Boeing B-17D Fortress

Last revised July 24, 1999






Forty-two more B-17Cs were ordered on April 17, 1940. However, these planes were sufficiently different from the original batch of B-17Cs that the Army decided on September 6, 1940 to give them a new designation of B-17D. In reality, the B-17D was only slightly different from the B-17C and bore the same company model number (299H). Externally, the B-17D differed from the C in having a set of engine cowling flaps to improve the cooling. Internal changes included electrical system revisions and the addition of a tenth crew member. The B-17D had paired guns in the belly and top positions, bringing the total armament to one 0.30-inch and six 0.50-inch machine guns. The external bomb racks were deleted.

The first B-17D flew on February 3, 1941. The B-17Ds were delivered to the Army from February to April of 1941. First priority was given to overseas units, with most of the B-17Ds going to units based in Hawaii or in the Philippines. The batch of B-17Cs which did not get sent to Britain were later modified to B-17D standards and redesignated B-17D.

Starting in March of 1941, the Army began to paint its B-17s in olive drab and grey camouflage paint. By the time of Pearl Harbor, virtually all B-17Cs and Ds were in warpaint.

The only "shark-fin" B-17 known to still remain in existence is B-17D 40-3097 (known as *Swoose*). It is currently in storage at the Paul Garber facility at Silver Hill, Maryland.

Serials:

Boeing B-17D Fortress 		40-3059/3100 

Specification of B-17D:

Four Wright GR-1820-65 (G-205A) Cyclone radials rated at 1200 hp for takeoff, 1000 hp at 25,000 feet. Performance: Maximum speed 318 mph at 25,000 feet. Service ceiling 37,000 feet. Dimensions: wingspan 103 feet 9 3/8 inches, length 67 feet 10.6 inches, height 15 feet 5 inches, wing area 1420 square feet. Weights: 30,963 pounds empty, 39,319 pounds gross. Armament: Armed with six 0.50-inch machine guns and one 0.30-inch machine gun. A single 0.50-inch gun was carried in each of the two waist positions, and a pair of 0.50-inch machine guns were mounted in each of the dorsal and ventral positions. There was one 0.30-inch machine gun which could be fired from any one of six sockets in the nose. A maximum of 4800 pounds of bombs could be carried in an internal bomb bay.

Sources:

  1. Flying Fortress, Edward Jablonski, Doubleday, 1965.

  2. Famous Bombers of the Second World War, Volume One, William Green, Doubleday, 1959.

  3. Boeing Aircraft Since 1916, Peter M. Bowers, Naval Institute Press, 1989.

  4. United States Military Aircraft Since 1909, Gordon Swanborough and Peter M. Bowers, Smithsonian, 1989.

  5. Boeing B-17E and F Flying Fortress, Charles D. Thompson, Profile Publications, 1966.

  6. American Combat Planes, Ray Wagner, Third Edition, Doubleday, 1982.

  7. Jane's Fighting Aircraft of World War II, Military Press, 1989.