Pertinent facts: Latest of Boeing's famed series of Flying Fortresses, the B-17E already has seen action against the Japs. The greatest fault to be found with preceding B-17 models lack of firepower protection has been corrected in the B-17E to the extent that this latest Fortress now is one of the most formidable long-range bombers in the world. Specific data on this latest US Army bomber had not been released for publication as this issue went to press. It can be said, however, that the B-17E's four air-cooled engines are equipped with turbosuperchargers; the rest of the ship also has been completely refitted for high altitude work. Wing span is approximately 110 ft. In addition to extensive armor plate protection for the crew, the B-17E carries six .50-caliber machine guns in its three turrets and one .30-caliber gun in the nose.
What to look for: The B-17E is quickly recognized when seen directly from the side. The entire tail assembly has been redesigned from the standard used on preceding models; this was done to accommodate tail gunner. Quickly noticeable is the sweeping vertical fin with its fairing, which extends forward along the top of the fuselage to the opening at the rear of the cockpit. The two turrets should be spotted easily; one is atop the fuselage directly back of the cockpit, the other protrudes beneath the fuselage directly back of the wing's trailing edge. In plan form the wing looks almost exactly like the other B-17s: gradual taper of both leading and trailing edges, with rounded tips. Rudder and elevator have been redesigned, although they still bear the same general outline of the older models. The conventional landing gear retracts into the two inboard engine nacelles; the tail wheel is fully retractable. In a straight head-on view the most difficult to identify the two gun turrets aid in identification.
This ID was originally published in the July, 1942, issue of Flying and Popular Aviation magazine, vol 31, no 1, p 36.
This ID was included in the monthly "For Identification" feature, which showed 3-view silhouettes and photos and gave recognition features of various warplanes as an aid to familiarization.
Photo not credited.
There is a PDF of this ID.