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2DREZQ
07 Apr 06,, 22:06
Just like the title says Which one was better? Barring a definitive answer, how do their specs compare?

Bill
08 Apr 06,, 02:24
Just like the title says Which one was better? Barring a definitive answer, how do their specs compare?

The B17 had vastly more defensive firepower.

Beyond that, i dont really know which had better payload/range/performance.

2DREZQ
08 Apr 06,, 06:09
The B17 had vastly more defensive firepower.

Beyond that, i dont really know which had better payload/range/performance.

Which would have made it better suited for the daylight bombing than the British aircraft?

Captain Drunk
08 Apr 06,, 12:18
The "Dam-buster" Lanc was definitely a better bomber, wartime Lancaster sorties totaled about 156,000 during which roughly 608,000 tons of ordnance were dropped on the enemy. Experience with a variety of bomb loads eventually led to adoption of the ‘Grand Slam’ 22,000-pound bomb, the largest carried by any aircraft in the war.

Bill
08 Apr 06,, 18:32
The B-24 Liberator was better than either of them.

The B-29 was better still.

Captain Drunk
09 Apr 06,, 03:22
While 1948 designed B-52s are here to stay well into the 21st century fulfilling some tactical roles much after B-2 Stealths are retired for more F-22s. Dosn't that sound dumb :confused:

sparten
14 Apr 06,, 12:35
The B-24 Liberator was better than either of them.

The B-29 was better still.
The "Liberator" has the same performance approxamitly to the Lancaster.
B-17 was out classed in all areas, range, payload speed. But it had two things going for it, staying power and according to '24 crews, it had a built in press agent.

gunnut
14 Apr 06,, 18:22
The Lancaster had better payload and I believe better range than the B-17. B-24 probably has better range than the Lancaster, and better payload than B-17. But the Liberator disintegrates after it gets shot at. The toughness of the B-17 is legendary and it has captured the imagination of a generation of writers and airmen.

Lancaster was probably a better bomber than the B-17 in all areas except defensive firepower and maybe toughness.

Dreadnought
20 Jul 06,, 17:43
The "Dam-buster" Lanc was definitely a better bomber, wartime Lancaster sorties totaled about 156,000 during which roughly 608,000 tons of ordnance were dropped on the enemy. Experience with a variety of bomb loads eventually led to adoption of the ‘Grand Slam’ 22,000-pound bomb, the largest carried by any aircraft in the war.

The Lancs in the dam busting raids paid a very heavy price against german fortifications at the dams. The history channel has a great story of it called the bouncing bombs and their creator.

SRB
21 Jul 06,, 00:38
B-17 is very strong plane, look this fotos:
http://b17bomber.de/gallery/data/media/7/damage_bug_1.jpg
http://b17bomber.de/gallery/data/media/8/damage_rumpf_3.jpg
http://b17bomber.de/gallery/data/media/9/damage_heck_c.jpg

Canmoore
21 Jul 06,, 01:18
My grandfather attained the rank of Sgt. with the RCAF during the Cold War, from the 60's to early 70's. He was a Navigator on the Lancasters retrofitted for Anti-sub warfare, Patroling the Arctic and North Atlantic for Soviet Sharks.

He told me story's of how they would fly within 100 feet of the Ocean surface, and anyone who knows the northern Atlantic, you know just how rough and cold that water can be. The planes would shake and bounce, creak and moan and sound like its about to fall apart, but it always kept together

He told me how he would watch cocky fresh recruits who thought they were top **** and wern't afraid of anything. They would be reduced to a quivering mess soaked in there own puke and piss after being in those flying bastards over rough seas.

He told me of how they were always on alert, 24/7, when the siren went they never knew if it was for real, or just another drill. Had to have nerves of steel to do what he did.

RustyBattleship
21 Jul 06,, 05:31
The B-17 "Flying Fortresses" lived up to their name by having miraculous strength and ability to stay, sort of, in one piece until landing back in England.

The Lancasters had a better payload capacity and their bomb bay areas were deliberately designed to be modified into any size bomb you wanted to put in it. They could have also been used as torpedo planes (but never were) as the structural framing allowed for a fast change-over to longer bay doors.

But the B-24 Liberators actually outnumbered either the Fortresses or Lancasters and actually flew more sortees than either of them. Their wing design was excellent in shape, size and position while at flying speed. However, if the plane lost power, its glide slope was not much better than a brick. The best a pilot could do is circle as tight and as fast as he could so his crew could bail out. They also had a strut weakness and often would lose a wing or two just from even moderate hits.

But they did their jobs and I salute those who toughed it out throughout the war. That includes the American movie actor Jimmy Stewart. He already had a pilot's license (and his own airplane) since 1935. He flew 20 combat missions over Europe in WW II, stayed in the reserves and reitred as a Brigadier General in 1968.

flakhappy
11 Jun 09,, 16:38
The "Liberator" has the same performance approxamitly to the Lancaster.
B-17 was out classed in all areas, range, payload speed. But it had two things going for it, staying power and according to '24 crews, it had a built in press agent.
comparing planes is like apples and oranges. Each of the three considered here was designed for different tasks and emphases. Lancasters had much bigger engines and were designed to carry huge bomb loads at moderate distances and altitudes and at night. B-24s did a fine job in the Pacific where they were not required to fly in close formation or at high altitudes. They did poorly in Europe, however, and Gen Doolittle told Hap Arnold he wouldn't take any more in early 1944. He limited B-24s to one air division and even forced some B24 crews to switch to B17s. B-24s had a Davis, high-speed wing that was inefficient at low speeds (like takeoffs and climbing to targets). B-17s would trim out nicely and maintain close formation at reasonably low power settings (150 mph indicated) . To avoid wandering all over the sky, B-24 group comanders had to use higher power settings, causing higher fuel consumption. Taking off with a full combat load in a B-24 was terrifying to a crew. We could identify B-24 fields in Italy by the battered tree tops off the ends of their runways. Our crew (I was a radio operator) flew in both kinds of bombers, and I can tell you honestly that we felt overjoyed and relieved after switching to B-17s. Even carrying only 2 1/2 tons of bombs, B-24s couldn't climb much over 25,000 feet. We always carried 3 tons in the B-17s, and flew many missions at over 30,000 feet.

Parihaka
11 Jun 09,, 22:50
comparing planes is like apples and oranges. Each of the three considered here was designed for different tasks and emphases. Lancasters had much bigger engines and were designed to carry huge bomb loads at moderate distances and altitudes and at night. B-24s did a fine job in the Pacific where they were not required to fly in close formation or at high altitudes. They did poorly in Europe, however, and Gen Doolittle told Hap Arnold he wouldn't take any more in early 1944. He limited B-24s to one air division and even forced some B24 crews to switch to B17s. B-24s had a Davis, high-speed wing that was inefficient at low speeds (like takeoffs and climbing to targets). B-17s would trim out nicely and maintain close formation at reasonably low power settings (150 mph indicated) . To avoid wandering all over the sky, B-24 group comanders had to use higher power settings, causing higher fuel consumption. Taking off with a full combat load in a B-24 was terrifying to a crew. We could identify B-24 fields in Italy by the battered tree tops off the ends of their runways. Our crew (I was a radio operator) flew in both kinds of bombers, and I can tell you honestly that we felt overjoyed and relieved after switching to B-17s. Even carrying only 2 1/2 tons of bombs, B-24s couldn't climb much over 25,000 feet. We always carried 3 tons in the B-17s, and flew many missions at over 30,000 feet.

Welcome to the board Sir, hope you quickly feel at home. I expect there will be a few people lining up to ask you questions:)

zraver
11 Jun 09,, 23:20
comparing planes is like apples and oranges. Each of the three considered here was designed for different tasks and emphases. Lancasters had much bigger engines and were designed to carry huge bomb loads at moderate distances and altitudes and at night. B-24s did a fine job in the Pacific where they were not required to fly in close formation or at high altitudes. They did poorly in Europe, however, and Gen Doolittle told Hap Arnold he wouldn't take any more in early 1944. He limited B-24s to one air division and even forced some B24 crews to switch to B17s. B-24s had a Davis, high-speed wing that was inefficient at low speeds (like takeoffs and climbing to targets). B-17s would trim out nicely and maintain close formation at reasonably low power settings (150 mph indicated) . To avoid wandering all over the sky, B-24 group comanders had to use higher power settings, causing higher fuel consumption. Taking off with a full combat load in a B-24 was terrifying to a crew. We could identify B-24 fields in Italy by the battered tree tops off the ends of their runways. Our crew (I was a radio operator) flew in both kinds of bombers, and I can tell you honestly that we felt overjoyed and relieved after switching to B-17s. Even carrying only 2 1/2 tons of bombs, B-24s couldn't climb much over 25,000 feet. We always carried 3 tons in the B-17s, and flew many missions at over 30,000 feet.

Welcome aboard!

IIRC from Fire in the Sky: The Air war in the South pacifc the limitations on the B-17's bomb bay was due to the wing being so low and built into the plane it self. This limited the size of the bombs the plane could carry, but gave the plane its legendary toughness.

Johnny W
13 Jun 09,, 03:32
comparing planes is like apples and oranges. Each of the three considered here was designed for different tasks and emphases. Lancasters had much bigger engines and were designed to carry huge bomb loads at moderate distances and altitudes and at night. B-24s did a fine job in the Pacific where they were not required to fly in close formation or at high altitudes. They did poorly in Europe, however, and Gen Doolittle told Hap Arnold he wouldn't take any more in early 1944. He limited B-24s to one air division and even forced some B24 crews to switch to B17s. B-24s had a Davis, high-speed wing that was inefficient at low speeds (like takeoffs and climbing to targets). B-17s would trim out nicely and maintain close formation at reasonably low power settings (150 mph indicated) . To avoid wandering all over the sky, B-24 group comanders had to use higher power settings, causing higher fuel consumption. Taking off with a full combat load in a B-24 was terrifying to a crew. We could identify B-24 fields in Italy by the battered tree tops off the ends of their runways. Our crew (I was a radio operator) flew in both kinds of bombers, and I can tell you honestly that we felt overjoyed and relieved after switching to B-17s. Even carrying only 2 1/2 tons of bombs, B-24s couldn't climb much over 25,000 feet. We always carried 3 tons in the B-17s, and flew many missions at over 30,000 feet.


Thanks for the info. Its always good, and indeed an honor to have someone post who has done the things that we read in history books.

Back in the 80's when I was a teenager, I had a manager who had been a gunner on a B24 crew flying out of Italy I believe. He didn't like to talk about the experience much, but he did a couple of times, very interesting stuff.

ZekeJones
14 Jun 09,, 02:23
This might help decide the question

Product: Lancaster Manual (http://www.haynes.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=44861&langId=-1)

For the guy who work on their own cars, the name of the publisher will provide a laugh.

sappersgt
15 Jun 09,, 03:34
This might help decide the question

Product: Lancaster Manual (http://www.haynes.co.uk/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/ProductDisplay?catalogId=10001&storeId=10001&productId=44861&langId=-1)

For the guy who work on their own cars, the name of the publisher will provide a laugh.

(Chuckle)I've got a Haynes manual for just about every vehicle I've ever owned, from Rambler 220 to Fiat 850, Honda 160 to BMW R90. First thing I ever did when I got one was buy the manual. Often as not is was a Haynes! :cool::biggrin:

Pioneer
19 Jun 09,, 05:47
As an aircraft enthusiast - I have always been astounded by film and photos of the damage that the B-17 was able to sustain and yet return its crews back to base in so many cases.
The self-defence capability of the B-17 was indeed formidable, but it came at a price (range, speed and offensive payload and altitude), and yet unfortunately its never lived up to its design philosophy of being able to stay-off enemy fighters effectively by itself!

The Lancaster was a formidable aircraft for its time, in terms of its bomb load.
Thankfully the Air Ministry and the RAF learned a very important lesson with the Short Sterling (an important and unfortunately costly lesson in penny pinching at the cost of operational reality!!!)
I often wonder what and how the RAF/Air Ministry would have modified the Lancaster (with combat experience under its belt!) is the RAF had of been dog-fast adornment that day light bombing was the be-all and end-all strategy of strategic bombing, like that of the USAAF.
Does anyone know if there were any proposals by Avro for a more heavily defensive armed variant of the Lanc???

In the end I guess one should consider what the Luftwaffe thought of these designs as defenders who had to face them!
And again from what I have read, both the Flying Fortress and Lancaster were both respected for their firepower and ability to absorb so many rounds of their fighters/interceptor and Flak

As for the B-24, I to have read and heard from some ex-RAAF pilots that she didn’t take kindly to battle damage, and was a handful to fly at times with a full fuel and bomb load due to its tricycle landing gear and high aspect ratio wing design.
But saying this, the allies could not do without her!

An interesting forum and many good comments

Regards
Pioneer

cape_royds
30 Jun 09,, 08:29
The Lancaster had poorer defensive armament, but it was intended for night attacks. The main emphasis was on bomb load.

Air Marshal Harris wanted his Lancasters and Halifaxes to be armed with .50 cal MG's but could never get priority, so they went through the war armed with .30 cal.

The British had tried daytime formation bombing over Germany in 1941, using Wellingtons. Losses were prohibitive, even though it turned out that the Vickers Wellington could absorb quite a bit of damage, due to its geodetic frame.

clackers
30 Jun 09,, 13:18
The Lancaster had poorer defensive armament, but it was intended for night attacks. The main emphasis was on bomb load.

Air Marshal Harris wanted his Lancasters and Halifaxes to be armed with .50 cal MG's but could never get priority, so they went through the war armed with .30 cal.

The British had tried daytime formation bombing over Germany in 1941, using Wellingtons. Losses were prohibitive, even though it turned out that the Vickers Wellington could absorb quite a bit of damage, due to its geodetic frame.

Yes, CR, neither they, the B-17s or B24s were able to protect themselves against opposition. They all suffered prohibitive losses until as late as spring of '44 by which time fighter vs fighter attrition had really got hold of the Luftwaffe. And in fact, at night the RAF's Lancasters suffered those same prohibitive losses in Harris' 'Battle of Berlin' campaign.

Pioneer
03 Jul 09,, 09:34
[QUOTE=cape_royds;652270]
Air Marshal Harris wanted his Lancasters and Halifaxes to be armed with .50 cal MG's but could never get priority, so they went through the war armed with .30 cal.QUOTE]

Interesting info!!
I never knew this, let alone it was from the head shed!
I thought the RAF was just .303 obsessed.

Regards
Pioneer

DragoonGuard
03 Jul 09,, 10:50
Both superb aircraft, with all their own renound qualities, and famous missions/stories they were involved in.

I dont want to have to choose one over the other, they were both magnificent, and I salute all who crewed them.

onetwothree
27 Aug 10,, 13:35
From what I have seen commented on by pilots who flew all 3 and more WW2 planes. The Lancaster comes out as being a very dull boring plane to fly compared to the more agile B-17 (mainly due to its size). But none-the-less, wins most comparisons with its equals, as this is what is needed in a bomber, ie capacity, stability and reconfigurability. It was made as a bomber and nothing else, if you go some way down the fighter route, you lose some of these bomber features or lessen them.

Old Codger
14 Dec 10,, 04:41
.......and the DH 'Mosquito' could match the B-17s bomb load on a trip to Berlin, and come back on ONE engine.

Many did the trip to Berlin TWICE in one night. New trip, new crew.

BEST overall aircraft of WW2.

Stitch
14 Dec 10,, 05:26
Guys, guys, guys . . . . PLEASE do not make them bring out SWSNBN or the Dead Chick! Might want to check out the "new members" area and introduce yourselves. I don't want to see any more dead kittens (you'll get it later) . . . .

2DREZQ
26 Dec 10,, 19:24
WOW!
Somebody Zombie'd a thread I started!

I'm honored! (I Think..)

Bring on the Kittens!

(They started it, Mom!)

bigmal
13 Feb 11,, 04:31
The "Liberator" has the same performance approxamitly to the Lancaster.
B-17 was out classed in all areas, range, payload speed. But it had two things going for it, staying power and according to '24 crews, it had a built in press agent.I once read a magazine article written by a WW2 pilot who flew both the B-17 and the B-24 over Europe.He said that flying the B-17 was like "flying a sports car"while flying the B-24 was like"flying a Mack truck".He once came back from a mission flying the B-24 and said"my arms were so tired I couldn't lift a pencil"because of the heavy controls of the B-24.In contrast,he once flew a brand-new B-17 that was so balenced that he didn't have to use the trim tabs,that he could"take my hands off of the yoke and the aircraft flew straight and level with no trim".

Albany Rifles
13 Feb 11,, 19:34
I have heard different variations...all depended on the model, damage, weather, etc.

Big Mal, why don't you go to the top of the website and introduce yourself to us all?

Then i recommend you go ahead and check out the WAB Survival Guide to see all of our rules, etc.

Welcome to the WAB!

Tzimisces
14 Feb 11,, 20:16
I think we need to remember that the B-17 design dates from the early thirties, and was advanced for the day. That it stayed operational through the war is remarkable, something that few other aircraft can boast. The DC-3 and JU-52 come to mind.

rogerwilko
28 Mar 11,, 23:40
I doubt if fitting 50 cal guns to a Lanc would make any difference to losses.What's the stats for downed nightfighters due to Lanc gunners anyway??

USSWisconsin
29 Mar 11,, 02:20
I doubt if fitting 50 cal guns to a Lanc would make any difference to losses.What's the stats for downed nightfighters due to Lanc gunners anyway??

Turbochargers and a pressurized cockpit might have been more useful than bigger guns. If the Lancaster could have operated above the ceiling of the typical German nightfighter - it might have made a bigger difference in losses - though possibly at the expense of bombing accuracy.

rvsjimbo
25 May 11,, 02:55
Hi All,

The Merlin XX engines used by the Lancaster were equipped with superchargers and the service ceiling of the Lancaster was 23500 feet. The B17G could go over 10000 feet higher.

I'm reading a book right now, "Lancaster: The second world war's greatest bomber" (ISBN 978-0-7195-2363-2) and in it is described a project to fit increased armour plating to the aircraft to allow it to be used for daylight bombing. Bomber Harris wasn't in favour of the project and caused it to be abandoned.

Best Regards,

Paul.

clackers
26 May 11,, 06:37
and in it is described a project to fit increased armour plating to the aircraft to allow it to be used for daylight bombing. Bomber Harris wasn't in favour of the project and caused it to be abandoned.


Paul, they did return to some daylight bombing again at the end of the war, when Luftwaffe fighters had been cleared from the skies.

They also did it earlier on for precision raids against hard targets, since they were the only Allied aircraft with 33 foot bomb bays that could carry the specialist payloads needed to take out U-boat pens or V-weapon shelters.

Corkscrews were a suggested manouevre - repeated zig zags with climbs and dives, that maintained course and altitude while consistently forcing a fighter behind to attempt deflection shots.

The rear gunner would advise the pilot of whether to do a left or right manouevre, and as author Mike Sp1ck points out, 'The Lancaster could corkscrew very well even with a 12,000lb [Tallboy] bomb on board, while unladen it was extremely manouevrable for such a large machine.'

RAF crews needed to use their plane in this way because Lancasters were optimized for long range, heavy bombing, and as you say were both unarmoured and without great defensive firepower.

Of course, such manouevering would cause a bomber to break formation, which is what the attacking fighters would hope for.