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View Full Version : B17 - YB40 the gunship/escort version.



major_setback
01-16-2008, 12:02 PM
The B17 seems to have been used/planned as a gunship too:

link (http://skittles-combos.blogspot.com/2007/10/yb-40.html)



http://www.327th.org/327th-org/Greg/yb40.jpg

berg417448
01-16-2008, 12:31 PM
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.

KG66_Gog
01-17-2008, 12:07 AM
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!! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Waldo.Pepper
01-17-2008, 12:57 AM
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!! http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

Excellent a volunteer! Can I Marry your sweetheart back in the 'States after you are killed? http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

K_Freddie
01-17-2008, 01:19 AM
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.
http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_wink.gif

Gibbage1
01-17-2008, 03:01 AM
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.

Gibbage1
01-17-2008, 03:09 AM
"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!

stansdds
01-17-2008, 03:57 AM
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.

Waldo.Pepper
01-17-2008, 04:02 AM
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/books-magazines/27618-fiction-2.html

The poster also dumps all over Samurai and The Tigers are burning. (to his credit).

luftluuver
01-17-2008, 04:50 AM
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. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

berg417448
01-17-2008, 10:07 AM
I found this interview of aviation author Ferdinando D'Amico the web one day while researching this Caidin P-38 tale:



"In Martin Caidin's "Fork-Tailed Devil: The P38" he recounts an incident regarding a captured P38 flown by a Captain Rossi and American intelligence efforts to lure it to destruction by means of his wife's picture painted on the nose of a YB-40. Please separate fact from fiction and give the true details of this "incident."

Ferdinando D'Amico:

"Personally, I think people are probably bored with this topic, but you're doing right by discussing it in hopes that it might be possible to set the record straight once or all (I doubt we'll be successful as fiction is always more fascinating than facts, at least many think so...).

The whole matter is a textbook example of how "hearsay", stereotypes and no research could lead to a completely fabricated history.

The article (and later or earlier, the book and chapter) of Martin Caidin, was nothing else than the reprint of an even older article by Glenn Infield titled "One Of Our Own Planes Is Shooting Us Down!" (sic) and I must confess that IMHO it is the kind of "historical" research that causes more damage to history than anything else.

The P-38 mentioned in Caidin's "story" was captured on 12 June 1943 in Sardinia where a ferrying US pilot landed by mistake due to the malfunctioning of the compass. Thus, it became "property" of the Regia Aeronautica and was soon brought to the Italian Test Center of Guidonia (near Rome). This aircraft was flown - with Italian markings - by Col. Angelo Tondi (Chief test pilot of the center) in the Summer of 1943 in half a dozen scrambles against USAAF bombers attacking Rome and Central Italian targets.

On 11 August 1943 Col. Tondi intercepted off the coast the B-17F s/n 42-30307 of 419th BS, 301st BG and shot it down at 12.00 hrs*. This was the only successful interception completed by this aircraft and soon after the P-38 was grounded due to the bad quality of the Italian petrol that had corroded the fuel tanks.

* (cfr. Missing Air Crew Report n.490 available at the US National Archives )

All the above is also proved by photographic evidence, by the accounts of Col. Tondi and by the documents of the Guidonia Test Center reporting all the scrambles effected by the P-38. This material is available to researchers at the Italian Air Force Historical Branch, where I consulted it personally.

The "Captain Guido Rossi", the YB-40 and the soap-opera story of the former romance between the wife of the YB-40 pilot and the Italian pilot (!!) clearly are a joke, or should be... instead they were taken seriously and developed a life of their own. This should tell us a lot about the dangers of writing and spreading information that has not been checked or researched.

Unfortunately, not everyone is willing to accept this or to behave accordingly..."

The link was originally on this site but is no longer there:
http://www.aviation-booklist.com/interviews/ferdinando.html

Bremspropeller
01-17-2008, 12:27 PM
http://www.physicsguides.com/images/deathstar.jpg

Found that one on Luft46.

ImMoreBetter
01-17-2008, 02:46 PM
If only they had Oleg gunners back then. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

CUJO_1970
01-17-2008, 04:59 PM
OMG not Martin Caidin again...

I usually cringe when I hear his name http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/shady.gif

His books should all begin "Once upon a time..."

Gibbage1
01-17-2008, 09:09 PM
Originally posted by luftluuver:
I can't believe that Gibbage, a supposed P-38 expert, believing that story about Rossi. http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

P-38 fan, not a P-38 expert.

Plunkertx
01-17-2008, 09:21 PM
The YB40 was dumped cuz it could not keep up with the B-17s after they dropped their bombs? Well, all they had to do was drop their extra guns too! Then they could keep up...

woofiedog
01-17-2008, 10:28 PM
Quote...

Of the initial order of 13, one was damaged in a forced landing on the Isle of Lewis en route to England, and the remaining 12 were assigned to the 92nd Bomb Group (H) and designated the 327th Bomb Squadron.

Between May 29 and August 16, 1943, the YB-40 flew 14 of the 19 combat missions scheduled by the 8th Air Force, although on the mission of June 26 all the YB-40s scheduled were unable to complete assembly and returned to base. Altogether of the 59 aircraft despatched, 48 sorties were credited. 5 kills and 2 probables (likely kills) were claimed on the 13 missions flown, and one YB-40 was lost, shot down by flak on the June 22 mission to Hüls, Germany. Tactics were revised on the final five missions by placing a pair of YB-40's in the lead element of the strike to protect the mission commander.

One YB-40 of the second order, reflecting modifications requested during combat trials to lighten the aircraft, joined the 327th in October, 1943, but by then B-17G models were beginning to appear and the final YB-40 was not flown in combat. All the deployed YB-40s were returned to the United States and converted to training aircraft, as were 11 aircraft of the second order.

http://www.303rdbg.com/art-styling-tampatornado1-S.jpg
YB-40 42-5736 TAMPA TORNADO (359BS) BN-Q

YB-40's of the 92nd Bomb Group

42-5732 ????
42-5733 Peoria Prowler
42-5734 Seymour Angel
42-5735 ???? Shotdown by Flak 22 June 1943
42-5736 Tampa Tornado
42-5737 Dakota Demon
42-5738 Boston Tea Party
42-5739 Lufkin Ruffian
42-5740 Monticello
42-5741 Chicago
42-5742 Plain Dealing Express
42-5743 Woolrac
42-5744 Dolly Madison
42-5833 ????

woofiedog
01-17-2008, 10:37 PM
Bremspropeller... That Deathstar... if you want to call it that [more so for the crew]. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_rolleyes.gif

Was a total failure also... just "one" shot up the Old Rubbish Shute and it was history! http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/784.gif

How the Death Star Works (http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/death-star.htm)

Schwarz.13
01-18-2008, 06:11 AM
Originally posted by Plunkertx:
The YB40 was dumped cuz it could not keep up with the B-17s after they dropped their bombs? Well, all they had to do was drop their extra guns too! Then they could keep up...

And the point of a gunship without guns would be??? http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/35.gif

BSS_Goat
01-18-2008, 06:28 AM
If they threw the gunners out they could beat everybody home...

Bremspropeller
01-18-2008, 06:45 AM
Deathstar = teh villain c00lneess http://forums.ubi.com/images/smilies/winky.gif

Aaron_GT
01-18-2008, 11:21 AM
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.

Some of the UK and German designs for medium/fast bombers that weren't built tended to have multiple 20mm or 30mm cannon fixed forward armament, probably for this reason.


The good thing is that due to the limited range of German interceptors and good fighter escorts, they only got 1 shot.

The YB-40 was from the period before escorts all the way to the target, though. And German planes often took more than one pass in those circumstances.

jarink
01-18-2008, 02:03 PM
Originally posted by Gibbage1:
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.

Why would you need 20mms? .50 cals were effective enough to discourage most German fighters. A single 20mm was tried at least once in a B-17 nose, but the recoil was too heavy.
http://i24.photobucket.com/albums/c1/jarink/Jack.jpg


Originally posted by Gibbage1:
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.

That is correct!

Something that was nearly as important to B-17s defensive fireport as the chin turret was the development of "Cheyenne" tail turret. It had a reflector sight and a much greater arc of fire than the old "wedge" tails.
http://freepages.military.rootsweb.com/~josephkennedy/images/german%20perspective/cheyenne%20tail%20turret.jpg

HellToupee
01-18-2008, 07:58 PM
Originally posted by jarink:
Why would you need 20mms? .50 cals were effective enough to discourage most German fighters. A single 20mm was tried at least once in a B-17 nose, but the recoil was too heavy.


Well they wernt effective to discourage most german fighters, unescorted bombers were slaughtered remember. With higher closer rate you would need a weapon that does more damage in less time.

roybaty
01-18-2008, 08:27 PM
O...M...G...I haven't heard the term "Deathstar" applied to a B-17 since Warbirds.

B-17s would orbit bases, their AI gunners killing everything whilst transports would roll in with paratroops to capture a base.

Ahhhhh....the memories.

jarink
01-19-2008, 10:09 AM
Originally posted by HellToupee:
<BLOCKQUOTE class="ip-ubbcode-quote"><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-title">quote:</div><div class="ip-ubbcode-quote-content">Originally posted by jarink:
Why would you need 20mms? .50 cals were effective enough to discourage most German fighters. A single 20mm was tried at least once in a B-17 nose, but the recoil was too heavy.


Well they wernt effective to discourage most german fighters, unescorted bombers were slaughtered remember. With higher closer rate you would need a weapon that does more damage in less time. </div></BLOCKQUOTE>

Twin .50s in a chin turret would be much more effective than a single 20mm (I doubt there would be a way to squeeze two guns that size plus adequate ammunition in the nose of a B-17) Even a single .50 had a much higher rate of fire than any Allied 20mm guns in general use at that time. A higher ROF gives a much better chance of a hit, especially in a head-on scenario. Without hits, it doesn't matter what the terminal effects of the ammo are. (and I think the .50 is a bit porked in this game)

I wasn't trying to suggest that .50s in any number were sufficient to defeat fighter attacks. I doubt very much that if every gun on B-17s were replaced with 20mms that they would have been any safer from fighters. The greater value of the guns turned out to be in breaking up attacks by forcing the Luftwaffe pilots to maneuver to avoid being hit rather than actually shooting down planes.

Gibbage1
01-19-2008, 12:36 PM
My therie is that with such a high closing rate, you may, AT MOST get very few its, if any at all. A .50 cal is great, if the firepower is concentrated. Thats why US fighters used 6-8 guns converging. 1 or 2 was not very effective, and in a head-on pass, you would need the golden B-B to bring down a FW-190A before it killed you.

Early in the war, .50's were stripped from Navy ships and replaced with banks of 20MM and 37MM's for this very reason vs dive bombers. You NEED something to punch them out of the sky, and not wound them when they are on a run like that. And thats also why I said an array, not just one. The only problem is the B-17's nose section would need to be re-designed to accept it.

The new chin turret did discourage German fighters and give them something to worrie about, but it did not stop them.

Just for fun.

http://www.daveswarbirds.com/blackcat/cannons.gif

Thats a PBY Catalina, but they are fixed. Heh. To bad the Hispano's were so friggen big.

Aaron_GT
01-19-2008, 03:09 PM
y therie is that with such a high closing rate, you may, AT MOST get very few its, if any at all.

In that case you'd be better off with a 20mm cannon that twin .50s.


Twin .50s in a chin turret would be much more effective than a single 20mm

Shot per shot the 20mm is about 3 times the power. A single 20mm gun might be preferable if the deflection is minimal.


A higher ROF gives a much better chance of a hit, especially in a head-on scenario.

If the attack is head on then the deflection is relatively low and so there is less of a concern about ROFs and chances of at least one hit. For deflection shooting there is a big difference in the chance of at least one hit from two guns as opposed to one (the chances are ultimately asymptotic, i.e. diminishing returns). Getting the chin turret to bear in time if the attack was not from the anticipated direction would probably have been a concern, but that's true of all turrets as they have lower slew rates than flexible guns. I suspect the choice of 50 cals was because using a 20mm cannon would have meant a whole new supporting structure in the nose and a separate ammunition type, and so the twin 50 cal installation was better overall in that sense - about the same overall as a single 20mm cannon (marginally higher chance to hit on a low deflection shot, slightly less offensive power when htting) but with less logistical and design issues.

It's worth noting that various allied medium bombers (e.g. A20C, B25, B26, Buckingham, etc.) tended to go for fixed forward guns for the front quarter to stiffen deterrence from frontal attack, even when the intention was for them to be used as level bombers (i.e. the guns were not primarily for strafing, likes of the B25H excepted). This has a lower weight penalty than a turret and covers the zero deflection quarter, plus some chance of hitting anything doing a slashing attack. Some B17s prior to the chin turret seem to have sported various additional extemporaneous fixed forward firing guns.

Gibbage1
01-19-2008, 04:05 PM
Im sure that even a F-190 would think twice before going head-on with a B-25 with 8 .50's facing him, but you have a better chance of bringing them down with 2-3 20MM's even if you have less of a chance of hitting. Its still a rather high volume of firepower. If you hit, you hit HARD.

Sergio_101
01-20-2008, 12:47 AM
I have to compliment you guys.
if there is one thing that Turfurst has taught you
is to do your research first.

Of course Turfie adds in a bit of hyperbole....

I can find no holes in any of the comments.
Rate of fire vs weight of fire
has always been a sticky argument.
The spray and pray shotgun effect of 8 .303 Brownings
in a Spit or Hurricane was pretty effective during the BOB.
Same goes for a bunch of .50's in the nose of a bomber.
But the Gibster is correct, a 20mm is a helluva lot
more powerful than a .50.

But..... There is another thing to ponder.
Think of the effect of a bunch of 20mm cannon armed bombers
in the close box formations.....
Keep in mind that the firepower of one bomber is not what made a B-17 so dangerous.
It's the massed firepower of dozens of them close together.

Now, lets give them all 20mm cannon and see how many B-17s drop due to friendly fire http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_biggrin.gif

My uncle told me that friendly fire hits happened nearly every mission
where German fighters were encountered.
(They never saw an Itallian fighter in the air).

Now take those small, usually harmless accidental friendly fire hits
and add a few grams of high explosives. http://forums.ubi.com/groupee_common/emoticons/icon_eek.gif

Sergio