The B-17 Flying Fortress was one of the aircraft which put into practice the United States Army Air Force's doctrine of daylight high altitude precision bombing. Attacks on Germany, starting in January 1943, were mostly carried out by the US 8th Air Force based in the United Kingdom, where there were over twenty-five Bomb Groups equipped with B-17s.
The B-17, with its thirteen machine guns, carried the heaviest defensive armament of any bomber and undertook daylight bombing raids in massive close formations which, it was thought, would be capable of defending themselves against German fighter attack without fighter cover. However, by mid-1943, on daylight raids deep into Germany, the 8th Air Force was losing so many aircraft to German fighters that the Americans were forced to curtail their offensive.
Not until the introduction of the P-51 Mustang, which with long-range fuel tanks could escort the bombers all the way to their targets, did the American bombing offensive make its decisive contribution to the destruction of Nazi Germany. Half the 36 awards of the Medal of Honour in the Second World War were to men serving in B-17 crews. Over 12,600 B-17s were produced.
Our B-17G has now been returned to the AAM after conservation and repainting. Visitors can see our conservation staff completing final assembly and adding the finishing touches.