17 Images of Damaged B-17 Bombers That Miraculously Made It Home


The B-17 Flying Fortress was famous for being able to take a lot of damage and still make it back to base. We have collected some incredible images of damaged B-17 Flying Fortresses that made it home.

During WWII 12,732 B-17’s were produced between 1935 and May 1945. Of these 4,735 were lost in combat, a staggering 37 percent.

Each image could and should be an article in itself, and wherever possible we’ve added some descriptive text.

Boeing B-17G
B-17G 43-38172 of the 8th AF 398th BG 601st BS which was damaged on a bombing mission over Cologne, Germany, on 15 October 1944; the bombardier was killed. [via]

A B-17 of the 100th Bomber Squadron of the USAAF rests in an English airfield after being severely damaged by flak over Frankfurt. She was eventually repaired and returned to regular duty, 1944. [via]
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Two shots of a B-17 from the 379th Bomb Group with most of the nose missing [via]
On the second one it seems the Pilot is looking up at the damage [via]

Eager Beaver Tail Damage (C. 1942)
B-17 Eager Beaver Tail Damage (C. 1942). Serial No. 124393 full of holes. The entry in the pilot’s diary, dated Feb 18th, 1943, says, “New waist gunner shot hell out of tail today. Ship out for a week.” “For the full story and all entries from dad’s diary, see my book on Amazon.com “A WWII Journal” by Randy Graham.” [via]

Boeing B-17F-5-BO (S/N 41-24406) “All American III” of the 97th Bomb Group, 414th Bomb Squadron, in flight after a collision with an ME-109 over Tunis. The aircraft was able to land safely at her home base in Biskra, Algeria. [via]
4th of February, 1944, Boeing B-17F-90-BO Flying Fortress, 42-30188, “Temptation” of the 413th Bomb Squadron, 96th Bomb Group, during take off for a mission, suffers runaways on Nos. 1 and 2 propellers. Lt. Joseph Meacham attempts landing at a nearby – as yet unfinished – base, but crash lands at East Shropham, Norfolk, All eleven crew survive, but the aircraft is damaged beyond repair and is written off, fit only for parts salvage. [via]
This is 42-107040, Shirley Jean of the 324th Bomb Squadron, 91st Bomb Group. [via]
6th November 1944, B17G Rackheath – Close-up view showing the enormous hole from the flak-damaged B17 of the 91st BG that returned safely to Rackheath. [Via]
B-17 Little Miss Mischief after an emergency landing in Bassingbourn [via]
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