Boeing YB-40 'Fortress'

  Base model:B-40
  Designation System:U.S. Air Force
  Designation Period:1924-Present
  Basic role:Bomber

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 Guy E. Franklin
 Deatsville, AL
Boeing/Lockheed-Vega YB-40 Flying Fortress

Type: bomber escort
Crew: 9
Armament: from 14 to 30 fifty caliber machine guns
(various configurations were tested)

Length: 74' 9"
Height: 19' 1"
Wingspan: 103' 9"
Max Gross Weight: 63,500 lb

No. of Engines: 4
Powerplant: Wright R-1820-65 Cyclone
Horsepower: 1200 hp each

Range: 2,260 miles
Cruise Speed: 196 mph
Max Speed: 292 mph at 25,000 ft.
Ceiling: 29,200 ft

03/06/2007 @ 10:35 [ref: 15790]
 Guy E. Franklin
 Deatsville, AL
The YB-40 was a derivation of the Boeing B-17, in which additional guns were added in hopes that these heavily-armed B-17s would be able to "escort" the other bombers, protecting them from enemy fighter attacks when beyond the range of friendly fighter escort. Lockheed-Vega had the task of doing the conversion work on the Boeing B-17s, but only twenty YB-40s were made, as well as four training models known as the TB-40. Changes included a remotely-controlled chin turret (which later became standard on the B-17G model), twin .50 caliber guns in the waist positions (instead of the single guns), an extra twin gun power turret behind what used to be the radio operator's gun position, and sometimes extra cheek guns in the nose. The bombs and bombardier were left behind, and extra ammo for the guns was carried. Even with the reduction in weight without the bombs, the added weight of guns and ammo made the aircraft heavier and slower. As a result, once the other bombers had released their bombloads, the YB-40s were outpaced by their lighter brethren, and so failed in their role as escorts. The program was made obsolete not only by its own failures, but by the appearance of long-range fighter escorts that could fill the role much more ably.

03/06/2007 @ 10:34 [ref: 15789]
 Scott Nelson
 , ND
I have done research on the YB-40s of the 92nd BG and am freinds with a pilot of one of the YB40s, George Ott. He flew the plane called "Dakota Demon". There is a story about George and this plane at www.scottnelsonart.com
See the story "Dakota Demon-Brush With Royalty".
The story about a YB-40 shooting down an enemy piloted P-38 in Italy is not true.
01/23/2006 @ 20:17 [ref: 12247]
 John H
 Cleveland, OH
There is a great chapter about the use of YB-40s as decoy ducks once they were found inadequate for their original mission in the book Flying Forts by Martin Caidin.
01/29/2005 @ 18:38 [ref: 9301]
 Jay daSilva
 Upper Marlboro, MD
The dozen or so testbed aircraft were converted Vega-built B-17F's (some converted by Douglas Aircraft) with varying mixtures of armament. Some had dual dorsal turrets, and a few with 40mm cannon, presumably installed in the tail gunner's station. All had their bomb bay's converted into .50-cal ammo storage and were protected in places by armor plating. These two additions, combined with the increased drag of the extra guns and turrets, added to the overall weight of the YB-40 and they had trouble keeping up with the formations of "regular" B-17's after they had released their bomb loads. The test program was discontinued after a few weeks and the aircraft either returned to their orginal B-17F state or returned to the States for use in training. One YB-40 was indeed lost in action. One final note to add: while the overall project was seen as unsuccessful, the chin turret that orginally appeared on the YB-40 was incorporated into the B-17G models, and provided defense against the head-on attacks the Luftwaffe used to attack them.
03/14/2002 @ 15:13 [ref: 4502]
 Nicholas Woodside
 Johnson City, TN
The YB-40 was used in Italy to shoot down a P-38. The P-38 had been captured by the Italians and was used to shoot down straggling bombers on their return to base. The YB-40 was able to lure the P-38 in and shoot it down. It makes for an interesting career for the YB-40.
11/17/2001 @ 16:32 [ref: 3657]
 Cambridge, OTH
The YB-40 was first used operationally on 29th May by the 92nd Heavy Bomb Group whilst stationed at RAF Alconbury. The aircraft were not particularly successful and were taken off operations in August.
08/21/2001 @ 03:05 [ref: 2978]
 Mitch Hamic
 Grayslake, IL
I'm given to understand that the YB-40 first saw combat during a bombing mission to the sub pens at St. Nazaire, France on May 29, 1943. If anyone has any additional information about that mission, it'd be appreciated. I'm particularly interested in info. on the 94th Bomb Group and their participation in this raid.

04/05/2001 @ 00:49 [ref: 1998]
 Paul D. Harvey
 Clinton, UT
A number of years ago I read an article about this version of the B-17. It was heavily armed. Used as a bomber escort, this aircraft proved to be a little too slow. As the insrciption says on the bottom of the photo, this plane could not be shot down!
02/01/2001 @ 15:36 [ref: 1517]
 Pensicola, FL
A plightingly fitting name for this model!
08/01/2000 @ 14:54 [ref: 524]


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