The B-17G was introduced onto the Fortress production line in July of 1943, and was destined to be produced in larger numbers than any other Fortress variant. The most readily-noticeable innovation introduced by the B-17G was the power-operated Bendix turret mounted in a chin-type installation underneath the nose. This turret was equipped with two 0.50-inch machine guns. This installation had first been tested in combat by the YB-40 and was found to be the only viable innovation introduced by the unsuccessful escort Fortress. Originally, the Bendix turret was to be introduced on the Boeing production line with F-135, but the changes were sufficient to justify a new series letter, and the F-135s became G-1.
Another feature introduced by the G was having the waist guns being permanently enclosed behind windows instead of being mounted behind removeable hatches. This made the rear fuselage somewhat less drafty.
The cheek nose guns introduced on the late B-17F were retained, but were staggered so that the left gun was in the forward side window and the right gun was in the middle side window, which reversed the positions used on the late Fs. The cheek gun mounts bulged somewhat outward into the airstream, which helped to improve the forward view from the cheek gun positions. The forward chin installation and the associated cheek guns were first tested out on B-17F-115-BO 42-30631.
The B-17G now had the defensive firepower of no less than thirteen 0.50-inch machine guns--two chin guns, two "cheek" guns, two guns in the dorsal turret, two guns in the ventral turret, two guns in the waist, two guns in the tail, and one gun in the roof of the radio operator's position.
B-17Gs were built by all three members of the "BVD" production pool, with the Boeing lots ranging from production blocks G-1 to G-110, the Douglas blocks ranging from 5 to 95, and the Lockheed-Vega blocks ranging from 1 to 110.
The B-17G entered service with the Eighth and Fifteenth Air Forces in late 1943.
Camouflage paint was deleted from production B-17Gs starting in January of 1944. B-17Gs were delivered in natural metal finish starting in (but not at the beginning) of production blocks G-35-BO (Boeing), G-20-VE (Lockheed-Vega), and G-35-DL (Douglas-Long Beach).
The so-called "Cheyenne" tail gun mounting modifications were incorporated in the B-17G-80-BO, -45-DL, -35-VE and subsequent batches. These tail gun mountings also had a reflector gunsight instead of the previous ring and bead. With this installation, these B-17Gs were five inches shorter than the earlier versions.
On later production versions, it was found necessary to stagger the waist gun positions so that the two gunners would not get in each other's way.
On the last production batches (B-17G-105 and -110-BO, B-17G-75 to -85-DL, and B-17G-85 to -110-VE), the radio compartment gun was not installed. The ammunition capacity of the waist guns was increased to 600 rpg.
When production finally terminated in 1945, a total of 4035 B-17Gs had been built by Boeing, 2395 by Douglas, and 2250 by Lockheed-Vega. The last Boeing-built B-17G was delivered on April 13, 1945.
B-17G-1-VE 42-39840 was redesignated XB-17G when assigned to test work. It was not a prototype.
If you want to know the fates of some individual B-17Gs, check out my serial number page.
42-31032/31131 Boeing B-17G-1-BO Fortress c/n 6146/6245 42-31132/31231 Boeing B-17G-5-BO Fortress c/n 6246/6345 42-31232/31331 Boeing B-17G-10-BO Fortress c/n 6346/6445 42-31332/31431 Boeing B-17G-15-BO Fortress c/n 6446/6545 42-31432/31631 Boeing B-17G-20-BO Fortress c/n 6546/6745 42-31632/31731 Boeing B-17G-25-BO Fortress c/n 6746/6845 42-31732/31931 Boeing B-17G-30-BO Fortress c/n 6846/7045 42-31932/32116 Boeing B-17G-35-BO Fortress c/n 7046/7230 42-37716 Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-10-DL Fortress c/n 8502 42-37721/37803 Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-10-DL Fortress c/n 8507/8589 42-37804/37893 Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-15-DL Fortress c/n 8590/8679 42-37894/37988 Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-20-DL Fortress c/n 8680/8774 42-37989/38083 Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-25-DL Fortress c/n 8775/8869 42-38084/38213 Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-30-DL Fortress c/n 8870/8999 42-39758/39857 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-1-VE Fortress c/n 6501/6600 42-39858/39957 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-5-VE Fortress c/n 6601/6700 42-39958/40057 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-10-VE Fortress c/n 6701/6800 39974 captured by Luftwaffe 42-97058/97172 Boeing B-17G-40-BO Fortress c/n 7531/7645 42-97173/97407 Boeing B-17G-45-BO Fortress c/n 7646/7880 42-97436/97535 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-15-VE Fortress c/n 6801/6900 42-97536/97635 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-20-VE Fortress c/n 6901/7000 42-97636/97735 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-25-VE Fortress c/n 7001/7100 42-97736/97835 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-30-VE Fortress c/n 7101/7200 97825 converted to SB-17G. 42-97836/97935 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-35-VE Fortress c/n 7201/7300 42-97936/98035 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-40-VE Fortress c/n 7301/7400 42-102379/102543 Boeing B-17G-50-BO Fortress c/n 7881/8045 42-102544/102743 Boeing B-17G-55-BO Fortress c/n 8046/8245 42-102744/102978 Boeing B-17G-60-BO Fortress c/n 8246/8480 42-106984/107233 Douglas-Long Beach B-17G-35-DL Fortress c/n 21899/22148 43-37509/37673 Boeing B-17G-65-BO Fortress c/n 8487/8651 43-37674/37873 Boeing B-17G-70-BO Fortress c/n 8652/8851 43-37874/38073 Boeing B-17G-75-BO Fortress c/n 8852/9051 43-38074/38273 Boeing B-17G-80-BO Fortress c/n 9052/9251 43-38274/38473 Boeing B-17G-85-BO Fortress c/n 9252/9451 43-38474/38673 Boeing B-17G-90-BO Fortress c/n 9452/9651 43-38674/38873 Boeing B-17G-95-BO Fortress c/n 9652/9851 43-38874/39073 Boeing B-17G-100-BO Fortress c/n 9852/10051 43-39074/39273 Boeing B-17G-105-BO Fortress c/n 10052/10251 43-39274/39508 Boeing B-17G-110-BO Fortress c/n 10252/10486 44-6001/6125 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-40-DL Fortress c/n 22224/22348 44-6126/6250 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-45-DL Fortress c/n 22349/22473 44-6251/6500 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-50-DL Fortress c/n 22474/22723 44-6501/6625 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-55-DL Fortress c/n 22724/22848 44-6626/6750 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-60-DL Fortress c/n 22849/22973 44-6751/6875 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-65-DL Fortress c/n 22974/23098 44-6876/7000 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-70-DL Fortress c/n 23099/23223 44-8001/8100 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-45-VE Fortress c/n 7401/7500 44-8101/8200 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-50-VE Fortress c/n 7501/7600 44-8201/8300 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-55-VE Fortress c/n 7601/7700 44-8301/8400 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-60-VE Fortress c/n 7701/7800 44-8401/8500 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-65-VE Fortress c/n 7801/7900 44-8501/8600 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-70-VE Fortress c/n 7901/8000 44-8601/8700 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-75-VE Fortress c/n 8001/8100 44-8701/8800 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-80-VE Fortress c/n 8101/8200 44-8801/8900 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-85-VE Fortress c/n 8201/8300 44-8901/9000 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-90-VE Fortress c/n 8301/8400 44-83236/83360 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-75-DL Fortress c/n 31877/32001 44-83361/83485 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-80-DL Fortress c/n 32002/32126 44-83486/83585 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-85-DL Fortress c/n 32127/32226 44-83586/83685 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-90-DL Fortress c/n 32227/32326 44-83686/83863 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-95-DL Fortress c/n 32327/32504 44-83864/83885 Douglas/Long Beach B-17G-95-DL Fortress c/n 32505/32526 44-85492/85591 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-95-VE Fortress c/n 8401/8500 44-85592/85691 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-100-VE Fortress c/n 8501/8600 44-85692/85791 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-105-VE Fortress c/n 8601/8700 44-85792/85841 Lockheed/Vega B-17G-110-VE Fortress c/n 8701/8750
Engines: Four Wright R-1820-97 Cyclone radials with General Electric B-22 turbosuperchargers, each rated at 1200 hp for takeoff and 1000 hp at 25,000 feet, with a war emergency power of 1380 hp at 26,700 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 263 mph at 25,000 feet, 300 mph at 30,000 feet (war emergency). Cruising speed 150 mph at 25,000 feet. Landing speed 90 mph Initial climb rate 900 feet per minute. An altitude of 20,000 feet could be attained in 37 minutes. Service ceiling 35,000 feet. Range 1850 miles with 4000 pounds of bombs at 25,000 feet with 2810 gallons of fuel. Dimensions: Wingspan 103 feet 9 3/8 inches, length 74 feet 9 inches, height 19 feet 1 inches, wing area 1420 square feet. Weights: 32,720 pounds empty, 55,000 pounds normal loaded, 72,000 pounds maximum. Fuel: Normal fuel load was 2520 US gallons, but extra fuel tanks could be installed which raised total fuel capacity to 3612 US gallons. Armament: Specified defensive armament was as follows: Thirteen 0.5-inch Browning machine guns in chin, nose, dorsal, center- fuselage, ventral, waist, and tail positions. Maximum short-range bombload was 17,600 pounds.