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Thread: B-17 vs Lancaster

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    Senior Contributor 2DREZQ's Avatar
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    B-17 vs Lancaster

    Just like the title says Which one was better? Barring a definitive answer, how do their specs compare?
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2DREZQ
    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.

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    Senior Contributor 2DREZQ's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    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?
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    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.

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    The B-24 Liberator was better than either of them.

    The B-29 was better still.

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    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

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    Actus Reus Senior Contributor sparten's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by M21Sniper
    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.
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    Official Thread Jacker Senior Contributor gunnut's Avatar
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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Captain Drunk
    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.

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    B-17 is very strong plane, look this fotos:



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    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.

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    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by sparten View Post
    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.

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    Quote Originally Posted by flakhappy View Post
    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.
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    Quote Originally Posted by flakhappy View Post
    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.

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