Heavy going (Pt.1)
With the B-17’s brave but beleaguered WW2 service in the Pacific and its epic contribution to victory in Europe, along with the B-24’s ubiquitous duty in every corner of the conflict, it would be easy to forget that the RAF also operated both types.
Indeed the British were the first to use the American heavies in anger, and their combat experience would profoundly shape the development and success of the USAAF’s mainstay bombers.
RAF pilots found the Liberator and Fortress – and it was only ever ‘Fortress’ in British hands; I guess they thought the ‘Flying’ part was largely self-evident – well designed and easy to operate. However the early models just weren’t ready for the ferocity and operating extremes of modern war. Most were quickly moved to support and long range patrol duties.
Ultimately, the RAF had limited need for the Fortress, but they found the…
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