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Thread: B17 - YB40 the gunship/escort version. | Forums

  1. #1
    The B17 seems to have been used/planned as a gunship too:

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  2. #2
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    It was not a success. They quickly found that the the weight of the extra guns, armor, and extra ammunition reduced the speed enough that the YB-40 could not maintain formation with the B-17s on the way back once they dropped their bombload.
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  3. #3
    What better way to lure in an unsuspecting Luftwaffe pilot than to pose as a straggler....and then open up with 12,000 fifty cals!!
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Waldo.Pepper's Avatar
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    Originally posted by KG66_Gog:
    What better way to lure in an unsuspecting Luftwaffe pilot than to pose as a straggler....and then open up with 12,000 fifty cals!!
    Excellent a volunteer! Can I Marry your sweetheart back in the 'States after you are killed?
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  5. #5
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    Lookking at all the pics.. It still suffered from it's original flaw.. little defence from a frontal attack.
    Knock the cPit out and down it goes.. wasted effort.

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  6. #6
    There was not much of anything you could do about head-on attacks. The closure speed was just far to great to track a small fighter. Its traveling around 400MPH and your B-17 at 200MPH, thats an effective 600MPH closing speed! VERY fast! You would need a huge arrays of 20MM's to discourage head-on's. The good thing is that due to the limited range of German interceptors and good fighter escorts, they only got 1 shot. They could not turn around for another head on pass. Also that very fast closing speed worked against the interceptor as much as it worked against defensive guns.

    It was safer for the interceptor, yes, but was it more effective? Im not so sure, since you only got 1 pass, and a very short one at a high rate of speed. Approaching a formation of 200 B-17's in a tight box formation im sure took a big pair!

    From what I know of the YB-40, they took the chin turret and placed them on all B-17's. So it was not a wasted experiment at all.
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  7. #7
    "One of the most unusual stories involving the use of a YB-40 was to counter the efforts of an Italian pilot, Guido Rossi, who had begun to offensively fly a captured P-38 Lightning fighter that had been forced to land, low on fuel, over Sardinia in the spring of 1943. Rossi's scheme was to use the P-38 as a supposedly "friendly" aircraft, that he would use to first draw in, then shoot down, crippled American aircraft. Lt. Harold Fisher, a USAAF bomber pilot who had been victimized by Rossi's still-American-marked P-38, was able to get the use of a YB-40 to try and turn the tables on the Italian pilot. On August 31, 1943, Rossi appeared in the sky in the general vicinity of the YB-40, and Fisher drew Rossi in with radio conversation-eventually the Italian pilot became furious at one of Fisher's statements, and the attacking P-38 fell apart from the hail of bullets from the YB-40's guns. This event was documented in the pages of aviation author Martin Caidin's book "Flying Forts", about B-17 action in WW II Europe."

    Interesting story! I had known about the captured P-38 downing a few of our own, but I didnt know it was stopped by a YB-40!
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  8. #8
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    Yes, the YB-40 introduced the B-17 airframe to the chin turret. That turret would become a feature on the B-17F-75 series as well as all B-17G's.

    A similar experiment was tried with a B-24D, called the YB-41. The results were the same as with the YB-40.
    When you know as much as I do, you become a danger only to yourself. -stansdds, 2006

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  9. #9
    Senior Member Waldo.Pepper's Avatar
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    Interesting story! I had known about the captured P-38 downing a few of our own
    Guido Rossi again! OMG will this one never die! This is another of Martin Caiden's fabrications.

    There was a "Italian P-38 vs B-17 battle" that actually occurred during WW2, but as for the story recounted in Fork-Tailed Devil, that one's absolute 100% fiction. It never happened, at least as Caidin embellishes it. There was no Italian ace named Guido Rossi among the 123 Italian aces of WW2, the dates don't match up, I'm not aware of any YB-40 being sent to the MTO, the actual Italian P-38 was grounded, not shot down, etc... What actually happened to inspire Caidin's story is just as remarkable without the embellishments.

    On June 12, 1943, a USAAF P-38G, while on a flight from Gibraltar to Malta, suffered compass problems and landed by mistake at Capoterra, Sardinia. The Lightning was painted in Italian markings, and transferred to the Italian Test Center at Guidonia. On August 11, 1943, chief test pilot Col. Angelo Tondi used the P-38 to intercept USAAF bombers on their way to attack targets in central Italy. Tondi shot down a B-17F, "Bonnie Sue", of the 419th BS, 301st BG. This was the only successful interception achieved by the P-38G, which was soon grounded due to the poor quality of Italian gasoline, which corroded the fuel tanks. I believe that this is the only documented example of a captured US fighter being used to shoot down a US aircraft during WW2.

    Caiden's worst hatchet job was probably his doctoring of Saburo Sakai's "autobiography". Samurai was written by Martin Caidin through notes via Fred Saito, who had interviewed Sakai. Caiden added many inaccuracies and fictions, most of which Sakai never even knew about until after the book was published. Sakai has never received a penny in royalties from the book.

    From here.

    http://www.theaerodrome.com/forum/bo...fiction-2.html

    The poster also dumps all over Samurai and The Tigers are burning. (to his credit).
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  10. #10
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    Originally posted by Waldo.Pepper:
    <BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Interesting story! I had known about the captured P-38 downing a few of our own
    Guido Rossi again! OMG will this one never die! This is another of Martin Caiden's fabrications.
    </div></BLOCKQUOTE>
    I can't believe that Gibbage, a supposed P-38 expert, believing that story about Rossi.
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