View Full Version : RAF B17s

12th Sep 2021, 19:50
Did we have them? Just watching a documentary on Frank Williams and there was a shot of a B17 with RAF roundals on it.

12th Sep 2021, 19:56
I know that 90 Squadron operated them.


12th Sep 2021, 20:04
Boeing B-17 Flying Fortress in RAF service (http://www.historyofwar.org/articles/weapons_B-17_RAF_Service.html)

12th Sep 2021, 21:25
206 Squadron flew them - not when I was on it, I hasten to add.

Crash alot
12th Sep 2021, 22:44
214sqn had them for early electronic warfare

12th Sep 2021, 22:45
Also for early Air Sea Rescue and convoy cover.


Load Toad
13th Sep 2021, 03:55
B-17 in RAF Service (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boeing_B-17_Flying_Fortress#RAF_use)

13th Sep 2021, 06:34
Didn't Errol Flynn make a film of the early B17 (pre 'F' model) in RAF markings?

13th Sep 2021, 06:42
Try reading “A Thousand shall Fall” by Murray Peden. One of the best books on Bomber Command operations I’ve read: he starts on Stirlings and then goes on to Fortresses on 214 Sqn, and describes much of their operations (and losses) at length.

13th Sep 2021, 12:12
This topic has previously covered on this Forum.
However the B17 saw active service with 206 and 220 Sqdns out of the Azores in 1943/44/45. My Father was a F/Eng on 220 Sqdn in 1943/44 at Lagens
Operation Alacrity covers all the detail and Information can be found in the following reference:-
Boeing B17 Fortress In RAF Coastal Command Service By Robert M Stitt ISBN 978-83-65281-54-8.
Unlike the badly researched TV series which which gives all the credit to the B24, the B17 was credited with the following.
11 U Boats were sunk ( 206 - 6 and 220 - 4 with one shared ) and 6 damaged( 206 - 4, 220 -2 )
Additionally the Aeroplane served in 519 Met Sqdn and various trials units.

13th Sep 2021, 13:34
I can't vouch for the accuracy of this but it seems very well researched:https://www.thedrive.com/the-war-zone/41454/the-b-17-bombers-combat-debut-80-years-ago-today-was-a-fiasco

13th Sep 2021, 18:42
It was a fiasco. I. in 1965 was the O/C records on 90 Sqn. The whole story of their involvement with the B17 was laid out.

Fantastic! Fly at 30 thousand feet and nothing could touch you. All the breathing gear. electrical heated suits but no knowledge of upper air winds to guide the bomb aimers and then there were the Me 109s that could get up to 30 grand. Rear gunners? The B17 hadn't invented the bicycle seat so that a gunner could crouch under the fin assembly and shoot back. Two waist gunners constantly bumping into each other would try and protect the tail.

The squadron records didn't mention morale, Probably for a good reason.

13th Sep 2021, 20:54
As a high altitude Bomber the Fortress I was a disappointment for RAF.
Several suffered structural failure, breaking up at altitude.

13th Sep 2021, 21:06
Thanks for all the info, guys.

13th Sep 2021, 21:24
Facebook has a pretty active 47 group with members worldwide.

Perhaps they can be of help.


14th Sep 2021, 03:57
Several suffered structural failure, breaking up at altituderolling, could you elaborate please, first I've heard of it.

14th Sep 2021, 05:52
rolling, could you elaborate please, first I've heard of it.
Certainly. It is mentioned in 'Before the Storm' by Robert Jackson. 90 Squadron lost 2 Fortress Is 'through structural failure following loss of control during high altitude training flights. Both these accidents were caused by turbulence, the extent and violence of which at altitudes of over 30,000 feet was still an unknown quantity'.
One would assume that if 2 were lost in training this way, then potentially others went the same way on ops.

Some info here: https://aviation-safety.net/wikibase/74496
I believe there was at least 1 B17C ( which is the model the RAF named Fortress Is) which broke up in flight with the USAAF, so again one assumes more were lost in this way.

14th Sep 2021, 07:04
At least 3 Fortress Is from Polebrook were lost as a result of in-flight breakups, in June/July 1941 and January 1942.

14th Sep 2021, 20:38
When I read structural failure I thought you were alluding to design or manufacturing failures, many aircraft were/are lost through over stressing, poking the bear is what leads to over stressing, no matter if it's a Tiger Moth or a Boeing jet (BOAC 707 Mount Fuji). Had a Cessna 210 come down a few miles from the house recently after losing a fight with thunder storm at 9,000', shed both wings, two deaths, pilot and co-pilot, the passenger was OK, he was already encased in a coffin.