Nose detail of Boeing B-17E "Typhoon McGoon II" (S/N 41-9211) of the 11th Bomb Group, 98th Bomb Squadron, taken in January 1943 in New Caledonia. Note the antennas mounted above the nose plexiglass used for radar tracking of surface vessels. (U.S. Air Force photo)
Boeing B-17Es under construction. This is the first released wartime production photograph of Flying Fortress heavy bombers at one of the Boeing plants, at Seattle, Wash. Boeing exceeded its accelerated delivery schedules by 70 percent for the month of December 1942. (U.S. Air Force photo)
The Boeing B-17E was an extensively modified and improved version of the basic B-17D design. The most obvious change was the redesigned tail with its distinctive vertical stabilizer and fairing. A tail gunner was added because combat experience showed the earlier models extremely vulnerable to attack from directly aft. The waist gunner windows were changed from teardrop to larger rectangular shaped windows. The ventral "bathtub" turret of the D model was initially replaced by a Bendix remote-controlled and remote-sighted belly turret. The Bendix turret was replaced by a Sperry ball turret starting with the 113th B-17E built. A Bendix turret also was added to the top forward fuselage just behind the cockpit.
A total of 512 B-17Es were built by Boeing in 1941 and 1942. The basic E model design was constantly being modified to incorporate needed improvements pointed out, in part, by combat crews whose lives depended on the aircraft.
The first Army Air Force bombing mission in Europe was carried out by B-17Es of the 97th Bomb Group against the Rouen-Sotteville railroad marshalling yards in France on Au. 17, 1942.
TECHNICAL NOTES: Armament: One .30-cal. and eight .50-cal. machine guns and 4,200 lbs. of bombs Engines: Four Wright R-1820-65 turbo-supercharged radials of 1200 hp each
Maximum speed: 317 mph at 25,000 ft. Cruising speed: 226 mph Service ceiling: 36,000 ft. Range: 3,200 miles (maximum ferry range) Span: 103 ft. 9 in. Length: 73 ft. 10 in. Height: 19 ft. 2 in. Weight: 51,000 lbs. gross weight (actual - normal load) Serial numbers: 41-2393 to 41-2669 and 41-9011 to 41-9245