The history of WWII B-17 bomber


CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – The plane that crashed at Bradley International Airport Wednesday was a World War II-era B-17.

The Boeing, B-17 Flying Fortress was a very important part of history. The B-17 bomber was developed in the 1930s and has four engines. It was the third most produced bomber of all time and it was used to carry out bombing missions during World War II.

During the war, the B-17 dropped more bombs than any other U.S. aircraft and frequently had to fly solo, long-range missions. Nick Hurley, Curator of the New England Air Museum, told 22News more about the B-17.

“The B-17 is arguably the most recognizable of the four-engine bombers, at least the American ones. Thousands of them were produced, they were a true workhorse in the air war over Europe. A great deal of the strategic bombing was done by B-17’s,” said Hurley.

The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut does not have a B-17 but the Old Bradley Air Museum did before it was destroyed by the Windsor Locks tornado 40-years-ago, Thursday. That B-17 was badly damaged but was later taken away and restored.

Hurley added, “The nature of warfare being what it is today, air to air combat is not as prevalent as it was back during the second world war so the B-17 has tail guns has a ball turret underneath it has a top turret.”

The New England Air Museum in Windsor Locks, Connecticut does not have a B-17 but the old Bradley Air Museum that was destroyed by the Windsor Locks Tornado 40 years ago today did have one.

Today’s bombers are also often escorted by fighter jets and don’t need all the extra guns the B-17s were equipped with.

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