and there were 3 groups of P-38s also). Throw into the mix the strafing of German airfields as well. It was a combined effort of all the 8AF fighters that defeated the Luftwaffe, not just the P-51. (The total split was roughly 900 to 1100 in favor of P-51s) Its effect was long-term, as group after group converted to the Mustang, but by D-Day the Luftwaffe was defeated.--Buckboard 02:47, 25 April 2007 (UTC)

I haven't checked it, but I'm pretty sure you'll find that Rheinmetall was an independent entity at this time and had no formal association with Borsig until much later - I would tip the 1990s! As far as I remember, both eventually became part of the Thyssen conglomerate. (talk) 16:12, 22 December 2009 (UTC)


At lest one of the links is somewhat disingenuous. The link in the first paragraph that is titled "Civilian" leads to the article "Bombing of Dresden." I don't believe that is an appropriate linking. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 01:57, 1 September 2007 (UTC)

I changed the link, is that better? Are there other concerns? - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 02:22, 1 September 2007 (UTC)
I believe it's promoting a POV to be referencing one controversial target of the USAAF in the first sentence of the second paragraph of an article about a USAAF airplane. Raising awareness and having a debate is fine or whatever, and maybe a reference to that issue does belong in this article, but not in the introduction. I'm removing the link. jhf 00:46, 21 October 2007 (UTC)

Prototype Crash[edit]

Hey there, I was about to edit the page, as it indicates that the entire crew was killed when the Model 299 crashed on October 30, 1935. This is not accurate, as some of the crew did survive, as indicated at Air Force Magazine When the Fortress Went Down. What confused me on the edit page is that the text of what I would have tried to insert was already there, although it doesn't show up on the article page. I didn't want to bodge anything up. Cheers. 08:54, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

The information is in the reference, so if you click on the little [18] (the reference) it takes you to the bottom of the page, where the info is. - Trevor MacInnis (Contribs) 13:59, 10 October 2007 (UTC)

Queen of the Bombers[edit]

Martin Caidin is reported by the publisher of B-17 Bomber Pilot's Flight Operating Manual (Paperback) to have said the B-17 was called "Queen of the Bombers". Anybody have a further reference? What was Caidin basing his comment on? Did he really say this? This WP article was the first time I'd ever seen or heard the term. I doubt Caidin's sources. Binksternet (talk) 16:31, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Much as I loved his prose as a lad, Martin Caiden's "history" should be taken with much NaCl - Caiden was a yarnspinner who never let "facts" get in the way of his tale. A notable example of his misinformation was his identification of the surviving "The War Lover" B-17 as later used as a camera ship on "Dr. Strangelove" in 1963. This was so stated in "Everything But the Flak", and then repeated in other histories as "fact". And yet, when the extended DVD of Kubrick's classic was released in the 2000s, a documentary shows that the camera ship was IGN B-17 F-BEEA, an aircraft that had NOTHING to do with the 1962 film. You are so warned.

Mark Sublette (talk) 19:23, 13 December 2007 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 19:23, 13 December 2007 (UTC)

Copy that. I'm deleting the sentence in question. Perhaps someone will find the the original Caidin source at which time it would be possible to say "Martin Caidin said in xx that the B-17 was called "Queen of the Bombers."" Binksternet (talk) 16:07, 14 December 2007 (UTC)
My first Caidin was Cyborg (novel) in '72. Very much a yarnspinner's tale and quite enjoyable. Of course, that was back when US$6M seemed like a reasonable amount to spend on bionics for one man. ... o_O ... Much later, I read "A Torch To The Enemy" about the firebombing of Japan, a subject which doesn't need any kind of fictionalization for it to burn vividly in the mind. Still, I should reread that book to see if Caidin stretches history or pulls sources out of his Selectric. Binksternet (talk) 16:24, 14 December 2007 (UTC)

Actually, Martin Caidin was a US Army Air Forces intelligence specialist who was assigned to Fifth Air Force HQ in Japan after the war and was assigned to go through them and write a history. He had access to information other authors didn't. SamMcGowan (talk) 04:32, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

That may be so, but as serious archival sources, Caiden's writings are lacking in any footnotes or ways of substantiating his statements. Mark Sublette (talk) 04:10, 16 July 2011 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 04:10, 16 July 2011 (UTC)

Yet another movie[edit]

On Dec. 7, 2007, Turner Classic Movies ran the 1943 movie "Air Force". Supposedly a chronicle of one of the B-17's that were flying into Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Much dramatic license was taken by inserting Japanese infiltrators shooting at the plane where it landed instead of at its original destination of Hickam Field and Japanese saboteurs in vegetable trucks smashing fighter planes on the ground, though that was only mentioned after the B-17 lands at Hickam. I'd like to know what model(s) of B-17 were used in the movie.

See this site - Mark Sublette (talk) 01:30, 17 June 2010 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 01:30, 17 June 2010 (UTC)

You have to remember that this movie was made in 1942 when details of the attack on Hickam were still classified and were not being revealed to the public. The airplane used in the film is one of the original thirteen purchased by the Air Corps for GHQ Air Force in 1937. SamMcGowan (talk) 04:34, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

cool public domain photos[edit]

here: Northwesterner1 (talk) 07:13, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

EXCELLENT SOURCE!!! Thanks! — BQZip01 — talk 20:14, 20 April 2008 (UTC)

Citations and references[edit]

There appears to be multiple errors in the cite styles, I have tweaked a few as a start. I intend to correct them little by little. Comments? FWiW Bzuk (talk) 23:56, 27 April 2008 (UTC).

Cost in today's dollars[edit]

It would be interesting to see a little historical context on the cost of the plane. Unless the reader is familiar with cost of other items during WWII, and typical annual salaries, the figure of $238,329 is a little misleading. Running one of the standard historical conversion programs ( ) the B-17 works out to no less than $2.7 million, each (perhaps $6.4 million would be the upper limit). What's also impressive is the total cost of B-17s (again, making broad assumptions, just to get a ballpark figure). The article states 12,731 were built. That makes the grand cost total between $34 billion and $81 billion.

The B-17s may have been a bargain, but that's still a daunting figure.

Alpha Ralpha Boulevard (talk) 08:33, 9 July 2008 (UTC)

Proposal to remove date-autoformatting[edit]

Dear fellow contributors

MOSNUM no longer encourages date autoformatting, having evolved over the past year or so from the mandatory to the optional after much discussion there and elsewhere of the disadvantages of the system. Related to this, MOSNUM prescribes rules for the raw formatting, irrespective of whether a date is autoformatted or not). MOSLINK and CONTEXT are consistent with this.

There are at least six disadvantages in using date-autoformatting, which I've capped here:

Removal has generally been met with positive responses by editors. Does anyone object if I remove it from the main text in a few days’ time on a trial basis? The original input formatting would be seen by all WPians, not just the huge number of visitors; it would be plain, unobtrusive text, which would give greater prominence to the high-value links. Tony (talk) 13:27, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

I'm in favor of date autolink removal for all the reasons you proffer. However, I just went into Bombing of Dresden in World War II and pulled all the date autoformatting not in book titles or quotes, and aligned the article's dates to standard British format, the article's natural style. My work was reverted. Apparently, the change isn't as popular as you think. Just sayin'... Binksternet (talk) 18:29, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
The simple reason is that the formatting allows the user to read the date in the style they prefer. There are very simple fixes for all the date ranges, and it is for consistency that dates are autoformatted. The other reasons you provide are very individual preferences (yours, I assume). BTW. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 18:37, 21 July 2008 (UTC).
I'm still not quite sure how this "guideline" to remove autoformatting even got passed in the first place. I don't remember any proposals for the community to vote on to remove it. There are enough battles over date preferences as it is, and removing autoformatting is only going to increase those conflicts. I also do not understand why better efforts were not made to educate users on the benifits of autoformatting rather than to concede defeat on the issue. Why are we punishing those who do use preferences by taking the option away from them without their consent? To save a few links? Because they are blue? WHy can't change date links to green so they won;t be confused with wikilink? Next they we know, they'll tell us that registering is only for elites, and that we can't log in anymore unless we're admins! SHeesh! - BillCJ (talk) 18:49, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
  • " Colour-clutter?" THis from the guy whose signature is in GREEN? LOLOLOLOL!!! I think I'll start an unpublicized discussion somewhere on removing the signiture formatting options. After all, unregistered uses can't change the look of there IP sigs! - BillCJ (talk) 18:57, 21 July 2008 (UTC)
Date autoformat links appear to me to be a stopgap measure that became permanent. I've never liked the date autoformat link simply because it didn't work like a normal link. You could never click on December 7 1941, for example, and find out other things that happened on that date, such as the death of composer Cecil Forsyth in New York at the age of 71. I could get behind date links if each and every date had its own wikipedia page. I'm a proponent of any other notional data-tweaking method that helps viewers see dates displayed according to their preference, but blue links that fail to go to that exact date are not ideal. Binksternet (talk) 20:47, 21 July 2008 (UTC)

Well, I'm not going to fight people about it. But you realise that your readers have never seen the preferenced formatting, don't you—only WPians who've chosen a pref and logged in. Reading through this article, the bright-blue underlined dates certainly do dilute the high-value links, which is a pity. Americans don't mind seeing British formatting, I can assure you: they see it by default after every signature in WP. Looks like you contributors can work it out among yourselves. Ping me if you come to a consensus.

BTW, coloured signatures on a talk page, by its nature broken into conversational turns, are very different from coloured items in the flow of running prose in an article. There was no need to turn my offer into a snide personal comment, BillCJ. Um ... and by "signiture formatting options", you mean "signAture-formatting options", do you? Tony (talk) 12:35, 23 July 2008 (UTC)

Please note that the comment was made "tongue-in-cheek" and be aware that WP:CANVAS is not necessary. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 13:02, 23 July 2008 (UTC).
I took your comment as offensive. Read the CANVASS text you shoved towards me:

"Canvassing is sending messages to multiple Wikipedians with the intent to inform them about a community discussion.[1] Under certain conditions it is acceptable to notify other editors of ongoing discussions, but messages that are written to influence the outcome rather than to improve the quality of a discussion compromise the consensus building process and are generally considered disruptive."

This refers to the canvassing of people to join to support one side of an argument in a discussion. My posting here informed of the evolution of guidelines over the past year, and asked for agreement to enact an optional change in this article. I find your attitude carping and negative. Please try to see it in a less emotional way and don't personalise it. Tony (talk) 03:15, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
When small cabals of people make decisions that affect everyone without consulting them first, why are you surprised at a backlash? And thanks for pointing out my spelling mistake in such a snarky manner - that is an excellent way to depersonalize a conversation in a less emotional way.
Btw, I can think of several options that would be preferable to defacating date autoformatting, and I'd be happy to mention them if I thought it had a chance of reversing the current mess. And if they really don't want people to use autoformatting for all the litany of reasons you gave, wouldn't it be simpler to just turn it off completely? As long as it works, I'm going to keep using it,and keep formatting for it, as that's what I prefer. - BillCJ (talk) 04:01, 24 July 2008 (UTC)
You mean "defecating", do you? (Shitting). I suggest you tone down your language and attitude as well as getting your spelling right. I came here with a proposal and was unprepared for the shrill rudeness. I said above that "I'm not going to fight people about it", and I won't. In that light, your responses have been rude and offensive, and are full of unwarranted assumptions. No one is forcing anyone to do anything, and autoformattting will not be switched off, as far as I can see: you simply have the choice now. So why don't we cast off our insecurities and be more civil rather than barking and biting? A simple negative "I don't want to" response would have been fine. Tony (talk) 05:34, 10 August 2008 (UTC)

Bot report : Found duplicate references ![edit]

In Flying Fortress&redirect=no&oldid=229224664 the last revision I edited, I found duplicate named references, i.e. references sharing the same name, but not having the same content. Please check them, as I am not able to fix them automatically :)

  • "Arakaki and Kuborn" :
    • Arakaki, Leatrice R., and Kuborn, John R., "7 December 1941: The Air Force Story", Pacific Air Forces, Office of History, Hickam Air Force Base, 1991, ISBN 0-912799-73-0, pages 73-75, 158-159.
    • Arakaki, Leatrice R., and Kuborn, John R., "7 December 1941: The Air Force Story", Pacific Air Forces, Office of History, Hickam Air Force Base, 1991, ISBN 0-912799-73-0, pages 73, 158-159.
  • "Johnson 2006" :
    • {{cite journal | quotes = | last = Johnson | first = Frederick A. | year = 2006 | title = The Making of an Iconic Bomber | journal = Air Force Magazine | volume = 89 | issue = 10 | pages = | url =| accessdate =15 January 2007}}
    • {{cite journal | quotes = | last = Johnson | first = Frederick A. | year = 2006 | title = The Making of an Iconic Bomber | journal = Air Force Magazine | volume = 89 | issue = 10 | pages = | url = | accessdate =15 January 2007 |quote = }}

DumZiBoT (talk) 14:02, 1 August 2008 (UTC)


Greetings Signaleer:

Regarding the Air Force Museum reference mentioned by you - No - my deletion of the XB-17 nomenclature ref was NOT done unknowingly. I now quote the opening paragraph of Boeing employee and historian Peter M. Bowers "Fortress In The Sky" (Sentry Books, Granada Hills, California, 1976), Chapter 4 - The First Fortresses: Model 299 Prototype through B-17D, page 12:

Boeing Model 299 - the "XB-17"

One of the first fallacies of the B-17 story that needs debunking is the "XB-17" designation. There never was one, and the B-17 designation itself did not appear officially until January, 1936, nearly three months after the prototype crashed. Subsequent use of the fictional designation was the result of logic and convenience. Aside from official military designations for prototype and experimental models such as the Boeing-designed XB-15 that was built on an Army Air Corps contract, it was common practice to call all experimental prototypes "X-Jobs". Sometimes the references were more specific, as "XB" for experimental bomber without a specific military designation. Since the Boeing design did eventually become the B-17, it subsequently became convenient to refer to the ill-fated prototype as the XB-17. This practice became so common, in fact, that even U.S. Army (later Air Force) publications have referred to the airplane repeatedly as the XB-17 and still do.

Additionally, Roger A. Freeman with David R. Osborne's "The B-17 Flying Fortress Story: Design-Production-History" (Arms & Armour Press, London, U.K., 1998) adds, on page 14:

There was no XB-17 as the unfortunate prototype was the property of Boeing and not the US government, although official literature would often refer to the aircraft by that designation."

So, I hold that the National Museum of the USAF's useage of the XB-17 designation is just the self-perpetuating myth mentioned above. Mark Sublette (talk) 06:36, 1 August 2008 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 06:36, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

The source of the image is taken from the National Museum of the United States Air Force which clearly states the aircraft as the Model 299 or XB-17 -Signaleer (talk) 13:51, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
You seem to have missed the point which was that the source (USAF) can't be trusted to get this particular fact correct. There's no reason we have to repeat their mistake. I'm re-reverting. Binksternet (talk) 15:21, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Thank you, Binksternet. I was getting tired of debunking this myth alone. I have also forwarded the references above to the the museum's photo section for consideration at Rogerd's suggestion. Mark Sublette (talk) 16:01, 1 August 2008 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 16:01, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
I have to support that XB-17 is not official, the Model 299 was civil registered as NX13372 and the XB-17 label was added later to make thing look tidy. MilborneOne (talk) 16:09, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
Here is the museum's prompt response to my e-mail:

Dear Mr. Sublette

Thank you for contacting the National Museum of the United States Air Force. We appreciate your concerns and are aware of the unofficial status of the designation "XB-17". All but one of the images on our website had already been updated to reflect the true designation of the aircraft as Boeing Model 299. As a result of your letter, we have since corrected this oversight and clarified the status of the unofficial designation XB-17 on the webpage for the aircraft at:

XB-17 (Model 299):

Despite these concerns, we have chosen to continue to refer to the airframe as both the Model 299 and XB-17. The unofficial designation has become popularly tied to the airframe and in effect better defines the Air Force role of the prototype than does its company designation. All indications do appear that the aircraft would have acquired this designation following its acceptance by the Army Air Corps had it not been destroyed.

Photo searches should now produce results for keywords "Model 299" and "XB-17".

Please allow several days for the changes to take effect.

Please note that our website is only intended to serve as an introduction to Air Force history. We suggest that any person interested in learning more about any Air Force topic consult available literature for a more complete and comprehensive review.

If you have any questions or comments please contact me. Thank you for your interest in Air Force history and have a great day!

Brett Stolle Curator NMUSAF/MUA Research Division

Mark Sublette (talk) 17:20, 1 August 2008 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 17:20, 1 August 2008 (UTC)

Good stuff. To cover all the bases, I made two redirect pages out of the designation "popularly tied" to the Model 299: XB-17 and XB17. Oh, and Model 299. Just in case... ;^) Binksternet (talk) 21:15, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
It appears that according to the NMUSAF refers the airframe as both the Model 299 and XB-17. -Signaleer (talk) 20:07, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
With the same source, you've reached a different conclusion. They wrote the XB-17 designation is unofficial. Binksternet (talk) 22:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
Some more discussion is required. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 14:45, 5 August 2008 (UTC).

Good stuff. To cover all the bases, I made two redirect pages out of the designation "popularly tied" to the Model 299: XB-17 and XB17. Oh, and Model 299. Just in case... ;^) Binksternet (talk) 21:15, 1 August 2008 (UTC)
It appears that according to the NMUSAF refers the airframe as both the Model 299 and XB-17. -Signaleer (talk) 20:07, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
With the same source, you've reached a different conclusion. They wrote the XB-17 designation is unofficial. Binksternet (talk) 22:20, 4 August 2008 (UTC)
"Despite these concerns, we have chosen to continue to refer to the airframe as both the Model 299 and XB-17. The unofficial designation has become popularly tied to the airframe and in effect better defines the Air Force role of the prototype than does its company designation. All indications do appear that the aircraft would have acquired this designation following its acceptance by the Army Air Corps had it not been destroyed."
Regardless of the official designation, the USAF recognizes the airframe as both the Model 299 and XB-17, please do not revert for future reference. -Signaleer (talk) 14:34, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Pretty complicated but the last statement seems to be definitive. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 14:55, 5 August 2008 (UTC).
We can take a slightly differerent stance than NMUSAF. We can choose to display only the official "Model 299" designation in images and text but we can have a single sentence or two that explains how the unofficial XB-17 designation came into use. Hopefully, that will be enough to put this issue to bed. Binksternet (talk) 16:27, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
Regardless how you feel about the official status of the XB-17, bottom line, the United States Air Force recognizes the airframe as both the Model 299 and XB-17. You seem to fail to recognize this fact. -Signaleer (talk) 19:44, 5 August 2008 (UTC)
I concur, the issue is a minor historical footnote and we have probably wasted enough brainpower, bits and pixels already over it. FWiW, go to it. Bzuk (talk) 16:40, 5 August 2008 (UTC).
I, too, am tired of this tempest in a teacup. I have added a line about the retroactive use of the terminology to the article, with a Bowers ref. Hopefully, that will suit everybody. Mark Sublette (talk) 16:44, 5 August 2008 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 16:44, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

As users cant agree I have changed the image caption by removing Model 299 and XB-17 and used the term prototype instead. MilborneOne (talk) 19:57, 5 August 2008 (UTC)

Compromise suggested[edit]

Putting on my Solomon's robes, can all parties involved, first "take a deep breath" and then propose a solution HERE in the form of a revision. My "take" first: Proposal A: Although Model 299 was company owned and never officially received a military serial ("the B-17 designation itself did not appear officially until January 1936, nearly three months after the prototype crashed")[1] Following the lead of this statement, all first mentions of the Model 299 are by this nomenclature and only the last mention has the XB-17 designation identified. Note that a clarifying statement is made in conjection with the reference. Mondey, David in the Hamlyn Concise Guide to American Aircraft of World War II, 1982, pp. 20-21. backs up this statement. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 20:12, 5 August 2008 (UTC).

Noted B-17s[edit]

Anybody known why we have a long section of noted B-17s when they each have an article of their own and some of the info is also repeated in the B-17 survivors article, should they be deleted and a list of single aircraft articles added to see also? MilborneOne (talk) 18:37, 14 September 2008 (UTC)

Done. I'm not opposed to a short one- or two-sentence summary on each aircraft, which is why I left it in the section where it was. Btw, that removed 20 kb from the article! The last straw for me was a user adding 2 kb of text to the section on Aluminum Overcast, with no links to the main article, which was just a one-paragraph stub. I'm assuming good-faith on his part, as he was probably just following the example of the other entries without realizing that they also had their own articles. I moved his text to Talk:Aluminum Overcast, as it only had one source which I'm not certian qualifies as Reliable per WP policy. I picked one image at random without looking at it before saving the article; feel free to replace it with a better one with wings! - BillCJ (talk) 06:38, 19 October 2008 (UTC)
  • There should be a separate section for survivors like many other aircraft articles. -Signaleer (talk) 18:25, 19 October 2008 (UTC)

Aviation Checklist[edit]

I have removed an edit indicating that a "pilot checklist" developed for the prototype B-17 was the origin of aviation safety checklists.

Specifically, I doubt the reference, as aviation pre-flight checks were in use during and before the First World War.

Perhaps the reference refers to the first standardized pilot checklists in the Army Airforce or something of that nature, but I'm going to peel around the internet for a few more sources before including that.

Feel free to correct me or find a better source if you believe I'm in the wrong.

CanadianPhaedrus (talk) 05:18, 1 February 2009 (UTC)CanadianPhaedrus

Robert M. Polich, Sr.[edit]

I have removed the edits made by KRofidal (talk) I looked at the Robert M. Polich, Sr. article and there is nothing notable or significant about this person. There are a considerable amount of crewmembers and pilots who are recipients of the Distinguished Flying Cross or have become prisoners of war, if there was a list of all the recipients who met one or bother critieria, the list would go on and on and would not be practicle. -Signaleer (talk) 15:22, 8 April 2009 (UTC) Understood! No worries, thanks. —Preceding unsigned comment added by KRofidal (talkcontribs) 16:42, 11 April 2009 (UTC)


I think we have far to many images in this article - some very similar. I have removed a few surplus ones from the end of the article, but believe that some of the others probably dont add any value to the article. I am sure you can only have so many B-17s bombing through cloud!. Remember they should all be on Commons via the link at the bottom of the page, Comments welcome. MilborneOne (talk) 18:08, 17 May 2009 (UTC)

Yes, although many Wikipedia articles suffer from under-illustration, it's the other extreme here: many of the pictures add nothing to the article, and seem to be included simply because they exist. That's not how to choose illustrations.
--Piledhigheranddeeper (talk) 17:45, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Mass Production[edit]

I have removed claims that this was the "first mass produced large aircraft". The only available online source for the claims made no such statements, and to suggest that an aircraft produced in less than 250 units at the start of 1942 was the "first mass produced large aircraft" is a joke.

DC-3's, Junkers JU 52's and JU 88's, Dornier 217's, Handley Paige Harrows and Halifax's, Vickers Warwicks, B-25 Mitchells, and Short Sterlings were all in production and operation in far greater numbers before the B-17 became prominent.

CanadianPhaedrus (talk) 04:29, 17 July 2009 (UTC)CanadianPhaedrus

The passage that was removed has a verbatim quote, that indicates the B-17 was the first of the "large" mass produced aircraft. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 11:27, 17 July 2009 (UTC).

The quote is misleading, and says nothing about being the first mass produced aircraft.

"At the peak of production, Boeing was rolling out as many as 363 B-17s a month, averaging between 14 and 16 Forts a day, the most incredible production rate for large aircraft in aviation history... Prior to the B-17, the Boeing Y1B-9 (first flight: 1931) had only seven production aircraft, the Martin B-10 (first flight: 1932) had total production of 213, the Farman F.222 (first flight: 1932) had only 24 constructed and the Handley Page Heyford (first flight: 1933) had a total of 125 built. The B-17 easily eclipsed these numbers"

Comparing production statistics from the "peak" of B-17 production to early 1930's aircraft, not a single one of which was produced in numbers greater than 300, it just cherry picking statistics to fit the outrageous claim.

Any of the aircraft I listed above were in operation in larger numbers and being produced in larger numbers by 1942, a time which less than 250 B-17's were in service. (DC-3's, Junkers JU 52's and JU 88's, Dornier 217's, Handley Paige Harrows and Halifax's, Vickers Warwicks, B-25 Mitchells, and Short Sterlings) Furthermore, all of these are larger aircraft than the B-10, F.222, and Heyford.

The first "source" cited was bogus, and this one here is just as bogus. I have removed it on the grounds that common sense dictates it was not the first large produced aircraft, using Wikipedia's own pages on the comparison aircraft.

If you want to change the article to state that in 1942 the B-17 was produced in greater numbers than obsolete bomber designs from the early 1930's, far be it from me to change it.

But it most certainly was not the "first mass produced large aircraft".

CanadianPhaedrus (talk) 17:37, 17 July 2009 (UTC)CanadianPhaedrus

The statement refers to the number of aircraft in production per month. See revision. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 17:51, 17 July 2009 (UTC).
I think the claim refers to the speed of production as opposed to the number of units produced. At peak production in '43, a brand new B-17 was rolling off the final assembly line at the Renton site in Washington every 46 minutes. This is a great study in lean manufacturing techniques, and is still used by Boeing as an example of many of the tennents of lean manufacturing. Let's face it - a new four engine heavy bomber completed from subassemblies in less than an hour is indeed impressive. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 21:36, 22 July 2011 (UTC)

Youngest pilots[edit]

Anybody explain why listing at least three claimants to youngest pilot in the USAAC is notable to the B-17? MilborneOne (talk) 08:49, 25 July 2009 (UTC)

References format[edit]

With the update to the mediawiki code, the references can now be moved to the end. This will help in editing, since reading through the page will now be much easier. I've started with the intro references, but there are a lot more to do.- Trevor MacInnis contribs 04:36, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Nice! I've hoping something like that wou;d be forthcoming. Once you're satisfied it works as advertised, it might be worthing making this known at WTAIR and WTAVIATION, and perhaps MILHIST ans WPSHIPS as well. - BilCat (talk) 04:42, 25 September 2009 (UTC)

Retired date[edit]

The infobox states a retired date of 1968, but the B-17 was in service with the Institut Géographique National in France until the 1970s. Mjroots2 (talk) 05:38, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

References needed[edit]

This is a FA, but there are some sections that do not have a minimum of one ref per paragraph. Mjroots2 (talk) 05:38, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Yes - See here.Nigel Ish (talk) 10:09, 18 June 2010 (UTC)

Used by Israel in 1948[edit]

Three B-17s were obtained by the nascent Israeli Air Force and used operationally, beginning with a raid on the Cairo airport in May, 1948. All three survived the war. I don't know if any are flight worthy. Someone should document this. (talk) 08:59, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

FYI - The three Israeli B-17s were WFU by 1962 when The War Lover film was made. Columbia Pictures attempted to acquire them for the movie but they had already been broken up, although one fuselage was retrieved for interior shots. Mark Sublette (talk) 11:40, 21 June 2010 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 11:40, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Missing content?[edit]

  • Bombload
The article doesn't seem to have much on the bombload of the Fortress, not so much how much and how far but the type and number of bombs that could be carried.
  • Construction
The Design and development section has the development but is low on content about construction (spars, subdivision, stressed skin etc, crew positions)

Are these areas worth addressing?GraemeLeggett (talk) 10:53, 21 June 2010 (UTC)

Removed update[edit]

As stated below this is a great article on the B-17 and we are to contribute to updates and improvements. However when I try someone always removes my update. If you are the author can you please tell why and what your objections are to my updates. Adding mention of an aircraft as worthy as the Swamp Fire should not be objectionable If so, you are the first to do so. If I was suppose to seek permission. i saw no place or mention of it anywhere and regret the Faux Paux. contact info

Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress is a featured article; it (or a previous version of it) has been identified as one of the best articles produced by the Wikipedia community. Even so, if you can update or improve it, please do so. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Cody1947 (talkcontribs) 13:23, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

I reverted your additions, because it did not appear to meet notability standards - why is this one aircraft out of 12,000 notable? The only source given is a self published site and as such does not meet Wikipedia's standards for reliable sources. Nigel Ish (talk) 17:48, 1 August 2010 (UTC)

RAF 100 Group Fortresses[edit]

There's a website with some rare pictures of RAF 'Special Duties' (ECM) Fortresses as used by No. 100 Group RAF here: [1] —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 20:25, 12 August 2010 (UTC)


The survivors section of this article notes that there are "53 surviving airframes worldwide" of which amazingly there are "54 active flying" examples, while the List of surviving B-17 Flying Fortresses maintains that "Altogether 58 B-17s have survived and, as of January 2007, 12 airframes are currently in flying condition." Hmmmm, I think there's a little sorting out to do here! --TransientVoyager (talk) 20:03, 15 September 2010 (UTC)

Update removed[edit]

I have a comprehensive list of all B-17's made and the serial numbers associated with them. Why does my like to the site get removed? —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 18:32, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

Reading the linked reason, WP:ELNO, would likely explain why. Traditionally, unreliable fansites, self-made sources, and other wiki's are disapprobed of. If one wiki was used to cite another, and vice versa, it'd create an endless loop of factual errors 'verfied' by the other, for example.
Additionally, the ongoing review of this article stated quite clearly that we have too many External Links on the article, we need a bonfire to practically get rid of tons of them, not throwing more ontop of the pile. It's a very bloated and over-the-top list that needs culling, not further bulking up. We simply can't link anything and everything in the world on the B-17 in that space; and unreliable sources are the first to go. Kyteto (talk) 21:28, 27 September 2010 (UTC)

My sources is NOT an unreliable source. I also own and transferring all of my Air Force Collected data from which is now You have many other links on and from my website under

IT is not an unreliable source, it comes directly from Maxwell AFB Historical division, in which I have spent 10 years gathering this information from them on every single aircraft.

I just feel like it is unjust to just dump my site, because you feel it is unreliable. —Preceding unsigned comment added by Warbirdwiki (talkcontribs) 01:43, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

I'd like to point out that it is not simply my feelings that I am going on. Wikipedia has discussions, decisions, and policies. Policies are the basis of informed decisions and reasons, such as WP:Verify. Verify works on the principle that sources are unreliable and unusable until proved otherwise, and states the criteria for being verifiable. Does the page you want linked meet these requirements? Kyteto (talk) 19:16, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
Also under WP:Other shit exists, the principle set out there is simply because it wasn't weeded out once doesn't mean it should pass each and everytime thereafter. The 'trial' of reference quality never ends, any can be called into question, and it is up to the editor who wants to add things to prove his case, as per WP:Sources. WP:Sources is the most extensive one I recommend reading, understanding its terms will allow you, if it is possible, to defend the inclusion of the article against the editors that want it removed. Stating that "It isn't unreliable because I say so" will not be a strong defense against those who are persistent. Believe it or not, I'm not a strong opponent against its inclusion, I am a strong proponent of justfied inclusion. Adding links and leaving no edit summary is a red flag to many editors for reverting also, so reasons should be written for article edits. Kyteto (talk) 19:16, 28 September 2010 (UTC)
To be fair, it does probably belong more than many of the external links on the page - particularly the memorial type links - which probably should be purged - it probably can be argued that it does offer more detail than is appropriate in a featured article - which I seem to remember was one of the criteria for external links - its just whether it would count as verifiable enough - certainly, there would be problems using it as a reference.Nigel Ish (talk) 19:30, 28 September 2010 (UTC)

They are all completely verified through the United States Air Force Historical records that are the source of every single aircraft purchase agreement and MACR's that are and have been declassified for public use, just an FYI.

Thanks! —Preceding unsigned comment added by Warbirdwiki (talkcontribs) 02:15, 29 September 2010 (UTC)

Apropos to nothing[edit]

I get to go up in the EAA "Aluminum Overcast" at Greenville, S.C., next Monday free as a media reporter! Huzzah!! Mark Sublette (talk) 11:14, 5 October 2010 (UTC)Mark SubletteMark Sublette (talk) 11:14, 5 October 2010 (UTC)


Demote the article by all means but surely it should return to whatever class it was immediately prior to its original FAC review? Or perhaps it needs re-assessing? Have to say that I was not very happy when I saw this article fail FAR, just assumed that it was a minor thing that folk who watch the article would be able to fix easily, a great shame. Nimbus (Cumulus nimbus floats by) 00:47, 15 October 2010 (UTC)

The article has now been reassessed as start. It has been judged to fail B class criteria for referencing and coverageMonstrelet (talk) 07:52, 16 October 2010 (UTC)

A problem with numbers[edit]

In the article it states that 4 B-17s were captured by the luftwaffe, of which a dozen were made airworthy. I would like to point out that a dozen = 12. Can somebody try to find the true numbers? (talk) 12:20, 20 November 2010 (UTC)

Bismarck Sea[edit]

The information regarding B-17 participation in the Battle of the Bismarck Sea is errenous. All B-17 attacks were from medium altitude and they did not use skip-bombing, which involved an attack at zero altitude to drop the bomb and skip it across the water. General George Kenney had restricted B-17 skip-bombing by that that time because of the lack of forward firepower and in fact had put Maj. Paul I. "Pappy" Gunn to work modifying a squadron of B-25s by installing gun packages in the nose. Gunn had similarly modified a squadron of A-20s earlier in the year. The skip-bombing attacks in the Bismarck Sea were carried out by the B-25s from the 90th BS and the A-20s from the 89th. One of my sources states that the B-17s were from the 63rd BS, not the 64th. If I'm not mistaken, they sank one troop transport, not three.

Also, very little has ever been written about it but Pappy Gunn flew a B-17 that had been assigned to his Air Transport Command against Japanese shipping in Java. The airplane had been taken off of combat duty and assigned to the ATC to serve as a transport, but Gunn loaded it up with bombs and went out looking for ships. His son Nat has written an excellent book about him and relates the story in it. SamMcGowan (talk) 04:43, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

My recollection of the Battle of the Bismarck Sea is similar: The B-17s did not join the low-altitude attacks, but carried out simultaneous higher-level attacks that tended to draw off the defending fighters, making the low-altitude attacks more effective. And I'm surprised the B-17s sank even one transport, given their general ineffectiveness at antishipping strikes. When you see these kind of mistake, be bold in correcting them. (Include citations, of course.)
I think the book on Pappy Gunn is somewhere on my wish list. --Yaush (talk) 13:50, 23 June 2011 (UTC)

Origin of the name "Flying Fortress"[edit]

The frequently repeated story of the naming of the Flying Fortress ("Richard Williams, a reporter for the Seattle Times coined the name "Flying Fortress" when the Model 299 was rolled out, bristling with multiple machine gun installations") is incorrect. The US Army specifications were for a long-range bomber for coastal defense purposes, not long-range bombing of enemy territory. Thus, the B-17 was a literal "Flying Fortress," designed to stop enemy navies from approaching America's coasts.

The prototype B-17s were lightly armed with only five .30 caliber machine guns, none of which were mounted when the plane was unveiled in Seattle in 1935. It was hardly "bristling with multiple machine gun installations."

According to the May 10, 2011, article in "American Military and Naval History," (

"The US Army specification had stipulated that the prototype should be available for test in August 1935, and however impossible this target had seemed in mid-1934, it became reality on 16 July 1935 when the Model 299 was rolled out of its hangar at Boeing Field, Seattle, for its first introduction to the press. Headlines on the following day announced the new'15-ton Flying Fortress', and seizing upon the name the company had it registered as the official name of its Model 299. Contrary to popular belief, this was not because of its defensive armament, but because it was procured as an aircraft which would be operated as a mobile flying fortress to protect America's coastline, a concept which needs some explanation.

"USAAC protagonists of air power were still compelled to step warily, despite procurement of the B-10 bomber, for the US Navy had the most prestigious support in the corridors of power and was determined to keep the upstart US Army in its place. Even if strategic bombers were required, efforts must be made to prevent the US Army acquiring such machines. The USAAC was, however, quite astute when needs be and so, with tongue in cheek, succeeded in procuring 13 YB-17s, the original service designation of the Fortress, for coastal defence."

Wselover (talk) 02:12, 2 July 2011 (UTC)

25 mission rule[edit]

When an individual crew member completed 25 missions his combat days were over and he was usually sent back to the states to become a trainer. (A few volunteered for another 25 missions.) The airplanes did not have any such 25-mission rule--they kept flying. Rjensen (talk) 18:37, 27 February 2012 (UTC)

Not in the case of Memphis Belle which was withdrawn for propaganda purposes. FWiW Bzuk (talk) 21:33, 27 February 2012 (UTC).
The 25 mission rule was used when a crew members survival was very low (bomber and/or crew usually lost after 8-12 missions). This number, though, wasn't exactly set in stone. As the war progressed, the loss rate of B-17's went down so the crew member survival rate went up. Consequently, as a result, the missions were increased as to when a crew member would be rotated back home. In addition, rotation rates amongst fighter pilots was different then that of bomber crews. Again, this was dependent on survivability which increased as the war went on. Fighter pilots also saw an increase in the number of missions to do before they were rotated.Kb butler (talk) 20:50, 9 March 2012 (UTC)


reading this article you'd think flying a b17 in combat was almost a fun experience. note the numerous references to how it could come back ok after being all shot up and pilots joking about it, or the huge links to period films. What is missing is the fact that out of 12,000 built, at least 4,000 were lost during the war. Thats roughly one out of three. A lot of those lost all 10 men aboard. It might not be pleasant to talk about, but this is an encyclopedia, not a propaganda film or a marketing video. Decora (talk) 21:07, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Unlikely that anybody would consider war to be fun, some information on losses is included for some missions in the operational history section. If you have a reliable reference for the total losses during the war I dont think anybody would complain if you wanted to add it, remember wikipedia is a work in progress and can always be improved and it is probably not been included either because nobody has got round to it or a reliable reference has not been found. MilborneOne (talk) 22:59, 19 May 2012 (UTC)

Merger proposal[edit]

(Tokyo tanks into Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress) I have nominated the merge as the article would be best served embedded in the B-17 article.Petebutt (talk) 05:10, 7 August 2012 (UTC)

Strong keep. Firstly, no explanation is given as to why a merge would best serve either article. Secondly the article on Tokyo tanks is an in depth examination of the engineering feature not about the plane itself. Using the above assumption, that an article about parts should be merged into the article that uses those parts, then the articles on Wright R-1820 engines or the M2 Browning guns could technically be merged into the B-17 page too. If they are merged material information will be lost. (talk) 12:28, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Were "Tokyo tanks" ever used on any aircraft other than the B-17? If not, the analogy to Wright R-1820 engines or M2 Browning machine guns fails, as they were used on many other aircraft, and I am inclined to support the merger. If Tokyo tanks were used on other aircraft, I oppose the merger. --Yaush (talk) 14:47, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
I am of a similar opinion. If Tokyo Tanks were used on other aircraft, even in derivative or inspirational forms, then it would most likely be a good article on its own merits. If this was just a B-17 thing, it would probably be best discussed on that article's coverage of the design instead. Kyteto (talk) 10:23, 10 August 2012 (UTC)
  • Keep. The material can be hosted within the B-17 article as suggested, but that article is already full of other information. This article is interesting and sufficiently fleshed out and it is about a topic that a reader may be curious about on its own. Binksternet (talk) 16:02, 7 August 2012 (UTC)
Further to my nomination, there is no mention of Tokyo tanks, that I can find, in the B-17 article. If there were justification for a separate article then there should at least be a paragraph in the B-17 article. My feelings are that they were not notable in their own right as they were little used and only fitted to a small number of aircraft. All this strengthens the argument for the merge.Petebutt (talk) 15:13, 14 August 2012 (UTC)

Post-WW2 civilian use[edit]

I found a reference to B-17G, N5017N, serial #8649 being used as pesticide sprayer in Alabama in the late 1960's. Would the article be rounded out and expanded by mentioning civilian use of the B-17 after the end of World War 2? Asd36f (talk) 10:12, 25 September 2012 (UTC)

Photo caption differs from article caption[edit]

File:B-17F Destroyed by Me-262.jpg Photograph caption in this article reads : "B-17G-15-BO "Wee Willie", 322d BS, 91st BG, after direct flak hit on her 128th mission". The caption of the photograph at Commons reads : " Boeing B-17F over Crantenburg,Verify source Germany, after port wing blown off by an Messerschmitt Me 262 jet plane". Which is correct ? Information needs to be consistent. Rcbutcher (talk) 05:00, 10 November 2012 (UTC)

According to the French translation of the book "B-17 Fortress at war" by Roger Freeman (1977), the B-17 Wee Willie was destroyed by a direct hit of the flak in the tanks of the left wing. The photo (and 2 other ones) were taken by the automatic camera of another B-17 photographing the results of bombing on the target. In the photo description, I kept "Destroyed by Me-262", but stroked. --Tangopaso (talk) 21:21, 6 February 2013 (UTC)

Luftwaffe captured B-17s[edit]

In the section "Luftwaffe captured B-17s" it says (of the Luftwaffe) that "they never attempted to deceive the Allies and always wore full Luftwaffe markings" but then two sentences later it says "Some B-17s kept their Allied markings and were used by the Luftwaffe in attempts to infiltrate B-17 bombing formations and report on their positions and altitudes". I have seen in movies and/or read in books of the former practice but can't remember the details.

Infodom (talk) 19:46, 13 January 2013 (UTC)

Possible addition[edit]

This could fit under either "Initial orders" or "Fortresses as a symbol" sections, but in "Legend and Legacy" (Serling, 1992) there is an incident mentioned regarding one of the original test planes, the Y1B-17A (the 13th B-17 produced overall) on p. 34:

"Even more spectacular [compared to the 17,000 mile goodwill mission to Buenos Aires] was an unpublicized incident involving the test B-17. It flew into the heart of a vicious thunderstorm, with turbulence so violent that it flipped the 15-ton bomber on its back, sending it out of control and into a spin.
"The pilot managed to recover and land at Langley, badly shaken and admitting the whole crew expected the plane to come apart - bombers are not designed to survive a spin. But although the wings were bent and a few rivets missing, they stayed on..."

Obviously I am quoting the book here, but thought a paraphrased version might be worth adding. Any thoughts on this? fr_tyme (talk) 22:55, 26 May 2013 (UTC)

Photo of Wee Willie[edit]

The photo with the caption: "B-17G-15-BO "Wee Willie", 322d BS, 91st BG, after direct flak hit on her 128th mission.[120]" is not genuine. It is a mirror image of a photograph that appeared on the front page of the April 12, 1945 "Stars and Stripes". The plane is in fact "Moonlight Mission" (43-38606), shot down over Oranienberg, April 10, 1945 by German ME262 ace Walter Schuck. (

Bowers was just plane lazy. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 06:54, 17 August 2013 (UTC)

Bomber defense[edit]

"This durability, together with the large operational numbers in the Eighth Air Force and the fame achieved by the Memphis Belle, made the B-17 a key bomber aircraft of the war. Other factors such as combat effectiveness and political issues also contributed to the B-17's success.[119]"

Someone who's read the ref needs to disentangle the different kinds of success - as a weapon, as a product that managed to get made in huge numbers alongside the B-24, and the B-17's place in the public mind as an expression of US military power. I suspect the source work is clearer than the text above.

In its current form the passage assigns more importance to the Memphis Belle's fame than to the B-17's combat effectiveness. This needs fixing.

'political issues' - too vague

Regards to all, Notreallydavid (talk) 06:08, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

The Luftwaffe[edit]

The Me 262's rockets could be fired outside the range of defensive bomber fire, but wasn't the MK 108 a low-velocity weapon with a fairly short range? Notreallydavid (talk) 06:17, 25 August 2013 (UTC)

B-17 on a gas station.[edit]

The first picture here shows a B-17 on top of a gas station called "The Bomber". hipspics freewebspace com/gas/gas.html I wonder what became of that plane. Bizzybody (talk) 03:24, 17 January 2014 (UTC)

The gas station is gone, and there is a restaurant in its place. The plane is being dismantled with the intent of restoring it, but I fon't know where.RogerInPDX (talk) 01:14, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Conflicting quoted range/bombload specs ?[edit]

"Range: 2,000 mi (1,738 nmi, 3,219 km)with 2,700 kg (6,000 lb) bombload" "Long range missions (≈800 mi): 4,500 lb (2,000 kg)". Huh ? Are we talking in one case about round-trip distance and in the other one-way distance ? Even then the numbers are not consistent. Do the people who copy in this stuff ever think about what it means ? Rcbutcher (talk) 23:03, 28 January 2014 (UTC)

My late father was in the 15th Air Force located at Foggia, Italy, and he said the trip back to base (flying south) was always quicker than the trip to the target (flying north) because without its bomb load and half its fuel gone, the plane was much lighter. additionally, the prevailing winds were to the south. Point being that many factors went into determining speed and endurance.RogerInPDX (talk) — Preceding undated comment added 03:08, 23 January 2015 (UTC)

Political issues ?[edit]

"Other factors such as combat effectiveness and political issues also contributed to the B-17's success.". The political issue thing as it is stated is meaningless without an explanation of what the ssues were and why relevant. Rcbutcher (talk) 00:53, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

Quoted "Facts" of German cannons[edit]

" Early versions of the Fw 190, one of the best German interceptor fighters, were equipped with two 20 mm (0.79 in) MG FF cannons, which carried only 500 rounds". Huh ? 500 rounds of 20 mil ? Refer the MG FF cannon article on Wiki : "ammunition storage was initially reduced to 60 shells per drum. An ammunition drum of 90-round nominal capacity was developed for the Fw 190 A-5, and retrofitted to some earlier variants.". This article is full of vague drivel like this. Rcbutcher (talk) 01:03, 29 January 2014 (UTC)

"Only" 500 rounds? Yeah, that's pretty brain-dead. But easily fixed. Be bold. --Yaush (talk) 14:55, 29 January 2014 (UTC)
The part about the Focke-Wulf 190 is the wrong way round. The early Fw 190 starting with the A-2 had 2 MG 151/20E cannon in the wing root with 250 rounds each. The MG 151/20E could be synchronized to fire through the propeller, while the MG FF/M cannon could not. The A-3 added 2 MG FF/M cannon in the outer wing with 90 rounds each. Starting with the A-6 the FF/M were replaced with 151/20E too, which had a much higher muzzle velocity and were harder hitting. The "Sturmbock" variant replaced these outer 151/20E with the 30mm MK108 with 55 rounds each. The guns in the wing root weren't replaced, because the MK 108 couldn't be synchronized either. (Remark: 108 and ffm couldn't be synchronized, because they were firing from an open bolt).

Snark7 (talk) 13:40, 14 April 2014 (UTC)

PB-1W AWACS[edit]

Is it really accurate to call this the first AWACS aircraft? Under CADILLAC I, Navy Avenger torpedo bombers were fitted with an air search radar to provide early warning for the fleet in 1945. These were undergoing operational testing when the war ended. --Yaush (talk) 21:29, 4 February 2014 (UTC)

Speed units[edit]

The aviation industry uses knots as the standard measurement for speed, and the majority of the world uses kilometres per hour. This article (and most aviation articles) use miles per hour. I suggest we should be using the industry standard as our primary measurement and add the more commonly understood measurements with the formula *{{convert|200|knot|mi/h km/h}} to put the result in the following format: 200 knots (230 mph; 370 km/h)

What do people say? Djapa Owen (talk) 12:44, 22 March 2014 (UTC)

Per discussion at Template talk:Convert#Aviation units - three way conversion, knot defaults to showing output in km/h and mph. Examples:
  • {{convert|200|knot}} → 200 knots (370 km/h; 230 mph)
  • {{convert|200|knot|mi/h km/h}} → 200 knots (230 mph; 370 km/h)
The discussion also includes use of |disp=5 for rounding to the nearest multiple of 5 which may be desirable in some cases. Johnuniq (talk) 04:24, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Looking at it from the reader angle - as not being in the industry most of the readers will have everyday experience of anything other than knots. And with the US, Canada, and the UK still using mph that's a large proportion of native English readers for whom knots and km/h are largely alien concepts. If you are going to suggest a change that has a potential knock-on across more aviation articles, you might want to flag it up at the aviation project talkpages. GraemeLeggett (talk) 07:16, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
As a resident of an English speaking country which does use the metric system, and considering Metric system notes the USA, Liberia and Burma as the only three countries which do not now use the metric system, I find your claim that the majority of English speaking people do not understand the metric system rather surprising. Anyway, that is why we convert units isn't it? For those who cannot get their head around the industry standard term? Djapa Owen (talk) 12:08, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
He didn't say "English-speaking people", he said "native English readers". The majority of native English speakers (225 million out of 360 million total) are in the U.S., and the same is undoubtedly true for native English readers. And yes, metric units are still largely alien to Americans, and I don't see that changing any time soon. Even in the U.K. and Canada adoption of the metric system has been gradual; there are still many people who prefer imperial units in at least some contexts, including distance and speed.
Furthermore, although knots are indeed now the standard unit in the aviation industry, Wikipedia is not an industry encyclopedia, it is an encyclopedia meant for general readership. Most readers outside the aviation industry are not familiar with using knots for aircraft, though they may be familiar with them for ships. That's certainly true in my case, and I'm rather more of a propeller-head than most people I know.
Not only that, but knots weren't adopted as the standard aviation speed unit until well after World War II. For the B-17, as with most other U.S. and British aircraft at that time, speeds were given in mph.
I do agree that knots should be provided, but only as a secondary, converted unit.
--Colin Douglas Howell (talk) 23:39, 25 March 2014 (UTC)
Gonna second this. Most popular English-language books on World War II aviation use mph at least for land-based aircraft. You will occasionally see knots for naval aircraft of that era, but it's not terribly common. --Yaush (talk) 13:55, 26 March 2014 (UTC)

Why did BilCat removed 15+ external links ?[edit]

Those external links were very useful for readers and they were related to the B-17 — Preceding unsigned comment added by Rudis323 (talkcontribs) 17:17, 2 May 2014 (UTC)

Probably because they did not meet the requirements for External Links in that they did not add to the article, wikipedia is not a directory of external links they are there to support the article. MilborneOne (talk) 18:16, 2 May 2014 (UTC)
Exactly. - BilCat (talk) 00:03, 3 May 2014 (UTC)
    • ^ Bowers 1976, p. 12. Note: The designation "XB-17" was never used although the USAAF retroactively applied the designation to the airframe and it has now entered the lexicon to describe the first Flying Fortress.