The B-17 Flying Fortress was the iconic airplane of the WWII era. It was a four-engine heavy bomber that was offered to the US Army Air Corps by an aircraft magnate, Boeing, during 1930 and was developed into several versions.
It was the main strike force of the US Army Air Forces. The B-17 initially served as the daylight precision strategic bomber, targeting German military and industrial complexes. A long-range bomber capable of reaching 287 mph (462 km/h), it was capable of defending itself with the help of three gun turrets that operated within the hull of the plane. One turret on the nose, one above the cockpit and a ball turret just next to the bomb bay. There were also machine guns set on both sides of the plane.
Out of 1,5 million tons of bombs that the Allies dropped on German targets, 640,000 tons was delivered by the B-17. The bomber became a subject of a myth ― apparently, it was able to withstand extreme damage and still manage to return home. It indeed was a flying fortress, strapped with machine guns which fired from all sides, bouncing the harassing fighter planes that were trying to shoot it down before it would reach its targets.
The bomber groups were often followed by fighter squadrons who provided additional protection. This rare WWII footage compiles shots filmed during different air raids in Europe. It depicts dogfights and B-17 bombers in flight. There is also a very rare shot of one of the B-17 gunners, while he shoots at the incoming enemy fighters.