New PDF release: Bloody Skies U.S. Eighth Air Force Battle Damage in World

By Nicholas A. Veronico

A visible heritage of the USA 8th Air strength in international conflict II

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5, 1942, the Proving Ground Command recommended the bomber for further development with the proviso that the waist positions be staggered and that additional armor plate be provided to protect the crew during frontal attacks. Flight testing showed that the fully loaded XB-40 cruised at the same speed as a fully loaded B-17F, although the XB-40’s rate of climb was 10 percent less. If the ball turret was retracted, the XB-40 was 4 miles per hour faster in cruise. The recommendations from the Proving Ground Command led to a prototype program, designated the YB-40, with twenty Vega–built B-17Fs transferred to Douglas Aircraft’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, facility for modification.

B-17F 42-29591 The Shamrock Special attacked the target and made it home. Shortly after parking, The Shamrock Special was struck by another 323rd Bomb Squadron B-17 landing with shot-out brakes. The majority of the damage was confined to the tail section. Maintainers swapped out the rear section of The Shamrock Special (fuselage code LL-Z) and replaced it with a salvaged B-17’s aft fuselage. This “before and after” photo shows the maintenance crew’s handiwork. Note that the ball turret has not yet been reinstalled in the belly of The Shamrock Special.

Flight testing showed that the fully loaded XB-40 cruised at the same speed as a fully loaded B-17F, although the XB-40’s rate of climb was 10 percent less. If the ball turret was retracted, the XB-40 was 4 miles per hour faster in cruise. The recommendations from the Proving Ground Command led to a prototype program, designated the YB-40, with twenty Vega–built B-17Fs transferred to Douglas Aircraft’s Tulsa, Oklahoma, facility for modification. An additional four B-17s were converted to TB-40 trainer configuration.

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Bloody Skies U.S. Eighth Air Force Battle Damage in World War II by Nicholas A. Veronico


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